American Civil Religion

Countries and societies themselves can create a religion for its people. Civil religion is important because it shows that unity can be found amount the differentiated. According to Hammond, civil religion is “any set of beliefs and rituals, related to the past, present, and/or future of a people which are understood in some transcendental fashion.” Civil religion influences the people. Civil religion eclipses all ethnic and religious boundaries. In America, there are many civil ceremonies that mimic a religious quality such as the Fourth of July. There are also sacred places for Americans to make a “pilgrimages” to such as the Capitol building or war memorials. There are also sacred objects that many Americans “worship” such as the American flag. Many people have tried to ban burning a flag in political protest, showing that it is believed sacred because it should not be defiled. American civil religion also has its saints and myths. American saints would be Lincoln, Washington, or Theodore Roosevelt. American saints can also be anyone that society has looked up to such as Davy Crockett or MacArthur. There are stories of the American dream of land, social mobility and achievement. These stories influence people to carry themselves in a certain way and influence people to treat others in specific ways as well. American civil religion is a powerful force that drives the way people act. American civil religion is a nonofficial religion that effects the American people everyday and they may not even notice it.