SINCLAIR LEWIS, that old village atheist, ironically professed to see American skyscrapers as cathedrals; the commercial towers of Babbitt's home town "aspired above the morning mists." In the booming cities of the '50s, it is not only skyscrapers that are rising from the ground. The U.S. is witnessing the greatest church-building boom in its history.

All faiths, all denominations, all areas of the country are caught up in the construction rush. In the last decade, churches have spent $3 billion on new building, as compared to the $1.3 billion spent in the previous...

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