In today’s New York Times, Peter Beinart reviews Ian Buruma’s Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents (Princeton UP, 2010):
If “Taming the Gods” serves a particular purpose, it is to challenge the condescension that both the American right and left express toward Europe on matters of faith. Buruma reminds American conservatives who mock Europe for its grand, empty churches that not long ago Christian Europe was both highly religious and highly intolerant. Whatever its faults, European secularism has helped make the continent a place where Roman Catholics and Protestants (not to mention Muslims and Jews) live mostly in peace, which is no mean feat. And to American liberals inclined to tut-tut about European intolerance of Muslims, Buruma notes that at least Muslims can get into Europe, whereas in the United States visas are “becoming increasingly difficult to come by for people unfortunate enough to be born in Muslim countries or to just have a Muslim name.”
Read the entire review here.