A nation of religions: the politics of pluralism in multireligious America

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University of North Carolina Press, 2006 - History - 296 pages
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The United States has long been described as a nation of immigrants, but it is also a nation of religions in which Muslims and Methodists, Buddhists and Baptists live and work side by side. This book explores that nation of religions, focusing on how four religious communities—Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs—are shaping and, in turn, shaped by American values.

For a generation, scholars have been documenting how the landmark legislation that loosened immigration restrictions in 1965 catalyzed the development of the United States as "a nation of Buddhists, Confucianists, and Taoists, as well as Christians," as Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark put it. The contributors to this volume take U.S. religious diversity not as a proposition to be proved but as the truism it has become. Essays address not whether the United States is a Christian or a multireligious nation—clearly, it is both—but how religious diversity is changing the public values, rites, and institutions of the nation and how those values, rites, and institutions are affecting religions centuries old yet relatively new in America. This conversation makes an important contribution to the intensifying public debate about the appropriate role of religion in American politics and society.

Contributors:
Ihsan Bagby, University of Kentucky
Courtney Bender, Columbia University
Stephen Dawson, Forest, Virginia
David Franz, University of Virginia
Hien Duc Do, San Jose State University
James Davison Hunter, University of Virginia
Prema A. Kurien, Syracuse University
Gurinder Singh Mann, University of California, Santa Barbara
Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida
Stephen Prothero, Boston University
Omid Safi, Colgate University
Jennifer Snow, Pasadena, California
Robert A. F. Thurman, Columbia University
R. Stephen Warner, University of Illinois at Chicago
Duncan Ryken Williams, University of California, Berkeley The United States has long been described as a nation of immigrants, but it is also a nation of religions in which Muslims and Methodists, Buddhists and Baptists live and work side by side. This book explores that nation of religions, focusing on how four religious communities—Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs—are shaping and, in turn, shaped by American values.

For a generation, scholars have been documenting how the landmark legislation that loosened immigration restrictions in 1965 catalyzed the development of the United States as "a nation of Buddhists, Confucianists, and Taoists, as well as Christians," as Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark put it. The contributors to this volume take U.S. religious diversity not as a proposition to be proved but as the truism it has become. Essays address not whether the United States is a Christian or a multireligious nation—clearly, it is both—but how religious diversity is changing the public values, rites, and institutions of the nation and how those values, rites, and institutions are affecting religions centuries old yet relatively new in America. This conversation makes an important contribution to the intensifying public debate about the appropriate role of religion in American politics and society.

Contributors:
Ihsan Bagby, University of Kentucky
Courtney Bender, Columbia University
Stephen Dawson, Forest, Virginia
David Franz, University of Virginia
Hien Duc Do, San Jose State University
James Davison Hunter, University of Virginia
Prema A. Kurien, Syracuse University
Gurinder Singh Mann, University of California, Santa Barbara
Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida
Stephen Prothero, Boston University
Omid Safi, Colgate University
Jennifer Snow, Pasadena, California
Robert A. F. Thurman, Columbia University
R. Stephen Warner, University of Illinois at Chicago
Duncan Ryken Williams, University of California, Berkeley

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Contents

CONTENTS
1
o Muslims
23
Progressive Islam in America
43
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Stephen Prothero is a professor of religion at Boston University. He is the author of "The White Buddhist "and "Purified by Fire: Cremation in American Culture," He has written for "Salon "and other publications.

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