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"America Has a Religious Literacy Problem"

By Cindy Davis | Trade News | October 10, 2010 | Comments ()

By Cindy Davis | Trade News | October 10, 2010 |


godinamerica271.jpg

Religious liberty and justice for all? I'm not too sure about that. I won't get into a big dissertation on the causes of America's discontent - I'm just here to alert you to what I think could be a worthwhile miniseries. Coming from a home where being religious meant one thing to my parents (going to church on holidays and praying when things go badly), another to my grandparents (dressing up and going to church every Sunday, participating in church events and programs and talking about God in everyday life) and yet another to me (participating in a youth group that involved smoking weed in the woods, having blasphemous conversations for fun and a camping trip that involved practically being accosted by the school vice principal's son). You can see why I found it all confusing and went looking for answers. Of course with everything that's out there in Theologicaland, I didn't really find answers so much as opinions and I saw more than a few strange things (people speaking in tongues and "healing" a friend, another friend paying to sit in a special spot at church to have her foot washed by the priest). Later, I married a Jew and while it gave me more food for thought, I found that the mister's family was more about tradition than religion. In the end, we decided that instead of attending religious services on either side of the indecisive fence, we'd spend time learning about world religion with our kids. So far that's only meant reading together, but in the short time we've been doing it, it's provided interesting information to us all. And though I don't see it swaying me in a particular direction, learning why and what other people believe at least helps me understand my fellow man a little better.

To that end, every once in a while I like to watch those History Channel programs on this religion or that, so I'll likely record "God in America" which airs on PBS Monday through Wednesday at 9 pm. Starring Michael Emerson, Keith David, Chris Sarandon and Toby Jones, the series explores the early history of America through a religious eye. Executive producer Michael Sullivan ("Frontline") says, "America has a religious literacy problem. Americans are very religious, but also tend to be ignorant about religions other than their own, as well as about their country's religious history."

I don't consider myself religious or ignorant, but heck, I guess I'll take one for the team.



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