Despite occasional reports to the contrary, the US is still one of the world's most religious countries. But the practice of American religion is changing. On this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, does it mostly unify or mostly divide? Will the atheists of the future be more accepted or more ostracized? Also, Stanford Law School introduces religious liberty clinic, and the return of the chestnut tree.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Christmas is widely celebrated in the United States — to say the least, but the culture is developing into one of the most diverse in the world. That means new diversity in religion, which is the focus of a new project at the Stanford University Law School. It's called the Religious Liberty Clinic and the director is James Sonne.
James Sonne, Stanford Law School
The Gallup Poll says more than 90 percent of Americans believe in some kind of God, but more and more don't identify with any particular denomination. Maybe that's why there's increasing tolerance of one group for another. Religion can be a unifying force in America. It can also be divisive, and the more isolated one religion becomes the less acceptable it is to the others. How do "outsider" or "fringe" groups affect other religions? And how does religion relate to politics, gender, race and even geography?
Chestnut trees used to be called "the Redwoods of the East," and they made up 35 percent of northeastern American forests. But in 1904, a fungus began to appear, and what's called "chestnut blight" killed some 3.5 billion trees by 1940. The ones we get now are imported. But there could be good news for Christmas fireplaces in the near future. There is an American Chestnut Foundation, and it doesn't exist to mourn the dead. It's planning a restoration. Its president is Bryan Burhans.
Bryan Burhans, American Chestnut Foundation
More From Which Way, L.A.?
Which Way, LA? The Question that Won't Go Away 23 years ago, the fires of the Rodney King riots were burning and the sirens wailing when KCRW first asked, WWLA? We've been through fires, floods, earthquakes and massive social, cultural and economic change. While this is the last program titled WWLA? the question still needs to be asked. We talk with a group of important and thoughtful people about what LA has become and about the challenges to be faced in the future…as we continue.
Then and Now: Is LA Still the Car Capital of the World? Urban planners got some bad news today. Ridership on public transit in Southern California is on the decline, despite the billions being spent in recent years to build light rail and subway lines. Why aren't more drivers leaving their cars at home, as traffic gets more congested than ever? Meantime, there's a shortage of money to repair aging roads, bridges and other parts of the infrastructure. We look at the impact on the state's economy.
Does California Have a Double Standard for the Public's Protection? Porter Ranch and Vernon are mirror images of each other. In one, schools have been closed and thousands of residents are being moved away by the polluter—just months after a natural gas leak was discovered. In the other, residents complained for years about health risks to school children from exposure to lead and arsenic from a battery recycling plant— until the federal government finally stepped in.
Is 'Warfare' a Thing of the Past at the LAPD? Video of police misconduct wasn’t as common 25 years ago as it is today. The spectacle of LAPD officers beating Rodney King was a wake-up call, but didn’t persuade a jury in Simi Valley. When the cops received not-guilty verdicts, the city exploded. We hear from veteran officers who say they’ve changed. What about their tactics? Have they gained the trust of marginalized communities and people of color?
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Lari Pittman: Finding beauty in the grotesque Lari Pittman is not an easy painter. While some artists are minimalists, Pittman is a maximalist. Every inch of his large canvases is covered in images. His frenetic, complex pieces… Read More
Introducing There Goes the Neighborhood The beige stucco apartment building at 240 Robinson Street has nice a Spanish arch to the front windows and a red tile roof. It looks like a lot of other buildings in this part of town. The small, rent-controlled apartment building is in Rampart Village. The area is best known for Tommy’s Burgers and a police corruption scandal in the 1990s. Read More