Faire société: unité et pluralité: Religion in the USA

Religion, vocabulary

Mayflower, in American colonial history, the ship that carried the Pilgrims from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they established the first permanent New England colony in 1620.

Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people .

First Amendment, amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States that is part of the Bill of Rights which guarantees freedom of speech, press, assembly and petition.

In a speech delivered to Congress on January 6, 1941 and entitled Four Freedoms, about worldwide social and political objectives, U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt  stated these freedoms to be the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear.

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America: It was first published on September 8, 1892, in the following form: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.”


Wasps: In the United States, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants or WASPs are the white, upper-class, American Protestant elite, typically of British descent. WASP elites have dominated American society, culture, and politics for most of the history of the United States. After 1945, many Americans criticized the WASP hegemony and disparaged them as part of « The Establishment« . Although the social influence of wealthy WASPs has declined since the 1940s, the group continues to play a central role in American finance, politics and philanthropy.



Angle of both pictures: this is a side view of people praying with their hands joined and their faces either looking up or down.

Let’s compare both visuals:

The painting on the left was made by Norman Rockwell in 1943; it represents the American nation and religious landscape during WW2 WHEREAS the painting on the right is a modern representation of the present American religious landscape.

CONTRARY TO what is happening today, most religious people were white-skinned in 1943; Christian faith was dominant with the WASPs.

UNLIKE IN 1943, different faiths (= croyances) are now present in the USA.

                                                                                                                      Pew Research Center

Comment on the statistics above:

The chart shows the predominance of Protestantism over other religions today followed by Catholicism.

Mormons, Jews and Muslims can be considered as minorities.

the Bible Belt

The Bible Belt is a term describing a region of the southern United States known for a high prevalence of religious beliefs, particularly Christian religious beliefs. The Bible Belt is one of the so-called belt regions of the United States.

The Bible Belt includes different belief systems: Methodists, Evangelical Protestantism, and Southern Baptists. One of the states in the Bible Belt, Mississippi, has the highest population of religious United States citizens.

Location of the Bible Belt

It concerns the south of the USA, from Texas in the southwest to Florida in the southeast going through Mississipi, Alabama. Then, from west Virginia to Missouri.


Pick up the main information regarding religion in the USA and in Europe.



‘’European settlers came here because they wanted the freedom to practice their religion unfettered (by secularism)’’

‘’a significant portion of Republicans in the House and Senate who are ‘Christians’,’’

These politicians ‘’believe in separation of Church and State but they still talk about the morality they get from the Bible in terms of their opposition to abortion or their opposition to LGBT rights.’’

‘’lack of a firewall between church and state’’

Europe has become less religious in some places but not in others.

separation of church and state: secularism,

Secularism: separation of church and state. In secular countries, religion is neither (= ni) present in public places like schools nor (= ni) in the political and social fields.

The positions ofAmerica and Europe regarding secularism:

Europe has much stricter rules than the USA; the limits are clearly defined.

The limits are much more blurred (= floues) in the USA; politicians use religion to tackle / address (= faire face à)  moral questions such as abortion or LGBTQ+ rights. On the whole, the USA has remained much more religious tan Europe.

Creationism vs Darwinism

1) What type of document are we presented with / introduced with?

This is a CNN report which aims at making us discover a brand-new creationist museum.

2) What does it present? Who introduces us with this place?

This is a reconstitution of the garden of Eden, paradise on earth.

A former high school science teacher from Australia.

3) How does he characterize this place ?

He considers it as « something significant, of high quality, professionnal, cutting edge , something the world would take notice of »

4) How much did it cost? Who funded it ?

It cost $ 27 million / millions of dollars / a 27m-dollar museum privately-funded and not state-funded since the US government is a non-religious (= secular) state

5) What scientific theory does it deny (= argue against) ?

The exhibits are at odds (en désaccord avec) with the Darwinian theory of evolution.

6) What message is conveyed here ?

Telling people that the Bible’s history is true and thus (= ainsi) that the message of the Gospel is true i.e. (= namely : c.a.d.) that the world was created in 6 days.

7) What elements is the museum constituted of?

waterfalls, dinosaurs, rocks and people living along side them + fossils + dino dig sites + special effects theater + planetarium + book store.

8) Why does the place claim the title of museum?

They assert that they bring scientific evidence (= preuves / a piece of evidence= une preuve), fossils for example

9) What did science prove concerning dinosaurs ?

They went extinct long before humans appeared in Africa.

10) What does this museum state ?

The Bible is not just a book of religion but a book of science.

Prenez connaissance des 3 documents ci-dessous et traitez le sujet suivant en anglais:

Write a short commentary on the 3 documents : taking into account their specificities, analyse how the documents deal with the themes of unity and plurality.

Traduisez le passage suivant du document B en français.

No. Religious freedom prevents the cultural majority from using the power of the state to impose their beliefs on others. This protects everyone – religious and non religious alike – from the government becoming so powerful that it can tell people what to think and how to act. Conscience has been considered the individual’s most sacred right. A government that intrudes on conscience will not hesitate to intrude on our other freedoms.

Non. La liberté de religion évite que la majorité culturelle n’impose ses croyances aux autres en utilisant la puissance de l’État. Elle protège chacun – croyant ou non – d’un gouvernement qui deviendrait si puissant qu’il pourrait dire à tout le monde ce qu’ils doivent penser et comment agir. La conscience a toujours été considérée comme le droit le plus sacré d’un individu. Un gouvernement qui s’immisce dans la conscience n’hésitera pas à s’immiscer dans nos autres libertés