I think they lived their whole 55 years together feeling rejected by their respective religions. They met at a free concert in Central Park during World War II. He was a handsome young Catholic Italian-American in uniform, she a shy Jewish girl out with her friends for the evening. They were immediately attracted. She always would light up when telling that part of the story.
The U.S. would seem to be prime ground for deep and chronic social conflict. Yet the evidence indicates that Americans get along fairly well in spite of having many different religions, including the growing number who subscribe to "no religion."
In mid-August I attended the grand opening of the new Al-Farooq Masjid in midtown Atlanta, a complex that includes gardens, fountains, a school and a 46,000-square-foot prayer hall with room for 1,800 worshipers. Along with other guests, I admired the hand-painted dome, the carved stonework, and the custom-made carpet with individual prayer spaces woven in, all pointing toward Mecca.
On the heels of denominational meetings this summer, “Everything you wanted to know about Christianity" is just what I needed. I take my denominational responsibilities seriously. I value the theological traditions. I attend the meetings, serve on the committees and engage in the debates.