Almost all Americans say that they believe in God. More than half are Protestant Christians, and a quarter are Catholic.
There are also Jews, Moslems, and atheists.
and the Cold War. It was on the winning side each
rime. The world wars weakened all of the European countries but did not damage
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991,
Its people have the highest standard of living of any large country in the world; only a few small
countries have higher standards of living. Its economy is still growing, but several other important countries are growing even faster at the present rime.
There is a widespr 454c26e ead belief, both in
WHO ARE THE AMERICANS?
Nearly all of the 250,000,000 Americans are
descendants of immigrants who came to
Immigration played a big role in forming the American character. Immigrants are not like people who are born into a country. They have to pick up their things, leave their homes, and start a new life in a new land.
Americans think of an ideal immigrant as
someone who travels all the way acrossthe ocean to
find freedom and opportunity in
Most Americans speak English, but
only 33 million of them are from families which came from
Most ofthe other 180,000,000
Americans have their family origins in other European countries, especially
Asian-Americans number 10,000,000
and are growing fast. Many of them live in
"blacks" are the only Americans whose families did not come to
American blacks were freed from slavery after a very bloody Civil War in the 1860s, when the States with slaves were defeated by the States that did not allow slavery. Even after that, blacks were kept in an inferior position. They were prevented from voting, and were kept in separate neighborhoods and separate schools. This was called "segregation".
In the 1950s and 1960s, blacks finally won the basic rights of all Americans, thanks to a popular Civil
Rights movement led by Marthin
Luther King. The enforced segregation of the races was ended; instead,
efforts were made for "integration". However, most blacks still live
in separate neighbourhoods, with much more violence and poverty than other
Americans. Today there are 30,000,000 blacks in
NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS
There are two million Native
Americans in the territory of the
They used to be called
"Indians" be- cause, when Christopher
Columbus arrived in
The Native Americans are the
descendants of people who migrated into
The role of immigration was always
From 1820 to 1960, 34,000,000
immigrants came to
In the 1960s, the
This change has led to a widespread
Working class Americans, both white and black, have blamed Hispanic immigrants far taking away their jobs. Black Americans have rioted violently against Asian immigrants.
In addition to legal immigrants,
there are many illegal immigrants. The "illegal" are not counted in
the statistics because they enter
Most of them simply come across the
long, 2000-mile (3200-km.) border between the
The government estimates that 300,000- 500,000 "illegal" are coming in each year. Almost all Americans want fewer of them to get in.
Immigrants are good.
They take risks.
Theybring skills and education.
They do hard, unpleasant kinds of
work that most Americans aren't willing to do.
They provide labourers far seasonal agricultural work.
They are young, and the American population is growing
They pay taxes.
They keep the economy growing.
They are making Americaa multicultural society and a model far the whole world.
The Asian immigrants are giving us useful connections with the booming Asia-Pacific economies.
The migration back and forth across the border with
AlI the arguments against the new
immigrants today were used 100 years ago against the immigrants from
You anti-immigration people are just racists.
These new immigrants are taking our jobs away.
They are unskilled and uneducated.
They make things worse far poor blacks.
They increase social tensions that are already bad enough.
They get welfare, while the rest of us pay far it.
They keep the population growing too much.
They bring in all kinds of problems from their native lands - terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, drugs, criminal gangs, diseases...
The Mexican immigrants are still Mexicans at heart.
They aren't learning English.
are Mexicanizing the southwest andare going to tear it away from the
There is a limit how any people we can Americanize at one time..
You pro-immigration people don't really love
It's a dangerous experiment.
From the start,
"Enlightenment" began, they grew more tolerant of other religions. In the 1780s, when the colonies
were uniting, they had to tolerate each
other's different religions so that their
In 1791, the V.S. Bill of Rights
guaranteed freedom for
all religions and prohibited the
Today, among the wealthy countries
of the world,
A slight majority of Americans are Protestants. Out of the 250,000,000 Americans, 54% or 135,000,000 are Protestants. At the same rime, 26% or 65,000,000 are Catholics.
There are also 5,000,000 Jews in
Since the 1960s, many young Americans have been trying Eastern religious practices of meditation.
However, fewer than 1% of Americans describe themselves as "Buddhist" or "Hindu".
The "born again" or "fundamentalist" Christians believe the Bible is the exact word of God. They say there is only one way to be saved from going to Hell: first, believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and died for your sins, and then find Jesus personally and ask Him to come into your soul, remake your life and save you.
There have always been
Millions of Americans feci the society is decaying today. Drug use and crime have multiplied. So has AIDS, a deadly disease which is spread by sex. Like fundamentalists in Islamic countries, American fundamentalists say that a return to God is the only solution. They want much less separation of Church and State.
They think the government and media
have been taken aver by a small un-Christian group. They fear this group may be
part of a gigantic conspiracy to put
For now, fundamentalists are trying to outlaw abortion, get sex out of the schools and movies, put prayer back in schools, and have schools teach the Biblical version of creation as a theory that is just as scientific as evolution.
Many Americans agree with them on some of these issues.
The fundamentalists are a small minority, but they
They have organized a "Christian Coalition" which has gained a lot of influence within the Republican Party.
What do you think?
1. Underline the arguments before that you think ore basically true
Most Americans are. . .
Most American Christians ore. . .
Americans have. . .
q freedom to practise any religion
q a government-supported religion
q repression ot minority religions
The fundamentalist movement believes in...
q greater separation ot Church and State
q the literal truth ot the Bible
q the Oarwinian theory ot evolution
Questions to think about.
is religion in your own country different from in
Do people who belong to minority religions in your country feel like complete citizens or like guests in the country?
Is the main religion in your country Christianity?
Does religion make your country feel closer to
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