By Stephen Prothero
Promotional info/Publisher's precis - "The usa has lengthy been defined as a kingdom of immigrants, however it is additionally a country of religions during which Muslims and Methodists, Buddhists and Baptists reside and paintings part by means of facet. This e-book explores that country of religions, targeting how 4 lately arrived spiritual communities--Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs--are shaping and, in flip, formed by means of American values.
For a iteration, students were documenting how the landmark laws that loosened immigration regulations in 1965 catalyzed the advance of the U.S. as "a kingdom of Buddhists, Confucianists, and Taoists, in addition to Christians," as very best courtroom Justice Tom Clark positioned it. The participants to this quantity take U.S. non secular range now not as a proposition to be proved yet because the truism it has develop into. Essays deal with no longer even if the us is a Christian or a multireligious nation--clearly, it's both--but how non secular range is altering the general public values, rites, and associations of the state and the way these values, rites, and associations are affecting religions centuries outdated but fairly new in the United States. This dialog makes an immense contribution to the intensifying public debate concerning the acceptable position of faith in American politics and society.
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Extra info for A Nation of Religions
I will come back to a fuller discussion of these broad commitments at the end of this essay. ’’ Progressive Muslims are found everywhere in the global Muslim umma. When it comes to implementing a progressive understanding of Islam in Muslim communities, groups in Iran, Malaysia, and South Africa lead the United States. Many American Muslim communities —and much of the leadership represented in groups such as the Islamic Circle of North America,∏ the Islamic Society of North America,π and the Council on 44 omid safi American-Islamic Relations∫ —are far too uncritical of Salaﬁ and Wahhabi tendencies that progressives oppose.
We feel proud of our American Islamic identity. We want to be part of the mosaic. We don’t consider ourselves as belonging to the Middle East or to South Asia. ’’ A related claim is that America contains much that is good, and Muslims as citizens should celebrate the good and try to change the bad. Javeed Akhter, a Muslim leader in Chicago, says, ‘‘There is much good in our country which is good and exemplary and needs to be preserved. ’’∞∏ Two other arguments would give full legitimation to the state.
Since 9/11, the pull of those two forces has become overpowering. This position of Muslim leaders—committed to but uneasy about involvement and accommodation—is captured by an African American Muslim in Indianapolis who remarks that the Muslim has three choices in facing America: isolate, insulate, or assimilate. The best choice, he believes, is to insulate —retain Islamic values and practices as protection against the immorality of America and anti-Islamic sentiments while remaining active in society.
A Nation of Religions by Stephen Prothero