Today, building on current conditions and perspectives, we find ourselves at Religion Sector 3.0.
First, there was Religion Sector 1.0, “The Church on the Town Square.” Then came Religion Sector 2.0, “Walls of Separation.” The United States has transitioned from “the church” to a multitude of congregations of a diversity of faiths, scattered away from “the town square.”
Progressively, certainly by the 1950’s, the subsequent “walls of separation” were twofold. First, came the very separate existence of congregations, each from the other. Even congregations of common faith were scattered by distance as they spread themselves across the landscape.
Second came the increasing imposition of the “wall” as a barrier between “religion” and “state.” Segments, in the religion sector and the civic sectors, promoted the rationale that society would be best served if a wall separated religion from society. This was reflected in the life of the individual and in the religion sector core institution, the congregation. The Religion Sector was ad hoc, fragmented and marginalized, as such, projected as outside of society.
A range of factors contributed to a 21st century longing for a society in which both people of religious faith and religion institutions were not separated from each other, and in which their faith was acknowledged within society along with other personal practices and organized expressions of personal identity.