In this Nov. 6, 2020, file photo, the statue of President Abraham Lincoln is seen at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

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Whether, as individuals, we kneel on a rug, bow before an ancient writing, open our mouths for a communion or look up on a clear night at the infinite dark void filled with the lights of creation, we Americans, each of us as citizens and collectively as a nation, have a shared religion, a faith founded upon our belief in democracy.  

We have sacred scriptures: the founders’ Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and a vast library of other written and oral affirmations and critiques of our history, our destiny and our promises.

We follow holy rituals: swearing to uphold our Constitution, symbolically pledging to our flag, peacefully transferring our governance, and most intimately and most importantly, posting or handing in our ballots in voting booths. 

We cherish shrines: the Capitol, the many monuments, memorials, parks and public spaces, and the innumerable resting places of those who have died defining and defending our faith. 

We have clergy: robed and unrobed, for whom we directly or indirectly are responsible and by whom we expect to be responsive to us. 

We are its laity: supporting and preserving our democracy, admitting to its frailty and flaws, yet aspiring and continuously working to make it ever “more perfect.” We are bound to teach it faithfully to our children in our homes, our schools, our places of worship and by the examples of our everyday actions. 

Yes, we Americans, by birth or by conversion, we do have a national religion. It is up to us to practice it. 

Sidney R. Block