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Civil religion

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A civil religion is a term popularized among religious studies scholars in the 1980s to address aspects of nationalism that seem almost religious in their expression.[1] Typically, scholars talk about the way a nation looks to her monuments as "sacred spaces, her foundational documents as sacred texts, and the general reverence about which people speak of the nation as form of religious structuring.

In the United States, American Civil Religion (ACR) has generated forests of academic writing, the least of which being the question "Does such a thing even exist?" Scholars such as RN Bellah, Martin Marty, and Charles H. Long not only argue about the nature of American civil religion, but to what extent Christianity must be considered part of that discussion, as the Christian mindset, both now and in our past, informs much of what we do on a daily basis, from having Sundays as our weekend "holy day" to the existence of blue laws.

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  1. The term itself first appears in the 1700s in the writings of Rousseau.