Religion and community in the United States

Freedom of religion or belief has been central to the American experience since the inception of the United States. Whatever the faith, communities form around churches, synagogues, mosques and temples.

Congregations meet for weekly services. Families and friends meet for marriages, funerals, holidays and other special events within the community. Even people with no particular religious affiliation gather for spiritually oriented activities.

On the occasion of International Religious Freedom Day (October 27), here’s a glimpse of a few of those communities from the richly illustrated book Faith + Freedom: Religion in the USA (PDF, 20MB).

Jewish man saying morning prayers in synagogue (© David L. Ryan/Boston Globe/Getty Images)
A rabbi recites morning prayers at the Tobin Bridge Chabad in Everett, Massachusetts. (© David L. Ryan/Boston Globe/Getty Images)
Altar boys in mass procession (© Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Altar boys assist at an Easter celebration in Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago. (© Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Rows of Muslim men praying (© David Grossman/Alamy)
On Eid al-Fitr, Muslims pray outside a mosque in Brooklyn, New York City. (© David Grossman/Alamy)
People filing out of church doors onto outside steps (© Visions of America, LLC/Alamy)
Churchgoers greet the pastor and each other, a typical scene on any Sunday at the Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia. (© Visions of America, LLC/Alamy)

A version of this article was previously published October 22, 2019.

To learn more about religious freedom in the United States, click on this ShareAmerica page.