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  • Religion is multifaceted. Not only does it encompass what people believe about the transcendent, it also includes what people do and avoid doing with their physical bodies, as well as with other material objects. Yet, regardless of whether one speaks of religion in terms of beliefs or practices—or a combination of the two, which is typically the case—the concept of power often lies at the center of the conversation. It is here where religion and politics—both narrowly and broadly conceived—form a symbiotic relationship that is anything but monotone. The context of the American West offers a prime example. In the region's long history, the relationship between religion and politics has experienced profound fluctuation along a spectrum whose poles extend from indivisibility to open hostility.

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