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Uniting AmericaRestoring the Vital Center to American Democracy$
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Norton Garfinkle and Daniel Yankelovich

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108569

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108569.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Religion as Unifier and Divider

Religion as Unifier and Divider

Chapter:
(p.93) Chapter 5 Religion as Unifier and Divider
Source:
Uniting America
Author(s):
Alan Wolfe
Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300108569.003.0006

Religion was once considered a unifying force and a source of national identity. In reality, religion polarizes people in such a way that unity appears to be an uncertain proposition even if God comes into the picture. This chapter examines the degree to which religion divides or unites Americans today. It considers the role played by religion in American politics and American life and argues that although religion has been a divisive force most of the time, the current social schisms over “moral values” may be less pronounced than previously thought. It first looks at the rise of generic traditionalism in the religious sphere, evangelism, and sin and secularization. It then discusses some of the issues involved in the culture war that have an explicitly religious basis, including abortion and faith-based initiatives.

Keywords:   religion, unity, politics, moral values, traditionalism, evangelism, sin, secularization, culture war

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