Robert Laurence Moore has written a delightful, enlightening, and provocative survey of American church history centered around the theme of "mixing" the "sacred" with the "secular" and vice versa. The major points of conversation covered include the polarization caused by the public display of religious symbols, the important contribution that women and Africans have made to the American religious mosaic, the harmony and friction that has existed between science and religion, the impact of immigration on religious pluralism, and the twin push toward the union and separation of religion and politics.
Moore investigates the attitudes, behavior, and perception of Americans regarding their respective individual sacred and secular lives. He is interested in the roles of popular culture and religion and in addition, how popular culture affected the shift in boundaries between sacredness and secularism, particularly how these practices shape American religion. We live in a complex society and social structure that is structured with norms and values that they themselves structure the way we interpret and interact with others.
Moore does not devote much of his attention to religious ideas. Instead, he examines several different instances of the blending of the sacred and the profane in popular American culture. Moore narrates the direct and indirect effects of the public display of religion for both sacreds and seculars. History, lifestyle, work, education, government, music, sporting events, marketplace, literature, and womanhood influence people. He also brings up how religion can influence racial militancy and terrorism that threaten equality, domestic security, and national identity.
Religion and prayers adapt different and specialized meanings for sacreds and seculars based upon different values and worldviews. Americans gravitate and relate to self-discipline and the sense of self worth. American society follows the Western mindset and highly values individualization and the option to make personal decisions. From the book, Moore presented the limitations and perils of being religious from Protestants’ and Catholics’ moralists’ and churches’ view. This builds upon the struggle of desiring to participate in the organized religion yet seeking autonomy and originality in actions and thoughts. It is the idea of existentialism, the focus on idea that life is about making choices and taking responsibility for choices. Religion, Moore says, is always about something else. America lacks an established church and therefore religion organized itself in ways that resonated with the free market economy. Religion is commodified for this reason.
Moore focused in on and observed religion’s involvement regarding women’s suffrage, immigration, and scientific neutrality. Women experience a political and social struggle to this day. Women are still not as privileged as men and a gender divide exist. Women have the opportunity to participate in politics by...