Civil religion as myth, not history

Leilah Danielson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article draws upon recent historiography to critique the concept of “civil religion”, and argues that it should be replaced by nationalism. Its central point is that there is indeed a dominant language of American nationalism and one that has largely reflected the culture of the Anglo-Protestant majority, but that it has always been contested and that it has changed over time. Civil religion, by contrast, is a far more slippery concept that elides questions of power, identity, and belonging that nationalism places at the center of inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number374
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • American nationalism
  • Christianity
  • Citizenship
  • Civil religion
  • Race
  • Social movements
  • Whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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