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date: 20 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article evaluates the ways in which the U.S. Government, at various levels, monitors and engages in the surveillance of religious groups. It discusses the growing pervasiveness of the government into the religious life of American citizens. As religions increase the public space they occupy in the American society, government actors such political leaders and bureaucrats often assume they have the right and responsibility to inquire and know the activities of religious entities, specifically if these religious groups are involved in receiving public funds, or performing functions generally performed by the government. The article begins with the results of a major survey about public support for the surveillance of unpopular religious groups. It also discusses the monitoring and surveillance of religious groups within an international context. The article ends with some comments on the prevalence of surveillance and monitoring by governments in other countries and Western democracies.

Keywords: U.S. Government, surveillance, religious groups, religious life, government, monitoring

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