A new book, One Nation, Under Gods by Peter Manseau, is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Mr. Manseau reviews the history of religion in the United States of America from 1492 (with some info on religion in North America before the Europeans came) up to the present day. It is a very easy-to-read book, despite being full to the brim with facts.
I think I am fairly well versed in history but this opened my eyes to many more new facts. I never knew that Cotton Mather (yes, *that* Cotton Mather) advocated for an early form of vaccination, a fair number of the Africans brought to the US were Muslims, slave owners wavered between teaching Christianity to their slaves and forbidding it, that Thomas Jefferson wrote a favorable letter to a Seneca (a Native American tribe) religious leader, a Muslim slave might be the origin of the black colored kachina in Zuni folklore, Hindu leaders were giving speeches in the US in the 1800s, etc.
I’m only half way through the book. 🙂
This book does a lovely job in dismissing the delusion of some American Christians that the US was only established by their version of Christianity and is only for them and them alone. It does treat religion fairly, showing its benefits and does not hold back at all at showing its warts. Everyone should read this book if they want to know the deliciously complicated religious history of America. It is more than worth the price of admission.