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Department/School

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract/Excerpt

Europe is newly concerned with religious pluralism and questions of immigrant inclusion. Seen from the U.S., several issues stand out. First, our experience with diversity suggests that race is as much an issue as religion. Race is not just an American problem; race and religion are everywhere sources of identity and solidarity, just as they are sources of division. The Ellis Island model of immigration, in which churches helped immigrants adjust to American life, may have worked for Whites, but it did not work nearly as well for others. Don’t expect integration on that score. Second, American religious diversity is overstated. Figures show that the apostles of America’s new religious pluralism are talking about at most 9 % of our foreign-born immigrants and 4 % of our native population. The U.S. is still dominantly Christian, though that Christianity is internally diverse. Recently, sectarian Christian diversity has infected our politics, contributing to our current polarization. Racial, religious, and political conflicts are thus alive and well. Is ‘civil religion’ a solution? Not if the civil religion in question is of the priestly or the sectarian kind. At times, however, American civil religion has been prophetic, speaking to the country’s highest ideals. Only then has religion (of any form) been a resource for broad inclusion.

Document Type

Chapter

Book Title

Religious Pluralism: Framing Religious Diversity in the Contemporary World

Editors

Giuseppe Giordan and Enzo Pace

Publisher

Springer

Place of Publication

Dortrecht, Netherlands

Publication Date

2014

Pages

133-144

ISBN

978-3-319-06623-3

Keywords

pluralism, religion, diversity, America, immigration, race

Disciplines

Sociology of Religion

Comments

Text is the author's final version, before publication

Diversity vs Pluralism?  Notes from the American Experience

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