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Religion at its most basic, is defined as the esoteric belief in a single or multiple superhuman controlling powers that give rise and meaning to life and the universe at large. Religion often also includes moral and cultural beliefs that govern the behaviour of adherents. Many cultures have opposing beliefs and in many countries, citizens are subjected to rule by theocratic governments. These are governments which either mandate which religion should be followed by a country's citizens and/or cite religion as a specific determinant of present and future policy. In the United States however, religion and government are considered as separate entities.

As for why religion matters in regard to the activities of government in a state where religion is considered separate from the state itself, it is often the case that people who do follow certain religious practices feel underrepresented. In the U.S. in particular, many Christian groups feel that the U.S. is losing a large part of its Christian identity. Likewise, some Muslim and Jewish groups (to name but a few) often feel ostracized by what they feel is a government and culture which leans too strongly toward Christian ideals.

However, many conservative religious groups in the U.S. are more worried at present in respect to issues such as gay marriage, abortion and protection of religious freedoms. Because gay marriage and abortion in particular are considered diametrically opposite to basic Christian religious teachings, some religious groups feel that there is a danger in America becoming too liberal.

The religious debate in America is nothing new however. In fact, past religious conflicts in the U.S. have centered on everything from the slavery vs abolition debate, to the right of women to vote and own property. More recently though, there has been a push in the U.S. since the late 1970s by the Religious Right, to have more policy based on biblical principles and in all but name, transform America into a Christian theocracy.

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