At The Faith Divide, Eboo Patel weighs in on the ongoing “culture war” over the religious content of textbooks in Texas:
Here’s how I see it. The “Christian Nation” movement and Martin Marty have a point that religion must be included in the American narrative. But the very point that makes our story so compelling is lost when we ignore the diversity of people from the four corners of the earth coming together. In my view, there are few things on earth as moving as the American story. I just think that everyone should be able to participate in the aspiration, not just people from one religion.
I think we should even go one step further. Call me a hope and change guy, but I have no problem making the American narrative inspiring. Not only should education about religions be inclusive, but it should be aspirational; we can use education about religion as an opportunity to hold up great American values of religious freedom, religious tolerance, and interfaith cooperation.
Moreover, we need to study the times when America failed to live up to its promise – not as a means for highlighting America’s wrongs, but as a way for the next generation to help America get more right.
Perhaps George Washington encapsulates the best of America in his 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Rhode Island:
America gives bigotry no sanction, and persecution no assistance.
Read the full column here.