The U.S. would seem to be prime ground for deep and chronic social conflict. Yet the evidence indicates that Americans get along fairly well in spite of having many different religions, including the growing number who subscribe to "no religion."
That religion is especially salient for new immigrants is a commonplace in the sociology and history of U.S. religion. That the U.S. is a nation of immigrants is often cited as a reason for the comparatively high level of religious observance and identification in this country.
In their 2001 book Divided By Faith, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith developed a theory to explain why churches are racially exclusive enclaves despite Christians’ high ideals about being inclusive: Americans choose where and with whom to worship; race is one of the most important grounds on which the