Special Characteristics of Religious Minorities In the United States
Indian Sociological Bulletin
The religious atmosphere in American has proven favorable to the multiplication of denominations. Citing the fact that there are more than 258 Protestant denominations in the United States, the author points to the fallacy of thinking a 'tri-faith' (i.e. Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish) exists. Outside of these faiths, for example, are the Mormons, the Eastern Orthodox, and the secular Humanists. After suggesting the limitations of statistics on religion, a distinction is made between a sect and a denomination. Whereas the former is closely allied with national, economic, and cultural interests and seeks to accommodate its ethics with the ethic of civilization, the latter represents rebellious, frustrated, or rejected minorities. Among the numerous minority religious groups cited are millennial and premillennial groups, others which are related to Islam, and various American cults which are rooted in a longing for inward rather than external religion and for healing. Reference is made to the interest shown in oriental religions, particularly Hinduism.