A Nation of Religions: The Politics of Pluralism in Multireligious America

A Nation of Religions: The Politics of Pluralism in Multireligious America

by Stephen Prothero
     
 

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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 recently arrived religious communities--Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs--are shaping and, in turn, shaped by

Overview

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 recently arrived 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 Ryuken Williams, University of California, Berkeley

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prothero, author of the critically acclaimed American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon, edits this uncoordinated exploration of how various religions outside the Judeo-Christian umbrella have been affected by the American political process. Chapters focus on how Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims are becoming more politically involved, seeking recognition of their holidays and espousing their values in the public square. Although American Muslims appear to be the most politically involved of the surveyed groups, the chapters on them are weak, citing outdated statistics. The other chapters on Buddhists and religious-themed legal challenges are accurate but sometimes densely academic. Although the essays are uneven, Prothero is to be admired for tackling this topic, as members of these religions are sometimes wrongly regarded as politically invisible. The brightest light is the edifying section on Hindus and Sikhs: Syracuse University professor Prema Kurien explains how the American Hindu community envies the attention American Muslims have received since 9/11, and UC-Santa Barbara professor Gurinder Singh Mann writes a fascinating capsule history of Sikhs in America. (Oct. 30) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Enlarges the scholarly conversation about American religious pluralism and points to the importance of conducting that conversation across disciplines. . . . Extremely valuable and suggestive of additional future projects that place such comparisons at their center."
American Journal of Sociology

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807876671
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
09/06/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Prothero is to be admired for tackling this topic.—Publisher's Weekly

A must-read volume for Americans concerned about freedom of religion in the US. Highly Recommended.—Choice

Pluralism is not simply the fact of our religious and cultural diversity, but also engagement with one another and with common public issues. This volume brings together an assembly of distinguished scholars from a range of America's religious traditions—all engaged with the American project of pluralism. It is a splendid book and a landmark achievement.—Diana L. Eck, Harvard University

This well-written book documents a change in the American religious landscape of which many are unaware: the presence of practitioners of Mideastern and Far Eastern religions within the American mainstream.—Multicultural Review

Enlarges the scholarly conversation about American religious pluralism and points to the importance of conducting that conversation across disciplines. . . . Extremely valuable and suggestive of additional future projects that place such comparisons at their center.—American Journal of Sociology

Meet the Author

Stephen Prothero is professor of religion at Boston University and author or editor of six books, including American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon.

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