explain how contributions of various social, ethnic, gender, and religious groups shape American culture.
The beliefs, values and ideas of religious traditions have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the development of human societies and cultures. ... In essence, religions provide a frame of reference for understanding the world and for guiding personal and communal action. Similarly, ethnic relations affected gender roles in two main ways: by specifying the kind of work appropriate to the white male, white female, black male and black female, and by influencing patterns of sexual access. The relationship between SES, race and ethnicity is intimately intertwined. Research has shown that race and ethnicity in terms of stratification often determine a person's socioeconomic status. Furthermore, communities are often segregated by SES, race, and ethnicity. However, cultural influences do not just change the external “shape” of religion. Cultural messages can create tension, conflict and confusion within individuals when they run counter to religious beliefs and teachings, making it harder to integrate religion into their lives. Religion performs the key function of providing social solidarity in a society. The rituals, the worship of icons, and the belief in supernatural beings “excite, maintain or recreate certain mental states” that bring people together, provide a ritual and symbolic focus, and unify them.