Religion and Social Movements in America

Ironically the klan used scriptures from the bible to

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of their own view of Civil Rights. Ironically, the Klan used scriptures from the Bible to advocate their own view just as King and King’s followers did. This contrasting use of religion to promote the reasoning behind their opinions is another example of the way in which America’s freedoms and toleration for religion has actually allowed for religion to have more influences in the shaping of American culture and social development despite efforts to remain secular. Religion is something that is able to be exercised by any and all who choose to, and it is for that very reason that religion has come to be involved in so many aspects of American politics. Religious language is used by many authorities as a basis for rhetoric and emphasis. Just as King and the Klan used religious sources to substantiate their causes, so do many other figureheads, especially those involved in the upper levels of the government, such as the President of the United States as a prime example. Whenever the President makes a speech to the public, especially during grim circumstances, religious references are made which are usually non-denominational and subtle enough that most people would not be bothered by the mention. In Bush’s speech the night of the 9/11 tragedy, he specifically quoted Psalm 23 form the Bible and asked for prayers from the American people, ending his address by saying “God bless America” ("Text of Bush's Address"). There are several other examples available in which Presidents before and after Bush have made similar speeches to the public. It is fairly standard for the speech to be closed with “God bless America” with the occasional allusions to religious sources throughout. It has become a part of the American political culture to do so, whether the
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nation has a religious affiliation or not. The authority and historical roots in which these religious allusions are based supersedes the authority of even the most esteemed members of American society. Even someone such as the President cannot deny the power of religion and the significance it holds within society and the secular government. Religion is something that is so engrained in American culture and history that it is evident in any major social change that occurs in America. It is used as a reference in the justification for either side of a controversial subject and while the judicial government authorities continue to maintain a certain level of secularism in the implementation of legal decisions, there are certain religious elements which cannot be replaced by secular ideas. This is also apparent in the use of religious language by the figure-heads for society by which they sway the public opinion. The very laws that were created with the purpose of protecting religion and keep it separate from the political scene were actually the reason religion became such a significant influence in societal reformations. It is because of the toleration of religion that it has been allowed to permeate the language and reasoning behind so many aspects of American social and political development. Historically, religion has always been an integral part of America, and that continues to this day in the modern debates on same sex marriages, continued controversy over abortion, and several more ongoing discussions. In the end, America actually stresses the need for an increase in secularism as a response to the strong presence which religion has in such controversial cases as those mentioned above. Citation "About Us." March for Life . March for Life. Web. March 28 2013. < ;. "Engel v. Vitale." . Web. 27 Mar 2013. < ;. “Roe v. Wade.” Web. 27 Mar 2013.
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< ;. "Text of Bush's Address." . CNN, 11 Sep 2001. Web. 1 Apr 2013. < ;.
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  • Spring '12
  • Lorish
  • Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court of the United States, Freedom of religion, Secularism, Separation of church and state, Engel v. Vitale

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