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Religion Through History

Churches and the people who led and attended them.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama XIV

Originally a colony of Great Britain and under the rule of King George III, the Founding Fathers of the United Sates were opposed to a state religion (King George III was the head of the Church of England as is Queen Elizabeth today). In fact, they even wrote it into the Constitution:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And yet, many today say that the U.S. is "a Christian nation". Indeed, Christianity is the most populous religion - followed by Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Worldwide, Christianity is also the most followed (2.4 billion), closely followed by Islam (1.8 billion). Then comes Agnostic/Atheistic (1.2 billion), Hinduism (1.15 billion) and Buddhism (521 million). Fifteen other religions (for instance, Judaism - 14 million and Chinese traditional religions - 394 million) round out the rest of us. So religion is a way of life for billions of the people around the world.

Some facts about religion in the United States:
  • Hindus have the highest rates of education among religious communities - 48% of all Hindus have a post-graduate degree.
  • The number of Mormons in the U.S. today are equal to the number of Anglicans/Episcopalians - 1.7% .
  • Six of the Supreme Court justices are Catholic and three are Jewish - about half of the population identifies as Protestant.
  • Only 10 U.S. states have weekly church attendance above 50% - they’re all in the South. 11 states have weekly church attendance below 33% - and no, one of them is not California or New York!
  • The Southern Baptist Convention has twice as many churches as the Catholic Church, despite having 1/4th the membership.
  • The first Muslims in the U.S. were African slaves - about 10% of slaves were Muslim.
  • 40% of the U.S.’s 1.2 million Buddhists live in Southern California.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the fifth largest religious organization - the Catholic Church (66 million), the Southern Baptism Convention (16.5 million), the United Methodist Church (8.4 million), and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. (8.2 million) are larger.

These are the photos of people practicing their religion in the past - the buildings, leaders, and congregants of the past two centuries. From weddings to baptisms to confirmations to funerals, most people have participated in at least one religious activity in their lives.

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Taken at St. Peter's Church, Plattsburgh, Clinton County, NY in .
A photo of Blanche Laravie posing for her Solemn First Communion at St.... more
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Shared on May 27, 2015 by
A photo of Valdimar Eylands
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Shared on Apr 14, 2015 by
Taken in .
A photo of Priscilla Allen Scroggins and family. The lady to the right is... more
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Shared on Mar 27, 2015 by
Taken in .
A photo of a portrait of Really A. Rabbi Jacobs. This is one of our ancient... more
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Shared on Mar 18, 2015 by
Taken in .
A photo of Martha J Smigielski at Holy Communion
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Shared on Feb 13, 2015 by
A photo of Hilary Andrew Leister at his Confirmation
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Shared on Feb 10, 2015 by
A photo of Kate (Cunningham) Pilcher
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Shared on Jan 24, 2015 by
Rev. John Walker's Church 2nd Creek Baptist, Hazard, Ky
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Shared on Jan 20, 2015 by
A photo of Maurilio Ponce and Lucia Reyes baptizing a baby.
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Shared on Jan 2, 2015 by
Taken in New York, NY in .
A photo of Joseph H Myers Sr
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Shared on Dec 6, 2014 by
A photo of my First Communion - Debra Marie Valentine
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Shared on Sep 12 by
Taken in Sumner County, KS.
After the original Dalton M.E. Church burned down a new one was erected in... more
Shared on Aug 22 by
Taken in Sumner County, KS.
A photo of the M.E. Church in Dalton Kansas built in 1903
Shared on Jul 1 by
A photo of Osvaldo Mion with sister Ines at niece Maria’s baptism.
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Shared on Jun 30 by
Taken in Hamilton, Butler County, OH in .
The alter at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in 1908. The church was built in... more
Shared on Jun 19 by
Taken in Troy, Miami County, OH in .
I’ve “rescued” an old photograph of Rev. W. R. DILL which was taken at... more
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Shared on May 5 by
A photo of Elizabeth Mercy Kerwen's priest Fr. Robert Ecker who also spoke at... more
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Shared on Apr 23 by
A photo of Elizabeth Mercy Kerwen's Catholic Church, Our Lady of Angels.
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Shared on Apr 23 by
This is a view of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Abbottstown, PA taken on Sept.... more
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This is a picture of two Catholic priests--Father Murray on the left and... more
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This is Father Hayden, a Catholic priest, standing on the steps of the Our... more
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This church has been tore down in 2010 outside of Odin, Watonwan, Minnesota... more
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A photo of the SWEET HOME SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH, BELTON ARKANSAS Merrell... more
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Taken at Bethesda Lutheran Church, Ames, Story County, IA in .
A photo of the Bethesda Lutheran Church Class of 1944!
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Taken in Kansas City, Jackson County, MO on .
I've "rescued" an old photograph of Father Thomas C. MOORE which was taken at... more
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Shared on Feb 6 by
Taken in Sumner County, KS in .
A photo of a Sunday School Class in Dalton, Kansas, in 1913.
Shared on Feb 5 by
Taken at Lindenwald Baptist Church, Hamilton, Butler County, OH in .
A photo of Lindenwald Baptist Church members in about 1962 in Hamilton... more
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A photo of Pauline E Tibbetts and family
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Shared on Oct 18, 2017 by
A photo of Columba Devlin (1922-81), President of Saint Francis College
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Shared on Oct 14, 2017 by