Research Project Draft

The project draft is the first full version of your sociological analysis of the topic. It will become the basis for your presentation in class.

Structure of the Essay
I. Introduction (2-3 paragraphs)
Identify the sociological question. Explain how our understanding of the topic would be lacking if we did not examine the topic from this sociological perspective.

II. Application of the concepts (6-8 paragraphs)
Introduce the sociological concepts and demonstrate how they explain the topic. You can make note of the parts that they get right and the parts that they get wrong. As Davie discussed, sociological concepts rarely fit empirical examples perfectly, so it is important to assess how well they do the explanatory work. You can use more than two concepts in your analysis, but depth is more important than breadth in this section. In this section, you should discuss the six (or more) sources. It is important to synthesize here, rather than treat each source separately.

III. Discussion of the significance of the analysis (4-6 paragraphs)
What have we learned about the topic from this sociological analysis? What remains to be explained? How has our understanding of the sociological concepts benefited from this analysis? What aspects of the topic require further research and analysis?

IV. Bibliography (formatted in ASA style unless you identified an alternate style guide)
You must have at least six sociological sources.

I will be evaluating your essay in terms of three rubrics:
(A) How well you have selected and used relevant sociological concepts.
(B) How well you have explained your analysis and the significance of the sociological perspective. This includes an assessment of the creativity of your approach to the essay.
(C) The quality of your writing, including the organization of the essay.

The draft+presentation is worth 10 points. The grading rubric for the final edited version will be the same.

The presentation should be no longer than five minutes. It should contain three parts: (i) articulation of the sociological question; (ii) identification of the sociological concepts in your analysis -- there should be at least two sociological concepts in your work; and, (iii) one key idea that follows from your analysis. Begin by introducing yourself. If you are doing a group project, introduce everyone in the group.

You may use visual aids such as Powerpoint for your presentation, but this is not required. You should send me a copy of your Powerpoint if you use it. If you don't use Powerpoint, you should send me a copy of your outline.

You will be evaluated on the quality of your presentation as well as your ability to keep to the proper time.


Stéfon Thompson
Dr. Timothy Shortell
Research Project
The Sociology of Religion


The structure of Religion and tolerant speech surrounding religious ideology often times speeds past the means by which religious beliefs are obtained. I aim to question how it is exactly that the globalization of the Christianity affects of the lives of those who’ve been force-fed its ideologies. Furthermore what role does the religion play in the lives of those who have become thusly steeped within it.
Focusing on the Afro-American populace in order to understand the means by which the reproduction of these ideals are spread. My desire is to understand the nuances of social control the “Christian” religion employees to reproduce its own ideologies. Moreover asking how is it that assimilation has erased cultural ties to other Afro persons making the Afro-American a stand alone populace of the diaspora. Through understanding complex and often glazed over spiritual genesis of the descendants of stolen person in Americas I wish to explain how surviving slavery in the the present day US has dampened the Afro-American bond to their former but further more give an inept exploration into how this works.
Ultimately i want to explain how missionary work and the assimilation of non white persons into the christian faith in for its self is a perpetuation of an act of violence.“I speak of the Christian religion, and no one need be astonished. The Church in the colonies is the white people's Church, the foreigner's Church. She does not call the native to God's ways but to the ways of the white man, of the master, of the oppressor. And as we know, in this matter many are called but few chosen.”
In the 1900 their existed 9 million Christians across the continent. As of 2000 it was estimated that their now exist a total of 380 million christians on the continent. “This is best explained by Pentecostalism, the form of Christianity which is growing fastest in the modern world. So far this too is a religion of the global South, growing exponentially in Latin America in the 1960s, spreading to Africa
Application of Concepts
”One ponders how the erasure of traditional spiritual practices take place whilst the rise and spread of Christianity continues to grab hold vastly of countries beyond Europe. Davie explains this through the idea of globalization; “Markedly different perspectives immediately become clear. A great deal depends, in fact, on how globalization itself is conceptualized. Is this a powerful, unstoppable, economic force, sweeping everything – including religion – before it? Or is it something far more complex embodying all kinds of economic and social movements some of which go with the economic flows and some of which resist them?”
and why is it important to understand the spread of religious faiths especially that of Christianity in what is called the “third world” i would dare to state because a large component of globalization is driven by economic gain. Weber once said in the Protestant Ethic that the best way to for Europe to spread capitalism beyond its shores was to give their God to the world. In a faith where the only measure of favor from and God is material possession and position spreading the ideas of labor being a resource for salvation with those whom you’ve relegated to the pits of humanity is only befitting.
This gives way to ideas around why these religions have spread yet it docent quite answer for the particular set of circumstances that perpetuate the Afro American’s continued commitment to the Church nearly 79 percent of Afro Americans identify as Christian, The highest proportions being Baptist 35% & Evangelical Protestant 14%.The Answer may be found amongst the vastness of sociological thought. I however would like to focus on The Ideological and The Repressive State Apparatus by Althusser, Internal Colonialism by Ramón Gutierrez, The Invisible Institution and Black Youth Crime:The Church as an Agency of Local Social Control by Byron R. Johnson.
Althusser describes The Repressive State Apparatus & Ideological State Apparatus as system of functions by which the state reinforces its control and dominance (likened to Tillys War Making & State Making) However distinguished by the means of control the RSA’s being:Police,Military,Courts,& Laws meanwhile the ISA controls:Religion Culture, & Education. Both existing to ensure the reproduction of ideology and the unwavering support of the social structures in place I refer to this theory because in order to understand why one would commit themselves to a religion that has been used a tool for their degradation you have to understand the system in which they live and the options present. I can make and educated assumption to due to high volume of Afro Christians living in America coupled with four-hundred years of slavery, segregation, lynching and second citizenship the only remaining constant in the Afro-Americans live is the belief in the heaven promised to them in a world that favors hell, furthermore after a couple hundred years of replaced faith the connection to what existed prior.This leave’s little to no room in a country that however pluralistic, still values Christianity above most.Thusly the Church stands as both an agent of their control and comforting. In Internal Colonialism, Gutierrez explains the conditions in which blacks and chicanos are forced live and endure leaving them live in third world conditions in capitalist society begging for the scarps or moreover beg for dignity from their unified oppressor “the Negro is the American problem of under- development” created by the condition of domestic colonialism in which they lived+ Like the poor in underdeveloped countries, the lives of American Blacks were characterized by “hunger, illiteracy, disease, ties to the land, urban and semi-urban slums, cultural starvation, and the psychological reactions to being ruled over by others not of his kind”
Understanding the nuance of black struggle and the concurrently the struggle of all non white persons living in the US finding the myth of assimilation and the proposed American dream that hasn’t quite come unifies them all. The banner of faith and Americanness spans the essence of the social requirement of Americanness least you stay “other” (As we saw the lengths in which protestants went to convert both Mexicans & Puerto Rican populations in “Latino Protestant In America” two demographic of people who’ve been colonized and whose faiths have been replaced in exchange for seat at the proverbial table only to still be the other. ) Yet the greatest explanation for why the Afro-American still clings so strongly to the church is found in “Invisible Institution and Black Youth Crime:The Church as an Agency of Local Social Control” The writers explain that among the churches uses in the civil rights movement as hub for organizing and joining black people together in their up hill battle for liberty is current use is as a deferment from the trappings of poverty and violence . “the African-American church as a unique and powerful social institution within the black community (Billingsley, 1994; Taylor et al., 1996), its potential influence for promoting prosocial behavior among black Americans has drawn limited attention from criminologists.
One of the few exceptions to this inattention to the African-American church is the research of economist Freeman (1986), who found that churchgoing helps inner-city black male youth escape from the world of poverty, drug use, and crime.” An Integral part of the church lays in its ability to be both a gatekeeper and breeding ground for resolution.

Throughout this paper my hope in essence was to understand how is that a people could still uphold and gravitate toward a belief system, that essentially was beaten into them. Along the course of my research it became clear that colonialism plays a great deal in the rational behind why one would identify with a faith rooted in its oppression. However the Modernity of church as it relates to minorities has been moving and being redefined by those whom fins themselves in the faith.
The church is not the same instrument it was when the slaves first landed or when Haitians were synchronizing their Lwa in with Catholic saints or when Puerto Rico was first colonized. The changes and attempts of inclusion/redefining by persons of color in their houses of worship still don’t change that at the heart of the institution it cannot belong to them, nor has it ever been proven that the Church can provide their liberation.

What is understood however is that the church fulfills a social contract of sorts the assimilation into the mainlined faith of protestantism allows for mobility, access and resources that otherwise would beyond reach for many. Its yet to be determined what the relationship of the church and black populace would look like if whole congregations decided that the church’s doesn’t cater to their needs. There are a bevy of articles stating a cultural shift where a number of Afro-American women are returning to traditional African spiritual practices; in order to follow this their would need to be surveys, which those I’ve seen around Religion generally seem to be collected by christian organizations and are anywhere between 5-10 years old .


1. Fanon, Frantz. “Concerning Violence” The Wretched of The Earth. Grove Press 1961
2. Davie, Grace RC. The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda (p. 18). SAGE Publications.
3. Davie, Grace RC. The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda (p. 17)
4. Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” La Pensée
5. Gutiérrez, Ramón “Internal Colonialism:An American Theory of Race
6. Cruse, Harold. “Studies on the Left” 1962, p74,76
7. Johnson, Byron. Jang, Sung. De Li, Spencer. Larson, David. “Invisible Institution and Black Youth Crime:The Church as an Agency of Local Social Control”

How Religion Plays a Part in Influencing the United States Today

The United States has passed laws regarding separation of church and state. Meaning that legally the United States government and other organizations are not allowed to address religion because it will be considered unconstitutional. But still today we see remnants of religious beliefs playing a part in America’s political and social organizations, such as in the Government, School’s and in some cases Corporations/Businesses. I will be researching how religion still influences/infiltrates social organizations in America.
I am specifically researching the Christian denomination's influence in America’s social organizations. It is important to research this topic in a sociological perspective because if not, then one would only see that this is against the law, therefore legally it is not infiltration our social organizations. If one just paid attention to the legal of how America has made it illegal to allow religious infiltrations in our schools, businesses and government then we will not see how it still manages to influence these organizations. It is important to research this topic using a sociological perspective because it will allow us to see how religion affects society on a macro level. Christianity has affected America’s social organizations and one can only observe this by researching this through a functionalist perspective.
I will be using Durkheim to further assess how religion functions in American society. Durkheim focuses on a functionalistic perspective, which is when you observe society in a macro level. In the Macro level sociological organizations, such as the government, or schools affect/shape the people in society. He believes that society is organized with multiple functions that all depends on each other to work cohesively. I will be using his perspective to examine what is the role of religion in the government, in society and in school functions in America? I will further assess America’s functions and why religion remains to have a role in American government policy.
Grace Davies concept of vicarious religion is used to explain religion in Europe but can still be applied to this research in America. Vicarious religion explains that although in Europe, churches were not allowed to discipline the behaviors and beliefs of Europeans any longer, their influence on the people still remained. In the book The Sociology of Religion by Grace Davie, she says the way one can observe religion in society is by “paying attention to institutional churches at the time of personal or collective crisis, it is possible to see more clearly the role that religious organizations continue to play in the lives of both individuals and communities” (Davie: 2007). Suggesting that when society is in a collective crisis, meaning everyone is in this crisis or just an individual, it is much more possible that their religiosity will appear. During a time in the crisis, Davie says that it becomes much more evident the role that religion continues to have in the lives of both individuals and communities. Meaning that religion has a continuous influence on society but becomes more evident during a crisis.
The concept of vicarious religion focuses on how religion has a purpose of utility for society for certain purposes. Some of these purposes can be for example the result of a crisis. Grace Davie’s explanation for how to observe religions influence in society during a crisis is what has helped me investigate my research by observing how America has allowed its religiosity to appear in the mainstream during a crisis. This brings us back to America, in times of crisis such as after the 9/11 we see God being brought up more than usual in the mainstream, by society and its politicians. We also see phrases in the United States everyday life that has a mere connection to religion such as in its currency, their bills have the phrase “In God, we trust” right on top of it. In one of their national anthems that children in their schools, another societal function there is a line that says ‘One nation under God.” By using this concept to research this question one can see how America is not so separated from religious influence as it is proclaimed in their constitution.
I will be referring back to the theoretical concept of civil religion. American civil religion annotates the religious faith that still exists within the United States through its sacred symbols. Civil religion can be described as a unitary force that holds together a common set of values integrated into society. After viewing how religious beliefs presents itself in society after a crisis, civil religion can be used to help explain how these set of religious beliefs have always been there. It is simply through a crisis that one can see this evidence clearer in society. What one must always take into account is that if this religious belief can pop up during a crisis, it has always been there.
Civil religion helps clarify the connection with religion in American society being prominent. By looking at the United States through this lens we can see that its core foundation was based on a common set of Christian values. Knowing this we can observe some of the symbolic symbols in the United States that shows its clear ties to religion. In the book The Sociology of Religion by Grace Davie, she points out “Despite the formal separation of church and state, phrases such as ‘One nation under God’ or ‘In God, we trust’ resonate throughout the nation...” (Davie 2007). This is important to remember that despite the United States claiming they have a separation of church and state, the church/religion is still very much integrated into their society. Something as casual as their currency, that is used every day has a phrase displaying the States resonating connection with God. Take note that the phrase says God, singular clearly giving you a hint of which religions fall into their cohesive society. Another example of how religion is still infiltrated in the America society is through one of its anthem songs, to which some of the words say “In one nation under God.” Those five words provide a clear explanation of how religion in America works as a unifying force that binds people in their society, in one nation with their similar belief. This belief is with God. Those five words are in-explicitly stating that under this nation everyone stands together, under the belief of God. It Is basically stating that above the government that watches over everyone in the nation making sure people are being good, (similar to ‘God’), the nation, including the government all stand under the power of God. It’s like a hierarchy.
In a journal piece called Why Religion Rules American Politics by Nigel Barber he talks about religion in American politics compared to Europe. He points out how in America despite the constitutional separation between church and states the national politicians hardly ever give a speech without mentioning religion, by saying ‘God bless America, or sending their prayers to victims of disasters. America does not have a general separation of church and state, just on paper not in real life. America still manages to allow religion to infiltrate into society. He makes an interesting argument, stating that the reason for this is because “evangelical Christians under the banner of the Moral Majority made a determined push to influence political leaders since the 1970’s and to inject religion into political debates” (Barber: 2012). Basically, by the evangelicals pushing to get involved with politics, he means that their values and beliefs were being extorted to politicians. So politicians like the Republicans who were more conservative, and their values/beliefs aligned more with their religious ones gained their support more often.
This argument of the evangelical Christians, which I think can be broadened to Christians (Protestants) relates to parts of the book Prophets and Patriots by Ruth Braunstein. She talks about these two groups, Patriots (Tea party) and the Prophets (Interfaith) that share a faith in democracy to do what’s right for all people, and take accountability for the ordinary citizens. These two groups share the same faith, they both wanted more religion in public life. They were both conservative voters, despite Interfaith being more acceptable to people from other religious denominations coming to their meetings, they were similar in their desire for religion in politics. These groups wanted to assert themselves and their religion into politics.
Another similar source that demonstrates how evangelicals have asserted themselves in politics by their voting patterns is the book Latino Protestants in America by Mark T. Mulder, Aida I. Ramos, and Gerardo Marti. In this book, the authors discuss how Latino Protestants and evangelicals voting patterns differ in America due to their religious belief. They mention how “among Latinos in the United States, religious affiliation seems to have a degree of influence on voting patterns” (2017). Due to their religious beliefs being more conservative in terms of abortion, marriage, sexuality, immigration these groups lean more towards the Republicans. Republicans align with their conservative beliefs and because of that it affects their voting patterns. These two books ahead show two things, one is how religious groups are pushing to become more involved with politics, to be active citizens (Prophets and Patriots). Two due to their voting patterns, as demonstrated in Latino Protestants in America book I do think that they influence politicians. Once Republican politicians know their voters, and their audience, what they want to hear or what they will support them with their aim shifts to satisfy their followers. Once your aim of being elected shifts to satisfy your supporters/followers, your policies will also be influenced by these groups. Hence comes the resistance to birth control, or abortion which is a constant debate, or even same-sex marriage. There should be no legal reason why same-sex marriage should have been illegal if it wasn’t due to someone personally, religious belief on the matter. And that is what appeared, America’s hidden religiosity in the government influencing its policies.
In “One nation under God?” Ethnicity and Identity in Modern America by Gary D. German, when he looks into an excerpt of Section 16 in the constitution he notes how it was important because the US constitution does not “advocate the ‘separation of church and state’ as it is often believed.. Their primary objective was simply to avoid the situation which existed in England” (German 2002). German explains how despite the notion around that the United States has a separation of church and state it is not necessarily true. The United States does not have a state church, but beyond that it allows religion in their state’s social organizations. German concludes that America’s political system “whether they like it or not, is indeed a product of enlightened Protestant Christianity” (German 2002). Admitting that the American political system was the product of Christianity therefore, these core values and beliefs of this religion are infiltrated in the state system. This is why politicians today say phrases alluding to god, and their faith to connect with voters and win their election.
In the journal article, Why America can’t separate Religion and Politics by Julie Butters, she talks about how religion has played a part in American politics. She mentions how Evangelicals boost campaigns for Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, because of their religious faith. She concludes what most of the previous authors mentioned, have concluded about Americans, that “the role of evangelical Protestants is so strong that it shapes the entire presidential selection process”(Butters 2016). Due to Evangelical Protestants having strong votes in the politics in America it influences the politicians to want to gain their support, and submit to their values. Although with German’s analysis it is not only because Politicians want the support of the American people, but also America was built on Protestant Christianity values so they expect their president to have some religious faith.
What remains clear after all this analysis is that religion has a fundamental influence in America. Fundamentally, America never has denied their religious faith in the public or politic life despite the part of the Constitution that explains the separation of church and state, as in there is no state church in America as there was in Europe. It is stated in a way the leaves it open for religious faith to be displayed and said in a way where it allows other religious faith/churches to reside in the country. But coincidentally, when politicians are running to be elected officials they always make sure to mention god or their faith on God to bless others, or they use it to communicate with religious votes over the bible. Demonstrating that the need to do such thing shows you that religion is not separated from American social organizations, (the Government).
This research needs to be furthered in social organizations outside of the government. This research is missing information on how religion from the macro level, (institutions like the government) has influenced the micro level of society, like the individuals. I think mostly what I learned from my research is that religion from the people, what they want to see or hear from their politicians is what they are receiving/supporting. I’m getting the other perspective of how the religious influence from the individual (micro level) is influencing the impact of politicians at the Macro level. I think the opposite perspective of macro to micro needs to be researched and analyzed as well.

1. Barber, Nigel. 2012. “Why Religion Rules American Politics.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 14, 2018 (
2. Braunstein, Ruth. 2017. Prophets and Patriots Faith in Democracy across the Political Divide. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
3. Butters, Julie. 2016. “College of Arts & Sciences.” Arts Sciences RSS. Retrieved April 14, 2018 (
4. Davie, Grace. 2007. The Sociology of Religion. London: SAGE
5. German, D. Gary. 2002. “‘One Nation under God?’: Ethnicity and Identity in Modern ...” Retrieved April 13, 2018 (
6. Mulder, Mark T., Aida I. Ramos, and Gerardo Marti. 2017. Latino Protestants in America: Growing and Diverse. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Religion as it is defined is a system, a institution of faith and worship, usually accompanied by scripture and a set of rules. Throughout much of European history religion has undergo constant change. Wether it a ProtestantS versus Roman Catholic Church or Calvinist versus the rest of the European world. Religiosity and the breakdowns into different groups based on belief have caused a immeasurable amount of human tragedies. The same can be said for Africa, the Middle East, the USA and majority of the world and frankly still occurring today.The accepts of solidarity and societies nature of grouping themselves blocking out any and everything else that doesn’t appeal to the group perhaps is a instinct of humans.
As european began to enter the modern age an radical things took shape with the french revolution and Martin Luther, 95 theses and many other philosophers started to question there surroundings and relation of themselves with the world around them. These philosophers brought breakthroughs in science, mathematics , philosophies, etc. The era became known as the enlightenment, or age of reason. With these changes to modernity, many began to question the church, its power and abuse, question themselves and their faith, novels were released on ideas about religion. John Locke’s, the Social Contract pushed for separation of church and state. Thomas Paine and his Age of Reason, argued against institutionalized religion and proclaimed, God the creator without a Bible. During this time a spring of new denominations were formed. King Henry, Church of England and the Protestants, after a dispute on divorce with the Roman Catholic Church, John Calvin and his movement later becoming known as Calvinist and many other theology and philosophies schools questioning the nature of god such as Quakers and Deism.
The European population became fed up with the church and its rules and shifted the entire landscape western nation and the head of the nation the, Roman Catholic Church. The idea of obligation to consumption is described, is a shift of European society religiosity relation to religion, Christianity in specific. The Roman catholic Church found itself at war the rest of the European world, struggling to maintain authority as the Europeans questioned the church, rose up against the church and in some cases slaughter those with different viewpoints. As European society and the western world were bombarded with old ideas that seemed new, such as, democracy, seperation of church and state, and the equality of all men. Now they many denominations to choose from such as Methodists, Baptist, Protestant, all under the banner of Christianity.
As time went on, technology emerged and science began to answer society question about nature. The world view of the nature of god and the universe changed and continues to change today. Different identities began to grown in the millions such as atheism, not believing in anything and one very interesting spirituality.”I am not religious I am Spiritual.” This identity, was done it mean? This “Spiritual" revolution is composed of wellness rituals, readings from all aspects of life and many other things has shifted the current world.
In my view "spirituality" or what is means to be spiritual cannot be defined but describes, a state of being, that follows no one religion or scripture, It is solely based on the individuals purpose and needs. It can be argued that Spirituality is a religion but not in conventially. It is your religion on your terms, your wellness rituals, baths, meditation, readings, associations etc. whatever system you apply to yourself in understanding your nature, the universe and your god. With this vicarious religion can be applied. Religiosity is vicariously expressed through spirituality, your individuality can exist in a religion wether you belong or not. The statement can be made that the new ideas during the enlightenment,such as “from obligation to consumption,” solidarity within these groups and the breakdowns led to the post-modern rise of those profess, “I am not religious but I am spiritual” and the rise of a new conciousness.
The change from obligation to consumption major point mentioned in, Davies novel. The choices and thoughts of european society shifted as they gradually begin to enter "modernity” A distinctive consistency is undoubtbly emerging, whose religious choices are beginning to reflect the ideas set out by the rational choice theorist. Instead of obliging to what was taught people began to question and consume differently, choosing what they felt benefited them more. These shift changed the landscape of religiosity in western Europe. In the chapter Mainstream Religion in Western Europe, Davie discusses the concept of believing without belong. The minds of the European society has changed during the enlighten time. You can believe in your god without belong to a religious institution with security and without guilt.
The churches rituals, church going, and dogma of the christian doctrine felt superficial to the the modern European society. “Separating out a belief from belonging has undoubtdly offered fruitful ways in which to understand and organize the material about religion in modern Europe.” This shift was monumental for modern Europeans at the time. They where able to feel connected to there god and religion without the rules and regulations of the powerful institution they where once used to. During this time a great deal of religious pluralism occurred. The shift from obligation to consumption made modern society coexist."Religious pluralism in this understanding of the term is a crucial aspect of late modern Europe, it is largely dominated by the existence within Western Europe of approximately 17 million Muslims.
Towards the very last chapter, Davie made some interesting points one being to welfare. The chapter of religion and everyday life. The current modern consumer culture is concerned with the individual. Well-being is becoming extremely important to people in the current world and increasingly interested in the mind body and sprit. ‘The interest of natural and and organic body products and food have caused a boom in the health industry. Alternative remedies and the interest of what is best for the mind body and sprit termed as "de - differentiation of the person," is used to explain the shift in religiosity of the current era society interest in the whole person. Post modernity brought a shift in the way people thought about themselves and the meaning of the world and the new universe, as technology and communication grew and the world population got bigger.
Although the church and many other religions are still a powerful entity it has weekend in control and authority it once had. These changes may not point to secularization. Davies refers to this death and states how “Christian churches have list their monopoly of death and death practices but they still remain key players in western society and mind.” In the modern times people are vicariously living through religion. It would be hard to imagine or have a funeral without religious practices and traditions occupying the service. Davie goes as far as to say it would be a insult. People are not less religious they just found new expressions.
In Braunstien novel, “Prophets and Patriots” the author describes the decline in Public authority of religion. Although the public authority of religion has decline, religion is still highly politicized. This dichotomy and other similar dichotomies such as “American becoming religiously diverse yet a record increasing number of Americans are disavowing religion. Together these forces work to influence American views on religious others and the place of religion in public life.” Many of those record number of people who are disavowing religion are atheist many also are spiritual. Many of these people proclaim this spirituality as a quest of individuality and understanding. Some have seen how politicized religion is and the influence it can have of the world. Not trying to relive the past and not choosing these "spiritualist" differ from there religious counter parts in the idea that they do not chose, that is the beauty. They do not chose they are not define by it.
In the past several decades it has become common for people to identify with the term "spirituality" above religion. According to the PEW findings in a 2012, “18% of United States adults are spiritual but not religious, of that 18% fifteen percent consider themselves to be religiously affiliated (Gianarkis 2).” Although some reflect the religion in name they do not necessarily effect the community, beliefs or practices wedded to a denomination. The statistic found in the PEW research suggest that the spiritual but not religious represent a cross section of the community and therefore it is challenging to characterize them in a group. The emergence of this new identify allowed the freedom to criss-cross to challenge the norms of religiosity and to seek meaning and understanding the growing numbers of those who consider them self religious and not spiritual prove a shift in the culture,
Some of the the spiritual but not religious groups choose to join groups such as the Center for Spiritual Living or The Ethical Humanist society while others prefer not to belong to any particular group. ‘Some adhere to a single faith while learning about others and some adhere to no one faith while learning about all they come across.” They is no defining the “spiritualist he/she cannot be categorized or boxed. In order to conduct research many scholars do categorize those who profess spirituality but not religiosity as "unchurched spirituality", "seekers" and "new ages" (Burlien 10). The categorization imply that these changes are a response to something larger. The "new age” enlightenment thinkers continue to search and seek for new meaning and understanding in a “unchurched” reality. “The spiritual but not religious group corresponds within the highly active seeker with the baby boomer generation. These groups appear to reflect traditional organized religion in favor of an individualized spirituality (Hill 52).”
Through this research it is clear that the changes during the European enligtenment brought was for the spiritual rise of the current era. The new philosophers and thinkers caused the masses to not want to have to deal with the normal church and normal ideas, as the changes shifted landscape new denominations emerged, wars broke, technology and science advanced. Revolutions shifted the society so much many began to look at there religious differently.
The western world views of religious has drastically changed with the times. if these changes did not occur in Europe and American society, what we see today as spiritual, a social identity would not have arrived on the science. The notion of “I am not religious I am spiritual" was a direct response to the changing times and the world in the information era. A look in the past shows that not only did religion expand but the views of religion did as well. The force and un provable truths of the christian doctrine have caused many to turn away and look inward, wether that be atheist of if that means relating to there religion in a different way, a way more satisfying to their needs or wether it be not identifying with anything at al,l but just seeking meaning and understanding.
When solidarity, “obligation to consumption” and the concept of living vicariously through religion it can be made clear that with understanding the sociological concepts and with understanding of the past, the changes that occurred led way for the emergence of the spiritual identity, and the notion of not being religious but spiritual. Though religion still plays a major role in the life of the ordinary people the control that it once had has weakened as technology grew and people found answer to many of their questions, there are also many other reason for this. There is sense of freedom in the spiritual identify the sense of not feeling bondage to anything or any belief. The idea that I can be christian today and Buddhist tomorrow, or Christian, Buddhist and Muslim, or i don’t have to identify with any, it that freedom the spiritualist have. A quest of individual freedom using intuition to find answer and meaning whether the believe in the universe, a god a force or nothing at all.

Hill, C. Peter, “Conceptualizing Religion and Spirituality: Points of Commonality,

Points of Departure.” Blackwell Publishers. May 2000.

Gianarkis, Rebecca. Spiritual but Not Religious: On the Collection of Spirituality

and the creation of Spiritual Narrative.” Hofstra. 2013.

Davie, Grace. “The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda.” SAGE Publications.

California. 2003.

Braunstien, Ruth. “Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political

Divide.” University of California Press. California. 2017.

Chad Buckley, Stephanie Taylor, Talisha Blain, Sabrina Baptiste
SOCY 2700
Draft #1

How does attitudes and practices differ in schools in France and the U.S.A. when pertaining to Muslim students?

The treatment towards Muslims in both France and U.S.A. has not been an easy
experience in schools. Muslims constantly face ridicule for the simplest reasons such as
their religious beliefs and their attire. The Muslim community is a minority group that is deeply rooted in their faith. The treatment of both countries towards this group in the school system varies over time.
In the U.S.A. in public schools are a little more flexible when it comes to treatment of
Muslims. However, Muslims do not have special privileges within the public school system. The Government does not want to glorify, or bring awareness geared towards religion. The school system wants to divert attention away from faith-based practices entirely. In, France they completely lack sensitivity towards Muslim students. The government of France believe that Muslims should only internalize their faith and not publicize it.
The two concepts that are going to be applied are cultural pluralism, and secularization.
These concepts reflect recurring changes that many groups are such as Muslims have been
marginalized. In studying cultural pluralism, we understand that a society has the right to be
themselves and yet still be a citizen of any nation. This theory expresses that one does not get to select their ethnic group and erase their heritage to fit in a modern society. Cultural pluralism is an informative theory that helps us understand the different dynamics that we all share through diversity. This theory will reflects a few ways the school system engages with students that are Islamic, or of Muslim decent. Unfortunately, in the U.S.A., and France Muslims are misrepresented and often targeted. The ignorance towards Muslims formulated around the late nineteen-eighties and rapidly spread post World Trade Center devastation.
Part 2
France is proven not to be a secular society from the evidence of the treatment of Muslims. One of the major setbacks for France public schools were the banning of headscarf’s instead of embracing religious freedoms. The French government used headscarf’s as a manipulation tactic to make it seem as if there were preferential treatment to Muslims. The school system did not want to interrupt students from learning by being distracted from headscarf’s. Another assumption by school officials that females were forced by males in their families and religious leaders to wear their veil and headscarf’s. They did not want to acknowledge the Muslim religion and did not want it being exposed in the public schools. The school system and the French government feel that is optional to wear the headscarfs and not a matter of devotion to religion. In “Reconfiguring freedom: Muslim piety and the limits of secular law and public discourse in France” Mayanti “stated French politicians and intellectuals supportive of the ban argued that restricting the wearing of the headscarf and other religious “signs” did not constitute a violation of religious liberty because the believer could continue to believe—on the inside.” This is clearly a violation to one’s faith practice and a disruption to those that need to pursue their education and want identify with veiling or wear a headscarf and turbans. Muslims were excluded from their religious freedoms in France where there is cultural diversity. France used political power to control and regulate the way Muslims operated in institutional settings.
Secularization is one of primary concepts highlighted and indicated by the author Jean Paul Williames article “ Toward Recognition and Dialogue Secularization in Europe . Secularization is a position by default that presumes that all beliefs are equally valid, if secularization is eliminated and then replaced by religious society ultimately chances are that people may become faced with marginalization. On that note, secularization has profound effects on modern society, this is because its taking away or removing religious traditions and customs. Religion then loses its significance as a social institution because secularizing entails complete or partial disengagement of any religious participation.
Secularization forces people to abandon what is meaningful to them such as their values and historical events due to progress of structural changes. In the article we can see examples of secularization in progress, despite the decrease in religiosity. Forcing the change of religious traditions, ideals and customs can negatively impact a society without question, as more and more places begin to modernize and shift from religious values then being replaced by secular values thus creating competition. In correspondence to the topic, Jean Paul Willaime emphasizes that Europe has had a very long historical background of violence due to secularization. Additionally, as secularization results in the decline of the social significance that religion plays in the lives of many. The shift from a sacred way of life has been drained away by larger external forces and obstacles.
One that note, secularization is constructed a figure in public life, generally speaking religious occasions are reduced thus losing their content. According to the author Jean Paul Williame, The features of religion-state relationships in European countries reject ostracism with regard to religion.118 These states consider that the religious dimension of these associations is not in itself an obstacle to their social, cultural, educational, ethical, and civic contributions for collective life, an awareness that may even go as far as providing funding to these organizations.119 This attitude includes both a trivialization of the religious phenomenon and an awareness of its specific features. On the one hand, the attitude is trivializing in the sense that without special attention to the religious dimension of these organizations, they are considered to be like other social organizations.” (796) with regards to the topic that being examined which is the attitudes towards Muslims in the United States and European schools, it is evident that here that the concept of secularization is responsible for contributing to a wide range of societal attitudes. It is a phenomena that declines religiosity while on the other hand it demonstrates that becoming secular change begins to develop within a society, a response that allows events to display a systematic procedure for other people to follow. In this particular example, it is evident that religious values, practices and beliefs become affected because of secularization thus placing major implications towards religion which is an important social institution. Rather than secularizing, instead we should turn our attention given to religious aspects, as well as its historical elements this is because religion is a key figure within most cultural aspects and history.
When discussing how and if religion should be taught in schools, one must consider all of the different perspectives of the world. It is important to analyze and compare different regions of the world to truly understand how religion is being taught in schools. T. Knauth and A. Kors focused on how young people viewed and experienced religion and education in Europe by using a contextual setting approach. The traditions and cultural values that take place in the school systems of different European regions ultimately predefine the level of religious teachings in that area. The set of norms and cultural standards that a society puts in place shapes the way religion can be and will be fitted into education and the school. This structure is important because it helps us answer the questions everyone wants to know; showed religion be taught in schools? If so, to what degree? What kind of religions will be taught and how will one introduce these topics? Knauth and Kors though the best way to answer these questions was to do a survey to get an understanding of what the people actually felt.
According to the survey, there is a clear separation between people who think religion should be in schools and people who don’t even view religion as an important topic to be dealt with in schools. The different point of views related to this topic comes from past experiences that these pupils’ have witnessed. Overall, the respondents believed that religion should be a topic that students learn in school but there is a thin line between religious histories being taught in schools as oppose to religious practices being taught. Students also favored religion as a subject of study because they considered it important to learn about their religious history which they understood as a vital part of their life, their education, or their cultural roots.
However, some of the respondents argued that they didn’t want to learn about religion in schools simply because they found religion boring, irrelevant, and outdated or an unnecessary burden in a curriculum that they thought was already overloaded. Another reason for the opposition in schools is the fear of religious propaganda and proselytizing. The respondents based their answers on previous experiences. If an individual had a good experience with religion in the past then they were in favor of religious teachings in school. The topic of religion being in schools is one thing but the content of the lessons are another. Students are less concerned about what is being taught and is more concerned about HOW it’s being taught. There is a concern about unequal treatment and excessive influence of some religions over others.
Respondents also believed that the teacher’s religious affiliation is essential to the classroom. While teachers should be free to practice any religion they want, they should not allow it to affect their neutrality as educators. Teachers may practice a religion personally, but as long as it does not infringe on the neutrality expected of them in their position as educators (T. Knauth and A. Kors, 216). Some students expressed that they would like to be taught religion separately and others didn’t mind learning in the classroom. These views were the results of contextual settings because all of the responses came from experiences that took place in the area they lived in.
Liberal democracy not only permits people of different cultural orientations to seek the “good life” as they describe it, but it also identifies the exercising of cultural difference as a legitimate right which may be pursued. Cultural pluralism is used to describe smaller groups maintaining their cultural values, identities, and practices in larger within a larger society while respecting and obeying the laws and values of that larger society. Muslims have been mistreated in our society for as long as I can remember. The mistreatment was at its all-time high right after 9/11. Being that the Muslim population is growing day by day in America, the education of Muslim children in public schools is becoming an important social and educational phenomenon that deserves closer analysis. It was already a struggle for Muslims to have to deal with the stereotypes people attached them with but the children also had to deal with these injustices in school.
Like Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, Muslim immigrants have chosen to become citizens of America, so why are they not treated as such? Many do not understand how Muslim children feel in school so it is important to go directly to the source to get answers to these questions. Iftikar Ahmad and Michelle Y. Szpara have decided to conduct an interview to get to the root of the problem. The interviews involved Muslim adolescents and their parents. The theme of the interview was to learn about the experiences and needs of Muslim children in public schools. They interview also included how those same students felt about the stereotypes that were present in media and how it affected them in school. Some of the findings from the interview includes; (a). Muslim students don’t believe teachers and/or classmates don’t understand the difference between Islam as a practice and the Muslim culture. (b). Muslim students feel like the stereotypes and misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims are present in schools and it has an effect on them. (c). Muslim children would like to keep their values and cultural identities present while they are in a secular school. (d). Girls feel more pressured by their parents to dress appropriately and be more modest. (e). Muslim students would like to see more positive images about their community.
Muslim students should not have to leave their Islamic faith at home when they go to school because it not something you can turn on and off. Instead, schools need to find ways to accommodate the values of Muslims, whether it be halal food at lunch or full bodied gym attire in gym class. To be respectful and sensitive to the socialization of Muslim students, and in order to have the best possible learning environment, public schools should be respectful and responsive to cultural and religious needs of Muslim students.
In the article “Experiences of religious minorities in public school settings: findings from focus groups involving Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and Unitarian Universalist youths”, many case studies were performed on students who were part of the “minority” religious group affiliation. The study included students who were Jewish Muslim catholic and universalist Unitarians. This data was obtained from minority status, precursors, teachers and adult roles and perception of peer intent. Since were conducting a research of the attitudes towards Muslims in the U.S and Europe schools this article described many of the persecutions that Muslim students faced from peers and sadly enough by teachers that contributed to the hardships and discrimination.
Muslim students faced religious bullying in classrooms and extra curricular activities though those religious micro aggressions were sometimes unintentional it was still harmful and left long lasting effects. An example of one of the many challenges faced by the Muslim students would be a rally that was being held at a protestant church that included Christian teachings and music, students who opted out on participating were given the alternative of sitting in a room doing homework students described it similar to a sort of detention or mandatory study hall. Which was pretty unfair since they were being singled out for religious preferences.
Another instance would have to have been when a Muslim girl was attending a school meeting where she went to take pictures and during the meeting they were discussing Christianity as the only “right form of religion and they made a specific reference describing Islam in a negative way. Other times when the students had exams during religious holidays they were not given the opportunity to take the exam at an earlier time or even later on. It is said that the students would also receive explicit texts that would say in fact that their religious holidays were not even important.
After the Death of Osama Bin Laden students faced a number unforgettable hardship. One of the Muslim participants was called a terrorist and asked for a couple of weeks if she was sad that her leader had passed away. This wasn’t the 1st instinct because the same thing happened when the media covered Sadam Hussein’s death they were verbally assaulted and physically threatened.
One time were a Muslim girl was ambushed in the hallway and she had her hijab ripped off and stomped on while they called her a terrorist. Muslim students not only faced these injustice acts by the school administrators when it was time to fast they would tease students by ordering food and rubbing it in their face by asking doesn’t this look good another example would be when a young girl asked for a break at practice to sit but they denied it excusing her of “choosing to suffer”.
This study showed how Muslim students in the U.S were unfairly racially profiled and harassed while trying to receive an education in the U.S.
The article “The academic study of religions and integrative religious education in Europe” by Wanda Albert’s shows an approach with the Europe Schools that try’s to include various religions, they have an integrative RE and separative RE. So this addresses students whatever religious background that they have. The integrative RE children with different religious and non-religious backgrounds are put in one classroom and learn together about different religions. The other case was separated according to the religious tradition they belonged to and learn about their own or other religions in separate groups which was pretty nice for them to incorporate. As of recently they have tried to establish a Muslim RE.

Part 3

Stephanie Taylor

Regarding this topic from a sociological standpoint, Muslims are greatly affected by the mistreatment they face in school. The stereotypes, the bullying, the misunderstanding, and the insensitivity towards Islam and the students have a sociological effect on them. For one, the mistreatment of the students in school could lead to them not performing to their best abilities because they are worried about what others are thinking about them and they are distancing their selves. Furthermore, these treatments can also lead to muslim students distancing themselves from their own religion to please others and this is a form of social control. Because society disapproves of Muslims, they will try to make them feel like being a Muslim is deviant. This can result in students wanting to please society and disregarding all of their beliefs.

There are many dynamics to the way France and U.S.A. view Muslim groups. The French refuses to acknowledge immigrants and their citizens moral and religious rights. Religious laws needs to be governed and examined more in depth. The freedoms to exercise their religious faiths without it being a problematic experience within the school system. The issues that require further explanations are why are Muslims treated like second class citizens in U.S. A. and France. Both countries have open democracy and freedom of expression. However, they seem to limit public displays of expression in educational settings. The French government will not conform to any religion and this essentially raises questions.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to analyze this topic from a sociological lens, in order to to this we would have to look into, closely identify and examine some of overall attitudes that people in the United States and France have toward muslims in educational spaces. Also, it would be important to analyze societal as well as community attitudes therefore it will offer us an insight as too how muslims are affected as a result of discriminatory attitudes that face every so often. Using this method will allow us to see not only the attitudes that people have against muslims in educational setting, but it will also allow us to understand the different perception displayed by people when looking at muslims in European and American educational systems.

Part 4

Ahmad, I., & Szpara, M. Y. 2003. ‘‘Muslim children in urban America”: The New York city schools experience”. Journal Of Muslim Minority Affairs, 23(2), 295-301. doi:10.1080/1360200032000139938

Akan, M. 2009. Laïcité and multiculturalism: the Stasi Report in context. British Journal Of -256. Sociology, 60(2), 237 doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2009.01229.x

Dupper, D. R., Forrest-Bank, S., & Lowry-Carusillo, A. 2015. “Experiences of Religious Minorities in Public School Settings: Findings from Focus Groups Involving Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, and Unitarian Universalist Youths”. Children & Schools, 37(1), 37-45.

FERNANDO, M. L. 2010. “Reconfiguring freedom: Muslim piety and the limits of secular law and public discourse in France”. American Ethnologist, 37(1), 19-35. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1425.2010.01239.x

Lorcerie, F. 2010. “A French Approach to Minority Islam? A Study in Normative Confusion”. Journal Of International Migration & Integration, 11(1), 59-72. doi:10.1007/s12134-009-0125-9

Moore, J. (n.d). “Teaching about Islam in Secondary Schools”: Curricular and Pedagogical Considerations. Equity & Excellence In Education, 39(3), 279-286. doi:10.1080/10665680600788479