Religion in the United States
The topic of the Religion S is central with the comprehension of the the United States of America , which guarantee by the constitution the religious liberty. The country makes an important place with the religion and spirituality: one can find in each hotel room a Bible; the US president does not hesitate to evoke God in his speeches. The various Churches are implied in the social life and policy of the nation.
See also: religious History of the United States
The religious communities, which colonized American space by successive waves, are at the origin of the diversity of representation of the religious movements in this new world perceived like a ground of refuge.
The colonial timeAs of the 17th century, some English colonies offered asylum to those which wanted to flee religious intolerance. Starting from 1620 of the groups of Puritain S arrived in the Massachusetts after years of persecutions to England and Holland. In the second time, those which fled the intolerance of the puritans of New England founded new colonies such as the Rhode Island or the Connecticut.
The colony of the Maryland (" ground of Marie") was founded to accommodate persecuted English catholics. After the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685, thousands of Huguenot S left France to settle in several port cities of which New York, Philadelphia and Charleston.
One estimates at more than 100.000 the German Lutherans who left themselves to North America after the Guerre Thirty Years. The Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were the American colonies most tolerant on the religious level. That by no means prevented persecutions from striking the British colonies: the Quaker S, Mary Dyer were the victims.
Today still, this tradition of tolerance remains in the system of the American values, so that the Secte S are not illegal.
DeismUnder the influence of the Lights, the Déisme appears in the United States at the end of the 18th century; it is generally considered that Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin is the most famous representatives of this tendency. The deism influenced the development of the unitarianism which proclaims the strict unit of God.
The XIXe centuryMany European Jews fled the pogroms of Russia after the assassination of the tsar Alexandre II in 1881 and took refuge in the United States. These migrations are at the origin of the Jewish Diaspora in America.
The XXe century
- persecutions Antisémite S in Nazi Germany then in Europe dominated by IIIe Reich pushed many Jews to emigrate in the United States.
See also: Contenu=Pour a more detailed English approach, to see ''' [[: in: Religious history off the United States]], [[Religious history off the United States]] '''.
To cover this subject without evoking the historical context of the country is vain.
The religious communities, which colonized American space by successive waves, are at the origin of the diversity of representation of the religious movements.
This article, on standby of extension, will treat only sphere Judeo-Christian, whose complexity is already quite sufficient to apprehend the subject.
The fields of implication of this diversity relate to the religious practice in itself, but also influences the policy throughout the history of the country (" In God we trust") like on its schools of thought (philosophical implication).
Comes to be added to an intrinsic complexity related to the multitude of religious movements a difference related to the use of the terms (Christian/catholic/protesting/preserving/fundamentalism) whose meaning in Europe does not correspond or does not evoke the same thing completely.
As example, the word protesting becomes implicit for one pratiquant chrétien in America, it is the catholic quotation of which becomes specific (even papist when the evocation is in bad terms). Instead of Protestant the dénomination of the specific group is generally indicated: among most known are the Anglican S, the Baptist S, the Luthérien S, the Méthodiste S and the Presbytérien S, all resulting from the Réforme and which carried out an emigration of Europe in order to exert their right to the religious liberty that their new ground of election would guarantee to them.
It is thus necessary to point out the history of the schisms which led to these denominations through the various branches which coexist at present.
If the country is laic by its constitution, its print is believing by the practice.
A laic country
Since the end of the 18th century, the religion is officially separated from the State and this principle is ensured by the constitution (article VI and first amendment). In the constitution and the Declaration of the Rights, it is never refers to God or Providence. The true currency of the United States east E pluribus unum . The Federal state does not subsidize any religious school in the name of the religious liberty. Since 1962, the prayer at the school is prohibited by the Engel stop against Vitale. Lastly, it should not be forgotten that the first amendment guarantees to it not interference of the State in the religions and freedom of worship.
However, the references to God are omnipresent in the public life of the United States: In God we trust on the currency (In a God, we believe) , the oath of the US presidents on the Bible during the nomination, etc But most of the time, these references does not return to God in particular; they are abstract and symbolic systems. American secularity has as a motivation the tolerance with respect to all the religions.
A country of believersApproximately 80% of the Americans say believers, and more half of the Americans are practitioners, a rate of participation much higher than in France or in Quebec. According to the Yearbook off American and Canadian Churches (2002), 24,6 million people in the United States does not practice any religion. A recent survey carried out by Gallup watch that 34% of the Americans once attend their place of worship per week, against 13% which never go there. Each American changes three times of Church on average during his existence. The membership of a Church is a current thing and means to belong at a community, to receive from the assistance where necessary. On the 250 billion dollars of annual gifts that make the Americans with the associations with nonlucrative goal 36% are assigned to the various Churches:
The majority of the Americans claim Christianity. But the share of the Christians in the total decreases (- 8,5 points between 1990 and 2001) whereas that of the atheists, agnostics and without religion increases by 6,6 points. The évangéliques ones progress quickly, but remain very minority (0,5% of the Americans in 2001). The catholics represent in relative value only 26% of the Christians, but their progression in absolute value exceeds that of the Protestants. This progression can be explained by the immigration of the Latinos, mainly catholics. The importance of the Judaism seems to decline, whereas that of the Eastern religions progresses (hindouists and Buddhists). To the United States like elsewhere, more and more of people attach importance to the Spiritualité, without adhering to a traditional religion.
A puritan country?Antiaméricains consider that the United States is a puritan country what would imply a company with austere morals and refusing any liberalization of manners. However, the Puritanisme remains badly known, in particular in France. In addition, it should be recalled that the Protestantisme from which it is resulting is today in retreat vis-a-vis the Catholicisme practiced by the Latinos. The history of the United States shows moreover that the country knew to liberalize its manners, sometimes even before France (for the legalization of the abortion for example). As of the years 1960, the movement Hippie disputed the middle-class values. Today, the turnover of pornographic films in the United States is comparable with that of Hollywood. The rate of Divorce is one of highest world.
Atheism and free-thoughtThe organizations Atheistic American ( American Atheists ), Americans United for the Separation off Church and State (with its monthly review “ Church & State ”), and atheistic Alliance ( Atheist Alliance ) militate for the strict separation of the Church and the State. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O' Hair and supports its claims on the principles of the Declaration of Independence and on the Constitution. It engages of many lawsuits against the public institutions which violate secularity. Approximately 2 200 members take part regularly in the national convention of association and the many regional meetings. Ellen Johnson is the president since 1995. The seat of association is in the New Jersey with Cranford.
The November 2nd 2002, during the walk of the American atheists on Washington ( Godless Americans March one Washington in English), Ellen Johnson had announced the creation of the committee of political action of the American atheists ( Godless Americans Political Action Committee (GAMPAC)), in order to make pressure on the candidates with the elections. It was officially launched the March 9th 2004 and supported the catholic candidate John Kerry at presidential the 2004.
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