THE BOTTOM LINE

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  • The vast majority of Americans still identify with an organized religion or religious institution, and a majority (53 percent) see religion as gaining influence in America, according to a March 2002 Gallup poll.
  • Although fewer Americans are Christian, and mainstream Protestant faiths are declining, conservative, evangelical and charismatic Christian denominations are on the rise,
  • Adherence to minority faiths remains a highly contentious issue, with definitions of Islam and Judaism — and what characterizes their followers — subject to debate. The result is widely varying methods for counting Jews and Muslims, and a broad range of population estimates for members of both religions.
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