Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The National Conversation

I bounced around the fringes of academia for years, and for a while considered making a career of it. That didn’t happen, for various reasons—but I seem to have found my way back into the classroom all unknown; my Saturday Evening Post article on religious tolerance has been excerpted for a textbook on religion in America, cunningly entitled Religion In America.

I am absurdly pleased by this, given the time, study, and passion that were poured into that piece by both me and my commissioning editor, Steve George. Everyone who writes about ideas wants to get people talking, and the article was included in this book—part of a series devoted to expanding students’ critical thinking skills by presenting them with opposing viewpoints—presumably because the editors of the text saw in it the potential to do just that. Which is a nice vote of confidence, and a bit of a day-brightener in a cold, wet spring.

There’s not much in it for me besides bragging rights, of course. No-one sought my permission to reprint the story, nor needed to; I only found out about it through Google Alerts. Because the piece was written a work for hire, the Post owns it lock, stock and barrel; so there’s no mailbox money coming. But I am going to ask the kind folks at Greenhaven Press if they’ll at least shoot me a comp copy. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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