Photo Essay

Religious and Secular Life in the US

Although religious faith is very strong at the micro level in the U.S., public policy and the operation of organizations and government are secularized – based on principles of pluralism and rational deliberation. This town council prays as it opens its monthly meeting, after the Supreme Court ruled that prayers are allowed in this setting if there is a long tradition of having prayer.


Questions to Consider:

  1. What do you think is the proper role of religion in public spaces in the U.S.? When you answered that question, did you have a particular religion in mind? If so, would your answer change based on the religion in question?

  2. France does not allow any public display of religion. All religious activities, including the wearing of religious garbs like hijabs, must be kept out of public sight. Would you favor such a law in the U.S.? Why or why not?

  3. Do you think questions over the appropriate place of religion in public spaces in the U.S. will fade away in your life time? Why or why not?