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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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Religion as Unifier and Divider

Religion as Unifier and Divider

(p.93) Chapter 5 Religion as Unifier and Divider
Uniting America
Alan Wolfe
Yale University Press

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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