“Nothing divides the United States from Europe like religion. America has its public piety and its multitude of thriving sects; Europe has its official secularism and its empty, museumpiece churches. Ninety percent of Americans say they believe in God, while only about 60 percent of Britons, French and Germans say the same.
“American politics is riven by faith-based disputes that barely exist across the Atlantic, while European debates take place under a canopy of unbelief that’s unimaginable in the United States, where polls show that a Muslim or a homosexual has a better chance of being elected president than an acknowledged atheist.
“The aftermath of 9/11 has thrown this contrast into sharp relief and seemingly pushed Europe and America into perma- nent, Venus-and-Mars opposition. But paradoxically, our era may be remembered as the moment when the religious gulf between the continents began to slowly close. In the United States, the Bush era has summoned up [. . . ] a mass secularism that looks to Europe and sees a model for America to follow.”
— Ross Douthat, writing on “Crises of Faith,” in the July/August issue of the Atlantic Monthly