HUMANITIES Position Paper

Alicia Naegle
Humanities 2400-02
Position/Synthesis Paper
Religion in America
Religion in America is very diverse. At the beginning of the course, my definition of
religion was : An organization of people who believe in a higher power such as God or Gods and
live their lives based on certain doctrine they hold to be true which connects them to that
higher power; they believe that higher power has a large effect on their lives and gives their
lives meaning. The belief in a higher power and living life according to one’s own beliefs and
interpretations of their church’s doctrine can make living together in accordance pretty tough
in some situations. With people believing a whole range of different things and feeling
obligated to act accordingly makes law making among other things, hard. There are ways that
Americans can live together peacefully without dropping their belief systems or religion bashing
others. Minority religions are not always encountered with open arms like they could be. We
can’t make the interactions perfect due to differing opinions which will always be the case, but
we can make it better.
Religion is such an integral part of many American’s lives, and there is a plethora of
religions available. This is why law and religion intermingle. People simply do not easily discard
their religious beliefs at the polls. How can a person be told by their church to think or act one
way and told to put it aside when voting for laws that change everyday life? Religion is being
shaped by America through the people practicing it, and in return, Americans are shaping
religion through the values, rites and beliefs we hold. Immigrants have a lot to do with the
shaping of religion in America by the religious practices and beliefs that come with them from
their home countries. This makes for a very diverse religious culture and brings up the issue of
how we encounter minority religions in America today.
Minority religions such as the Sikhs, and Muslims are not always welcomed in today’s
American society. The article “Supreme Court Looks At Abercrombie & Fitch's Hijab
Discrimination Case” by Gene Demby on NPR news discusses an incident from seven years ago
where a woman (Samantha Elauf) wearing a hijab to an interview with Abercrombie & Fitch was
turned down due to her “cap.” The companies “Look Policy” was what they were using to
discriminate against her religious beliefs just because she doesn’t look like other Americans
who don’t wear hijabs(NPR). Another example of a negative way we encounter minority
religions in America is after the events of 9-11-01. After this tragedy occurred, Sikh people were
discriminated against as they wear a similar covering to the al-Qaeda terrorists. Not only are we
ignoring everything about those religions, we are stereotyping the people who just “look” like
them. This is wrong. Just because someone looks different or believes differently, there are
ways to treat them like the human beings that we all are.
No two people think alike which makes pluralism difficult. As mentioned earlier, we are
a society full of religious diversity. Interacting between faiths can be challenging; discussions
can be very heated. Also mentioned earlier is the fact that because we are all so different, there
is no one way to interact perfectly. But a large part of making pluralism in America more
successful is education. Religious Diversity is a large topic that needs to be discussed in depth
and studied to make sense of the many traditions and beliefs of the religions present in
America today. As these beliefs are discovered and discussed, we can be more understanding of
the way others perceive their own super mundane reality. Educating ourselves is the first step
to becoming more successful in the relationships we have with people of different faiths.
In conclusion, religion is and always will be an central part of American life in one way or
another. The percentage of people who claim no attachment to any particular religion is rising,
but it seems that majority religions such as Christianity are not diminishing any time soon. This
makes life quite interesting in the way we integrate religion into our everyday lives. Religion is a
major source of disagreement, so it is up to us to learn all we can about how other religions
(including minority religions) think and choose to live so we can respect one another. Education
is key in becoming more unified as Americans on the most basic level. We do not have to agree
with each other to coexist peacefully.
NPR. "Supreme Court Looks At Abercrombie & Fitch's Hijab Discrimination Case." NPR.
NPR. Web. 1 May 2015.
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