This chapter examines whether American exceptionalism can be explained by principles consistent with the secularisation paradigm of the decline of religion in the modern world. It first assesses the patterns of church adherence in the United States and changes in the nature of U.S. religion, along with Protestant fundamentalism and the role played by religion in politics. It then presents evidence that Christianity in the United States has been losing power, prestige, and popularity and that it has become increasingly secular. It also considers the major trend of religion becoming marginal to the operation of the social system in the face of the Christian Right's influence on public life. Finally, it discusses differences in religiosity between Europe and the United States and argues that those differences can largely be explained in ways that are consistent with the secularisation paradigm.
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