Religion might affect America's economy more than you realize. Congregations alone employ hundreds of thousands of people and purchase billions of dollars in goods.
Faith-based elementary schools receive over $15 billion in tuition annually, and that doesn't include middle schools or high schools.
Kosher and halal food sales account for almost another $15 billion. The study's authors didn't include holiday-centered food sales, either, like your usual Christmas dinner menu. That would dramatically increase the faith economy's worth.
Religious health care networks also bring in over $160 billion each year.
Plus, 20 of America's 50 largest charities are faith-based -- accounting for another $45 billion.
The researchers acknowledged their $1.2 trillion estimate is actually a conservative one. Their figure didn't account for the value of religious groups' physical or financial assets, which could make the estimate significantly bigger.