Patel, Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise

Here’s a new book by one of the former members of President Barack Obama’s AdvisoryPatel Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships and a frequent writer about and defender of religious diversity, Eboo Patel: Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise (Princeton University Press). This style of advocacy for American religious freedom and diversity was once mainstream, but recently I have seen less of it on both the left and right. It would be interesting to ask the author why that might be. One worth checking out (and congratulations to our friend and Fall 2018 Colloquium in Law and Religion participant, John Inazu, for his contribution to the book).

America is the most religiously devout country in the Western world and the most religiously diverse nation on the planet. In today’s volatile climate of religious conflict, prejudice, and distrust, how do we affirm the principle that the American promise is deeply intertwined with how each of us engages with people of different faiths and beliefs? Eboo Patel, former faith adviser to Barack Obama and named one of America’s best leaders by U.S. News & World Report, provides answers to this timely and consequential question.

In this inspiring and thought-provoking book, Patel draws on his personal experience as a Muslim in America to examine broader questions about the importance of religious diversity in the cultural, political, and economic life of the nation. He explores how religious language has given the United States some of its most enduring symbols and inspired many of its most vital civic institutions—and demonstrates how the genius of the American experiment lies in its empowerment of people of all creeds, ethnicities, and convictions.

Will America’s identity as a Judeo-Christian nation shift as citizens of different backgrounds grow in numbers and influence? In what ways will minority religious communities themselves change as they take root in American soil? In addressing these and other questions, Patel shows how America’s promise is the guarantee of equal rights and dignity for all, and how that promise is the foundation of America’s unrivalled strength as a nation. Incisive commentaries by John Inazu, Robert Jones, and Laurie Patton consider critical issues of American civil religion, faith and law, and the increase in the number of nonreligious Americans.

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