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Religion in America

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Elio Di Paolantonio

on 28 August 2018

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Transcript of Religion in America

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
the
European belief in equality
, the
Muslim belief in theocracy
, and the
Eastern belief in social conformity
- the
Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries
.
an iconic symbol of freedom & democracy
The Bible Belt
Protestantism
Catholicism
Judaism
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.
PROTESTANTS
40.1%
Catholics
20.8%
The Jewish Faith
1.9%
some others
The Muslim Faith
Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, New York
Mainline Churches
Fundamentalist/Evangelical Churches
Baptists

Congregationalists

Episcopalians/Anglicans

Lutherans

Methodists

Presbyterians

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 -
televangelism
Jimmy Swaggart, 1988
"I Have Sinned" speech
Televangelists use the mass media to spread the word of God with strong emotional appeals
Mormons
Amish
Quakers
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
1942
1956
2012
1789
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 "
ceremonial deism
"
Presidential inaugurations
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 ? "
Thanksgiving Proclamation
" [...] 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
church
and
state
, but not
religion
and
politics
"

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
stem-cell research
John McCain
Barack Obama
partial-birth abortion (D&X) ban
intelligent design
faith-based initiatives
“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.”
Sarah Palin
Taking an oath to work for the State
The Lord's Prayer & Bible Readings
Abortion
Abington v. Schempp, 1963
Engle v. Vitale, 1962
Burning Issues Today
Roe v. Wade 1973
http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#
about 1%*
Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath
by Valerie Kaur, 2006
http://www.dwf-film.com/
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
ceremonial deism
as :
"Government religious speech with a shared understanding of its legitimate nonreligious purposes".
3 factors are relevant to say whether religious speech has a "
nonreligious
purpose"
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
"
Birth Control
http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-ra-supreme-court-baffling-decision-20140707-column.html
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf
Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi, 2007
1/3 of Americans reject evolution
http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/30/publics-views-on-human-evolution/
Bible is inerrant
Salvation is through Jesus
Need to proselytize
Church of Scientology
Sectarian deviance,
sect or religion ?
"The
sectarian character
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."
http://www.people-press.org/2011/08/30/a-portrait-of-muslim-americans/
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
2014
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
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pastafarian-former-porn-star-asia-lemmon-allowed-to-wear-colander-in-driving-license-photo-9873531.html
"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
official
religion ?
In America this is impossible question...
There is no way to distinguish between a cult, sect or religion.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/147887/americans-continue-believe-god.aspx
Jimmy Swaggart Ministries broadcast to over 3,000 stations and cable systems weekly in the 1980s
Tom Cruise, an outspoken advocate
http://twothirds.us/the-oaths-of-office/
exploiting the myth of America being founded on Judeo-Christian values
http://www.pewforum.org/2011/01/27/the-future-of-the-global-muslim-population/
planting the seed
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
Non-Christian Faiths
5.9%
Muslim
Buddhist
Hindu
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/scientologists-how-many-of-them-are-there-anyway-6717701
millions or just 25,000 ?
1.6%
about
300,000

& growing
about 130, 000 (= 21% of members worldwide)
http://www.fgcquaker.org/explore/faqs-about-quakers
0.8%
http://www.pewforum.org/2014/07/16/how-americans-feel-about-religious-groups/
unaffiliated "nones"
22.8%
atheist
agnostic
3%
4%
nothing in particular
15.8%
25.4%
14.7%
Pastafarianism
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 ?
http://www.religioustolerance.org/cults.htm
http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/storm-of-paranoia-and-hate-erupts-in-florida-town-after-photo-shows-muslims-praying-at-beach/
Leo Pfeffer
,
American Constitutional lawyer
" If you
believe
in it, it is a
religion
;
if you
don't care
about it, it is a
sect
;
if you
fear
&
hate
it, it is a
cult
."
"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
http://testtube.com/testtubenews/when-does-the-us-legally-recognize-a-religion
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/opinion/sunday/a-christian-nation-since-when.html?_r=0
The Founding Fathers
http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/catholic/
"[...] the
founding fathers
didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans [saying] this is a Christian nation. Our
grandfathers
did."
Kevin M. Kruse, author of
One Nation Under God
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/for-god-so-loved-the-1-percent/
“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
.”
Mitt Romney
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pastor-christian-flag_559d6900e4b05b1d028f8ba0
Pastor Flies Christian Flag Above American Flag in North Carolina
http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/church-flies-christian-flag-over-american-flag/
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/02/us/supreme-court-rules-in-samantha-elauf-abercrombie-fitch-case.html
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/07/29/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/
Gay marriage
A business has religious rights & can refuse to provide coverage for certain healthcare services if it contradicts their beliefs.
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/06/26/same-sex-marriage-state-by-state/
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."
http://www.pewforum.org/2008/12/18/many-americans-say-other-faiths-can-lead-to-eternal-life/#3
most seem tolerant of other faiths
Jehovah's Witness
Mitt Romney
Utah = 70%
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
"Plain People"
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
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
http://www.atlantico.fr/decryptage/rigidite-anti-sectes-france-va-t-elle-devoir-revoir-position-rodolphe-bosselut-thierry-becourt-659015.html
http://www.alternet.org/story/151268/10_states_where_abortion_is_virtually_illegal_for_some_women
http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2015/07/01/
There
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
unconstitutional
http://www.npr.org/2006/02/21/5168163/partial-birth-abortion-separating-fact-from-spin
http://www.pewforum.org/2016/08/08/many-americans-hear-politics-from-the-pulpit/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=3f5deccecc-Weekly_August_11_20168_11_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-3f5deccecc-399827429
0,7%
0,7%
0,9%
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.
http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/08/kim-davis-fight-officially-judge-dismisses-cases-moot/
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/12/darwin-day/
On Darwin
"Social Justice is code language for Marxism... when you see those words, [you should]
run
!"
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2015/12/09/what-americans-really-think-about-muslims-and-islam/
"Americans differentiate between the

Muslim

people
and the
Muslim

religion
, and they view
Islam
more unfavorably than they do
Muslims
."
Hey, I love Muslims !
Majorities of people who know some Muslims have favorable of views regarding them.
Only 22 % of Republicans who know
no
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.
http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/jehovahs-witness/
approximately 8 million
http://www.venganza.org/about/
https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/state-facts-about-abortion
https://www.guttmacher.org/
... and 77% believe angels are real
AP/GFK poll, 2011
51%
of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation
http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/dispelling-the-myth-of-a-christian-nation
focus on inward inspiration & eliminating intermediaries between God & the people
pacifists
abolitionists
1st organization in history to ban slave-holding
philanthropic spirit
progressive social views
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/06/a-new-estimate-of-the-u-s-muslim-population/
America - a religiously diverse nation ?
Together is Beautiful
Superbowl, 2014
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
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/06/countries-religious-diversity_n_5093551.html
“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
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/07/31/judge_blocks_arkansas_law_that_could_have_made_women_notify_their_rapists.html
The myth of American Religious Diversity
Donald Trump signing executive orders, January 23rd, 2017
Reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-abortion-men_us_5886369be4b0e3a7356a7910
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
,
spirituality
as a
guiding force
was seen as
necessary
.
*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.
https://cullinanelaw.com/nonprofit-law-basics-how-do-i-start-a-church/
How to start your own church
Latest developments on status of Pastafarianism
Inmate Stephen Cavanaugh has lost his trial
http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/pastafarianism-is-still-not-a-legally-recognized-religion-in-the-united-statesyet
In Nebraska, a District judge ruled in April 2016 that Pastafarianism (also known as FSMism) does
not
qualify for Constitutional protection.
But will this go to the Supreme court ?
example
John Winthrop
http://www.quakerinfo.com/memb2012.shtml
Gary Herbert, Governor of Utah
Declared
pornography
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 :

S.C.R. 9
calls for additional research and education so that more individuals and families are aware of the harmful effects of pornography.

H.B. 155
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.
http://www.newsweek.com/utah-porn-public-health-hazard-450223


Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
*in 2015
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/eid-al-fitr-donald-trump-white-house-stops-tradition-muslim-american-ramadan-fast-religious-freedom-a7806836.html
After the first iftar dinner in 1805, the White House began a
yearly ritual in 1996
, under former First Lady
Hillary Clinton
Trump ended the tradition in 2017...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/us/politics/roy-moore-bible-ted-crockett.html
However, you are also allowed to "
affirm
" instead of "
swear
" and you do
not
have to say "
so help me God
"
nor put your hand on a Bible or any object
https://www.propublica.org/article/devos-education-nominees-code-words-for-creationism-offshoot-raise-concerns
Betsy DeVos
Education Secretary
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.

http://www.truetolerance.org/
Candi Cushman,
analyst for
Focus on the Family
The DeVos nomination is a "
positive development for communities that want to include Intelligent Design in their school curricula
."
Refuting Evolution
Pastafarian politician - Christopher Schaeffer - takes oath of office wearing colander on his head (New York, 2014)
... but brought it back in 2018 amid protests
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/16/pastafarianism-is-not-a-religion-dutch-court-rules?CMP=share_btn_fb
Latest developments :
Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. founded as a Quaker institution in 1885
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