In chapter 2, Chaves discusses American religious diversity trends. One trend that I found almost unbelievable was the increased acceptance and appreciation of religions. This comes as a shock, especially in today’s political climate where blatant racism and religious intolerance are seemingly everywhere. This is a good shock though. It shows us that although intolerance is publicized it is not the norm; and, as the trends show, it will increasingly not be the norm. I think that is what America should be all about. This country boasts about its diversity (and freedom, liberty etc.) but we do not always get to see that. In fact, we see more examples of the opposite. For example, the attacks on mosques and synagogues, as well as videos of people being overtly anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim. However, there is immense backlash to these discriminatory acts, and I think that is beautiful. No one deserves to be discriminated against nor targeted for their religious beliefs (nor any other reason for that matter).
In my own personal experience, I have family members and friends who identify with religions other than my own. And, as Chaves discusses, it has allowed me to not only accept their religions but to appreciate them as well, because they allow people who I love to be more or less “happy”.
I have increasing hope for future generations to become more accepting and appreciative of diversity. The way in which people stick up for each other (even total strangers) is remarkable and wonderful. Even if that begins with having a family member or friend of a different religious background than yourself. It will only grow and extend toward acquaintances and colleagues etc. until eventually there is universal tolerance. Now, I know that is ideal and borderline utopian, but I am hopeful.