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Although the United States constitutionally is a secular state, God always has been an integral part of policy. This can be traced back to colonial times when some of the earliest colonies were established for religious reasons. And because the very establishment of those colonies constituted expansion by Europeans into the New World, God therefore became the basis for expansion both before and after independence. In modern, more cynical times, we might see it simply as using God as a justification for conquest, subjugation and exploitation. (1) Certainly these were integral parts of expansion. Nevertheless, religion of itself was co-equal to conquest, subjugation and exploitation in the belief that the American people have something unique to offer the world. As late as 2003, a Pew Center poll showed that 71 percent of evangelical Christians, 40 percent of "mainline Christians" (i.e. mainstream Protestant), and 39 percent of Roman Catholics feel the United States has the "special protection of God." (2) When one considers that 75 percent of all Americans consider themselves Christian, these figures show how deeply this view of a special relationship with God permeates American society, no matter how illogical it may seem to some outsiders.