Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

... For research assistance I am grateful to Arin Cole and especially Rebecca Anker, who also transcribed and coded interviews and helped me through the editorial process. Stephanie Hamel gave me valuable insight into using grounded theory to get the most from interview data. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

The volume of American conversations about religion has perhaps never been higher. Both the frequency and the stridency of references to religion in national discourse—from talk radio to popular films to media analyses—have been turned up high. Terrorist attacks keep us fixed on an abhorrent version of militant Islam. The Passion of the Christ and The Da Vinci Code make blockbuster material (and controversy) of the origins of ...

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Chapter 1: Theories of Religious Difference The “Experts” Map Interfaith Relations

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pp. 14-44

“The map is not the territory,” we learned a long time ago from general semantics. This has certainly become clear to many of us on long hikes when the topographical map and the trail in front of us seem to bear little relation to one another. But we carry our maps just the same. My goal in exploring interfaith encounters in the United States today is to get at the territory itself, the experience of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others ...

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Chapter 2: Strange Bedfellows Multifaith Activism in American Politics

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pp. 45-83

In the presidential election of 2004, Americans suddenly discovered color as a defining mark of their political identities—not black and white this time, but red and blue. From its use in network news graphics to represent Republican and Democratic voting patterns, “red state” and “blue state” quickly came to serve as shorthand for broad cultural divisions on everything from gay marriage and prayer in schools to fashion and music tastes.1 The instant ubiquity of red state/blue ...

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Chapter 3: When the Other Is Neighbor Community-Based Interfaith Work

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pp. 84-125

A “community” is a slippery thing to define. On the one hand, it has come to refer to any group of people with a common interest or identity— we hear of the “Asian American community,” the “pro-life community,” the “transgender community,” even, in a trade publication I spotted recently, the “event-planning community.” On the other hand, geographically defined communities—the towns and neighborhoods where we live—are often anonymous places where we know only a few people, ...

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Chapter 4: Intimate Others Interfaith Families Making a Space for Religious Difference

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pp. 126-168

Most interfaith work is a purposeful, intentional thing. Driven by intellectual passion, politics, or a commitment to community harmony, people of different religious identities find or create the structures that will allow them to explore their difference and find common purpose. But for interfaith couples, the work of...

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Chapter 5: Meeting the Other in Cyberspace Interfaith Dialogue Online

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pp. 169-197

The statistics are becoming familiar: 137 million American adults—more than two-thirds—are now online (Pew Internet 2005). Nine out of ten American school children have access to computers. More than four out of five households with computers also have Internet access. And clearly, one of the things people are doing with all that connectivity is learning ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 198-210

This tour of several sites of interfaith encounter affirms that the pluralist impulse is alive and well in the United States, despite the twin threats of fundamentalism and the homogenizing commodification of culture. For every gesture of religious intolerance that so captures media attention, we can find countless instances of individuals and groups stepping across religious lines with curiosity and open hearts. ...

Notes

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pp. 211-215

Bibliography

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pp. 217-225

Index

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pp. 227-233

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About the Author

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KATE McCARTHY is an associate professor of Religious Studies and ...