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And for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives our fortunes and our sacred honor With these words penned by the eminent political scientist Thomas Jefferson the struggling colonies known as the United States proclaimed their independence from Great Britain and began an adventure that would develop this small nation into a world superpower With this firm reliance her people embraced the unknown future and set out to advance their country politically economically and socially Now over two centuries later many would argue that this Divine Providence has been almost completely eradicated from society Yet despite these many claims the fact remains that religion has played a vital role in American public life and despite the demoralization of the United States that so many individuals cry out against religion continues to be a basic cornerstone of American societal life Over and over again both the history and the literature of the United States of America have taught her people and the world that religion has and always will have an incalculable effect upon the society of the United States Historically many see the United States as a Christian nation founded on Christian principles by Christian men with Christian motives Therefore they will argue that this heritage should be continued in the US today by allowing prayer in public schools outlawing abortion or giving religious organizations special privileges However a closer examination of American history reveals that although the United States was founded with many religious guidelines America is not a specifically Christian nation This having been said it is important to recognize how religion has historically affected American society A chief example of religions impact is found in the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 1962 in the case of Engel vs Vitale in which organized prayer in the public school system was declared unconstitutional Steven Engel a Jewish
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