When I was a child I spoke as a child, understood as a child, reasoned as a child. I knew my parents loved me best. I mistook abundant love for especial favor and blessings for entitlements. I mistook good fortune for God’s approval and worldly outcomes for the will of God. Kennedy won because God was on our side. When my grandfather died, I assumed it was me—something I’d done or failed to do. Maybe the first time I ate meat on a Friday, at Bobby Bacon’s house. It was baloney.
Since the 9-11 terrorist attacks the U.S. State Department has sponsored a number of study programs that bring Muslim scholars from around the world to the U.S. with the aim of showing off the American way of separating church and state, and demonstrating how American society is able to both nurture faith traditions and support religious diversity.