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Civil religion became a popular topic of discussion in the sociology of religion during the late 1960s with the publication of Robert Bellah's essay “Civil Religion in America.” The definition of civil religion has been a major point of contention throughout the debate, but Bellah initially writes of it as the religious dimension of civil life marked off by rituals, discourse, myths, beliefs, and symbols that unify the national community and point the nation toward proper domestic and international action. And even though previous researchers had written about similar topics in similar terms, Bellah's article struck a chord in the academy and was picked up by social commentators in the following years. But the origins of the term are found much earlier.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Civil ...
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