This essay will seek to explain some elements of American religious history in order to make them intelligible to Europeans. The task is awesome because the existing scholarship is extensive, including various topics on divergent interpretations which I am not competent to evaluate. I can hope only to provide clarification on a few points and begin with the pre-revolutionary period.



At the time of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1781, the United States was composed of thirteen English colonies along the Atlantic Ocean, the oldest of which (Virginia) had been settled in 1607. The population totalled 2.7 million, composed mostly of English-speaking freemen from England, Scotland, and Ireland, but including 400,000 African slaves. There were small non-English minorities, mostly Dutch, Germans and Swedes, but only in New York were any of them influential. Almost all Americans who professed a religion were Protestants. The largest groups were Congregationalists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Lutherans. In addition there were a few Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, and Catholics. Catholics totalled about 25,000, mostly in two colonies--Maryland and Pennsylvania.1 Nine of the thirteen colonies had established churches, and a majority of the colonies had laws restricting religious groups, most commonly banning Catholics and non-Christians. In the northern colonies the Congregational Church (Puritan) was established, and in several of the southern colonies the Anglican Church was established. Only two or three of the colonies had proclaimed religious freedom, though in reality such matters were impossible to enforce, and church establishment consisted mainly of church taxes and a few privileges for the clergy.

Religious Thought

The northern colonies were founded by dissenters from the established church (Anglican) in England, most of whom were Puritans or other Calvinists. Analysts of American culture agree that the Puritan outlook was a principal root of American culture.2 The southern colonies were dominated by the Anglican church, but historically that influence were not as strong as that of the Calvinists in the northern and middle colonies.

The Puritans oriented themselves to the Bible and strongly emphasized literacy and Bible study for all Christians. They were dissenters from the traditional Anglican Church in England in that they believed Christians need no ecclesiastical intermediary between themselves and the Word of God, since when they gathered to discern the will of God the Holy Spirit would give them truth. Their doctrine was based on Matthew 18:20: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

The Puritans preached that they were the New Israel, in a new covenant with God. Just as Abraham had accepted the promise of God's blessing for himself and his heirs if he pledged to do God's work in the wilderness (Genesis 12:3), so the New Israel community members pledged themselves to God and each other to create a new society. They felt secure that God would favor their endeavors. For many Puritans the idea of setting up a Holy Commonwealth in North America as "a light to the world" and a "city set on a hill" (Matthew 5:14) was a holy calling, for they were alienated from the feudalism and corruption of Europe and wanted to start anew.

The covenant theology defined the source of social authority--the covenant of believers. Government and church leaders were elected and monitored by the community, and the citizens had no obligation to obey any leader who violated the prevailing conceptions of community, including traditional "rights of Englishmen" experienced in England. Both churches and towns were set up and governed democratically, based on covenants or charters. God was a partner or a guarantor of the contracts, and all were explicitly written with God's will as orientation. There was no place for nobility, a privileged clergy or dynasty; no class of warriors or knights; no noble titles, no religious orders, no large landowning families. At the lower end, there were no serfs or landless peasants; the farmers were free landowners. However, there were black slaves in all the colonies.

The ecclesiology of the Puritans came directly from Calvinism: no apostolic succession, no claims to church authority in itself, no hierarchy, no allegiance to any European churches. Earlier pre-Reformation doctrines of the church were redefined, so that ordination was done on authority of the gathered community of believers; it was for a limited time without claims to ontological differences. Sacraments were redefined and de-emphasized. Church lands were very few and small by European standards. The churches were governed by local authority; their property was owned and governed by a local board of trustees. Any power of regional church

bodies such as synods or dioceses was limited to whatever was voluntarily granted by local churches.

Governmental institutions in the colonies were English; the colonies were ruled by governors appointed by the English king. The northern colonies developed bourgeois democratic governmental institutions, but in the southern colonies a class of large landowners developed, predominantly in Virginia, who developed the beginnings of a landowning nobility. They developed fairly large plantations, worked by slaves, though by European standards they were small landowners. The estates were very small, and there were no large country houses, palaces or castles as were built by the barons, Junkers and boyars in England or Eastern Europe. Pressures toward development of a full-fledged nobility in the South were successfully resisted.

The subsequent history of church and state in the United States can be understood only from this pre-Revolutionary basis. The whole mentality was post-Reformation, bourgeois, anti-feudal and capitalistic. The ideals were imperfectly realized, however, as evidenced by the widespread adoption of slavery and participation in the slave trade, by the cruel suppression of the native American Indians, and by intolerance of anything non-Protestant or non-democratic. The pre-Revolutionary Americans hated the ancien regime and everything associated with it, including Catholicism. Above all they hated and feared Spain, which had fought England and the Lowlands for centuries, and which was now colonizing Latin America.

The Constitution and the First Amendment

After the Revolutionary War ended in 1781, the colonies attempted self-government in a confederation which proved unsuccessful and led to a constitutional convention in 1787. A new constitution was adopted and put into effect in 1789.

At this time most colonies had established churches or laws restricting religious groups, but seldom could the laws be enforced. Due to long distances, poor communications, and immigration from many European nations, there was almost no religious persecution. Also the majority of Americans at the time were not church members. Many were free thinkers, some were Deists, and some were church participants without becoming members. Large numbers were uninterested in religious matters.

The intellectual leaders of the revolution were mostly Deists. This reaction against the earlier rigid Calvinism was a product of the Enlightenment, glorifying reason, nature and science, and rejecting the divinity of Jesus, miracles, revelation and church authority. It emphasized individual freedom and natural law. The first four presidents (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison) were all Deists, as was the famous Benjamin Franklin. They wrote the American Constitution based on post-Puritan, Enlightenment thought. All of them favored freedom of conscience and religion, and separation of church and state.

Throughout the 1770s there was vigorous debate on these issues, with the Puritan and Anglican leaders trying to hold on to their established churches and the more democratic religious groups opposing them. Even the Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore opposed any establishment. Slowly the state legislatures removed the religious establishments, and by 1833 all were gone.

In efforts to get the new constitution ratified, it was agreed that delegates would draft a Bill of Rights, which would become a series of amendments for immediate adoption. This was quickly done, and became an integral part of the Constitution. It contained ten amendments which guaranteed freedom of speech, petition, press, assembly, and so on. The first amendment contained a clause on religion: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This clause has been the basis of all subsequent debate and litigation about church-and-state matters in United States history. It has called on Americans to live out higher ideals than those to which they were accustomed.


Upholding Religious Freedom in the Courts

The writers of the Constitution were well aware of church-state issues in European history and tried to institute good guidelines for the new nation. They were afraid of tyranny and wanted above all to prevent a great concentration of power in any person or institution. They believed that alliances between a powerful church and an absolute state would corrupt both institutions. Thus they were careful to avoid any form of established church--including the existence of any religious tests for public office, any financial support for a particular denomination, or any form of favoritism to any group.

Some of the Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, also opposed an established religion because, as they saw it, this would pervert the true meaning of religion. These persons believed that true religion consisted of benevolent conduct toward one's fellow human beings. They denounced the superstition of the dogmas that priests and clergy had developed over the centuries, and they contrasted ancient dogma to the simplicity and beauty of religion's moral content.2 John Adams wrote that all that was important in Christianity and the other religions could be found in the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments. In short, these leaders were suspicious of hierarchical churches and their pretenses to worldly power; they labored hard to keep them out of the new nation.

Also the Founding Fathers were aware of the political power of strongly-held religious faith, and they did not want to pit the new government against any future fanatical religious groups. History seemed to show that any attempts to impose a uniform faith by government action would inevitably unleash passion and violence by rival faiths. Regulating religion is futile. Jefferson argued that no established church can be strong and vital for a long period, since it will become too closely associated with political powerholders and will lose its freedom. So the Bill of Rights was written both to avoid any established church and also to allow all forms of religious life maximal freedom of expression.

The court system gradually interpreted the First Amendment in terms of concrete issues. The Supreme Court has handled hundreds of cases regarding religion.3 The first important cases revolved around the postal system, specifically whether it should deliver mail on Sundays. At first the Supreme Court said yes, since otherwise the government would be granting official recognition to the Christian Sabbath, and non-Christians would be forced to respect a holiday they don't recognize in their hearts. But later the Court reversed itself under public pressure and stopped Sunday deliveries.

There have been many crucial court cases regarding religion in the years since 1940, in what amounts to a basic reappraisal of church-state policy. The effect was to raise the wall of separation between church and state higher than before. Numerous court cases pertained to public school practices, and the Court tried to make the schools more truly neutral regarding religious practices. It stated that no public school buildings can be used for religious instruction, though "released-time" programs were allowable in which students left the school grounds for an hour or two each week to go elsewhere for religious instruction. It disallowed public prayer and Bible reading in the schools. It forbade Christmas programs seen as excluding non-Christians. On the other hand, the Court allowed some public funds to support private religious schools insofar as they were providing a general educational service; specifically, they could be used for buying general textbooks and providing school buses for religious schools.

Court decisions have striven to protect religious freedom of all sects and denominations. For example, preachers of all faiths were assured equal permission to speak in public parks. American Indians using peyote (an illegal mind-altering drug) in rituals were protected from prosecution under the drug laws. Children of Jehovah's Witnesses families were given permission not to participate in the pledge of allegiance to the flag in school. Local governments were prohibited from putting Christian Christmas decorations such as Bethlehem manger scenes on public property.

Other areas have also been articulated. No religious property is subject to property taxes and sales taxes--unless it is a profitable business establishment owned by a church. Young men who are members of pacifist religious groups are exempted from the military draft and offered alternative service instead. The churches were given the power to celebrate weddings. In the last half-century the growth in non-traditional religious groups (Buddhists, new Christian sects, etc.) has occasioned much judicial review of traditional American practices, with increased care given to protection of all minority religions.

Religious Organizations Influencing Political Action

All American religious groups work actively to influence political decisions in ways serving their interests or reforming the society. Thousands of efforts by churches to influence politics could be identified and analyzed; it has been a constant theme in American history. There were movements for penal reform, establishment of public schools, public health, and many, many others. Here I will recount only two, which give the overall flavor.

The first is the anti-slavery movement. At the time of the revolution there was already a widespread idealistic movement to abolish slavery, and all the northern states abolished it by 1804. The Constitution prohibited importation of slaves after 1808. (Meanwhile slavery was prohibited throughout the British Empire in 1833.)

The movement to abolish slavery gained strength in the 1820s, mostly led by churchmen, especially Quakers, Methodists and Baptists. The centers of the abolition movement were the Boston area and Ohio--the latter energized by waves of religious revivalism.4 The major Protestant denominations were soon divided on the issue of slavery, and they split into northern and southern denominations totally independent of each other. For example, the Baptist and the Methodists both split in 1845. The northern branches condemned slavery, while the southern branches defended it. In the 1850s the abolitionist movement continued, mostly supported by northern church leaders, but no influence was possible on the southern states. Only when the North was losing the Civil War was the total emancipation of all slaves decreed by President Lincoln in 1863.

The second is the temperance movement. It arose in evangelical churches after the revivalism and new religious fervor of the 1800-1820 period. Its strength was in the Midwest, and it spread through networks of churches and preachers. By 1834 the temperance organizations had 1,000,000 members. The movement was strongest in New England and the Midwest; it had little support in the South, partly because many of its leading figures were also opposed to slavery. The leaders of the movement were against drunkenness, not against all use of alcohol, and they linked drunkenness to immorality and sin of all kinds. Many local communities voted prohibition of alcoholic beverages within their borders.

The National Women's Christian Temperance Union was formed in 1874, and later in 1895 the Anti-Saloon League was formed. Both were supported by evangelical church members, and both became strong political action organizations. They advocated a constitutional amendment banning the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquor anywhere in the United States. In 1917 the Eighteenth Amendment, which did exactly this, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification, which was soon accomplished. It went into effect on January 16, 1920 and represented one of the most interesting chapters in religion and politics in American history. Americans had practical reasons, not just religious reasons, for banning liquor, since it was seen as dangerous to workers in the new factories, and clearly it led to brawling among Blacks and immigrants.

The amendment was a dismal failure. Liquor consumption did decrease in the years after 1920, but inevitably there was a market for illegal liquor which spawned an immense industry of smuggling and secret manufacture. Crimes resulting from these activities became so notorious that the sentiment of the country gradually turned against the amendment. Slowly the opinions even of leading church leaders wavered, and by 1932 both candidates for president supported a repeal of prohibition, which took place in 1933. A great religious experiment was over, and Americans became more realistic about what kinds of social reforms are really possible. Clearly prohibition had not been supported by enough Americans to dry up the demand for alcohol--hence it was simply non-enforceable. The nation was too diverse religiously and ethnically, too urban, and too distant from its Puritan roots.

Today religious political action is as strong as ever. Among liberal Protestants the main efforts are toward civil liberties in the nation and the world, restraint of American military intervention in Central America, restraint of the arms race, increased efforts to protect the environment, and efforts to alleviate the evils of poverty and racism. Among conservative Protestants the main goals are allowing public prayer in the schools, opposition to abortion, opposition to homosexuality, restraint of pornography, and restrictions on alcohol use. Among the Catholics the main issue is opposition to abortion, with smaller Catholic movements devoted to restraint of American foreign involvement (especially at it opposes Latin American liberation movements), greater support for private religious schools, and ending the arms race. The Jewish community is concerned mainly with support for the nation of Israel and for protection of civil liberties in the U.S.

A researcher in 1981 counted 75 specialized religious organizations which had offices in Washington, DC. Some represent specific denominations, but most often they are broad-based movements with single-issue goals. Some had national staffs as high as thirty persons.5 But given the pressures in American politics, the religious political lobbies are tiny in comparison with others. For example, today the General Electric Corporation, a major manufacturer of military hardware, medical technology, and nuclear power plants, maintains an office in Washington, DC with a staff of 120.6 American politics today is dominated by the influence of the large corporations, by contrast to which the religious groups are minor actors. The direct influence of religious groups on specific political decisions is usually small, hardly enough to measure. It is greatest when issues relate to family, personal morality, and public honesty, and when members of many of the 340,000 parishes in the United States can be mobilized in support of specific issues at local and national levels. The vast majority of American churches refuse to endorse any political parties or candidates, but they do take public stands and try to educate their members on public moral issues.

Two other interesting aspects of American religion and politics should be noted. The first is that, by European standards, the United States has been free of anticlericalism. This is probably understandable by the lack of clerical power and privilege ever since the disestablishment of churches in various states in the post-revolution period. No religious groups or orders had rich landholdings, palatial buildings or estates. The second interesting fact is that no religious political parties have ever developed. Probably this is the result of the uniquely American electoral rules. In the United States there is direct election of a president and of senators and representatives from states and districts. Only one person can win the presidency or be elected from a given state or district, creating a series of "winner-take-all" elections in which a vote for a third candidate of the right or left is in effect support for the voter's least-favored candidate on the other side of the political spectrum. Because a vote for a third candidate is a vote for "your worst enemy," the most sensible strategy for those who want to avoid this fate is to form the largest possible pre-election coalition. The result is the uniquely American tendency to form only two political parties without clearly defined ideologies and agendas.7 (This probably explains also the absence of strong socialist parties in American history.)



Religious fervor today is strong in the United States, contrary to the expectations of many social theorists who predicted a gradual secularization and weakening of religion. Unlike the history of most of Europe, in the U.S. Christian faith and institutions have survived well, and show no signs of disappearing. In 1987, 59 percent of the American population were members of religious groups, a figure which has been constant for several decades.8 On an average Sunday in 1987, 40 percent of American adults attended religious services (38 percent of Protestants, 52 percent of Catholics).9 These figures are high by any international comparison. In 1981-85, the European Value Systems Study Group surveyed over 20 nations, and asked respondents if they had attended religious services in the previous week. For the U.S. the figure was 43 percent; for Great Britain, 14 percent, for Canada, 30 percent; for West Germany, 21 percent; for France, 12 percent; for Sweden, 5 percent; for Hungary 5 percent. But some nations were higher: For Mexico the figure was 54 percent; for Republic of Ireland, 72 percent.10 In international surveys done in 1974, just under 70 percent of Americans surveyed said they believed in life after death--a proportion of believers greater than that in Europe, Latin America, and the English-speaking world, and equal to that in the Far East and sub-Saharan Africa. As for the concept of an active God, more than two-thirds of the Americans polled endorsed such a belief, making the United States closer to the Third World than to societies that it resembles economically.11 Similar to Poland, the U.S. is very religious.

Why is the U.S. higher in religious belief and fervor than other economically-similar nations? This question is debated. Probably the separation of church and state and the voluntary nature of the churches are important, since they prevent the institutionalized churches from forging any close alliances with political parties or privileged social groups, and since they require all churches to evangelize to attract their members and financial contributions. Possibly the ethnic and religious diversity of the U.S. is a factor, since ethnic groups often adhere to religious faiths and churches as part of their community life. Possibly our distance from twentieth-century European ideological crises and political crises is a factor. There is little Marxism in the U.S., and no great debate about socialism. These various factors are probably important, as far as we can guess.

In the middle 1980s the religious composition of the United States (measured by polls on "religious preference") is approximately 57 percent Protestant, 28 percent Catholic, 2 percent Jewish, 4 percent other, and 9 percent "none." The largest Protestant groups are the Baptists and the Methodists. The levels of inter-group religious prejudice have clearly fallen since the 1940s and 1950s, when they were first measured. Anti-Catholicism has almost totally disappeared, and anti-semitism has been gradually declining for 40 years. The strongest religious prejudices lately have concerned new religious movements such as Hindu sects, the "Jesus people" sects, and the Unification Church.

The Protestant Community

Since the 1950s the Protestant denominations (over 200 in all) have gradually arranged themselves in two loose factions, often called the mainline Protestants and the evangelical Protestants. The issues dividing them are numerous and deep.12 The mainliners generally believe in Biblical criticism and the value of secular scholarship, while the evangelicals teach the literal truth of the Bible and its eternal truth. The mainliners are liberal on most political issues, stressing personal freedoms, civil liberties, and humanitarian good works, while the evangelicals are intent on reforming personal morals (including opposition to abortion and homosexuality) and promotion of world evangelism. The mainliners have a higher educational and income level, but a lower level of church commitment per member. As a rough estimate, the mainliners are numerically two thirds as strong as the evangelicals.

Beginning in the 1960s, the mainline denominations have experienced declines in membership, which are traceable to low birthrates and weak church commitment among young adults. Many children of liberal Protestants attend universities and become relativistic about religious teachings, thus weakening their church commitment.

The Catholic Community

Two events occurred in the 1960s which affected American Catholics profoundly. First, John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic elected president, and then became almost a martyr when assassinated. This experience of a Catholic president changed American political life so much that since then no one has objected to Catholic candidates for any high office. Second, Vatican Council II proclaimed new teachings joyously welcomed by American Catholics. The Council said that Catholics should affirm religious liberties in all nations, that Catholicism should not press to be privileged or established in any way, that Catholics should reach out to others in ecumenical goodwill, that quasi-democratic structures should be developed at the parish, diocesan, and national levels, and that modern Biblical scholarship should be affirmed. All of these were good news to American Catholics, for it helped them be both good Catholics and good Americans. Also during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, American Catholics rose to higher levels of income and influence in American institutions; in the 1970s the average income of Catholics rose to a level higher than that of Protestants.

Catholic life has seen many recent innovations, mostly coming from the genuine spiritual feelings of the faithful. New forms of spirituality grew, including Marriage Encounter, Cursillos, and the charismatic movement; the laity took a more active part in worship and decision-making. The shortage of priests has opened the door for much more participation by laity and by Sisters. American Catholics affirm this, although they are not happy with the priest shortage and resent any curtailment of priestly services.13

An important innovation in American Catholicism is the new immigration, which began in 1965 when the immigration laws were changed. Today immigration into the U.S. is at unprecedented levels. About three fourth of the immigrants are Spanish-speaking, and the majority of the others are Asians. About two thirds of all the new immigrants are nominally Catholic, though the strength of their Catholic identity varies from strong to weak, and today thousands are being attracted into Pentecostal and fundamentalist Protestant churches. Since immigration will certainly continue--and in fact is unstoppable, regardless of what the government permits--American Catholicism will grow and will gradually become more Hispanic. At present it is about 25 percent (a rough estimate). About 9 percent or 10 percent of American Catholics are Polish.

A topic much discussed in recent years is the tension between American Catholics and the Pope in Rome. This tension is not unique to America, but is similar to the disagreements between the Pope and Catholics in countries such as Netherlands and Belgium. In summary, it seems to result from two different visions of church government--monarchical or democratic. A series of surveys have shown that American Catholics favor more democratic decision-making in the church at all levels--parish, diocese, and the Vatican. For example, Americans would like laity in parishes to choose their priests.14 Also American Catholics favor more lay involvement in ethical decision-making in the Church, for example, on questions of birth control, marriage and divorce, sexual decision-making, and the role of women. Americans favor more collegial structures in the universal Catholic Church, less central authority from Rome. To illustrate, most American Catholics opposed the Pope's suggestion that the power of national bishops' conferences be reduced. America Catholics favor more self-determination by religious orders and communities, especially women's communities which are trying to renew themselves along Vatican II guidelines. To solve the priest shortage, American Catholics favor optional celibacy for diocesan priests. Feelings of frustration with the Vatican are slowly mounting.

Probably the most basic source of the tension is the American experience of democracy and self-determination in all social institutions. All American institutions (apart from private business corporations) involve broad participation in decision-making processes. All politicians need to stand for re-election periodically. It seems natural to Americans to have church leaders, like all other leaders in society, elected by the members. From this perspective one can understand the immense impact of the American bishops' two pastoral letters, one on nuclear weapons and the arms race in 1983, and the other on the American economy in l985. These two letters were a sensation to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The first one was a media event, largely because the American Catholic bishops heretofore had never spoken so convincingly on such a central moral question, and partly because Americans were at that time weary of the Cold War rhetoric of the Reagan administration. The bishops wrote their pastoral letter during a three-year period of hearings and consultation with Catholics and non-Catholics of all viewpoints. They issued a preliminary version for public discussion before making final revisions, in an attitude of openness and dialogue. The outcome was a measured letter on the evils of the arms race and the need for East-West negotiations.15 The process of writing the letter was as impressive as the outcome, and it raised the esteem of the bishops to an unprecedented level. The second letter was somewhat critical of the American economy and evoked criticism from some Catholic business leaders, but the majority of American Catholics appreciated it.


American churches are strong and will continue to be strong. There is some shift in relative power, with evangelicals and Catholics growing and mainline Protestants waning. There is talk of a "Catholic moment" coming soon in American life, in which Catholicism will have an unprecedented opportunity to influence American life; the idea is plausible.16

Future issues will probably be those which are in contention today--civil liberties, inclusion of minorities and environmental concerns. American religious groups will not speak with one voice. The diversity of American churches will produce ongoing debate and struggle as each denomination strives to interpret these world changes in its own theological view and as each tries to carry out its social mission.

The Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C.


1. For American church history see Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972). For American Catholic history see Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985) and James Hennesey, S.J. American Catholics: A History of the Roman Catholic Community in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).

2. Kenneth D. Wald, Religion and Politics in the United States (New York: St. Martins Press, 1987), p. 106. Also see Thomas Robbins and Roland Robertson (eds.), Church-State Relations: Tensions and Transitions (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987).

3. Standard treatments of church-state court cases are: Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (rev. ed.) (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967); Pfeffer, Religious Freedom (Skokie, Il: National Textbook Co., 1977); Frank J. Sorauf, The Wall of Separation: The Constitutional Politics of Church and State (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976).

4. John L. Hammond, The Politics of Benevolence: Revival Religion and American Voting Behavior (Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Co., 1979).

5. Paul J. Weber, "Examining the Religious Lobbies," This World, I (1982), 97-107; also see James L. Adams, The Growing Church Lobby in Washington (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970).

6. Wald, op. cit., p. 153.

7. See G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America Now? A View for the 80s (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), pp. 117ff.

8. Constant H. Jacquet, Jr. (ed.), Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, 1988 (New York: National Council of Churches, and Nashville: Abingdon Press), p. 253. This annual report is the standard source of American church statistics.

9. Emerging Trends (published by the Princeton Religious Research Center, a branch of the Gallup Organization), January, 1988, p. 1.

10. Emerging Trends, September, 1986, p. 5.

11. Wald, op. cit. p. 10.

12. Robert Wuthnow, The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith Since World War II (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988); Wade Clark Roof and William McKinney, American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987).

13. Dean R. Hoge, The Future of Catholic Leadership: Responses to the Priest Shortage (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1987).

14. Hoge, op. cit., p. 235.

15. Jim Castelli, The Bishops and the Bomb: Waging Peace in a Nuclear Age (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983).

16. Richard J. Neuhaus, The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World (New York: Harper and Row, 1987).