This transatlantic story of religious freedom makes America a star in the global drama of religious freedom. It suggests reassuring progress from Anglican religious oppression to American religious freedom. It also implicitly privileges whiteness. Recapitulating this story year after year places the origins of the United States in Europe rather than in the vast and diverse civilizations that predated Europeans’ arrival on the American continent. It also erases the abhorrent transoceanic passage of enslaved human beings like my African ancestors, who crossed the Atlantic as cargo in the holds of ships rather than as pilgrims in pursuit of freedom.Read More
My latest teaser for Faking Liberties is now up over at Killing the Buddha. Timed to drop on the anniversary of the 21 February 1927 Farrington v. Tokushige Supreme Court decision, the essay ties religious discrimination against Japanese American Buddhists to the recent Supreme Court decision to deny a brief stay of execution to a Muslim prisoner in Dunn v. Ray.Read More
Secularity is anxious.
I wrote this short sentence during one of the many post-review revisions of my forthcoming book Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan. I didn’t think much of it when I wrote these three words, but I soon recognized that the sentence neatly encapsulated the main points of the book. I’ll use this post to unpack what I meant.Read More