How has the practice of religion been shaped by American ideals, culture, social norms, politics, and the economy? What have been the major strands of religious growth in America? What have been the greatest challenges to religion and religious practice in America, particularly through our Constitutional mandate of "separation of Church and State?" What role do you think religion should play in shaping the future of America's moral, social and political future?
This is a very interesting set of questions. In fact, they are not only interesting, they are downright contentious! Why do I say that?
Before I go further, I notice that the category that you have submitted this question under is "Christian Belief/Ethics" yet the question speaks broadly of "religion" and not "Christianity." Is this deliberate? For the sake of simplicity, I will focus on the Christianity.
America was originally founded as a specifically Christian nation. This is not particularly taught in most schools anymore and, in fact, most of this information has been deliberately expunged from textbook material by the highly liberal (leftist/socialist) educational leaders in America. That may not be a particularly popular statement, but it can be verified rather soundly by historical facts. So, I would start by stating that the practice of religion has been dramatically shaped by politics, social norms and culture. Whatever is meant by "American ideals" I have no idea. If we're talking about the original ideals of the founding fathers, then that's one thing. If we're talking about the shifting ideals of the modern world, then that's another issue altogether.
Look up some of the writings of Tocqueville and you will find that when he, as a Frenchman, visited America, his thoughts were that its strength was in its churches. America has changed a lot from that strength over the years. The following is attributed to ...