Whether one views the relationship between religion and American politics as positive or negative is a matter of perspective and opinion. There is no debating, however, that religion has played an important role in American politics. This was increasingly true in the twentieth century, and remained so in the twenty-first. The late twentieth century witnessed the rise of the so-called "religious right," a collection of mostly white, evangelical Protestants who gave their support to conservative social causes. One instance in the twenty-first century was the role of the "religious right" in the debate over same-sex marriage. This was contested over many fronts, including laws and constitutional amendments in various states declaring marriage as by definition involving a man and a woman and, after the Supreme Court upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry, "religious liberty" suits where religious conservatives claimed their rights were being violated by anti-gay discrimination laws.
Progressives, perhaps most notably Barack Obama, have also sought to bring religion into the political sphere. Speaking it 2006, he argued that liberals, who generally embraced secularism in the public sphere, could not abandon religion:
[I]f we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice.
Obama made his faith very public, but was accused by some in the religious right of lacking Christian beliefs—throughout his presidency, significant percentages of Americans believed he was Muslim. Still, his efforts to frame political issues in religious terms led to some of the defining moments of his presidency, including his impromptu singing of the hymn "Amazing Grace" at a memorial service for nine African-American men and women murdered by a mass shooter in a Charleston, S.C. church. Still, the most significant religious influence on American politics remains the religious right.