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The_Walrus
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03 May 2020, 10:04 am

The US has a lot of little state-sanctioned religious rituals. Your national motto is “In God We Trust”, which appears on your currency. You have a pledge of allegiance which contains “one nation under God”. The Declaration of Independence makes explicit reference to a creator. And religion plays a much greater role in your politics and your society than in much of Northern Europe.

So I think what the OP was driving at is, despite the US being explicitly secular, in practice it seems to be a lot less secular than some countries with official religions.



vermontsavant
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03 May 2020, 10:26 am

The_Walrus wrote:
The US has a lot of little state-sanctioned religious rituals. Your national motto is “In God We Trust”, which appears on your currency. You have a pledge of allegiance which contains “one nation under God”. The Declaration of Independence makes explicit reference to a creator. And religion plays a much greater role in your politics and your society than in much of Northern Europe.

So I think what the OP was driving at is, despite the US being explicitly secular, in practice it seems to be a lot less secular than some countries with official religions.
A good point you make.

In America we have sort of a secular society/religious fanaticism parodox.
A contradiction maybe.

When separation of church and state was established it was meant to protect the church from government and not the government from the church.

As religious freedom grew in America so did diverse religious groups and sects and denominations.

In Europe there is usually a sect or denomination associated with a given nation.

Although in America government can't force religion on people it also can't stop religions from pushing religion on individual people.

It also allows for religious people the freedom to get involved in government and try to influence government with the belief's they have.You see this in the power the religious right has in national elections.

Does that explain the paradox of secularism and religion in America.


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0_equals_true
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03 May 2020, 10:39 am

In Westen Europe there was long standing religious conflict due to religion being a state affair, which wasn't resolved during The Reformation.

As a consequence of that, religious minorities went to the New World including fundamentalist puritans. In fact sometimes they were forced to go.

While the political sphere could be broadly divided into Catholic or Protestant there was nearly always an established church for the state in question. So non-conformists could be as vunerable as Catholics in the Protestant counties.

State religion was about power and influence, faith and morality came second. It was also ingrained in culture and identity, which reinforced sectarianism. This sectarianism is still there today in pockets where in it is engrained in the local culture, but generally it is frowned upon.

The French Revolution and The Enlightenment reinforced the idea that religion was a personal matter that should not taught in schools but in the home. French Protestants had endured some of the worst persecution and this early form of secularism emerged as a result.

The US constitution was influenced heavily by the French Revolution and well as the English Bill of Rights. The Enlightenment also reached the US, but mainly among an elite. While ideas like Deism were briefly entertained among the educated political elite, the concept of freedom of religion including freedom from religion never really took off. In fact, as a culture being God fearing and believing in a creator was kind of a given, and separation of Church and State was to avoid religious persecution as had happened in Europe.

The more developed secular concepts, classical Liberalism and Libertarianism of the 19th century had little impact on US politics till much later.

Meanwhile religious minorities were thriving in the US's plentiful lands and there was always somewhere else to move to, should a group wish to form a religious colony. Unlike Europe where it was difficult to escape scrutiny. New American religious movements were cropping up like Mormonism.

The frontiers, whilst often lawless, allowed a conservative religious conformist culture to emerge ironically promoted by descendants of nonconformists. Even though separation of church and state is very much an American ideal; there has been concerted efforts to undermine or water this down in state legislatures, where this culture as a societal necessity is considered unquestionable.

Finally the Cold War, had a huge impact on free thought in the US and it has never really recoved. Under the guise of fighting for the Free World, Americans were put under servalance, ostracised for thinking differently or perceived to be different. Cold War propaganda was a mainstay in the US as it was in the Soviet Block. Atheism having a connection to Marxism drew suspicion.

'In God we Trust' printed on currency and making school children sing the national anthem and swear allegiance, were very much a part of the 'One nation under God' idea of what it ment to be an American. Generations grew up thinking this was normal and it is defended to this day as an essential American tradition. It influences how they perceive basic amenities such as public/municipal services like healthcare and their view of the rest of the world's political systems as the leader of the Free World, despite blind spots in viewing their own systems such as their public water supply and the military, which inspires an almost religious devotion and faith in many.

Like how European Kings and Queens believed they had a divine right to rule, the idea that God is blessing America particularly as a God fearing nation, is seen as an endorsement of these American values.



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03 May 2020, 11:01 am

^There is nothing so universal than the belief that ones own beliefs are special.

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03 May 2020, 11:11 am

Ironically, “under God” wasn’t inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance until some time in the late 1950s.

The impression one obtains from visiting the United States varies by region and by rural vs urban

If one would visit the major cities (with few exceptions) and/or follow their political history, religion plays a very small role in politics. Very few appeals to “God” or anything religious are made within a political context.

In rural areas, especially in the “heartland,” and especially towards the South, religion plays a larger, perhaps paramount role.

There are certainly at least “two America’s” One eminently secular, and one where religion plays a considerable role.

It depends on where one visits.

I don’t know one person who attends church or any sort of worship service on more than very rare occasions. My wife believes in God and is Christian. She rarely attends church.



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03 May 2020, 11:50 am

0_equals_true wrote:
Finally the Cold War, had a huge impact on free thought in the US and it has never really recoved. Under the guise of fighting for the Free World, Americans were put under servalance, ostracised for thinking differently or perceived to be different. Cold War propaganda was a mainstay in the US as it was in the Soviet Block. Atheism having a connection to Marxism drew suspicion.

'In God we Trust' printed on currency and making school children sing the national anthem and swear allegiance, were very much a part of the 'One nation under God' idea of what it ment to be an American.

kraftiekortie wrote:
Ironically, “under God” wasn’t inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance until some time in the late 1950s.

It's ironic but it matches the concept of religion being used for Cold War propaganda 0_equals_true mentions.


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kraftiekortie
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03 May 2020, 12:27 pm

Religion, per se, wasn’t really used all that much for Cold War propaganda.

It’s more like the USSR and Communism-in-general’s LACK of religion was used to assert our alleged moral superiority.

It was more like a battle between economic systems.



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03 May 2020, 1:19 pm

In midwestern and Southern midwest regions of the US there are quite a fanatical large numbers of judeo / christian , Citizens . It is most likely if you are not a member of some sort of Bible group,
Odds are . You are readily identified as Not being part of the group at large. Churches exist in great numbers in most city centers and suburbs. And access to some otherwise known as public resources are moreover limited to those whom are members of that Church. Virtually by sins of omission than by directly scorning those the non believer .. these Churches do allow for other variations of religion on Gawd. But , truley to be a Christian and being a part of any specifc church is expected.Of all members of society. An can be used to excuse a great number of Otherwise public offenses, From my outward observations . Albeit most Christian here do not have this experience of how their own church behaves, it is merely unspoken and almost considered un Christian to speak of these things . having seen this hypocrasy since teenage years . was not really consciously aware of how expansive this reality is.

Now this is all based on more modern society ... previously when people were first even starting to develop a town or a population center , these same churches proved to be the bases for any sort of Town or Societal groups and effected changes and Usually were where , most town centers existed .
They performed these functions in a superb manner, Celebrating marriages and holidays. aswell as being sources of knowledge about the immediate area,. even using there bells to support the town regarding emergencies and
Local City centre proclaimations. So decerning there benefits of Athiesm vs other religions and their accompany of virtues or lack thereof ,
Might be a hard one to figure , at least for myself . There is something to be said for the urge for people NTs ? to want associations with something largr then themselves , ( part of a larger group) . Traditionally long ago Churches took interest , in those, in lesser financial or of physical abilities as
a charitable source of help . regardless of religious affiliation , in much earlier times . (But times change )


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Last edited by Jakki on 03 May 2020, 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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03 May 2020, 1:25 pm

Jakki wrote:
In midwestern and Southern midwest regions of the US there are quite a fanatical large numbers of judeo / christian , Citizens . It is most likely if you are not a member of some sort of Bible group,
Odds are . You are readily identified as Not being part of the group at large. Churches exist in great numbers in most city centers and suburbs. And access to some otherwise known as public resources are moreover limited to those whom are members of that Church. Virtually by sins of omission than by directly scorning those the non believer .. these Churches do allow for other variations of religion on Gawd. But , truley to be a Christian and being a part of any specifc church is expected.Of all members of society. An can be used to excuse a great number of Otherwise public offenses, From my outward observations . Albeit most Christian here do not have this experience of how their own church behaves, it is merely unspoken and almost considered un Christian to speak of these things . having seen this hypocrasy since teenage years . was not really consciously aware of how expansive this reality is.

Now this is all based on more modern society ... previously when people were first even starting to develop a town or a population center , these same churches proved to be the bases for any sort of Town or Societal groups and effected changes and Usually were where , most town centers existed .
They performed these functions in a superb manner, Celebrating marriages and holidays. aswell as being sources of knowledge about the immediate area,. even using there bells to support the town regarding emergencies and
Local City centre proclaimations. So decerning there benefits of Athiesm vs other religions and their accompany of virtuals or lack thereof ,
Might be a hard one to figure , at least for myself
In particular Kansas,Missouri and Oklahoma are the buckle of the bible belt and the spawning ground for the hard core religious right.


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magz
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03 May 2020, 1:43 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Religion, per se, wasn’t really used all that much for Cold War propaganda.

It’s more like the USSR and Communism-in-general’s LACK of religion was used to assert our alleged moral superiority.

It was more like a battle between economic systems.

I think there always was more order-of-the-world philosophy into it than just economy (sorry for grammar, drunk posting, I don't know how to get it right).


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03 May 2020, 1:54 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Your national motto is “In God We Trust”, which appears on your currency.


Which was only made official in 1956. Before that, the de facto national motto was "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, one), which is an altogether superior motto, in my submission.

Also, welcome back to 0_equals_true! :)


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magz
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03 May 2020, 2:22 pm

Wolfram87 wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Your national motto is “In God We Trust”, which appears on your currency.


Which was only made official in 1956.

Pointing at the Cold War again.


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03 May 2020, 3:07 pm

We still have “E Pluribus Unum” as a motto.

I didn’t hear much religious rhetoric during the Cold War. I did occasionally hear communism as being a “godless” entity. Yet certainly nothing that was explicitly “Christian,” in contrast to their atheism.

It was more like the US was a paragon of democracy, and that communism is something that is authoritarian, dangerous, and seeks to rule the world.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 03 May 2020, 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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03 May 2020, 3:10 pm

Quote:
While its status as national motto was for many years unofficial, E pluribus unum was still considered the de facto motto of the United States from its early history.[5] Eventually, the United States Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto in 1956.[6]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_pluribus_unum


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kraftiekortie
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03 May 2020, 3:18 pm

You still see it on the $1 bill.

And I’ve heard a lot about E Pluribus Unum.

But I stand by my assertion that I didn’t hear much about Christianity in connection with the Cold War growing up. Maybe had I grew up in the 50s, it would have been a different story. During the 1960s, religion took a back seat. It wasn’t until the 80s that there was much emphasis on Christianity.



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03 May 2020, 3:28 pm

^ How big a role would you ascribe to the advent of televangelism in that?