"A New Religious America"
A review of Diana Eck's much-discussed book on pluralism
"A New Religious America" attributes the rise in spiritual diversity to the wave of mainly non-European immigration into the United States. A 1924 federal statute ended the Ellis Island era of mainly European, Judeo-Christian influx by severely restricting immigration. That changed in 1965, when Congress passed a new law opening American borders again. The wording of the 1965 law favored non-Europeans, leading to the second great immigration wave--the United States now accepts on average 1 million legal immigrants per year, more immigrants than accepted by all other nations of the world combined, and nearly all post-1965 immigrants hail from Africa, Central and South America, India, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia.
These arrivals bring with them a broad diversity of new spiritual traditions. It is the new immigrants, Eck writes, who have transformed the United States into the most religious pluralistic society ever. And this task is far from complete, as a million more non-Europeans join the United States annually.