Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Religious Groups in America

Native American church


On the above website, it says that the Native American church was founded by Quanah Parker in the 1890s. It also says that “The Native American Church is the only representative of the North American Indigenous Culture that is recognized by the United States Government and the United Nations as an Earth and healing based religion”. This represents a mixture of American identity. As they represent the religion of the Native Americans, which were a large part of the American identity in the past but are also recognized by the government which is part of the current American identity.

They believe in spirits and honor “grandmother earth, grandfather sky and all their descendants “As it is an earth based religion, many of their ceremonies use natural herbs and medicines, especially peyote which seems to form a large part of their ceremonies and beliefs as their founder was saved and had a religious experience when using peyote

Another example is that on the homepage they say that they welcome anyone of any race, gender, social class etc and is also a part of “many faiths one family” which incorporates may other religions such as Sikh, Quakers and Islam. It also uses Christian symbols such as the cross in their ceremonies. This defines faith as part of the American identity, as it consists of many different beliefs and religions, which is similar to the immigrant identity of America, with people of all different nationalities coming over to live in one place.

In conclusion The Native American Church defines the American identity as that of the Native Americans to respect the Earth, and worship the spirits that created it. This is a contrast to the events in America happening currently and in the last century, with development of large cities etc, removing the green sprawling land which covered America before the settlers arrived. Therefore the Native American church represents the old American identity which their ancestors believed in, compared to the Present day where looking after the land is no longer a number one priority and is not a part of their identity anymore.

American Faith... The Mormons

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of the religion commonly called the Mormon Church."

Mormons are very devout Christians, devoted to the Church and family life. They believe that every one of us are spirits who lived with God before birth and will live with him after we die, therefore our time on earth is God's test for us to experience the happiness and pain of living in a human body. During this time one must be devout to God and follow his rules in order to go to Heaven.

Mormons feel that the family is very important and many Mormon families will have a lot of children. They believe God arranges us into families for increased safety and happiness. Mormons tend to live in communities around their Church, it is a very community orientated religion, especially in Utah, we don't tend to find communities like this outside of America. In terms of American Identity, faith is important, it gives people an identity in a melting pot society. America is a young country and many search for historical identity, and find Jesus.

Extreme Christianity or devout religion in America can often be viewed with fear. The idea of devoting one's life to God and living within a very religious community is often suppressive in modern day. Many view the Mormon Church as a cult and a dangerous organisation to people's minds due to a somewhat controlling nature. The Mormon Church is a Missionary Church, it sends preachers around the world in order to share God's message and their Church's views with others. In such a modern country like America, it is incredible to find pockets of devout religious communities within it. Communities of people who reject America's commodity culture for the Church and family. In some senses this is a good thing, when so many question the lack of values in many people today. Often in America, we are left viewing the extremes within society.