Will the phrase Judeo-Christian-Islamic ever be as widely embraced?
I don't think so, largely because it's too long. The term Abrahamic America is becoming pretty widespread. But right now, we're in the midst of a debate over whether Islam can stand alongside Judaism and Christianity as one of the three great American faiths. ... We're having trouble with that conversation because we don't know anything about Islam.
What accounts for the neglect of religion in history textbooks?
Fear of controversy is one big factor. Publishers are determined to make textbooks as unobjectionable as possible so they can be sold in every school district in the country.
What other nations do a good job teaching religion in an objective way?
European countries do a much better job. ... And not just about the state religion. You don't only learn about Lutheranism in Sweden or Anglicanism in Britain.
Is it possible that religious illiteracy makes for relative religious tranquillity?
You could say that if Americans knew nothing about politics, then they wouldn't get angry about politics. If they never went to movies, they'd never argue about movies. So while this is also true about religion, the cost of not knowing about religion is too high in a world in which religion is so volatile and so influential.
How should America address religious illiteracy?
I think we need to have courses about the Bible and world religions in middle schools and high schools, and I think they should be mandatorywith an opt-out provision. One course would cover the five or seven great religions. The other would be about the Bible. Students would learn the basic stories and characters, but they would also learn about the uses of the Bible in world and American history, in literature, and in politics. By the way, I think few students would opt out of these courses.