Religious Liberty

In God We Trust: Reconciling Religiosity in a Secular Nation

By Tess Saperstein ● Starting Points Journal ● 10/12/2017

Since its founding, the United States has been composed of a diversity of religions, making religious tolerance and the separation of church and state necessary for the maintenance of a peaceful coexistence. It is inscribed in the First Amendment of the Constitution that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Nonetheless, despite a clear institutional differentiation between religious and nonreligious spheres of society, the United States has remained, on the whole, a devout nation. In 2016, 89 percent of Americans reported that they believe in God and 72 percent said they believe in angels (“Most Americans Still Believe in God,” 2016). These facts create an apparent paradox: Americans, as a whole, fundamentally believe in a separation of church and state, yet religious imagery often pervades political discourse.

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