State of Religion in Indianapolis

State of Religion in Indianapolis. [n.d.]

Citing the popular notion that early-20th century Indianapolis was a moral and strongly religious city, the report “State of Religion in Indianapolis” pulls from congregational records and other primary sources of the era to examine the ways the city’s religious bodies practiced their faith and carried out their ministries. It reveals that, though the Protestant mainstream remained dominant in these early decades, the growing Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish populations—as well as the multiplication of smaller sects—challenged its religious hegemony. Specific areas touched by the report include church organizations, the social issues churches faced, the involvement by some with the Ku Klux Klan, the churches’ stand on law enforcement and public morality, and religion in the schools. The report contains an extended section on church buildings, exploring the trend to erect new church edifices, the architectural styles used, and growth of new church plants during the period. It also features the problem many churches faced at the time over whether to remain in the city and focus attention there or whether to sell their existing structures and relocate to Indianapolis’ new and burgeoning neighborhoods and suburbs.