Religious Liberty and Religious Minorities in the United States

Elizabeth A. Sewell

in The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195326246
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Religious Liberty and Religious Minorities in the United States

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The United States has always been one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world. To date, it has various religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Native American religions, and many others, compared to the Episcopalian, Puritan, and Protestant religions that proliferated during its founding. While America is presumed to be dominated by Protestants, its religious liberty has allowed religious pluralism, whereby every denomination is a minority in the religiously diverse scenario of the country. This article highlights the role played by the religious minorities in the establishment of religious freedom and liberty in the United States. It examines the role of religious traditions individually in contrast to a more traditional historical narrative. The focus is on the role of religious groups in creating religious law as shaped by the U.S. Supreme Court cases. By tracking the contributions of various religious groups individually, a different angle is provided on the role that minority religions have played in establishing religious freedom in the U.S., and the importance of the minority religious players in creating the U.S. system.

Keywords: United States; religion pluralism; religious liberty; religious minorities; religious freedom; religious traditions; religious groups; religion law

Article.  12047 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Comparative Politics

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