“Would it help to get rid of the superfluous forums? The Religion forum, for one,..”
I am rather amazed at comments like this here, as if religion on a pro-God, pro-American forum is out of place, and have nothing to do with traditional values, freedom, smaller government and a constitutional republic, and as if the kind of religion is irrelevant.* While you do have a lot of flack, this is almost all in reaction to religions that promote and require implicit submission to some assertively infallible mortals, mainly Roman Catholicism and Mormonism, which is both unBiblical and unAmerican (though tolerance of them is not), yet there it is quality debate which is based upon commitment to the truth.
Protestants and Catholics battles are also part of America’s history, including over which version of the Bible was to be read in school. However, today another battle is with those who suppose we can separate faith from moral values, and moral values from fiscal conservationism, and that the latter is the real goal.
*As French historian Alexis de Tocqueville commented,
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live. - Democracy in America, Volume I Chapter XVII (1835)
And as a Library of Congress exhibit notes,
The religion of the new American republic was evangelicalism, which, between 1800 and the Civil War, was the “grand absorbing theme” of American religious life. During some years in the first half of the nineteenth century, revivals (through which evangelicalism found expression) occurred so often that religious publications that specialized in tracking them lost count. In 1827, for example, one journal exulted that “revivals, we rejoice to say, are becoming too numerous in our country to admit of being generally mentioned in our Record.” - http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel07.html
During the years between the inaugurations of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, historians see “evangelicalism emerging as a kind of national church or national religion.” The leaders and ordinary members of the “evangelical empire” of the nineteenth century were American patriots who subscribed to the views of the Founders that religion was a “necessary spring” for republican government; they believed, as a preacher in 1826 asserted, that there was “an association between Religion and Patriotism.” Converting their fellow citizens to Christianity was, for them, an act that simultaneously saved souls and saved the republic. The American Home Missionary Society assured its supporters in 1826 that “we are doing the work of patriotism no less than Christianity.”
Robert Winthrop (May 12, 1809 November 16, 1894), and Speaker of the House from 1838 to 1840, and later president of the Massachusetts Bible Society, explained that, Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or the bayonet.”
Muslims are pro -God, too. I’m embarrassed for what passes as “religious discussion” on FR. Of course differences among denominations abound but nearly every religious thread ends up in name calling and terse words against one another. I believe these threads do more harm to the body of Christ than good. Some times it is hard to recognize the love of Christ in many posters. Of course it is easy to hide behind anonymous monikers and bash others.