Saturday 30 November 2013

Re: Nabokov the master Nabokov the monster; Nabokov and Faulkner

Having reread my own post "Nabokov the master Nabokov the monster" (21/7/2013) I feel quite embarrassed. 
That entry did him a huge disservice, especially when I also reread "A girl about whom we know (almost) nothing" (referring to Lolita, or Dolores Haze) and ""Lolita": from Vladimir Nabokov to Stanley Kubrick", and realise that, while the Nabokov novel to which I connect the most is "The real life of Sebastian Knight", I also love "Lolita". On the 1 hand I esteem it and recognise it as a masterpiece, my mind was blown away by what a writer could do with language and how Nabokov stepped into the mind of paedophile. On the other hand I love it on a personal level, which wasn't expected, particularly when coming to the last chapters and in the end, I almost cried for Dolores. 
It is true that Nabokov's both a master and a monster. It is true that his language's sophisticated and difficult and not very accessible. But that's something he and Faulkner had in common- they had their own styles and did what they did without underestimating their readers. One cannot say that they didn't care about, or deliberately tried to perplex readers. Instead of simplifying their works, instead of stooping, Nabokov and Faulkner challenged their readers and elevated them, as long as the readers are not afraid of challenges. Instead of coming to readers, all kinds of readers, they stayed where they were and invited readers to come to them.
Having read and loved 2 novels by each author I comfortably declare myself to be Faulkner fan but hesitate to call myself a Nabokov fan, and in the future I'm more likely to be a Faulkner aficionado, but I should check out Nabokov's other works (if there's anything I should avoid, it's his Russian novels translated into English, because I believe much of the beauty and magic of his language is lost in translation, even when he collaborated with the translator). 
For the time being there's nothing else I wish to say.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Thoughts on "A room of one's own", women, and fiction

This guy Angry Harry, to put it simply, thinks men are more talented and successful than women in most (if not all) fields and gender equality will never be achieved.
I'm aware that he's extreme, biased and sexist, perhaps even misogynist, and I'm not saying that I agree with him and his arguments, but please click the link above, read it and tell me your thoughts.

2/ This is an email I sent to my professor about a month ago:
I'm a student in NORAM1506, but now I'd like to ask you a question and hope you answer personally, not as a professor/ teacher.
I do not have the exact statistics, but it seems that there are much, much more successful and acclaimed and influential men than women in most fields, not only in the 'men' fields (medicine, sciences, engineering...) but also in the 'women' fields (fashion, makeup, cooking...) and the 'neutral' fields (literature, arts...)
In literature and the arts, I can understand there are much more male film directors and cinematographers, but to be writers, photographers, poets, painters... one doesn't require much but a creative mind. People in such fields work independently and belong to no company/ organisation and don't necessarily need a high education (many writers, for example, didn't have much of a formal education). There should be, of course, some certain privacy and independence (like Virginia Woolf said, "a room of one's own"), but one doesn't require much but a creative mind. And yet among those who are highly acclaimed and influential, men still outnumber women.
In addition, when we look at writers, it's rather common that men often tackle 'big' topics, grand themes, complex social issues and may write very thick, epic books with complex structures and women tend to write about 'smaller' issues such as relationships, emotions, families, women's rights... I do not mean these things are not important, but when reading men's novels, sometimes I feel awe and great admiration because they show remarkable amount of research and knowledge and understanding, whereas it seems that women usually write about things they know well in life, you know.
(There are exceptions, obviously).
This has always bothered me. It should be noted that I have always believed, and insisted, that men and women should be equal. Different, but equal. And in some aspects I believe women are better than men (eg, in my opinion women are physically weaker but mentally stronger). But this has always bothered me. Why do you think this is the case? Social factors? Or is it possible that men may be intellectually superior to women? Or perhaps certain traits of women are obstacles so that they aren't as successful (eg, men are better at concentrating and more daring and more willing to go to the extremes, stereotypically speaking)?"

She replied:
"This is a very important and complicated question, which I will have to spend some time answering. You ask me to answer personally and not as a teacher. I am not sure it's possible for me to separate personal-ida and academic-ida anymore, but i'll try.
You ask why men seem to be writing the most interesting books and making the most successful films etc. There are several factors at work here, and it's important to sort them out. (see? Failing already) First of all, you mention yourself that better access to the industry (of film making f. inst) could be a factor, and I think this is very true. This will change, but slowly, since we all have a tendency to want to work with people that are similar to ourselves.
Secondly, there is the traditional separation of public and domestic spheres. When it has been possible for women to work in or near the house, this has been beneficial to the family as a whole, since it also makes it easier to give birth, breastfeed and do these physical things that men cannot do. This does not mean that women (of the working classes for instance) have not worked outside the house - they have always. But the writing classes have usually also been the ones where this separation between the spheres has been the strongest.
But even more that this, it is a question of perspective and of definition of what is important and interesting. Our tastes, what we find important and interesting, have not been shaped in a vacuum. In a world where it has been seen as civic duty to be active in society (democracy), what is often considered women's issues are also portrayed as less interesting and important. And that influences us all. Therefore men's work has been more acclaimed. And it also influences you and me and what we personally find important. We, too, are living in a world where what has traditionally been seen as men's purview - politics, environmental issues, the big complex issues - are seen as more and more important, because the world is becoming more and more entangled. And because we, as private citizens, are expected to contribute to the political sphere to a much larger degree than what has previously been the case (before democracy, for example).
The issue of biology is a very large one, which it is difficult for me to sort out here and now. Our bodies _are_ different, there is no doubt, but I think that the many women who have been successful in so-called men's fields show that it is not a question of physical differences in the brain.  But often the female writers who wrote in genres not considered female (the novel, for instance, was very much a female genre in the 19th century, and therefore seen as worth less and literature as such was not studied at university - only the epic poems were worthy of that kind of scrutiny) such as theatre, have been forgotten afterwards because they did not fit into the narratives that create out of history.
That is as far as I think I'm gonna get today. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to think through this in writing. I hope that my attempts were understandable. Women's history and gender research are not my fields of expertise, but I know there are many people out there who have written much better on this than I ever could. I am happy to try to think of good articles and books if you are interested, and let's continue the conversation anyway!"

Then I replied:
Thanks for your email.
About literature, I did write that "I do not mean these things are not important". And explained "when reading men's novels, sometimes I feel awe and great admiration because they show remarkable amount of research and knowledge and understanding, whereas it seems that women usually write about things they know well in life". Of course, to write well and convincingly about emotions, relationships, families... one must observe and have sensitivity and acute awareness of things around oneself, but it's more difficult to write about political or social topics. Not necessarily more interesting and important, but more difficult, especially dystopian fiction, war novels... (knowledge, facts, ability to handle a great scope...). No, especially when the books have complex structures with lots of characters (I think "War and peace" has 150 characters), many different narrators ("As I lay dying" has 15 different narrators with different voices), multiple layers...
It may not make very much sense, but I'm trying my best to clarify what I meant in the last email.
About films, by saying I understand that there are more male film directors, I actually had something else in mind. Making a film is complex. A film crew has hundreds or even 1000 people. A film director, while not doing everything themselves, has to handle, or look at, everything- finding a producer, getting the money, casting, choosing scenes, directing, controlling cameras and camera angles, choosing music, controlling postproduction, etc. Among these 2 aspects are very important that may act as obstacles, the 1st is convincing a producer to finance the film and the 2nd is fighting for artistic control. So if the film industry right from the beginning is already dominated by males (which seems to be the case, at least in Hollywood), women may put the blame on that as to why there are more successful male directors.
To be a writer, on the other hand, is different. A writer needs a pen and a notebook and thus works alone, depending on no one else (except the publisher, of course, but the publisher is not involved from the start). So a creative mind is all one needs. Writing classes aren't necessary. Even a formal education may not be a big must.
One may say, women have more distractions, like taking care of the family, doing chores, raising children, etc. But I'm not sure if that's the reason, or merely an excuse, placing blame, or some sort of self-consolation.
I'm just babbling, aren't I?
But I can't stop thinking about this."

The discussion didn't continue because around that time my professor was sick, for about 2 weeks, and now exams are around the corner I cannot ask her to continue because this topic isn't that important and gender studies isn't her area.

3/ "A room of one's own" shows that I was a bit simplistic to think that all a writer needs is talent, with some privacy. 
a) Educational opportunities and social expectations matter a great deal. 

b) "[O]ne would say that women's books should be shorter, more concentrated, than those of men, and framed so that they do not need long hours of steady and uninterrupted work. For interruptions there will always be." 
Also, according to Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen had to hide her manuscript when working on a novel. 
This answers a question I had before. Women couldn't write those thick books like the works by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Sholokov, Victor Hugo, etc. 

c) "One might say, I continued, laying the book down beside PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, that the woman who wrote those pages had more genius in her than Jane Austen; but if one reads them over and marks that jerk in them, that indignation, one sees that she will never get her genius expressed whole and entire.  Her books will be deformed and twisted. She will write in a rage where she should write calmly. She will write foolishly where she should write wisely. She will write of herself where she should write of her characters. She is at war with her lot. How could she help but die young, cramped and thwarted?
One could not but play for a moment with the thought of what might have happened if Charlotte Brontë had possessed say three hundred a year--but the foolish woman sold the copyright of her novels outright for fifteen hundred pounds; had somehow possessed more knowledge of the busy world, and towns and regions full of life; more practical experience, and intercourse with her kind and acquaintance with a variety of character. In those words she puts her finger exactly not only upon her own defects as a novelist but upon those of her sex at that time. She knew, no one better, how enormously her genius would have profited if it had not spent itself in solitary visions over distant fields; if experience and intercourse and travel had been granted her. But they were not granted; they were withheld; and we must accept the fact that all those good novels, VILLETTE, EMMA, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, MIDDLEMARCH, were written by women without more experience of life than could enter the house of a respectable clergyman; written too in the common sitting-room of that respectable house and by women so poor that they could not afford to buy more than a few quires of paper at a time upon which to write WUTHERING HEIGHTS or JANE EYRE. One of them, it is true, George Eliot, escaped after much tribulation, but only to a secluded villa in St John's Wood. And there she settled down in the shadow of the world's disapproval. 'I wish it to be understood', she wrote, 'that I should never invite anyone to come and see me who did not ask for the invitation'; for was she not living in sin with a married man and might not the sight of her damage the chastity of Mrs Smith or whoever it might be that chanced to call? One must submit to the social convention, and be 'cut off from what is called the world'. At the same time, on the other side of Europe, there was a young man living freely with this gypsy or with that great lady; going to the wars; picking up unhindered and uncensored all that varied experience of human life which served him so splendidly later when he came to write his books. Had Tolstoy lived at the Priory in seclusion with a married lady 'cut off from what is called the world', however edifying the moral lesson, he could scarcely, I thought, have written WAR AND PEACE."

Repeat: "experience and intercourse and travel"
I know, experience for the sake of experience means nothing, like Toni Morrison has said, but a total recluse like Emily Dickinson can be a great poet, never a great novelist and if a great novelist, is likely to be good at anything but at creating, describing and dealing with characters. There will always be some fault in the characters, or their voices, or their conversations. Proof: Charlotte Bronte, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Murakami...(If one places Dostoyevsky next to Tolstoy, one may prefer 1 writer to another but it's clear that Dostoyevsky was particularly clumsy when writing about characters speaking. So was Kafka. And that can be explained by their lives). 
So the fact that women did not have as much freedom as men, nor experience, social intercourse and travel, may have acted as a hindrance.

4/ This part from "A room of one's own" is similar to a point in my professor's email: 

"And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally, this is so. Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are 'important'; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes 'trivial'. And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room. A scene in a battle-field is more important than a scene in a shop--everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists. The whole structure, therefore, of the early nineteenth-century novel was raised, if one was a woman, by a mind which was slightly pulled from the straight, and made to alter its clear vision in deference to external authority. One has only to skim those old forgotten novels and listen to the tone of voice in which they are written to divine that the writer was meeting criticism; she was saying this by way of aggression, or that by way of conciliation. She was admitting that she was 'only a woman', or protesting that she was 'as good as a man'. She met that criticism as her temperament dictated, with docility and diffidence, or with anger and emphasis. It does not matter which it was; she was thinking of something other than the thing itself.
Down comes her book upon our heads. There was a flaw in the centre of it. And I thought of all the women's novels that lie scattered, like small pock-marked apples in an orchard, about the second-hand book shops of London. It was the flaw in the centre that had rotted them. She had altered her values in deference to the opinion of others." 

And this is an important point: 
"What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking. Only Jane Austen did it and Emily Brontë. It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write." 

5/ I misunderstood Virginia Woolf, when reading her criticism of "Jane Eyre". Now it turns out that she, in fact, thought Charlotte had more genius in her than Jane Austen. She's right in calling "Jane Eyre" a flawed novel, it is flawed and in some places the writing's a bit awkward.
"The sentence that was current at the beginning of the nineteenth century ran something like this perhaps: 'The grandeur of their works was an argument with them, not to stop short, but to proceed. They could have no higher excitement or satisfaction than in the exercise of their art and endless generations of truth and beauty. Success prompts to exertion; and habit facilitates success.' That is a man's sentence; behind it one can see Johnson, Gibbon and the rest. It was a sentence that was unsuited for a woman's use. Charlotte Brontë, with all her splendid gift for prose, stumbled and fell with that clumsy weapon in her hands. George Eliot committed atrocities with it that beggar description. Jane Austen looked at it and laughed at it and devised a perfectly natural, shapely sentence proper for her own use and never departed from it. Thus, with less genius for writing than Charlotte Brontë, she got infinitely more said." 
Yet anyhow I agree with Virginia Woolf that Emily Bronte's greater than her sister Charlotte. 

6/ Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen: 

"Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching. That was how Shakespeare wrote, I thought, looking at ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA; and when people compare Shakespeare and Jane Austen, they may mean that the minds of both had consumed all impediments; and for that reason we do not know Jane Austen and we do not know Shakespeare, and for that reason Jane Austen pervades every word that she wrote, and so does Shakespeare."

7/ There was a time when I thought I preferred male writers to female ones.
But can I claim that, considering that most of the books I've read were written by men? Obviously not.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Is there a national religion in the US?

My essay in NORAM1506 at UiO. 

1.  Is there a national religion in the U.S.? Discuss the legal and social framework for religious practice in the U.S. historically and today. Using examples from your syllabus readings, present a structured argument to answer the question above.

Is there a national religion in the United States? At first glance there seems to be an easy answer, that because of the separation of church and state according to the Constitution, the United States does not have one national religion like Lutheranism in Norway or Anglicanism in England or Catholicism in Liechtenstein, etc. However, in reality religion still has great significance in American society and consciousness, which will be explored in this essay. 

The First Amendment to the Constitution states specifically, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”[1]. It prohibits the establishment of a national religion or a state-supported church; and at the same time, protects the individuals’ right to practice their own faiths. Article VI of the Constitution states “... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”[2].

In Everson v. Board of Education, 1947, Justice Hugo Black wrote:

“The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State’.” [3]

In Engel v. Vitale, 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that school prayers in public schools were unconstitutional[4]. In Abington School District v. Schempp, 1963, school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools was also declared unconstitutional[5]. In 1971, the Lemon v. Kurtzman case established the Lemon test: “First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.” [6]

Most recently, in April 2013, the North Carolina House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have made Christianity the official religion of North Carolina[7].

While the law makes a separation of church and state, the United States continues to have a high percentage of religiosity. An AP/ IPSOS survey in 2005 reported that 86 percent felt religion was important to them[8]. In a Gallup poll in 2011, 92 percent said they believed in God[9]. Another Gallup poll in the same year showed that 78 percent of American adults identified with Christianity (Protestantism, Catholicism or Mormonism), less than 2 percent were Jewish, less than 1 percent were Muslims, 2.4 percent belonged to other religions and 15 percent did not have a religious identity. 2.5 percent did not give a response. This means that 95 percent of Americans who had a religious identity were Christians[10].

In addition, surveys have shown that generally Americans are more religious than Europeans. The respondents may “inflate their rates of church attendance” and “exaggerate the depth and seriousness of their religious beliefs” because “American define themselves as a religious people, they think and act accordingly”, because “Americans think that they are supposed to be religious, while Europeans think that they are supposed to be irreligious.”[11] Yet even if it is the case, that Americans are not as religious as they claim to be, the polls still show that they define themselves as a religious people and see religion as a part of their history and identity.

Throughout history, religion has played a crucial role in the Civil War, in the emancipation and enfranchisement of African Americans and in the Civil Rights movement. The first American call to abolish slavery came from the Quakers in Pennsylvania. On the one hand religious arguments were used on both sides. On the other hand one may argue that “white Southerners would have been pro-slavery without religion; while white Northerners likely would have been antislavery only because of religion”[12]. Similarly, the Civil Rights movement “relied substantially on black churches as sources of both organisation and inspiration and also found allies in many Northern mainline Protestant churches”[13].

Religion, in fact, has been significant since the foundation of the nation. In “Religious Diversity in a ‘Christian Nation’: American Identity and American Democracy”, Robert Wuthnow wrote “Nearly four Americans in five agree that the United States was founded on Christian principles. An equally large proportion believes America has been strong because of its faith in God. Three-quarters agree that in the twenty-first century the United States is still basically a Christian society. More than half believe our democratic form of government is based on Christianity.”[14] The Declaration of Independence begins with “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”[15] James Madison, ‘the Father of the Constitution’, advocated a separation of church and state because he sought to inscribe in the First Amendment the values of liberty, equality and toleration, because he was aware “[a]n established religion denies the freedom of some, the equality of all, and threatens minority faiths with intolerance”[16], not because he himself was a nonreligious man. Even when arguing for the separation, he referred to God “...Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which had convinced us. If this freedom is abused, it is an offence against God, not against man.”[17]

The other Founding Fathers of America were likely to more or less share the same thinking with James Madison. They were Christians or at least believed in a higher being, and frequently referred to God in their speeches and writings[18]. Therefore, even though there is no legally established national religion, there is a concept of civil religion, which, derived from Christianity but not itself Christianity, supposedly overarches the varieties of belief in the United States, especially when the waves of immigrants have led to increased religious diversity in American society. The words and acts of the Founding Fathers “shaped the form and tone of the civil religion as it has been maintained ever since.”[19] The national motto, which is printed on the American currency, is “In God we trust”. The Pledge of Allegiance has the phrase “one nation under God”. In Aronov v. United States, 1970[20] and then in Newdow v. Carey, 2010[21], the Supreme Court ruled that neither of them violated the First Amendment because they were non-sectarian and had secular, patriotic purpose and therefore they did not necessarily mean endorsement of religion. The oath of office[22] and the naturalisation oath of allegiance to the United States[23] both end with “So help me God”. Most American presidents end their speeches with “God bless America”. There are many other examples of civil religion in the United States, such as “presidential thanksgiving proclamations, prayers offered at the opening of legislative sessions, the invocation of divine succor at the opening of the Supreme Court, the special prayer room in the Capitol building...”[24]

Thus one can see that the separation of church and state does not completely remove religion from the public realm. Instead, due to the significance of religion in the foundation of the nation and throughout history, and the religiosity of most Americans nowadays, religion is seen as a part of American identity and a way of uniting all Americans.

It is also worth noting that even legally, the relation between church and state could be quite complex and problematic. The Lemon test can be examined again: “First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.” For example, in County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that the display of a crèche in the county courthouse was unconstitutional whereas the display of a Hanukkah menorah was constitutional because the menorah, like the Christmas tree, had become a secular symbol and no longer carried religious connotations[25].

However, if the courts are to have the responsibility of judging whether a governmental action has a secular purpose, they are forced to be both theological and social critics and their decisions can sometimes be controversial. In June 2005, the Supreme Court decided two similar cases with opposite outcomes. In McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union, the display of the Ten Commandments at a courthouse was considered unconstitutional, by a vote of five to four[26]. In Van Orden v. Perry, on the contrary, the Ten Commandments monument was seen in its historical context as one of some twenty monuments on the Capitol grounds and was ruled constitutional, also by a vote of five to four[27]. Stephen Breyer, the swing vote on the two cases, saw “the religious aspect of the tablets’ message as part of what is a broader moral and historical message reflective of a cultural heritage”[28]. Justice John P. Stevens, on the other hand, wrote in his dissent that “Texas, like our entire country, is now a much more diversified community than it was when it became a part of the United States or even when the monument was erected”, the display prescribed “a compelled code of conduct from one God, namely a Judeo-Christian God, that is rejected by prominent polytheistic sects, such as Hinduism, as well as nontheistic religions, such as Buddhism” and commanded “a preference for religion over irreligion” and hence it was unconstitutional[29].

Since then tablets of the Ten Commandments across the country have been challenged by people who saw them as violating the First Amendment, and lower courts have ruled both ways on the issue, depending on the circumstances and their interpretation of the First Amendment[30].

In conclusion, there is no legally established national religion in the United States, but there is a historically, culturally established one, the civil religion.

[2] “US Constitution: Article VI”, Cornell Law School,
[3] “Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing TP., 330 U.S. 1 (1947)”, Find Law for Legal Professionals,
[4] “Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)”, Justia: US Supreme Court Center,
[5] J. Clark, “Opinion of the Court: School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp (No. 142)”, Cornell Law School,
[6] “The Lemon Test”, US Constitution Online,
[7] Emily Swanson, “Christianity As State Religion Supported By One-Third Of Americans, Poll Finds”, HuffingtonPost, April 2013,
[8] David Mauk and John Oakland, American Civilization: An Introduction, 6th ed. (Glasgow: Bell& Bain Ltd, 2014), p.116
[9] Frank Newport, “More Than 9 in 10 Americans Continue to Believe in God”, Gallup, June 2011,
[10] Frank Newport, “Christianity Remains Dominant Religion in the United States”, Gallup, December 2011,
[11] José Casanova, “Immigration and the New Religious Pluralism: A European Union/ Unites States Comparison”, in Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism, ed. Thomas Bandchoff (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), p.67
[12] Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon& Schuster, 2010), p.375
[13] Ibid
[14] Robert Wuthnow, “Religious Diversity in a ‘Christian Nation’: American Identity and American Democracy” in Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism, p.160
[16] Ronald F. Thiemann, Religion in Public Life: A Dilemma for Democracy (Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press, 1996), p.73
[17] Ibid, p.21
[19] Ibid
[24] Thiemann, Religion in Public Life: A Dilemma for Democracy, p.53
[25] J. Brennan,“Concurring and Dissenting Opinion: County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter (No. 87-2050)”, Cornell Law School,
[26] “McCreary County, Kentucky, et al. V. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky et al.”, Find Law for Legal Professionals,
[27] “Van Orden v. Perry, in his official capacity s Governor of Texas and Chairman, State Preservation Board, et al.”, Find Law for Legal Professionals,
[28] Ibid
[29] J. Stevens, “Dissenting Opinion: Van Orden v. Perry, in his official capacity as Governor of Texas and Chairman, State Preservation Board, et al.”, Cornell Law School,
[30] Wuthnow, “Religious Diversity in a ‘Christian Nation’: American Identity and American Democracy” in Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism, p.163


Bellah, Robert N. “Civil Religion in America”, Internet Archive,

Brennan, J. “Concurring and Dissenting Opinion: County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter (No. 87-2050)”, Cornell Law School

Casanova, José. “Immigration and the New Religious Pluralism: A European Union/ Unites States Comparison”. In Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism, edited by Thomas Bandchoff, 59-83. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Clark, J. “Opinion of the Court: School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp (No. 142)”, Cornell Law School

“Declaration of Independence”, National Archives

“Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)”, Justia: US Supreme Court Center

“Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing TP., 330 U.S. 1 (1947)”, Find Law for Legal Professionals,

Mauk, David, and John Oakland. American Civilization: An Introduction, 6th ed. Glasgow: Bell& Bain Ltd, 2014.

“McCreary County, Kentucky, et al. V. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky et al.”, Find Law for Legal Professionals,

Newport, Frank. “Christianity Remains Dominant Religion in the United States”, Gallup, December 2011,

Newport, Frank. “More Than 9 in 10 Americans Continue to Believe in God”, Gallup, June 2011,

Putnam, Robert D., and David E. Campbell. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon& Schuster, 2010.

Stevens, J. “Dissenting Opinion: Van Orden v. Perry, in his official capacity as Governor of Texas and Chairman, State Preservation Board, et al.”, Cornell Law School

“The Judiciary Act of 1789”, Constitution Society

“The Lemon Test”, US Constitution Online

Swanson, Emily. “Christianity As State Religion Supported By One-Third Of Americans, Poll Finds”, HuffingtonPost, April 2013,

Thiemann, Ronald F. Religion in Public Life: A Dilemma for Democracy. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press, 1996.

“United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: Newdow v. Rio Linda USD”, United States Court for the Ninth Circuit

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