"Religious Diversity: The US Just Doesn’t Understand" by Jamie Anson

February 28, 2006

Source: Daily Evergreen


On February 28, 2006 the Daily Evergreen ran an opinion piece by student columnist Jamie Anson. She writes, "In a nation made up predominantly of immigrants, issues of religious pluralism are becoming of great importance. Roughly 80 percent of Americans identify as Christian. Yet, 1.3 million Hindus, 2 million Muslims, and between 2.5 million and 4 million Buddhists make up a chunk of that remainder. If violence in Iraq teaches us anything, it is that repression of one sect by another leads to disaster. Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University has written a book entitled, 'America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity' which delves into this very topic. Wuthnow concludes that we are more diverse but not necessarily more pluralistic. A secular society that largely wishes religion would just go away is often pitted against a dizzying mix of religious voices. A new era is approaching in which the United States will have to come to grips with something like genuine pluralism, which entails how we think about diversity, how we respond to it and whether we embrace it, ignore it or merely cope with it. In short, to remain ignorant of the religious diversity in this country is just as doomed as exalting a certain sect over another. No easy answers exist to these questions, but to not even begin the asking is to shun the wisdom we most assuredly need."