Civil Religion in America - What Is It?
When talking about civil religion, two questions need to be asked; what is it, and
why does it exist?
Civil religion is a broad term but can be summed up as the religion of
nationalism, country or government.
It is taking man made nation or government, the
profane, and relating it to the divine, thus, in a sense, making it divine.
By making it
divine, two needs are met, first, it gives the power through a sense of divinity to the
leaders, and second, it gives a sense of protection and comfort to the people.
this relationship exist so easily and unobstructed because both parties feel they gain more
than they lose.
Society is in equilibrium, as Durkheimian states, “Culture (civil) religion
demonstrates that a society is held together by collective religious symbols, practices, and
forms of interaction” (Civil Religion, 87).
To better understand the term “civil religion,” one turns to the question of what
makes it a religion?
Because religion cannot easily and precisely be defined, there will
be different answers for different beliefs.
The definition, however; that I believe best
matches the idea of civil religion, from the nation-state’s standpoint, is that of Mircea