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Private Faith, Big Government: Understanding the Impact of Marginalizing Religion

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Publication Date: April 2008

Publisher(s): Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Ryan Messmore

Series: Backgrounder

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Religion; fast track; uribe; protectionism

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In the 20th century, America witnessed a significant transition toward a privatized understanding of religion. Social and political pressures have prompted many to view religion as inappropriate in public or political arenas. Meanwhile, trends within many churches have contributed to narrowing the focus of faith. As a result, where people once considered religion as relevant to many aspects of life and society, prevailing notions now often constrict it to spiritual beliefs and psychological health. This marginalized, inward-looking faith has the potential to weaken the perceived responsibility and social relevance of local churches.