America in the 1950's Religious Oppression for All?

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The 1950's, a time of renewal for the United States, yet was all that came out of the atmosphere productive for the continuous growth of the U.S.? The world was recently recovering from a terrible worldwide conflict that touched the lives of every being that drew breath. It was a time of renewed sexuality (1950's, MSNBC) , where stars such as Marilyn Monroe dominated the film industry and where the concept of organized religion took a steep downward turn that it has never recovered from. The emergence of many newly founded religious groups and the growth of others that had been previously established created an unstable atmosphere of competition between the differing denominations. Yet, Many good things did come from the newfound religious tolerance. The 1950's were a time of great religious awakening, yet this time of renewal produced more negative than positive results.

Before looking into what went right and wrong during the 1950's, the concept of what religion is must be examined. Religion is a system of thought, feeling, or action shared by a group that gives members an object of devotion; and a frame of reference relating individuals to their group and to the universe (Religion, History Channel.com). There are many different types of religion, and they range in theme to a great degree. The beginning stages of religion are animism, ancestor worship, and spiritism. These deal with the worship of animals, dead relatives and mystical spirits respectively. These are the more rudimentary forms of religion that are found more often in less-developed countries. The second type of religion is what has been termed the higher religions. Among the many categories in the higher religions is polytheism, which holds that there are many gods. Also included are Monotheism, in which there is only one God, and dualism, which boasts two gods of equal strength where one god is evil and the other is good. The famous writer C.S. Lewis has compared both these two religions to Christianity (Lewis, 48). Pantheism is the last to be considered a higher religion. A pantheist believes that the entirety of the universe is God. These differing beliefs all have one thing in common; they all were affected by the religious upheaval of the 1950's. How were the 50's influential to religion, as we know it today? During the 50's many religions developed a tremendous amount and that development has contributed to the forming of the organized religious society today. Many of the more prominent religions that exist today had periods of great growth during this time. The Roman Catholic Church went through a marvelous time of prosper in the 50's. The estimated membership of this institution in 1952 was 423 million (Encarta, 20), which is an incredible number of members for a single section of the organized religious population. In the United States alone the Catholic Church had grown by 47 percent since 1936 (Encarta, 20). Even the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was growing. Pope Pius X raised the number of the members of their College of Cardinals from 44 to 70. The Catholic touch extended to the majority of the world by this time and they exerted a powerful influence on the countries that were within their grasp. Many times the process of exerting this influence caused conflicts between the Catholic Church and the countries that were involved. The Methodist Church, a large Protestant denomination, was one of the few churches that actually did well during these days concerning the issue of segregation. At the General Conference of the Methodist church they voted to accept Negro churches in white jurisdictions. This action was very different from the majority of other churches at the time, which fully supported segregated churches. These churches even used this topic as a tool to draw more people into their numbers. However, the Methodist did not follow the example of these other churches. They showed what all religions are...
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