chapter  10
17 Pages

The cultural resistance to American political values: A global perspective

BySCOTT M. THOMAS

There seems to be a paradox regarding the way the United States (or US) engages with the rest of the world.1 Various surveys show that American

patterns of religious belief and practice are closer to those found in the developing world compared to those in Western Europe (Pew Research Center 2003a). Many sociologists of religion, increasingly influenced by rational choice theory, contrast the American free-market or competitive model of religious freedom with its separation of church and state, to the monopolistic or European model of state churches, which has contributed to the vibrancy of American religious life, and to the secularism and decline of religion in most Western European countries (Wilcox and Jelen 2002). Many Europeans seem to feel quite pleased and satisfied with their path of enlightened secularism and humanitarianism – Robert Kagan’s (2003) notion of Europe as a Kantian paradise.