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Religion and Politics in America advances five theories for placing in a meaningful context the sometimes bewildering complexity of relations among religion politics and culture in American society The culture wars thesis illuminates the contours of religion and politics today by emphasizing Americans deep social divisions over values and lifestyles Conservatives stress the importance of traditional values religion marriage and family discipline heterosexual behavior and opposition to abortion and gay sexuality Liberals stress the value of choice and diversity in every area of life including religion family and sexual lifestyles Both groups oppose abortion support public expressions of faith criticize secular public schools and decry the effects of the sexual revolution A cultural alliance has formed between conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists some Catholics and a few ultra-orthodox Jews Fowler 1999 This ecumenism of orthodoxy is pitted against liberal Protestants from the old-line denominations--Methodists Lutherans Presbyterians Episcopalians Congregationalists and members of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ Craig 1992 Together the old-line liberal Protestants make up about 33 percent of the American churchgoing population When liberal Catholics and most Jews join them on social issues this coalition makes up a formidable 45 percent of religionists in America Mutual stereotyping polarization and inflamed passions have created hostile camps and opponents often have become enemies In the secularization thesis religion is declining worldwide and secularism is advancing As modernity spreads secularism spreads in its wake Wald 2003 The high degree of religious involvement with politics in the United States is said to be the dying gasp of religious forces that are using politics in an effort to postpone their demise Karl Marx was sure that class struggle and the triumph of communism would become the tale of modern life while religion would soon be a mercifully finished chapter Adams 2000 Max Weber believed that in modernitys wake the mighty forces of rationalism and bureaucratization would defeat religion if not entirely eliminate the religious Sigmund
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