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Jehova’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses is a millenarian Christian denomination with roots in the late 19th century America. Witnesses reject the notion of the holy trinity. They believe that God sent Jesus to earth as a sacrifice to vindicate his sovereignty and that Christ took power in heaven as king in 1914. He cast Satan out of heaven …

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Unitarian Universalists

Unitarian Universalists have only a few hundred thousand members but have had influence on American society far in excess of their numbers. U.S. Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Fillmore and Taft were Unitarians, as were many prominent Americans like Susan B. Anthony, Horace Mann, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry …

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Separation of Church and State

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the first of the “Bill of Rights,” states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” These restrictions on federal action also apply to the states and their subdivisions. The “establishment of religion” clause lays down the doctrine …

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Personal Growth

Americans, whether religious or not, often actively seek personal growth and self improvement. Numerous groups, leaders, books and courses exist to help them attain that personal growth. Charismatic public speakers like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Zig Ziglar, Anthony Robbins, Steven Covey and Dr. Robert Schuller have become best-selling authors and fill large arenas by giving professional …

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Christian Scientists

Christian Scientists follow the Bible and teachings of Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) as expressed in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Most American Christian Scientists are members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts (the “Mother Church” ) as well as branch churches. To promulgate its teachings, the Church …

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The Quakers

A relatively small group that has played an important role in U.S. history has been the Quakers, members of the “Religious Society of Friends.” Originating in 17th century England, they were the original founders of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the “City of Brotherly Love.” Since early days, Quakers have been associated with pacifism. Other Quaker customs, now …

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The Protestants

Today, a solid half of all Americans identify themselves as Protestants, but the Protestant heritage in the United States extends well beyond numbers. For the first two centuries of English-speaking habitation of the United States, encompassing the entire colonial era and the first fifty years of independence, Protestants made up virtually the entire population. Protestant …

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The Presbyterians

Presbyterians number about six million in the United States, divided between the mainline Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the evangelical Presbyterian Church in America, and a number of smaller Presbyterian confederations. Presbyterianism originated in Scotland as part of the Calvinist Protestant movement. One of its distinct traditions is the appointment of church members to function as deacons …

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Catholic Parochial Schools

Called “parochial schools” to distinguish them from secular and Protestant private schools, Catholic schools exist in many communities that have substantial Catholic populations. Local parishes often run elementary schools, while dioceses tend to operate secondary schools. Religious orders and Catholic universities also run parochial schools. In some urban areas, parochial schools have better reputations for …

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New Age

During the latter half of the 20th century, many interrelated systems of beliefs came to be called “new age.” For the most part, Americans interested in new age practices seek a unity of mind, body and spirit as a means to spiritual awareness and progress, avoiding or rejecting the offerings of traditional organized religion. New …

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