Driving north on I-75 through the flat state of Ohio, I'm usually scanning the horizon for those ticket-giving folks who, I'm told, like out-of-state cars. As I near Toledo, though, I begin looking for a mosque whose splendor and size impress even the casual observer. It is a clear reminder that no longer are world religions only on the other side of the world; they are thriving in our very own neighborhoods.
Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard University, eloquently details this in A New Religious America: How a "Christian Country" Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation. Drawing on her research with the Pluralism Project, an organization she founded that tracks religious diversity in the United States, Eck focuses on the growth of Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu communities in America. In short, this book proves that the notion of American religion as being simply Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish is as outdated as the typewriter in our world of computers. Too bad if the media and campaigning politicians haven't yet noticed.