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Religion in America
Transcript of Religion in America
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free [...]
About 9 out of 10 Americans believe in God or some form of Supreme Being
only America has called itself Judeo-Christian.
America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values. Along with its
belief in liberty
as opposed to
European belief in equality
Muslim belief in theocracy
, and the
Eastern belief in social conformity
Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries
an iconic symbol of freedom & democracy
The Bible Belt
the Judeo-Christian tradition
In South-Eastern & South-Central America, evangelical protestantism is widely influential
U.S. religious environment at a glance
breakdown of religions in the U.S.
The Jewish Faith
The Muslim Faith
Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, New York
In general, these denominations have a moderate theology, a flexible interpretation of scripture and sometimes emphasize social justice
no singular all-powerful denomination
Most denominations in the mainline tradition also have an evangelical stream.
Glenn Beck on Social Justice, March 2nd, 2010
Evangelical churches commonly preach a literal interpretation of the Bible - most subscribe to the theory of creationism or intelligent design.
Pope Francis, 2013 -
Jimmy Swaggart, 1988
"I Have Sinned" speech
Televangelists use the mass media to spread the word of God with strong emotional appeals
Park 51 Project
Separation between Church & State ?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
establishment clause = no official religion
(whether Federal or State)
free exercise clause = every American is free to practice any religion without fear of persecution
The Pledge of Allegiance
" I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. "
In God We Trust
These are classic cases of "
Bibles & prayers during Presidential inaugurations are systematic, but not mandatory
In the courtroom & classroom
" Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth, so help you God ? "
" [...] it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favour."
George Washington, 1777
"Thanking God" : a continuing tradition
" This day is a time to take stock of the good fortune we have known and the kindness we have shared, grateful for the God-given bounty that enriches our lives [...]" Barack Obama
The Prayer at Valley Forge
, Arnold Friberg
President Barack Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving turkey
formally adopted by Congress
Eisenhower signs official motto
blurred lines between Church & State
Invocation by Rev. Dr. Rick Warren Baptist Pastor - 2009
"There may be a wall separating
, but not
The Lord's Prayer
Bill Clinton swears on the bible for his second term as President
Every federal employee, whether a vice president or postal worker must take an oath to support and defend the Constitution.
Example of an Oath for Federal employees :
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
So help me God
5 U.S.C. §3331
George W. Bush
partial-birth abortion (D&X) ban
“They [the Founding Fathers] were quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.”
Taking an oath to work for the State
The Lord's Prayer & Bible Readings
Abington v. Schempp, 1963
Engle v. Vitale, 1962
Burning Issues Today
Roe v. Wade 1973
Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath
by Valerie Kaur, 2006
The Lemon Test
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971
An Iftar celebration of Ramadan at the White House, August 13th, 2010
"The religious factions that are growing throughout our land [...] are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both."
The Politics of Fear
The Supreme Court uses 3 tests to determine if a proposed law violates the 1st Amendment
Denis Prager, American writer & radio commentator - promoter of American Judeo-Christian culture
formally adopted by Congress in 1942
national motto since Congress adopted it in 1956
= speech which is religious in nature, but having a secular purpose and thus not unconstitutional
Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004)
Supreme Justice Sandra Day O'Conner described
"Government religious speech with a shared understanding of its legitimate nonreligious purposes".
3 factors are relevant to say whether religious speech has a "
1] if it has
"been in place for a
significant portion of the Nation's history
2] if the speech
"does not constitute
worship or prayer
3] if there is an
"absence of reference to
a particular religion
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, 2007
1/3 of Americans reject evolution
Bible is inerrant
Salvation is through Jesus
Need to proselytize
Church of Scientology
sect or religion ?
of an organization comes from its ability to modify the personality of its adherents with regards to preferring an unconditional adulation for the clan and its guru."
Quran oath Controversy - 2006
Debate about which book to use :
Keith Ellison, 1st Muslim elected to Congress
finally opts for the Quran...
..which had belonged to Thomas Jefferson - a well-known deist* !
It is unconstitutional for State officials to compose official school prayer and encourage recitation in public schools
It is unconstitutional to perform organized Bible readings in public schools
It is unconstitutional to use public funds to pay for private school needs
(teachers' salaries, instruction materials, facilities, etc.)
In 2014, the Supreme Court expanded religious liberty in 5-4 decision
Religious Society of Friends
who's your favourite philosopher?
It's what makes America so special !
by Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer
Breaking Amish, 2012-
founded by Ron Hubbard
"I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'. Just who do they think they are ? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me ?"
"And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote [...] in the Senate.
I am warning them today; I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism'."
Barry Goldwater (1908-1998), U.S. Senator (R. Arizona)
Source: Congressional Record : September 6th, 1981
But what is an
In America this is impossible question...
There is no way to distinguish between a cult, sect or religion.
Jimmy Swaggart Ministries broadcast to over 3,000 stations and cable systems weekly in the 1980s
Tom Cruise, an outspoken advocate
exploiting the myth of America being founded on Judeo-Christian values
planting the seed
millions or just 25,000 ?
about 130, 000 (= 21% of members worldwide)
nothing in particular
seed faith = if you donate now, you will be rewarded later in life
34% agree that :
“humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”
Are all religious groups seen in the same way ?
American Constitutional lawyer
" If you
in it, it is a
about it, it is a
it, it is a
"I am proud of Utah for allowing freedom of all religions in what is considered by many to be a one-religion state."
in a nutshell
The Founding Fathers
didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans [saying] this is a Christian nation. Our
Kevin M. Kruse, author of
One Nation Under God
“When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99% versus 1%, you have opened up a whole new wave in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of
one nation under God
Pastor Flies Christian Flag Above American Flag in North Carolina
A business has religious rights & can refuse to provide coverage for certain healthcare services if it contradicts their beliefs.
The Statue of Liberty
Obama chose Lincoln's Bible in 2009
"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."
most seem tolerant of other faiths
Utah = 70%
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Rejecting the influence of technology to stay close to God
by Peter Weir, 1985
Support for same-sex marriage has grown steadily since 2001 - today, 55% of Americans are in favour.
But religious affiliation still affects people's actions
June 2015 - The Supreme Court Rules same-sex marriage a legal right in all 50 States.
Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis
The Case of Kentucky, August 2015
Jailed for contempt of court...
Released four days later as a martyr
A recent growth in the unaffiliated
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”
The First Thanksgiving
Jennie A. Brownscombe
Declaration of Independence, 1776
& the prosperity gospel
has been an increase in abortion restrictions since 2000
National Center for Sciences Education
Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987
teaching creationism as a science is declared
Legacy of the Kim Davis case
All legal action against Davis has been dismissed due to changes in Kentucky law
Governor Bevin signed an executive order removing the names of County Clerks from marriage licenses. This executive order eventually led to the proposal of Kentucky Senate Bill 216 (“SB 216”), which creates a new marriage license form that does not require the County Clerk’s signature. On April 1, 2016, the Kentucky Senate passed SB 216. Governor Bevin signed it into law less than two weeks later.
"Social Justice is code language for Marxism... when you see those words, [you should]
"Americans differentiate between the
, and they view
more unfavorably than they do
Hey, I love Muslims !
Majorities of people who know some Muslims have favorable of views regarding them.
Only 22 % of Republicans who know
Muslims have favorable views, compared with 51 % of Republicans who know some Muslims (but not well), and 59 % of those who know some Muslims well.
approximately 8 million
... and 77% believe angels are real
AP/GFK poll, 2011
of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation
focus on inward inspiration & eliminating intermediaries between God & the people
1st organization in history to ban slave-holding
progressive social views
America - a religiously diverse nation ?
Together is Beautiful
Jesus Camp, 2006
William Penn, 17th-century philosopher (?)
New York lawyer, Anika Rahman, days after 9/11, in the New York Times
Why it matters how Americans see Muslims
“I am so used to thinking
about myself as a New Yorker that it took me a few days to begin to see myself as a stranger might:
a Muslim woman
, an outsider, perhaps an enemy of the city. Before last week, I had thought of myself as a lawyer, a feminist, a wife, a sister, a friend, a woman on the street.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination in hiring
The myth of American Religious Diversity
Donald Trump signing executive orders, January 23rd, 2017
Reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule
Abortion in America is legal, but...
What abortion restrictions look like across America
Last Week Tonight, John Oliver
1. The statute* must have a secular legislative purpose.
2. The statute's primary effect must neither advance nor inhibit religion.
3. The statute must not promote an excessive government entanglement with religion.
statute = written law
Politics from the Pulpit
In other words : from the
founding of America
was seen as
*Deism = belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.
How to start your own church
Latest developments on status of Pastafarianism
Inmate Stephen Cavanaugh has lost his trial
In Nebraska, a District judge ruled in April 2016 that Pastafarianism (also known as FSMism) does
qualify for Constitutional protection.
But will this go to the Supreme court ?
Gary Herbert, Governor of Utah
a Public Health hazard in 2016
In 2009, Utah was ranked the top state in the U.S. for subscriptions to online porn sites, according to a Harvard study.
Two bills introduced :
calls for additional research and education so that more individuals and families are aware of the harmful effects of pornography.
stipulates that computer engineers who find child pornography during their work should report it to officials. Those who don't report risk being charged with "willful failure to report the child pornography," a class B misdemeanor.
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
After the first iftar dinner in 1805, the White House began a
yearly ritual in 1996
, under former First Lady
Trump ended the tradition in 2017...
However, you are also allowed to "
" instead of "
" and you do
have to say "
so help me God
nor put your hand on a Bible or any object
The Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation & Betsy DeVos’ mother’s foundation donated millions of dollars to the Conservative Christian group
Focus on the Family
, which promotes Intelligent Design.
Focus on the Family
The DeVos nomination is a "
positive development for communities that want to include Intelligent Design in their school curricula
Pastafarian politician - Christopher Schaeffer - takes oath of office wearing colander on his head (New York, 2014)
... but brought it back in 2018 amid protests
Latest developments :
Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. founded as a Quaker institution in 1885