73. One Country, Many Religions

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The United States is a country that has people from all over the world. Not only do many people speak different languages, many people practice different religions. Most people in the U.S. identify as being Christian, but only half of those people attend church on a regular basis. The second most popular religion is Judaism. The third most common religion in the U.S. is Islam. Other religions practiced in the U.S include Hinduism, and Buddhism. About 20 percent of all people in the U.S. say they don't practice any religion. One of the founding principles of the United States is religious freedom, which means people can practice whatever religion they want without being discriminated against. This is even guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. This is one reason why the United States has no official religion.

Because there are so many different religions in the United States, there are many different types of houses of worship. Christians attend churches. Jews and Hindus attend temples. Muslims attend mosques. Many people use what they wear to reflect their religious beliefs. For example, some Islamic women wear a scarf called "hijab" to cover their head. It is disrespectful to ask a Muslim woman to take off her hijab or ask for her to show you what is under it. Male followers of an Indian religion called "Sikhism" usually wear cotton turbans. Again it is wrong to take a person's turban off or ask that they take it off. Male followers of Hasidism, a branch of Judaism, have long curls on the side of their heads. They wear a fringed prayer shawl. Other Jewish men may wear a small cap on their heads called a yarmulke. This is supposed to be a constant reminder that God is above them.

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