Article

Monitoring and Surveillance of Religious Groups in the United States

James T. Richardson and Thomas Robbins

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

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195326246
Published online January 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195326246.003.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Monitoring and Surveillance of Religious Groups in the United States

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This article evaluates the ways in which the U.S. Government, at various levels, monitors and engages in the surveillance of religious groups. It discusses the growing pervasiveness of the government into the religious life of American citizens. As religions increase the public space they occupy in the American society, government actors such political leaders and bureaucrats often assume they have the right and responsibility to inquire and know the activities of religious entities, specifically if these religious groups are involved in receiving public funds, or performing functions generally performed by the government. The article begins with the results of a major survey about public support for the surveillance of unpopular religious groups. It also discusses the monitoring and surveillance of religious groups within an international context. The article ends with some comments on the prevalence of surveillance and monitoring by governments in other countries and Western democracies.

Keywords: U.S. Government; surveillance; religious groups; religious life; government; monitoring

Article.  7996 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Comparative Politics

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