The United States of America: once a small colony, now one of the world’s most powerful nations; a nation that has been fraught with wars, protests and continuous conflicts between religion and state. This essay will investigate the relationship between the religion and state, discuss the states declaration’s about this relationship and the practice of these declarations. Americans, after the September 11 attacks, have marginalised the Muslim community, which is largely due to their Christian origins and misinterpretations of Islam.
Christianity has been in America since the Colonial Era (1600’s - 1700’s), and for over three centuries has dominated and deeply engrained itself into American Society . Islam, however, has only been
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While only 0.5% identified themselves as Muslims, which equates to an estimated 1,100,000 people . This survey shows that Christians make up the majority of the population, and therefore, have undistinguished control over the Government through the voting system. The Government is then seen as a nation-state, as Christianity does not control the government but does hold a significant influence within it. This means that for the Government to effectively control the country, the vote of the Christian population is crucial. In contrast, Muslims represent the minority and therefore, are seen as the ‘less important’ vote. This then sparks conflict with the Government concerning Religious freedom.
“Conflicts continually arise between individuals and the Government over religious freedom”. This has caused groups such as ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ and ‘The American Civil Liberties Union’ to join and create a ‘Coalition for the free exercise of Religion.’ This resulted in the passing of the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ (RFRA) by the US Congress in 1993. One of the clauses of the act (3a - 3b) stated that, “the Government shall not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion… [Unless] it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person.” This basically means that the Government cannot limit the exercise of religion, unless they have an interest to do so; though