Nowhere in the developed world places more importance on religious belief than the United States, and nowhere finds more diverse channels for expressing belief in the same god. Zonal demarcation fails to do justice to this rich variety, which glitters kaleidoscopically at county level. Hinduism is the second most popular religious tradition in Arizona; the Baha’i come second in South Carolina. Of course, Christianity comes first in both states by a country mile. Roughly 70 per cent of professed Christians are Protestant, with Lutherans prevalent in the Northern Midwest, Baptists in the South, and Methodists sandwiched in between. Quakers have an enclave in the North Carolina Piedmont. Mormons are concentrated in Utah and contiguous counties. Catholicism has always had a strong presence in the Northeast amongst those of Polish, Irish and Italian descent, but its fastest growth is in the Hispanic Southwest, where Islam is the second most popular religious tradition.
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