Adopted on December 15, 1791, the First Amendment of the United States of America’s constitution guarantees all Americans freedom to exercise religion. The First Amendment specifically denies the federal government any power to enforce any law that either prohibits the practice of a religion, or establishes one.
Going into the nineteenth century, the United States was the first nation not to have any official or “state” religion. Having a majority of Americans report that their lives are greatly affected by their religion, many faiths have flourished in the United States, highlighting the countries multicultural heritage.
As it would turn out, a big number or 78.5% of Americans would identify themselves as Christians (including the Protestants, Mormons, Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Jehovah’s Witness, and other Christian sects); 16.1% of the population would be identified as having no religious affiliation; and more or less 4.8% of the population would be those who belong to religious beliefs like Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam. In a survey conducted by the American Religious Identification Survey, there is a great variance in religious belief throughout the country: in the southern states, “belief in God” goes up as high as 86% of Americans, whereas in the “Unchurched Belt” or the Western states, the figure was reported at 59%.
Whatever faith you may have, here are the places of worship and service to take note of:
1. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., which is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States;
2. For those who practice Judaism, a visit to Beth-El Temple in Birmingham, Alabama would be good;
3. A Buddhist monastery, Hsi Lai Temple can be found in Los Angeles, California;
4. The Islamic Center of America located in Michigan, is the largest mosque in the United States; and
5. Malibu Hindu Temple in California to name only a few.