Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity?

By Alan Wolfe; Ira Katznelson | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
Reflections on Religion, Democracy, and
the Politics of Good and Evil

IRA KATZNELSON

THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE contradicts once-widespread expectations that religion would decline and become ever more contained in the private sphere of conscience and association under modern conditions, where religion is a choice rather than an imperative.1 Over time, religious adherence has grown. Fewer than two in ten Americans formally belonged to a church in 1776, just over four in ten did by 1890, and nearly two in three do today.2 In aggregate and on average, the American people testify to more belief (with well over 90 percent persistently affirming a belief in God3) and possess more widespread attachment to organized religion than any other classic candidate for theses about modernity and secularization. Individual religious experiences, church belonging and attendance, and the extent of belief exhibit great vitality.

Religious life in the United States seems more varied and more vital than at any time since World War II. American Protestantism, especially, has been marked by a host of revitalization movements, including Pentecostalism, charismatic movements, and megachurches, whose gains have surpassed losses by long-established Protestant denominations. Even in these mainline forms, as H. Richard Niebuhr put the point a half-century ago, Protestantism has been characterized by “re-evangelization, and by the evangelization of the Nation. The tendency to equate the gospel with the democratic social faith has been balanced by the effort to Christianize the democratic mind.”4 New post-1965 immigrant streams, moreover, have vastly extended the scope of religious belief and activity, well beyond the Protestant-Catholic-Jew triad identified in Will Herberg’s 1983 “essay in American religious sociology.” In Los Angeles, where Muslims outnumber Episcopalians, there are more than 600 identifiable faiths. There, and elsewhere, newcomers have refreshed and renewed long-established churches with declining attendance, notably in urban Catholic parishes.5

This vibrant plurality has not been restricted to civil society. Religious organizations and convictions of many types6 have come to play an increasingly vigorous and visible role in political life in the past quarter-century.7 American politics is charged with tight, if complex and contingent, links

-411-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity?
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 444

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.