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American Civil Religion and Politics My major area of study is Political Science and even if you havent majored in political studies you know that there are few things left untouched by politics Religion of course is no exception Issues concerning religion are some of the most hotly contested topics in politics today Consider as an example the seemingly never-ending conflict in the Middle East over rights to Israel It can be argued that this conflict has as much to do with politics as it does with religious beliefs However I think the way in which politics most closely relates to the study of world religions is in its creation of so- called civil religion American civil religion is a religion borne entirely from politics It got its start at a point in American history when phenomena called the Great Awakening swept across the nation The Great Awakening began as a spiritual revival in the American colonies As a result of the Great Awakening individual churches were divided among revivalists and skeptics This caused the idea of civil religion to come into existence Americans who used to be unified by churches were now looking to government and politics for unification An actual definition for civil religion is the worship of a form of government and the political principles associated with it Civil religion has much in common with the traditional world religions such as a set of highly held beliefs and ideals In the United States this includes the worship of democracy and republican government rooted in principles such as liberty equality equal rights union limited government and due process of law The latest stream of faith includes multicultural diversity and communitarianism the It takes a village to raise a child mentality American civil religion has a set of sacred texts all its own as well These would include
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