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Understanding religious imagery and its uses on stage is essential to interpreting drama, beginning as it did in the sacred rituals of ancient Greece. In post-World-War-II America, playwrights divested religious elements of their sacredness, using them as signifiers of secular humanism instead, in order to construct or critique ideological tenets central to the American consciousness. This study examines the relation on the modern stage between religion (both formal and civil) and the concept of "America" in the works of James Baldwin, Bill C. Davis, Christopher Durang, Diane Shaffer, and John Patrick Shanley, who each used religion to create conformity with (or critique of) the sense of American exceptionalism that dominated the post-WWII period. This study focuses on the characteristics of the clergy depicted by these playwrights: pragmatism, marginalization, prescription, and paranoia. While narrow in scope, the thematic concerns these characters represent echo other religious elements such as those of Arthur Miller's Crucible or Edward Albee's Tiny Alice. Each of the playwrights in this study attempt to re-code the religious signs—in this case, their characters—to effect an understanding in the audience that these people represent a larger social commentary. Building on theatre anthropology and semiotics, especially the work of Victor Turner, Peter Brook, and Keir Elam, as well as theorists of American civil religion such as Robert Bellah, this study will demonstrate the ways religion has been used on stage to define American ideology, as well as establish the link between dramatic clergy and the larger societal figures they represent.