Sunday, August 18, 2013

California: most diverse faith-place in the world

Xochitl, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly;
Rick Nahmias says of California: "We are the most diverse place for faith in the world."
Zócalo Public Square once featured a great interview with Los Angeles photographer, filmmaker, and writer Rick Nahmias, author of Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited.

His book documents marginalized faith communities practicing in California.
In search of inner peace (Horus2004/flickr
Among those communities are Zen Buddhists in San Quentin Prison, a Mormon congregation for the deaf, and Latina sex workers who pray to Santa Muerte ("Saint Death," a feminine Mara-like idol desperately called on for help) and the Virgin Mary (Kwan Yin), the skeletal sacred figure whose cult originated in Mexico.

Participating Communities
In the interview, Nahmias talks about how California's history as a landing place for migrants -- including 1930s Dust Bowl Okies, who brought over Baptist and Pentecostal traditions -- has made it such a rich place for religious diversity.
Unfortunately, this diversity does not necessarily beget religious harmony. But it's another testament to California's role as the great melting pot of the 21st century.

(Kasha Glazebrook) "Kuan Yin's Prayer"

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