Some time between World War II and the Second Vatican Council a small-town church in northeastern Vermont was destroyed by fire. The congregation immediately launched a vigorous fund-raising campaign to erect a new building. One of the members carried his canvassing so far as to ask the local Roman Catholic priest for a donation.
When the U.S. declared war on global terrorism after September 11, Osama bin Laden “must have had a sense of relief when America came attacking” in Afghanistan a month later, says the author of a suddenly popular book on the rise of religious violence.
Aurora Solis is typical of the people involved in faith-based organizing. Solis, a Mexican immigrant who grew up in a low-income home, works in a staff position at a high school in San Jose, California. She has been a U.S. citizen for only four years.
Commentary since September 11 has produced a cognitive dissonance among Americans about Islam, the world’s second largest religious tradition. On the one hand, selected Muslim leaders declare that “Islam is a religion of peace” and President Bush asserts repeatedly that the U.S.