Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Religious Studies

Major Professor

Dell deChant, M.A.

Co-Major Professor

Danny L. Jorgensen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darrell J. Fasching, Ph.D.


civil religion, sports, popular culture, secularization, contemporary America


This thesis examines whether American civil religion, in its enactment in daily American life, is cosmological. That is, it questions whether the sacred behind American civil religion is present in the physical-material realm and not in a transcendental principle or being. It is interested in why, seemingly, what is sacred in American culture is always what is happening here and now. This is evidenced by and manifested in multiple vehicles of the sacred in American culture. These vehicles include a range of institutions from economics to politics to religion to education. They also include entities such as the mass media, the arts, and various elements of popular culture, of which one of (if not the very most) prominent, large-scale, and widely accepted forms are sports. As such, this paper maintains that sports, as a vehicle for the sacred in American culture, reveal a cosmological dimension of American civil religion. The thesis' primary investigation seeks comprehension of what is sacred in America and how the culture mediates it.