God Bless America

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“America was founded in a religious tolerance which was later enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. This set up a breeding ground for a motley riffraff of cults and weird beliefs. Karen Stollznow ventured intrepidly into this "Here be Dragons" territory and her book parades specimens and trophies for our amazement, described with lively good humour and analysed with a sympathetic intelligence. One of the commonest questions I am asked is what makes America so religious. Karen Stollznow's book will become an essential resource for answering it.”- Richard Dawkins


Do Satanists really sacrifice babies, skin cats and vandalize graves? Are the Amish allowed to drive cars and use computers? Do Quakers wear plain dress, eat oats and address each other as “Thee”?  

 

There are many stereotypes about minority religious groups in America and Dr. Karen Stollznow’s latest book disproves some of these, but also confirms many others. God Bless America explores a range of strange minority religious beliefs and practices that are still found in the United States today.

 

This book answers many burning questions about these people, their ideologies and customs. Is Scientology really a “church”? Can a Quaker also be a Buddhist or even an atheist? How did speaking in tongues really begin? What happens during an Amish date? How is polygamy practiced in fundamentalist Mormon communities?

 

How did these religions start and what do their followers believe today? This book reveals what it’s like to be born into these groups, why people convert to them, why others leave, and why some former members are seen as “escapees”. Aided by the insider insight of former members of these various religions, Stollznow pries open the door to these mostly closed societies.

 

She “takes one for the atheist team”, getting up-close and personal with these people and their beliefs and practices. She attends exorcisms, an Amish Mennonite service, a Quaker meeting, a voodoo ritual, a Charismatic healing, and a Scientology “church” service.

 

The book offers a sympathetic portrayal of these people but is also critical of any dangerous practices, including incest, child brides, gay exorcism, and animal sacrifice. It is a roller coaster ride that is often funny, occasionally disturbing, but always thought-provoking.

 

God Bless America is available now though Amazon and the Richard Dawkins Foundation Store , and can be found in select Barnes & Noble stores.

 

Written By: Karen Stollznow
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