Britney Harrison

American Civil Religion is a social construct that perpetuates the belief in the transcendence of American culture as a cohesive multicultural system in which the civil religious practices of the American mainstream are assumed to be the sum of all experiences and traditions that exist within the American identity. This paper proposes that American civil religion functions as a method of assimilation and culture building into the religious beliefs of a political mainstream that contributes to the disappearance of minority faiths and culture by perpetuating a cultural language of dominance. The analysis will draw on the insight of Robert Bellah, who originated the concept in the context of the American experience and conclude that civil religion is not cohesive. Cases of civil religious practice in the civil space, such as inauguration, will be used to assert that the functions of American civil religion are dismissive of minority cultures and practices that exist within American society by attempting to comb over the problems of pluralism and democracy with a mythological model of unity that is used to justify centuries of wars and oppression both within and outside of America. This paper is an attempt at understanding the problematic nature of defining the American identity by viewing the diversity of religious values and experiences that have had a hand in creating the states of America.