With the Civil War, a new theme of death, sacrifice and rebirth enters the civil religion. Memorial Day gave ritual expression to these themes, integrating the local community into a sense of nationalism. The American civil religion, in contrast to that of France, was never anticlerical or militantly secular; in contrast to Britain, it was not tied to a specific denomination, such as the Church of England. The Americans borrowed from different religious traditions so that the average American saw no conflict between the two, and deep levels of personal motivation were aligned with attaining national goals.
May 27, 2013
"Scholars... often make the argument that the United States has a secular 'civil religion' — one with no association with any religious denomination or viewpoint — that has incorporated Memorial Day as a sacred event."