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Gods in AmericaReligious Pluralism in the United States$
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Charles L. Cohen and Ronald L. Numbers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199931903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931903.001.0001

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From Consensus to Struggle: Pluralism and the Body Politic in Contemporary America

From Consensus to Struggle: Pluralism and the Body Politic in Contemporary America

(p.297) Chapter 13 From Consensus to Struggle: Pluralism and the Body Politic in Contemporary America
Gods in America

Charles H. Lippy

Oxford University Press

Since the mid-twentieth century, the relationship between religion and the body politic in the United States as crafted by both religious and political leaders has moved through four stages. Following the Second World War, the dominant discourse emphasized unity while affirming a selective religious diversity. By the 1960s, the main theme had become a reluctant acknowledgment of disunity when it came to Americans’ common life, but a disunity that prevailed amid expanding religious diversity. The weakness of this formulation generated a third motif, prominent by the mid-1970s, promoting a contrived unity that masked increasing religious diversity. The new millennium witnessed a fourth pattern, a struggle to find and affirm a common ground when an ever-expanding pluralism had stripped a shared religious base from the collective life and experience of the American people. The question today is whether constructing a mutually meaningful symbolic cluster of is even possible.

Keywords:   Judeo-Christian tradition, religion and national identity, axis mundi, Immigration Act of 1965, Asian religions in the United States, religion and politics

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