Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American Grace

I've been hearing about this book and will add it to my ever-growing list of books I want to read:

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, by David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam.

One little data point in the review caught my attention, though:

Half of all married Americans have spouses of a different faith.

That's something that demands unpacking, it seems to me. "Have" implies in the current day. Could that be really true? Or does it mean they married someone of another faith but don't necessarily practice both in the home? I'll definitely have to find that book.

And I'll bet Susan Katz Miller might have something very interesting to say about this...


  1. Yes, that statistic is astonishing. But when you break it down, as you suspected, it does not mean that, say, 50% of Protestants are married to Jews or Muslims or Buddhists. That's because they are defining a Presbyterian married to a Congregationalist as "interfaith," whereas I would call that "interchurch."

    But also, according to the book's website...

    "Approximately one third of all married Americans are in an inter-faith marriage, and one half chose to marry someone of a different faith. (The difference is due to the conversion of spouses to one faith or the other, or sometimes the conversion of both spouses to a third faith.)"

    I have been meaning to blog about this book, and will try to get to it soon.

    Thanks for the shout-out!

  2. Wow, I really agree w/ your "interfaith" vs. "interchurch" distinction. Thanks for pointing that out!

  3. Though I give special dispensation to UU/Christians with Buddhist leanings to describe themselves as "interfaith" no matter who they're married to :)


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