Pluralism has many connotations in American religion. In colonial America, it referred primarily to the variety of Protestant groups planted in colonial America. As immigration in the early republic strengthened non-Protestant groups, particularly Roman Catholicism and Judaism, pluralism came to encompass different religions believing the Bible sacred, along with new religious movements emphasizing selected biblical ideas. Making this possible was the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of religion and prohibiting Congress from establishing a state church. By the end of the 20th century, pluralism had taken on other dimensions, as immigrants following other traditions such as Islam, varieties of Buddhism, Hinduism, and others came to call America home. Some thought pluralism a positive good; others believed it allowed falsehood to flourish. Consequently, ...

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