My textbook Religion and Politics in America is relatively good for a sociology/poli-sci book, but it nevertheless contains the requisite silliness. Some examples:
- Once chapter is titled, "Judaism, Islam, and other Expressions of Religious Pluralism." I'm pretty sure that Jews don't go the synagogue because they are trying to express pluralism but because they're, you know, Jewish.
- "Certain aspects of Catholicism resonate particularly well with Hispanics, including a strong attachment to Mary as Mother of God, reflecting the Latino emphasis on family." I suspect that most devout Latinos would say that their devotion to Mary has a lot more to do with an apparition to a certain Juan Diego, but what do they know?
- The book tells us that black spirituals "emphasize Christianity." Who would have thought that Christian songs sung by Christians would be about Christianity?
- The authors say that the USCCB "represents the official political positions of the Church. . . . its leaders speak with authority for the Catholic Church." No, no, no, no, dang it, no! The USCCB has managed to convince just about everyone that they have some sort of magisterial authority. They don't.
- A proposed amendment to the constitution that would legalize prayer in public schools is described as "contrary to the weight of constitutional scholarship." This book was written by four people with PhDs, none of whom seem to know what an amendment is.
It should be noted that though these excerpts do not reflect well on the book, most of the text is decent and I've definitely read worse. Perhaps I'll analyze more textbooks in a future post.