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The Marketplace of Religion in the British Colonies


Title: Slide 1 Author: Eileen Luhr Last modified by: Eileen Luhr Created Date: 10/1/2010 5:15:31 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Marketplace of Religion in the British Colonies

The Marketplace of Religion in the British
Colonies Early Republic Eileen Luhr
  • Focus questions outline for presentation
  • How can teachers integrate religious history into
    social, political, and intellectual history?
  • 3 sub questions
  • 1. How did the "marketplace of religion" alter
    religious beliefs and institutions during the
    Great Awakening American Revolution?
  • 2. How did the Enlightenment alter religious
    beliefs and institutions?
  • a) Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
  • b) the Constitution
  • 3. How did disestablishment affect religion in
    the early Republic?

Content standards for presentation
  • 8.1 Students understand the major events
    preceding the founding of the nation and relate
    their significance to the development of American
    constitutional democracy.
  • 1. Describe the relationship between the moral
    and political ideas of the Great Awakening and
    the development of revolutionary fervor.
  • 8.2 Students analyze the political principles
    underlying the U.S. Constitution and compare the
    enumerated and implied powers of the federal
  • 5. Understand the significance of Jefferson's
    Statute for Religious Freedom as a forerunner of
    the First Amendment and the origins, purpose, and
    differing views of the founding fathers on the
    issue of the separation of church and state.
  • 11.1 Students analyze the significant events in
    the founding of the nation and its attempts to
    realize the philosophy of government described in
    the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1. Describe the Enlightenment and the rise of
    democratic ideas as the context in which the
    nation was founded.
  • 2. Analyze the ideological origins of the
    American Revolution, the Founding Fathers
    philosophy of divinely bestowed unalienable
    natural rights, the debates on the drafting and
    ratification of the Constitution, and the
    addition of the Bill of Rights.
  • 11.3 Students analyze the role religion played in
    the founding of America, its lasting moral,
    social, and political impacts, and issues
    regarding religious liberty.
  • 1. Describe the contributions of various
    religious groups to American civic principles and
    social reform movements
  • 2. Analyze the great religious revivals and the
    leaders involved in them, including the First
    Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening....
  • 5. Describe the principles of religious liberty
    found in the Establishment and Free Exercise
    clauses of the First Amendment, including the
    debate on the issue of separation of church and

Three key concepts for today
  • The marketplace of ideas Through case studies,
    well examine the changes religious beliefs
    underwent in the 18th century, particularly
    during the Great Awakening the Revolution.
    Well look at the role that religion played in
    the cultural marketplace and in the American
  • 2. Individual autonomy, religion, and the
    Enlightenment The Great Awakening, like the
    Enlightenment, placed the individual at the
    center of the search for truth. Both traditions
    encouraged colonists to question traditional
    authority (Lambert, 10).
  • 3. Consequences of disestablishment.
    Disestablishment created what historian Jonathan
    Butler has described as a spiritual hothouse
    for religion. The result was the proliferation
    of religious groups that were, for the first
    time, distinctly American. In the words of
    historian Nathan Hatch, the early republic
    witnessed the democratization of American
    Christianity. Believers enthusiasm led them to
    become involved in benevolent work that included
    home visits, temperance movement, and, in some
    cases, abolition.

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills
  • Chronological and Spatial Thinking
  • 2. Students analyze how change happens at
    different rates at different times understand
    that some aspects can change while others remain
    the same and understand that change is
    complicated and affects not only technology and
    politics but also values and beliefs.
  • Research, Evidence, and Point of View
  • 4. Students construct and test hypotheses
    collect, evaluate, and employ information from
    multiple primary and secondary sources and apply
    it in oral and written presentations.
  • Historical Interpretation
  • 1. Students show the connections, causal and
    otherwise between particular historical events
    and larger social, economic, and political trends
    and developments.

Why study religious history?
  • ideas about human nature, equality, freedom,
  • intersection with non-religious ideas in
    economics, politics, and culture
  • interactions between social groups religion
    included groups who were excluded from the
    political process, including non-elites, white
    women, and slave men and women.

Focus Question 1 How did the "marketplace of
religion" alter religious beliefs and
institutions during the First Great Awakening
American Revolution?
  • questions
  • How did the First Great Awakening alter religious
    beliefs and attitudes about established
  • How did new markets people affect religious
  • How did religious beliefs and practices influence
    the American Revolution?
  • key concept the marketplace of religion and the
    marketplace of ideas In the early years of
    colonization, it was easier for religious
    authorities to maintain religious uniformity in
    their colony. The First Great Awakening occurred
    during a period when new ideas and markets
    challenged these religious beliefs. Historians
    now suggest that religions had to compete within
    the marketplace of ideas. This concept points
    toward disestablishment

How did the First Great Awakening alter religious
beliefs and attitudes about established religions?
  • The original planters had vowed to keep
    divergent ideas out of their settlements, a task
    that became ever more difficult with a growing
    population pushing against town borders and an
    expanding commerce bringing hawkers and peddlers
    with their new goods and ideas. In the end,
    defenders of local institutions and traditions
    failed, as many within their communities eagerly
    embraced the newcomers and their wares.
    Insistent upon exercising choice, consumers,
    whether considering manufactured goods or
    religious notions, demanded the right to choose
    for themselves. The result was a new, more
    expansive definition of religious freedom, one
    characterized by religious competition among the
    sects. The world of the settled ministry was
    turned upside down. No longer able to count on a
    monopoly within their parishes, clergyman had to
    woo individuals who were now empowered to decide
    religious matters for themselves.
  • Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place
    of Religion in America (Princeton UP, 2003), p.

marketplace of religionPeter Annet, A Discourse
on Government and Religion (Boston, 1750)
  • Religion, like Trade, ought to be free. It is
    best dealing at an open market by that means we
    have a more reasonable rateWhy should not every
    man chuse for himself in spirituals, as well as
    in temporals, and buy those wares he likes best,
    or thinks he has most need of, seeing he must pay
    for them.

Religion the First Great Awakening
  • Forty years before the American Revolution, a
    religious revolution swept through the colonies
    in a spiritual revival known as the Great
    Awakening, and thousands of evangelical
    Dissenters embraced the radical notion that
    individual experience, not church dogma or
    government statute, was authoritative in
    religious matters. Salvation, they argued,
    occurred through the outpouring of God's grace in
    what they called spiritual New Birth. Thus
    empowered, converted men and women, called New
    Lights, challenged both church and state
    authority in matters of faith. Many left their
    own congregations and started Separate Churches
    or joined with such radical sects as Baptists.
    They insisted that religion was strictly
    voluntary, and that no government could compel an
    individual to subscribe to any belief or
    practice. The result was a new place for
    religion, a religious marketplace in which
    individual men and women chose among voluntary,
    competing sects. (Lambert, 8)

Example 1 The Marketplace of Religion in
VirginiaChrist Church, Virginia (built c.
1735)- What is the building made of?- What can
you tell about the social status of the members
of this church?
Interior and pulpit of Christ Church- Where is
the pulpit? Where do members sit?- what does
this say about the church members beliefs?
Religion in Virginia after the First Great
AwakeningSouth Quay Baptist Church 1775 (left)
and Mt. Shiloh Baptist- looking at the
architecture and layout, how might these churches
differ in beliefs from the Anglican Church?
Example 2 The Marketplace of Religion in New
York New York, 1730
The Marketplace of Religion in New York New
York, 1771
Example 3 George Whitefield, itinerant
evangelist trafficking in the Lord (Lambert,
Benjamin Franklin describes the preaching of
George Whitefield in 1739
  • In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the
    Reverend Mr. Whitefield, who had made himself
    remarkable there as an itinerant preacher. He was
    at first permitted to preach in some of our
    churches but the clergy, taking a dislike to
    him, soon refus'd him their pulpits, and he was
    oblig'd to preach in the fields. The multitudes
    of all sects and denominations that attended his
    sermons were enormous, and it was matter of
    speculation to me, who was one of the number, to
    observe the extraordinary influence of his
    oratory on his hearers, and bow much they admir'd
    and respected him, notwithstanding his common
    abuse of them, by assuring them that they were
    naturally half beasts and half devils. It was
    wonderful to see the change soon made in the
    manners of our inhabitants. From being
    thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it
    seem'd as if all the world were growing
    religious, so that one could not walk thro' the
    town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in
    different families of every street.
  • He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated
    his words and sentences so perfectly, that he
    might be heard and understood at a great
    distance, especially as his auditories, however
    numerous, observ'd the most exact silence. He
    preach'd one evening from the top of the
    Court-house steps, which are in the middle of
    Market-street, and on the west side of
    Second-street, which crosses it at right angles.
    Both streets were fill'd with his hearers to a
    considerable distance. Being among the hindmost
    in Market-street, I had the curiosity to learn
    how far he could be heard, by retiring backwards
    down the street towards the river and I found
    his voice distinct till I came near Front-street,
    when some noise in that street obscur'd it.
    Imagining then a semi-circle, of which my
    distance should be the radius, and that it were
    fill'd with auditors, to each of whom I allow'd
    two square feet, I computed that he might well be
    heard by more than thirty thousand. This
    reconcil'd me to the newspaper accounts of his
    having preach'd to twenty-five thousand people in
    the fields, and to the antient histories of
    generals haranguing whole armies, of which I had
    sometimes doubted.
  • By hearing him often, I came to distinguish
    easily between sermons newly compos'd, and those
    which he had often preach'd in the course of his
    travels. His delivery of the latter was so
    improv'd by frequent repetitions that every
    accent, every emphasis, every modulation of
    voice, was so perfectly well turn'd and well
    plac'd, that, without being interested in the
    subject, one could not help being pleas'd with
    the discourse a pleasure of much the same kind
    with that receiv'd from an excellent piece of
    musick. This is an advantage itinerant preachers
    have over those who are stationary, as the latter
    can not well improve their delivery of a sermon
    by so many rehearsals.
  • source Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of
    Benjamin Franklin (New York Collier Son,
    1909), pp.104-108. Originally published

Focus question 2How did Enlightenment ideas
affect American religious life after the
  • Key Concept Both the Great Awakening the
    Enlightenment placed the individual at the
    center of the search for truth. Both traditions
    encouraged colonists to question traditional
    authority (Lambert, 10).
  • Historians describe this process
  • Gordon Wood, Evangelical America and Early
    Mormonism, New York History (October 1980)
    358-86 Once ordinary people found that they
    could change traditional religion as completely
    as they were changing traditional politics, they
    had no need for deism or infidelityEvangelical
    Christianity and the democracy of these years,
    the very democracy with which Jefferson rode to
    power and destroyed Federalism, emerged together
    and were interrelated.
  • Historians R. Laurence Moore and Isaac Kramnick
    describe the Godless constitution they argue
    that the founders envisioned a nation with a
    godless Constitution and a godless politics.
    Religions influence was to rest in directing
    the customs of the community and in regulating
    domestic life without subjecting it to the
    fortunes of a political faction (22). The liberal
    states function was to protect rights, not
    establish truths. As Frank Lambert suggests, the
    founders believed that true religion was
    located through free rational inquiry rather
    than church doctrine or government fiat (3)
    Finally, as Moore and Kramnick point out, for
    nearly two hundred years religious critics
    complained that the Constitution failed to use
    the word God.

  • John Locke, Letter Concern Toleration (1689)
  • the state seems to me to be a society of men
    constituted only for the procuring, preserving,
    and advancing their own civil interests. Civil
    interest I call life, liberty, health, and
    indolence of body and the possession of outward
    things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture,
    and the like. It is the duty of the civil
    magistrate, by the impartial execution of equal
    laws, to secure unto all the people in general,
    and to every one of his subjects in particular
    the just possession of these things belonging to
    this life.Every man has commission to admonish,
    exhort, convince another of error, and, by
    reasoning, to draw him into truth but to give
    laws, receive obedience, and compel with the
    sword, belongs to none but the magistrate. And
    upon this ground, I affirm that the magistrates
    power extends not to the establishing of any
    articles of faith, or form of worship, by the
    force of his laws. Excerpted from Isaac
    Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless
    Constitution, pp. 75-6
  • Oliver Ellsworth, delegate to Constitutional
    Convention (1787)
  • To come to the true principalThe business of
    civil government is to protect the citizen in his
    rightscivil government has no business to meddle
    with the private concerns of the peopleI am
    accountable not to man, but to God, for the
    religious opinions which I embraceA test law
    isthe offspring of error and the spirit of
    persecution. Legislatures have no right to set
    up an inquisition and examine into the private
    opinions of men. (source Kramnick and Moore, p.
  • Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia,
    Query XVII (1781) 
  • (O)ur rulers can have no authority over such
    natural rights, only as we have submitted to
    them. The rights of conscience we never
    submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable
    for them to our God. The legitimate powers of
    government extend to such acts only as are
    injurious to others. But it does me no injury for
    my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no
    god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my
    leg. If it be said, his testimony in a court of
    justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and
    be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him
    worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will
    never make him a truer man. It may fix him
    obstinately in his errors, but will not cure
    them. Reason and free enquiry are the only
    effectual agents against error. Give a loose to
    them, they will support the true religion, by
    bringing every false one to their tribunal, to
    the test of their investigation. They are the
    natural enemies of error, and of error only.

  • Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom
    (1786) (excerpt)
  • Well aware that Almighty God hath created the
    mind free
  • that all attempts to influence it by temporal
    punishments or burdens, or by civil
    incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of
    hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from
    the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who
    being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not
    to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in
    his Almighty power to dothat the impious
    presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as
    well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but
    fallible and uninspired men, have assumed
    dominion over the faith of others, setting up
    their own opinions and modes of thinking as the
    only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring
    to impose them on others, hath established and
    maintained false religions over the greatest part
    of the world, and through all time... that our
    civil rights have no dependence on our religious
    opinions, more than our opinions in physics or
    geometry that, therefore, the proscribing any
    citizen as unworthy the public confidence by
    laying upon him an incapacity of being called to
    the offices of trust and emolument, unless he
    profess or renounce this or that religious
    opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those
    privileges and advantages to which in common with
    his fellow citizens he has a natural it enacted by the general assembly
    that no man shall be compelled to frequent or
    support any religious worship, place, or ministry
    whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained,
    molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor
    shall otherwise suffer on account of his
    religious opinions or belief but that all men
    shall be free to profess, and by argument to
    maintain, their opinions in matters of religion,
    and that the same shall in nowise diminish,
    enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

  • Religion in the Constitution
  • Preamble We the People of the United States, in
    Order to form a more perfect Union, establish
    Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for
    the common defence, promote the general Welfare,
    and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves
    and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
    Constitution for the United States of America.
  • Comparison to the Declaration of Independence?
  • Article VI The Senators and Representatives
    before mentioned, and the Members of the several
    State Legislatures, and all executive and
    judicial Officers, both of the United States and
    of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or
    Affirmation, to support this Constitution but no
    religious Test shall ever be required as a
    Qualification to any Office or public Trust under
    the United States.
  • - Oath or Affirmation some may object to oaths
    or invoking the name of a deity they did not
    believe in no religious test for federal office 
  • First Amendment Congress shall make no law
    respecting an establishment of religion, or
    prohibiting the free exercise thereof or
    abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press
    or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
    and to petition the government for a redress of
  • Establishment Clause AND free exercise clause

  • Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)
  • Of the Expence of the Institutions for the
    Instruction of People of all Ages
  • The interested and active zeal of religious
    teachers can be dangerous and troublesome only
    where there is, either but one sect tolerated in
    the society, or where the whole of a large
    society is divided into two or three great sects
    the teachers of each acting by concert, and under
    a regular discipline and subordination. But that
    zeal must be altogether innocent where the
    society is divided into two or three hundred, or
    perhaps into as many thousand small sects, of
    which no one could be considerable enough to
    disturb the public tranquillity. The teachers of
    each sect, seeing themselves surrounded on all
    sides with more adversaries than friends, would
    be obliged to learn that candour and moderation
    which is so seldom to be found among the teachers
    of those great sects, whose tenets, being
    supported by the civil magistrate, are held in
    veneration by almost all the inhabitants of
    extensive kingdoms and empires, and who therefore
    see nothing round them but followers, disciples,
    and humble admirers. The teachers of each little
    sect, finding themselves almost alone, would be
    obliged to respect those of almost every other
    sect, and the concessions which they would
    mutually find it both convenient and agreeable to
    make to one another, might in time probably
    reduce the doctrine of the greater part of them
    to that pure and rational religion, free from
    every mixture of absurdity, imposture, and
    fanaticism, such as wise men have in all ages of
    the world wished to see established but such as
    positive law has perhaps never yet established,
    and probably never will establish in any country
    because, with regard to religion, positive law
    always has been, and probably always will be,
    more or less influenced by popular superstition
    and enthusiasm.

The origins of the secular traditionThomas
Paine, The Age of Reason (1794)
  • I believe in one God, and no more and I hope
    for happiness beyond this life...
  • I do not believe in the creed professed by the
    Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek
    church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant
    church, nor by any church that I know of. My own
    mind is my own church...
  • It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to
    call anything a revelation that comes to us at
    second-hand, either verbally or in writing.
    Revelation is necessarily limited to the first
    communication after this, it is only an account
    of something which that person says was a
    revelation made to him and though he may find
    himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be
    incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner
    for it was not a revelation made to me, and I
    have only his word for it that it was made to
  • When Moses told the children of Israel that he
    received the two tables of the commandments from
    the hands of God, they were not obliged to
    believe him, because they had no other authority
    for it than his telling them so and I have no
    other authority for it than some historian
    telling me so. The commandments carry no internal
    evidence of divinity with them they contain some
    good moral precepts, such as any man qualified to
    be a lawgiver, or a legislator, could produce
    himself, without having recourse to supernatural

Focus question 3How did disestablishment affect
religion in the early Republic?
  • key concept
  • Institutional proliferation. Disestablishment
    created what historian Jonathan Butler has
    described as a spiritual hothouse for religion.
    The result was the proliferation of religious
    groups that were, for the first time, distinctly
    American. In the words of historian Nathan
    Hatch, the early republic witnessed the
    democratization of American Christianity.
    Moreover, believers enthusiasm led them to
    become involved in benevolent work that included
    home visits, temperance movement, and, in some
    cases, abolition.
  • Historians write about this process
  • The ideology of the Revolution aggravated this
    social disintegration but at the same time helped
    make it meaningful. The egalitarianism of the
    Revolution explained and justified for common
    people their new independence and distance from
    one another. The change and disruptions were
    offset by the Revolutionary promise for the
    future of the countryTraditional structures of
    authority crumbled under the momentum of the
    Revolution, and common people increasingly
    discovered that they no longer had to accept the
    old distinctions that had separated them from the
    upper ranks of the gentry.
  • As the traditional connections of people fell
    away, many Americans found themselves in a
    marginal or what anthropologists call a liminal
    state of transition and were driven to find or
    fabricate new ways of relating to one
    anotherPeople were urged to transcend their
    parochial folk and kin loyalties and to reach out
    to embrace even distant strangers. The
    Enlightenments stress on modern civility came
    together with the traditional message of
    Christian charity to make the entire period from
    the Revolution to the Age of Jackson a great era
    of benevolence and communitarianism.
  • The Enlightenment was not repudiated but
    popularized. The great democratic revolution of
    the period forged a new popular amalgam out of
    traditional folk beliefs and the literary culture
    of the gentry...Like the culture as a whole,
    religion was powerfully affected by these
    popularizing developments. Subterranean folk
    beliefs and fetishes emerged into the open and
    blended with traditional Christian practices to
    created a wildly spreading evangelical
    enthusiasm. Ordinary people cut off from
    traditional social relationships were freer than
    ever before to express publicly hitherto
    repressed or vulgar emotions
  • The American Revolution itself was invoked by
    this evangelical challenge to existing authority,
    and Christianity for some radicals became
    republicanized. As in government so in religion.
    The people were their own theologians and could
    no longer rely on others to tell them what to
    believe (366-74)

institutional proliferation the camp
meetingsource P.S. Duval, ca. 1801, from Joseph
Smith, Old Redstone
Peter Cartwright, memories of the Cane Ridge
Revival, 1801-1804
  • In this revival originated our camp-meetings,
    and in both these denominations they were held
    every year, and, indeed, have been ever since,
    more or less. They would erect their camps with
    logs or frame them, and cover them with
    clapboards or shingles. They would also erect a
    shed, sufficiently large to protect five thousand
    people from wind and rain, and cover it with
    boards or shingles build a large stand, seat the
    shed, and here they would collect together from
    forty to fifty miles around, sometimes further
    than that. Ten, twenty, and sometimes thirty
    ministers, of different denominations, would come
    together and preach night and day, four or five
    days together and, indeed, I have known these
    camp-meetings to last three or four weeks, and
    great good resulted from them. I have seen more
    than a hundred sinners fall like dead men under
    one powerful sermon, and I have seen and heard
    more than five hundred Christians all shouting
    aloud the high praises of God at once and I will
    venture to assert that many happy thousands were
    awakened and converted to God at these
    camp-meetings. Some sinners mocked, some of the
    old dry professors opposed, some of the old
    starched Presbyterian preachers preached against
    these exercises, but still the work went on and
    spread almost in every direction, gathering
    additional force, until our country seemed all
    coming home to God.
  • Just in the midst of our controversies on the
    subject of the powerful exercises among the
    people under preaching, a new exercise broke out
    among us, called the jerks, which was
    overwhelming in its effects upon the bodies and
    minds of the people. No matter whether they were
    saints or sinners, they would be taken under a
    warm song or sermon, and seized with a convulsive
    jerking all over, which they could not by an
    possibility avoid, and the more they resisted the
    more they jerked, If they would not strive
    against it and pray in good earnest, the jerking
    would usually abate. I have seen more than five
    hundred persons jerking at one time in my large
    congregations. Most usually persons taken with
    the jerks, to obtain relief, as they said, would
    rise up and dance. Some would run, but could not
    get away. Some would resist on such the jerks
    were generally very severe.

other religious sects and traditions that
originated or grew during the Second Great
  • Existing religions that grew
  • Baptists (origins of Southern Baptists)
  • Methodists
  • New religions
  • Mormons
  • Disciples of Christ
  • Millerites (Seventh-Day Adventists)
  • Communitarian groups
  • Finneyite revivals
  • Transcendentalism Unitarianism

American religious diversity the eight leading
church bodies in the United States by County,
2000 (measures church membership, not belief)

Primary Sources on the webDivining America
n and the Founding of the American Republic
American Odyssey http//
tml/exhibit/aointro.html Selected secondary
sourcesPatricia Bonomi, Under the Cope of
Heaven Religion, Society, and Politics in
Colonial America (Oxford UP, 1986). Frank
Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of
Religion in America (Princeton UP, 2003)Rhys
Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790
(University of North Carolina Press, 1982).
Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The
Godless Constitution A Moral Defense of the
Secular State (W. W. Norton Company, 1996).R.
Laurence Moore, Selling God American Religion in
the Marketplace of Culture (Oxford UP, 1994).