“One nation under God” only became part of the Pledge of Allegiance fifty years ago, but it’s a sentiment that has marked the United States since its earliest days. Recognizing the dual potential of religion as a force for good and for division, the founding fathers assigned church and state to separate Constitutional corners.
Many people applaud that separation, saying it has allowed religion to flourish. Polls show this country is one of the most religious in the world. And yet while it is home to many different faiths, Christianity remains the dominant creed and a growing political force. The strong showing by evangelicals in the 2004 election has some worrying about a return to the culture wars, while others say religion is finally claiming its rightful place in the public square.
Kim Colby, senior legal counsel for the Center for Law and Religious Freedom at the Christian Legal Society
Alan Wolfe, Director of the Boisi Center on Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.