Religiosity in the U.S.

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Thu Jun 11 22:07:24 PDT 1998

Michael Hoover wrote:
>similarly, something is being lost (nay, ignored) in the recent religious
>threads: the pervasiveness of religiosity - right, left, mainstream -
>in the United States...consider the consistent use the state makes of
>religion - talk of a principled separation of church and state to the
>contrary notwithstanding: from prayers with which Congress and other
>legislatures customarily open their sessions to the work of chaplains
>the military and from invocations of the deity and *his* divine
>providence in the speeches of politicians to the requirement by
>congressional statute that the phrase "In God We Trust" decorate our
>money..."civil" religion as practiced in the US has extended into
>virtually every symbol, ritual, and festival by which the nation
>proclaims its propriety: holidays, sporting contests, corporate ads...
>this nation's myth, with its distinctive understanding of itself as a
>people coming out of history with an identity and purpose different from
>that of any other nation, is cast in specifically biblical terms...

This pervasiveness of pious expressions--including coyness and timidity of atheists in the face of the pious--must be a result of the lack of class consciousness + class politics. One of the unstated requirements for participation in public political discourse in the USA seems to me to be an ability to swallow an unlimited amount of pious hypocrisy, and this high tolerance for hypocrisy--that is, theory-practice inconsistency--looks like a measure of depoliticization of workers. At the same time, God-reinforced nationalism and American exceptionalism are major--perhaps the most important--obstacles for the developement of class consciousness + class politics. There's a vicious circle here!


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