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Since America was formed by people with such diverse religious backgrounds, our founding fathers didn"t want America to support just one religion like other countries.
Religion was the dominant factor in migrating, because many people were fleeing from religious persecution.
They were not allowed to believe what they wanted to in their home countries. If they did not accept this religion they were banished, dismembered, or even put to death.
This brief reflection will explore and critique the notion of civil religion as it is debated within the United States.
I will then turn in a subsequent post to South Africa, where the notion of civil religion is not formally known.
The Puritans built the oldest corporation in America, Harvard College, to train young boys in the ministry. A main difference between African and Christian religions, however, is that Africans did not find it necessary to convert all other cultures to their religion. Thus, there was little opportunity for the slave to express his creativity in graphic and plastic art for the church as he had done in Africa where religion and art were inseparable. During the later part of the second chapter, Turner highlights how the changing face of global Islam in the twentieth century influenced Islam in America. Another influence on American Islam by Webb is the manner by which he changed his name and style of dress after he converted to Islam. For example, native African and American religions have similar concepts of animism and the High God. The native religions from America and Africa are similar but also have several differences.
Animism is a common concept among native African and American religions. The High God is less important than other spirits in African and American religions. But, I will argue, something analogous to a civil religion exists there, which might be explored for its merits and could serve as a counterpoint to the US experience.American Civil Religion American civil religion, as Bellah pointed out, was framed by the crucible of three definitive trials in US history: the War of Independence, slavery, and responsible action in a global atmosphere that fostered revolution, namely, the Cold War.Colonists came to America for many reasons in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.Some of these motivations were wealth, land, and religion.The majority of the immigrants coming to America were from many different religions in search of their religious freedom.The American Revolution had strong ties to religion.They were seeking religious freedom and they saw this new land as their sanctuary.They "came as religious pilgrims and dissenters, seeking an unmolested refuge and an opportunity to worship God in their own particular way." (Andrews 3) The settler's faith in their God helped many of them survive the overwhelming problems of famine, disease, and native attacks they faced.But in the light of horrendous soccer hooliganism, soccer might not qualify as a civil religion.The Indians have cricket, but when it comes to encounters with its former colonial suzerain England, or with its trying neighbor Pakistan, it does not turn out to be such a civil occasion.