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Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary




Although law and religion scholars have long argued about whether American culture marginalizes religious belief, many important indicators suggest that religion indeed plays a prominent role in contemporary American life. America is an extremely religious nation. Polls consistently show that about ninety percent of Americans continue to believe in God, and both church attendance and membership remain at high levels. This religiosity, moreover, spills out into the public square. A great many Americans rely on religious reasons when thinking and talking about public issues. Ninety percent of the members of Congress, by one report, consult their religious beliefs when voting on legislation. Amajority of Americans believe that religious organizations should publicly express their views on political issues, and an even stronger majority believe it is important for a President to have strong religious beliefs. It came as little surprise, then, when all of the major presidential candidates invoked their religious faith in public speeches during the 2000 campaign.



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