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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 24 August 2021 and 15 October 2021. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Thomas Lazuli Quickdagger. Peer reviewers: Gemjk19, Kalebbscott.

Above undated message substituted from Template:Dashboard.wikiedu.org assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 23:39, 16 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Creation of article[edit]

I created the initial page as imports from loc.gov and census.gov sites. All public domain. Please feel free to edit it for accuracy, grammar, format and general copyed. Davodd 10:31, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC)

While I hesitate to make the direct claim that this article fails as NPOV, the parts about the Founding Fathers look like they come close. I feel like this article is just barely dodging NPOV. Does anyone else feel this way? Rhesusman 22:41 17 June 2005 (UTC)

Seems to me much of the article is trying to lead reader to conclude that religion is important in republican gov't. The gov't site took that approach too - perhaps I could find it again --JimWae 00:23, 2005 Jun 18 (UTC)

I agree. A lot of articles have content which makes pointing out NPOV easy. This is tough, but I can't help but think that I know what the author's position on the church-state controversy is, and that can't be good for NPOV. Rhesusman 22:23 7 July 2005 (UTC)
There's another problem with this article. It makes no mention of the growing numbers of religious minorities like Muslims or Buddhists that have been the results of conversions or immigration in the past hundred years. This further leads me to believe that there's a political agenda behind this article. I would think someone motivated to be purely descriptive would not omit this. Rhesusman 06:24 8 July 2005 (UTC)

The article is hopelessly POV. Its hard to express precisesly how, but as you read you get bombarded with biased wording and language. Like Rhesusman, I can tell the author's position on a number of issues just by the phrasing that is being used. IMO, if you can do something like that, its a pretty clear sign that the article is POV. There is also the occasional passage that even with my limited knowledge I can tell is a misrepresentation at the very least. For example, the passage "The efforts of the founding fathers to find a proper role for their support of religion..." seems to imply that all or virtually all of them had some great interest in the "support of religion", when I know that a remarkable number of them were Deists and pretty much actively opposed to organized religion. The Deism section, incidentally, is also pretty poor, failing to so much as mention that Deists believe in a non-interventalist god or the writings of Thomas Paine, and I can't help but feel this sort of thing is intentional. Nothing major, but a pretty consistent pattern. Someone with more time and knowledge than me needs to give the thing a major overhaul. Be brutal, IMO a lot of sections need to pretty much dissapear and be replaced by completely new writing that gives the same (or better) information. In any case, I have given it the POV Check - it does nothing but hurt wikipedia's reputation to have articles like this without it (with the implication that it is considered NPOV), it will encourage people to help edit it, and I don't think anybody is really arguing it is okay as is. As far as non-POV issues go, a lot of it just isn't worded in the style wikipedia usually adopts. That sort of thing can easily be fixed when the rest of it is being reworded. 05:04, 20 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Now that I know the source, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/ I wish I had been bolder in my earlier edits of it. I thought it was crafted by somebody who had taken a great deal of time & would object to significant changes that could not be completely backed up - and did not want to spend lots of time arguing over changes. It seems this could be a 1st amendment violation by the Library of Congress website - (besides a copyvio problem in keeping it here). --JimWae 06:07, 2005 July 20 (UTC)

The 18th Century section leaves much to desire. "Anglicans" are "left behind" in the Great Awakening, yet they praise Whitfield AN ANGLICAN. It speaks nothing of the Methodist movement and the Moravians. In addition, despite the fact that many founding fathers were Diests, many still were members of mainline Christian denominations, giving money and time serving on Church councils. For example, George Washington was a vestry member of an Episcopal Church, and Benjamin Franklin gave tons of money to one Episcopal parish in particular. CJJDay 22:21, 1 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]

--- I'm cleaning this thing up... --Verditer 02:58, 23 June 2006 (UTC) I really want to change this, but I don't know what exactly I can do, and I think I might be veering into Uncyclopedia's realm...so good luck fixing this article. It needs it (not to mention the government who wrote the article), and I can't do it NPOV. Verditer 03:07, 23 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Uh... Where is all of the 20th Century/21st Century Info?![edit]

Unless I miss my guess the religious history of america did not end in the year 1899, where is the rest of the article?! The Fading Light 02:43, 21 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Where are all the citations to back up any of this? Who knows who the quotes are from, for all we know whoever wrote this could just be making it up! 04:42, 15 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Makes me want to tag every single sentence citation needed. This article is poorly written and very factually challenged. I cleaned up a bit, and did add one citation in the Diest area, but this article is hopelessly pov and may as well be deleted. Alexr

Incorrect History[edit]

I'm compiling data for my final paper in a seminary/master's level course that has a lot to do with US Church History, and some of the facts presented in this article are completely false. The biggest one is this: While there were some communities within individual colonies that shared common faith, overall church attendance in the colonies hovered near 10%. I'm considering starting a new page on here when I'm done to present my research. It was very disappointing to see that so much of what we grow up learning through grade school and high school - even undergraduate work - regarding this nation's founders, is simply fabricated. Regardless of one's own personal inclinations, it is not good news to learn we have been lied to. Godsmaverick 15:50, 27 July 2007 (UTC)godsmaverick[reply]

Each page is an article. Don't start a new page unless it is on a new subject. Can you imagine the confusion if there were multiple articles on the same topic? If you have corrections to make, please do so as long as you can reference published information. Data from an unpublished thesis would not be very helpful. --Blainster 21:21, 28 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

19th Century Discussion is very limited[edit]

The discussion of 19th Century religion in the U.S. is far too limited. It states, explicitly, that evangelical Christianity was the dominant religious influence in the early-mid 19th Century, which is misleading, to say the least. There ought to be some discussion of major 19th Cen. religious trends, such as the immigration of large numbers of Catholics to the US, the "Deism" practiced by Thomas Jefferson, and others. The bias toward evangelical Christianity on this page is disturbing. Cntreras 10:58, 20 October 2007 (UTC) Limited? My YES! How can one discuss the 19th century religious history of the U.S. and not even mention William Miller. Charles Taze Russell is noted with no mention of what is generally considered a seminal influence upon his work. Gnuwhirled (talk) 09:02, 26 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]


Oddly, part is stolen from http://www.richmondhillhistory.org/clergy.html

Go figure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 4 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

rm Kemetic Orthodoxy (undue weight)[edit]

I am confused, how does this fall under undue weight? There is no discussion of why some religions are included in the list and not others. Can someone explain this to me please? - IanCheesman (talk) 04:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]

It doesn't state it explicitly, but the criterion is one of general importance. If every religion founded in this country were listed, the list would be enormous, so only the most important examples are listed. If you have evidence that this twenty-year-old Neo-Pagan practice is as important to the topic as are Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Christian Science, then that's an argument for keeping Kemetic Orthodoxy in the list; if there's no evidence of this (and there probably isn't), then listing it with the others risks wrongly portraying it as equally important, a violation of our neutral point of view policy (specifically, "undue weight", as noted). Hence, I removed it. I am willing to listen to an argument for keeping it, but not to violate the policy I linked previously. Gavia immer (talk) 04:36, 3 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with its removal. Kemetic Orthodoxy is not notable enough to the history of religion in the U.S. for inclusion in such a general article as this. —Angr 09:33, 3 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]
thank you for your response. Maybe some criteria should be spelled out, as when I first saw the list, I naturally assumed that it was an open list for inclusion. Maybe the title of the list should be changed to explain what the list is and is not. Of course then the question begs to be asked, what is the definition of "important" in this article (for comparison, look at the repeated discussion on the List of new religious movements, List of religions and spiritual traditions, and Major religious groups. Is it simply numbers (and if so, where is the cut-off), number of court cases involving the group, presence in national politics...? Some more definition will help both readers and future contributors, I believe. - IanCheesman (talk) 20:46, 3 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]
It's been 10 months since I've asked for more information on what is deemed "important", and received no response. It is the largest and most influential of all the Kemetic religions, has international membership, etc. Again, I ask for more specific requirements, both for this entry and for all others (such as "spiritualism", which has just been requested). - IanCheesman (talk) 17:57, 13 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]
As I said, specifically, above, it's a question of prominence and importance. As a minimum requirement, at least, they are religions that people in the United States have generally heard of. I'm afraid that Kemetic Orthodoxy does not belong on the list; you seem to be looking to add it as a way of promoting your religion (I assume it's your religion), but that is definitely not what the list is for.
As to Spiritualism, I have no particular opinion on discussing it, except that it shouldn't be added without discussion. I suppose the most obvious objection is that it's not an organized set of religious beliefs, but rather a loose set of metaphysical beliefs. If there's an interest in adding it - by more than one person - I don't object. Gavia immer (talk) 18:22, 13 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]
No problem, actually, I admit I had forgotten about this completely over the summer ;). My main question was simply about what this group felt the meaning of the word "important", and thus the deciding factor for what is in the article and what is not. I agree some line must be drawn, the topic is way to broad to be covered completely.
I do worry, however, that the article has very little coverage of anything that is not a Judeo-Christian faith. What about the 100s of religions that existed before Europeans came across the ocean? What about the other religions that have sought peace and freedom in the US (such as Sikhism and Bahai)? What about the religious practices that have been met with fear and hatred by americans (such as Islam, Voodoo, Wicca, and many others)? What about the wide variety of religions that have started in the US that may not have wide public view or numbers? What about those who claim to be non-religious, and the issues they have had to deal with in such a religious, yet not officially religious country?
Not sure where the line should be drawn on any of these, and I'm not seeking to push one religion out of relation to it's actual size or "importance", but the article does seem a bit one-sided. That hurts the credibility of both the article and the authors. It seems there is a lot more out there that could be added to the article to make it better. If there is too much info, maybe some of the more detailed info that is already in here should be split off into it's own articles.
Anyways, just some thoughts, take them as you will. - IanCheesman (talk) 02:06, 14 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that there is an absence of religions other than Judeo-Christian, especially First Nations. Is there someone we can recruit who may know how to include this? Ngfarb (talk) 14:14, 30 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Catholic POV of article[edit]

The large size of the Anti-Catholic section made me wonder if the author is Catholic. Are we to now feel sorry for them and give them extra privelage as a result?

Also note the section about persecution in Europe. The article makes it seem like the persecution of Protestants by Catholics was on the same scale as persecution of Catholics by Protestants, but how could it be when the Catholic Church had unlimited civil powers for something like a millenium and killed (so I have read) 50 million Protestants because of their religious beliefs? That was a large portion of the population for those days, because we had the plague, wars, etc. killing millions too. Hisreason (talk) 12:31, 8 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

While it is true that I am sort of Catholic, that was not the motivation behind the creation of the "Anti-Catholicism" section. (Assume good faith!) Because I had done a lot of work on both Anti-Catholicism in the United States and Antisemitism in the United States, I brought text from both articles over here on the premise that these were important subtopics. Looking just at the size of the Anti-Catholicism section in this article, I suspect that it could be trimmed back quite a bit so as not to be disproportionate. I probably did a straight copy of the text and did not make enough of an effort to trim it down. I'll try to take a stab at doing that when time permits.
As for the section on "European persecution", that section collapses into incoherence and incomprehensibility at the end because it is talking in very general, vague terms. It seems like an attempt to describe persecution in Europe but without a clear point. I think what we're trying to say is that many early immigrants to the U.S. were fleeing religious persecution. Specifically, many Protestants were fleeing neo-Catholic persecution by the Church of England (I say, "neo-Catholic" because the Church of England was (and to some extent, still is) a Catholic Church that is not in communion with the Pope). Maryland was founded by Lord Calvert as a haven for English Catholics. The Cajuns in Louisiana were evicted by the British but that was not strictly religious persecution per se. In any event, the "European persecution" section clearly needs rewriting. I'll try to take a stab at that also when time permits.
Thank you for your comments.
--Richard S (talk) 18:11, 22 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]


Spiritualism is completely missing from the article. This is also an American religion, founded in New York. See: http://www.nsac.org/history.htm —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cfhillen (talkcontribs) 16:01, 13 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Also missing is any discussion of colonization and settlement before the 1600s. E.g., the Spanish colonization of Florida and the US Southwest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 3 September 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Catholics as percentage of colonial population[edit]

The source article cited, Roman Catholicism in the U.S., states that Catholics were less than 2% of the population, yet someone changed that in this article to read "less than 1%." That is intellectually dishonest, to cite an original source article, and to then edit its content. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:28, 16 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I note that the edits of this percentage have fluctuated between 1 and 4 percent. Your own edits have been both 2% and 4%. I don't have the book cited, but Googling got me an essay, Let None Dare Call it Liberty, The Catholic Church in Colonial America, by Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D., which states, "...the first general report on the state of Catholicism by John Carroll in 1785...estimated the Catholic population in [the 13] colonies to be 25,000. ...Considering that the population in the first federal census of 1790 totaled 3,939,000, the Catholic presence was less than one percent, certainly not a significant force in the original 13 British colonies." So let's be accurate. Is it 4%, 2%, 1% or less than 1%? I'm not an expert on Catholicism, so I'll leave it to someone else, but please don't alter what a source specifies... Eastcote (talk) 20:04, 17 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I think part of the confusion here has to do with whether we are citing Catholics as a percentage of the white colonial population, or of the entire population, which would include 800,000 Africans. At 25,000 (and 35,000 is a total which is also frequently cited), Catholics would indeed be less than 1% of the entire population. But at 25,000 or 35,000, they would be closer to 2% of all whites. Please keep in mind that members of ALL denominations in America in the late 18th century represented less than 20% of the white population, so Catholics were something like 10% of all religious members at that time.

My citation of 4% was a mistake. However, I repeat my assertion that when you cite "less than 1%," you reference a source which says "less than 2%." I am respectfully requesting that you change your entry to accurately reflect the source that you are citing. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 23 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I believe the source used in the article, and the quote above, support "less than 1%". By anyone's math, 25,000 is less than one percent of 4 million. Eastcote (talk) 22:43, 23 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Eastcote is right. Note that the Catholic figure includes black Catholics. Rjensen (talk) 22:50, 23 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

George Washington a deist?[edit]

According to the verbiage under deist, Washington adhered to deism (or Unitarianism)... Where did this come from? Looking at the George Washington wikipedia page tells a completely different story: "he was primarily affiliated with the Anglican and, later, Episcopal church." That indicates that he was a deist? Further, the article points to these comments by Chernow: "Before the Revolutionary War he was Anglican – Church of England – which meant after the war, he was Episcopalian. So, he was clearly Christian....He was quite intensely religious, because even though he uses the word Providence, he constantly sees Providence as an active force in life, particularly in American life. I mean, every single victory in war he credits to Providence. The miracle of the Constitutional Convention he credits to Providence. The creation of the federal government and the prosperity of the early republic, he credits to Providence... I was struck at how frequently in his letters he's referring to Providence, and it's Providence where there's a sense of design and purpose, which sounds to me very much like religion..." Does this look like Washington should be placed under the deist section or that POV was poking it ugly head up? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:28, 11 August 2012 (UTC) After looking, John Adams can also be moved from deism according to his wikipedia page... (talk) 09:43, 11 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

David L. Holmes, in The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, argues that Washington's religion was not as strong as you think it is. Holmes concludes Washington was a deist. Others disagree. There's no "right" answer—respectably scholars can be found on both sides of the debate. Binksternet (talk) 16:17, 11 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
If this is the case, should the Washington (and Adams) pages be changed accordingly? (talk) 00:55, 15 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Historical religious demographics of the United States[edit]

I have tagged the new article Historical religious demographics of the United States for merger into this one.

The demographics article relies on a single primary source, and fails WP:NOTSTATS because it lacks either context or secondary commentary to interpret the data. Merging it to this article would at least add context. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 10:12, 3 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Not npov: Pre-Columbian Religion excluded[edit]

The entire history of native religion is dismissed with a single paragraph before launching into a history of christianity? What could be more biased?

Change the article title to history of European Religions in the US, if that is the real topic. FigureArtist (talk) 22:09, 4 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Native religion is well covered in many articles (on each major tribe); at present here are a few thousand adherents so it gets appropriate attention. Rjensen (talk) 02:30, 5 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I think this is a real problem. I could see saying that the religious history of the United States began in 1776, but if it began before then, we really ought to start the article with at least a mention of the fact that Europeans didn't invent religion in the area that is now the United States. This problem was only made worse by the edits of 4 July 2014, which make the ludicrous assertion that religion began with the Mayflower, despite the fact that even English religion has existed continuously in the area of the United States since before 1620 (let alone Spanish religion or, say, Hawaiian religion). Lereman (talk) 23:56, 11 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

the article follows the standard scholarly sources like Ahlstrom. Rjensen (talk) 00:14, 12 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
No, it doesn't follow Ahlstrom. Ahlstrom places the beginning of the religious history of the American people with Leif Erikson, not the Mayflower. He also devotes two full chapters to discussing the Catholicism of New Spain and New France before turning his attention to the Reformation in England (let alone the arrival of English Protestant settlers in America). Furthermore, Ahlstrom's subject is different from the subject of this article. Ahlstrom is discussing the religious history of the American people, a group he seems to define as European immigrants in North America. This article purports to discuss the history of religion in the United States — a place, not a people. If the article does not begin with the 1776–1783 period, then it should begin with the earliest identifiable religions of the area, even if those religions get no more than a brief hyperlinked mention. Lereman (talk) 20:31, 8 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Yes it does Follow Ahlstrom. Ahlstrom "A religious history of the American people " (1976) begins with an opening "European prologue" section dealing with the religious background in Europe, and other major European colonizing powers (England, France, Spain ) introduced their Catholic or Protestant religions into the New World in the context of building empire, commerce and religion. That material is very well covered in Wikipedia's other articles. Ahlstrom then turns to colonial New England. As for 1776 -- the standard practice among historians and reference books is to write histories of the United States that cover the colonial era. The complaint here is "Not npov: Pre-Columbian Religion excluded". Ahlstrom excludes the pre-Colombian religions. Likewise so does The Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today by Edwin S. Gaustad and Leigh Schmidt (2004). The pre-Colombian religions are all thoroughly covered in other Wikipedia articles dealing with pre-Colombian populations. Rjensen (talk) 20:59, 8 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]
"The pre-Colombian religions are all thoroughly covered in other Wikipedia articles dealing with pre-Colombian populations" — which should be mentioned and linked to at the start of this article. After all, the standard practice among historians and reference books is (note the present tense) to write histories of the United States that at least mention that Europeans didn't show up to empty shores on the western Atlantic. To offer an (admittedly derivative) example, see History of the United States. Lereman (talk) 21:11, 9 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

WP:NOR applies to inclusion, not to removal. Burden of evidence is on restoration.[edit]


"The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material".

"Wikipedia articles must not contain original research", the key word being "contain". WP:NOR applies to inclusion, not to removal. By the reasoning in your edit summary, all removals for lack of citation (or for some other reason) would be invalid because only one editor "originally" noticed the problem and acted. (And it would be a silly demand to insist on a citation for every asserted fact that X doesn't meet some standard for inclusion, citations simply cannot exist for such new facts!)

The graph was removed because evidence was not provided that supported "sharp rise". It purported to support "sharp rise", but the sharp rise assertion was dubious and removed for that reason. (It was in fact shown to be a decline as a fraction of the population in the 1st period). Evidence was provided (by you) for the data points themselves, but not for the assertion that the data represented a "sharp rise". Although it's not technically required, very good evidence for dubiousness was provided, but trying to discredit that evidence (of dubiousness) is not the evidence of notability and verifiability you need to justify inclusion.

If you want to include, you must show that the data is verifiable (which you've already done) and that it's applicable to the "sharp rise assertion" (which is harder). Proving verifiably that this particular data indicates a sharp rise in religion in the U.S. would be hard for the reasons already given. However, you might find other data that does make that point, if you look. It would probably be more productive for you to look for different data that does meet standards for inclusion in making the point of a "sharp rise".

I don't have access to the source you cite. I just believe you that the data plotted in the graph is in that source. It's an important point that if the source simply presents the data and doesn't assert that it indicates a sharp rise in the popularity of religion, then that's (probably) reliable. It the source of the data says that the data does indicate a sharp rise in popularity of religion, than that particular assertion is not reliable(!). Citing the source for it's data would be (likely) reliable, but citing the source for that (problematic) conclusion based on the data would be unreliable.

Ubewu (talk) 19:24, 1 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

The RS call it "rapid growth." the data plotted is the number of local churches (the cenus did not keep track of church MEMBERS until 1850). We do have Methodist MEMBER data. 58,000 members in 1790, 258,000 in 1820 and 1,661,000 in 1860 (=28.6 x the 1790 number and 6.4x the 1820 number). [Census Bureau, Hist Stats US (1976) p 392]. The national population was 3.93 million in 1790, 9.68 million in 1820, and 31.4 million in 1860. (=8x the 1790 number and 3.2x the 1820 number). Methodists grew by 28 times, overall population grew only 8 x. So Methodists grew about three times faster than total population, 1790-1860 and twice as fast as the population 1820-1860. QED. For 1780 there were 8500 Methodists, says Mark A. Noll (2010). The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys. InterVarsity Press. pp. 216–17. Noll calls it a "spectacular expansion" (p 217). Rjensen (talk) 21:00, 1 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Nice. If the caption is saying that the fraction of Methodists grew as compared to other sects, then the data shown does indeed support that point. Interesting. Maybe we have an opportunity to make an important discernment here -- that there was a re-proportionment favoring Methodists. Is that the same as asserting a big increase in general though? Is SGA supposed to be about an increase in the proportion of Methodism or an increase in the popularity of Christianity as a whole? I see the caption is still the original (problematic) one -- no mention of Methodists. Are you just not finished? I'll step back a bit to allow you time to finish it up.  :-) --Ubewu (talk) 21:15, 1 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I tracked down the original source of the data in the graph: it's from Edwin Scott Gaustad, Historical Atlas of Religion in America (2nd ed. 1976) pp 4 (for 1780) and p 43 (for 1820, 1860). Gaustad, Historical atlas has assembled a great deal of historical pre-1900 data-- he has lots of info, state-by-state, on the number of local churches. Unfortunately, he provides much less detail on the membership data. The Methodists were very methodical in collecting and reporting their membership data – much more so than anyone else. According to Gaustad's chart p 52 Methodists reached the 200,000 membership level in about 1816, and the million mark about 1842. They passed the Baptists about 1822. The Baptists reached the 200,000 level around 1805, and the million membership about 1860. The Presbyterians reached the 100,000 level about 1825, and the 1 million level around 1878. Lutherans were about 20,000 1800, and reached the million mark about 1885 the Episcopalians grew very slowly – they reach the hundred thousand mark in the 1850s, and the million mark around 1920. The Lutherans reached 100,000 around 1835, and thanks to the heavy German and Scandinavian immigration reached the million mark by the late 1880s. Alas, Gaustad does not use many tables – he prefers charts and maps with lots of dots showing where each church was located. On page 37, he says "The expansion, both numerical and geographical, is dramatic; it is epic." Rjensen (talk) 21:39, 1 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

heavy handed POV on Christian Nation theme[edit]

[copy ex RJensen talk page]

I'd like to discuss why you felt my edit to Deism and addition of section Founding Fathers in History of Religion in the United States constituted POV. If my material was not factual and well documented from viable sources, I welcome your advice and guidance and will improve it. To omit this section leaves out an important part of American history, so let us discuss it. Seiberth (talk) 04:24, 10 July 2014 (UTC).[reply]

the material is all taken from highly controversial sources and seems to denigrate Deism. It lacks balance and seems to want to argue for a very recent "Christian nation" position that is designed to affect political debates in the 21st century by attacking secularism. The quotes from Founding Fathers are out of place--Wikipedia much prefers reliable secondary sources by scholars who have examined the material in depth. It fails to mention that the Constitution ignore religion except to prohibit its use in selecting officials.Rjensen (talk) 04:30, 10 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
It looks like we are discussing this series of edits by Seiberth. I agree that the changes are inappropriate as they attempt to show a very Christian nation when there was plenty of secularism in the colonies and in early USA. The James Thacher source is from 1832 and cannot be considered representative of modern thought. Same with the 1920 Commercial Telegraphers' Journal. The Bob Gingrich book is a self-published source, terribly inadequate to the needs of this article. The lengthy quotes of founding fathers are cherry-picked to make the point that the country was strongly religious, when different quotes can be selected to show otherwise. More useful than quotes is scholarly analysis, which should form the greatest part of this article. Binksternet (talk) 06:39, 10 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Especially interesting was Seiberth's unreferenced assertion:

As Europe secularized in the late 20th century, the Americans largely resisted the trend, so that by the 21st century the U.S. was one of the most strongly Christian of all major nations. Religiously based moral positions on issues such as abortion and homosexuality played a hotly debated role in American politics.

This viewpoint could not have come from a respected scholar because the scholar would never make the false statement about how the US is so strongly Christian in today's world. Furthermore, the assertion makes a logical error in telling about "hotly debated" issues. If the US so successfully resisted secularization, who could be debating? Everybody would be in agreement.
This bit shows the political agenda of the author. It cannot stand in the article. Binksternet (talk) 06:46, 10 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Separation of church and state[edit]

The Separation of church and state should be mentioned specifically in the lead section, per WP:LEAD. Binksternet (talk) 06:39, 10 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Johnny Come Latelies[edit]

"The religious history of the United States began with the first Pilgrim settlers who came on the Mayflower in the year 1620." Yeah, if we ignore 13 years of worship in Virginia before the pilgrims arrived. (talk) 17:52, 8 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

inclusion of Native American religion[edit]

about [1] @Rjensen:, would you be interested in coming up with an entry on the subject of Native America religion? Otherwise simply deleting it seems to rather fit the pattern, no? --Smkolins (talk) 14:56, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I agree there should be a section. It should take a 300-year perspective. I will try my hand at it. Rjensen (talk) 14:58, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
examples to consider including borrowing from American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Cultural assimilation of Native Americans and American Indian boarding schools, Native_American_civil_rights#Religious_rights, Native American self-determination… seems like plenty of material for a large section all by itself. Then the inclusion of the proposal at the Parliament might feel less undue and would be in context more? (though not in the icumenical section perhaps.) --Smkolins (talk) 15:02, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
and Constitution#Iroquois_.22Great_Law_of_Peace.22 (the Law of Peace being fundamentally a religious source).--Smkolins (talk) 15:07, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
The last item = politics and is rejected by most historians. Rjensen (talk) 15:49, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
(woops, misread, you mean the constitution affect)… so… it is a minority view and include that as the minority view… but only relevant in the context of documenting the Iroquois in this overall work of Native American religion…. --Smkolins (talk) 17:08, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]

"[Ben Franklin's] famous Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America (Franklin 1987:973–4; P. Wallace 1945: 225–26). This piece represents Franklin's continued interest in the Iroquois, it demonstrates his esteem for the native culture, and it exemplifies his use of that knowledge for social criticism."[1]

- so taking the right tact with the relationship with the constitution (that Franklin's comments relate to it, that is) I think is ok.--Smkolins (talk) 17:31, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
we're talking religion only here. and we have VERY limited space. Rjensen (talk) 18:32, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Ok - though I think at least the inclusion of the Iroquois as a more significant nation than the Shawnee, if we're limited to space by undue weight, should be considered. The Iroquois had a larger early presence in America (see for example the Beaver Wars) and generally their religious background is more available - it has a defined name in the Great Law of Peace for example. The 18th century revival of Handsome Lake also has at least as much to say about them as Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh. --Smkolins (talk) 18:45, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]

When dealing with religion, there is a lot on the Prophet and Tecumseh (and far less on the Iroquois). Tenskwatawa, (Shawnee Prophet) launched a revival for quite a few tribes besides Shawnees....I have not heard of a corresponding religious movement for Iroquois. Rjensen (talk) 19:24, 25 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Treatment of secular trends, now claimed to be America’s Largest “Religious” Group[edit]

I recommend including a section describing current trends, especially the trend toward secularism, now claimed to be America’s Largest “Religious” Group. See, for example: http://www.prri.org/research/prri-rns-2016-religiously-unaffiliated-americans/ Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 15:54, 12 October 2016 (UTC)[reply]

WP:BRD the discussion part[edit]

I made several edits to this page. They were reverted. I’m back, and I would like to discuss why some of these edits were reverted. I understand why the front section edit was reverted, (It’s rather unorthodox) but the other edits corrected content that seemed very biased. Could you explain why you reverted those edits? (talk) 20:58, 6 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

to stub the Islam section?[edit]

There appears to be no mention of the rapidly growing number of Muslims - a quick search for the word "Islam" returns only 5 results, of which 3 are in the article itself.

One significant period of growth of Islam in America was the work of Malcolm X (though technically under the Nation of Islam). 22 million black Muslims by 1964 if I recall correctly? (talk) 22:37, 1 November 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Undefined References[edit]

I noticed that the user @Mikeblas justifiably removed some undefined references added by one of my edits. Thank you. I believe they were added by this edit [2]. I don’t know what to do because I didn’t add these references; I copy- pasted certain sections elsewhere to fit in with the timeline structure of the article and made a few tiny other edits. I think that Wikipedia’s program replaced those references, but something went wrong. Please don’t delete those sections; they have references, which were just lost during a clumsy edit. I’m thinking I could try to copy paste references from old versions of the page or ask a more technical- minded Wikipedian for help. Do you have a solution? MaroonDichotomy (talk) 16:17, 11 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I have fixed this. Ignore this section. MaroonDichotomy (talk) 02:39, 4 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]