One Nation Under Gods

Not without conflict, an unprecedented variety of faiths blooms across the land

When J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur praised the "strange religious medley" he observed in late 18th century America, he could hardly have imagined the full orchestral symphony of faiths that resounds in the U.S. two centuries later. The world has never seen a nation as religiously diverse as the U.S., which becomes ever more so each year under the impact of new immigrants. In addition to the various mainstream Judeo-Christian faiths that populated the original colonies, America now encompasses 700 to 800 "nonconventional" denominations, according to J. Gordon Melton, who monitors the proliferation for his Encyclopedia of American Religions. Half of...

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