I'll be the first to admit to being liberal and maybe because of that I've never really "got" religion. Nor can I understand people living word by word by it and I find many religions and some religious people to be very hypocritical. In moving from a pretty secular country to somewhere where religion is very much everywhere has been a huge eye opener. And while I write this post and publish it out into the big wide world, I don't mean to cause offence if religion is your thing. [I'm all for religion - but it's not for me, don't peach at me about you're religion and don't get brainwashed about how it's the only way to lead your life, to me religion has caused far too many of the world's problems, killed too many people and claimed too many lands, but that's my own belief].
So .... RELIGION - perhaps it was how I was raised but I believe my case could well apply to many people in the UK. We're brought up with either religion meaning tradition or the religious fanaticism that leads to terrorism. Being British our religion [if you have one] is something that is personal - to broadcast or shout out about it is bad form, you keep it to yourself and you get on with your life. Or, we're just indifferent to it.
In America religion is everywhere - churches are everywhere, people talk about their religion very openly, attend church weekly and in gardens you'll find statues and shrines to the virgin Mary. I've married into a religious family - although Joe himself is rather carefree, the rest of the family seems very much by the word of the book and their praying before meals made me rather uncomfortable. The difference between our two countries is clearly quantitative, a survey in 2008 disclosed only 15% of Americans describe themselves as being of "no religion" in comparison to the 43% in the UK. Furthermore only 3% of Americans would state not believing in God to 18% of the UK population.
It even extends to the differences within blogs. Religion creeps into more American based bloggers [maybe I'm just exposed to more of them] and to me, it's a little unnerving especially with regards to how they so openly criticise other people's lives and constantly make biblical quotations, that they are sinners and Jesus saved them. There are fanatics in many religions but for a country that's meant to be so forward in the world it's amazing that religion has such a big place. I've read a comparison that religion in the USA is where religion was in the UK back in the 1500s and this I could well believe.
More so religion is in bed with politics, so much that the Republican party are often renamed as the Religious Right. From the right/church come the pro life cries [anti pill/abortion] tend to be against this on going debate for increased women's health provision. The church even continues the call for evolution to be taught in schools [although no prayers can be said at any school due to laws under the American constitution], porn is one of the biggest evils and we all know their attitudes towards gay marriage or even gay relationships. In contrast religion and politics in the UK don't mix that very often - the church will mouth off about something they disagree with but that seems to be that.
Religion seems to be a huge element for social cohesion here in the USA and it strongly seems to define many living here and being "American". But whatever your religion is, whether you have one or not shouldn't define who you and the bible shouldn't dictate what you're rights as human should be.