Rabu, 04 Februari 2015


Plans focus on securing a positive legacy

http://howtospendit.ft.com/destinations/74791-full-speed-ahead-for-qatars-2022-fifa-world-cup?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral



February 01 2015
The December unveiling of the latest new stadium has once again turned the international spotlight on Qatar and refocused attention on the small Gulf nation winning the rights to host a global showpiece sporting event on the scale of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Whatever the wider discussions surrounding this topic, few would dispute that the new 40,000-seat stadium will be a spectacular facility. It will be located in Education City, the western-Doha campus of the Qatar Foundation, from which it takes its name – Qatar Foundation Stadium.

The design is inspired by traditional Islamic architecture with the external façade made up of triangles formed into complex geometrical patterns that seem to change colour as the sun arcs across the sky. Inside, panels of translucent, illuminated fabric will also shift colours and patterns during matches. The new stadium promises to be another architectural landmark to grace the Doha skyline.

But turning again to the broader picture, the World Cup in Qatar will be significant for a number of reasons: it’s the first time the event will be staged in the Middle East, the first in an Arab country and the first in Asia since Japan and South Korea jointly held the 2002 tournament. Qatar will also replace Uruguay as the smallest country ever to stage the World Cup.

Yet the fact that Qatar decided to submit its ultimately successful bid to host the global event should come as no surprise to anyone. The country has a long track record as a venue for major international forums and gatherings.

In foreign affairs and trade circles, Qatar is well known for staging such mega-events as UNCTAD XIII, the UN Climate Change Conference, the World Petroleum Congress, the World Chambers Congress and the Doha round of GATT.

In the sporting arena, while the World Cup will clearly be a pinnacle, Qatar is no stranger to attracting big competitions. Having successfully mounted the 2006 Doha Asian Games, the country is now well established as host of an impressive annual calendar of major international events in golf, tennis, powerboat racing, rallying, equestrianism, motorbike racing, athletics and cycling, as well as various one-off tournaments and regional and world championships, such as the 24th Men’s Handball World Championships taking place this January.

Staging high-profile events has long been a key element in Qatar’s overall development strategy, and the 2022 World Cup is expected to have a massive impact, affecting all areas of national life and acting as a catalyst for social and economic change.

Stadium construction inevitably takes centre stage in the World Cup preparations, but questions have been asked about whether the spectator capacity needed to host the World Cup will exceed the country’s own long-term requirements. The innovative solution to this issue is to ensure that the upper grandstand tiers – of both the new and refurbished stadiums – will have modular elements that can be reconfigured to provide a lasting legacy far beyond Qatar’s borders.

Once the tournament is concluded, the plan is to disassemble some 170,000 stadium seats, which will then be provided to developing nations to help build up their sports infrastructure. These will provide up to 22 new sports arenas in emerging economies, leaving Qatar with stadium capacity in line with its domestic needs.

To take the case of the Qatar Foundation Stadium, the 40,000-seat capacity needed to meet FIFA requirements will be engineered to facilitate the removal of the upper sections of the stands to leave room for just 25,000 spectators. In the words of the Qatar Foundation, the plan is to “use the power of sport to unlock human potential and harness positive social change” in developing countries.

Regarding the often-mentioned issue of summer heat, the technology for cooling open-air stadiums is already well advanced. During last year’s World Cup in Brazil, Qatar set up an open-air “fan zone” facility, where more than 10,000 fans came to mingle and enjoy the games on a big screen in comfortable temperatures of less than 20ºC.

Officials point out that advances in technology, including green sources such as solar power, make this possible, even when the outside temperature is as high as 40ºC. Published targets for grandstand temperatures include 24-28ºC for the Qatar Foundation Stadium and 26ºC for Al Wakrah Stadium. Even the Khalifa International Stadium, originally built in 1976, will have a totally new cooling system as part of its refurbishment.

Innovation in technology is being matched by creativity in architecture. For example, the 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium, currently under construction in the town of Al Khor, some 40km north of Doha, embodies traditional Bedouin-tent design both in the silhouette of its grandstand roofs and gently bowed side walls, while the flowing contours of the Zaha Hadid-designed Al Wakrah Stadium, south of the capital, take their inspiration from the sails of traditional dhows.

Qatar is hoping for a positive economic legacy from the World Cup in terms of stimulating diversification from its current heavy reliance on the oil and gas sector. The construction phase is already stimulating a boom in non-oil industries, notably engineering, high tech and building work, while the post-construction phase is expected to bring far-reaching benefits in terms of tourism, aviation, retail and a wide range of other services.

It is hoped that the major infrastructure improvements associated with the World Cup will bring a number of long-term benefits to the country. In particular, the new Doha Metro should certainly ensure greater transport efficiency around the capital, while the integrated rail system will improve national connectivity and stimulate regional development outside Doha.

In December, the head of Qatar Rail publicly announced that when the metro and national rail projects are completed, there will be a saving of some 2m kilometres of car travel per day and 258,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions per year.

A less tangible, but nevertheless significant, benefit will come in the form of heightened international brand recognition for Qatar. Media exposure before, during and after the 2022 tournament will bring the country and the reality of its attractions and facilities to the notice of the world, far beyond the football community.

Such exposure is expected to inspire positive views of the nation as a clean, green, attractive, safe and modern society and encourage the international community to visit and do business with Qatar. It will also help dispel any lingering misconceptions, prejudices and misunderstandings that may exist.

The country’s tourism sector is likely to be the main beneficiary of such international media coverage, as well as through the massive increase in hotel capacity being built to accommodate World Cup fans. The successful hosting of such a prestigious event will also provide Qatar with the recognition and experience to stage similar large-scale events in the future, reinforcing its position as a leading international centre in the conference and exhibitions business.

The World Cup is also seen as providing a unique opportunity for Qataris to interact with other nationalities and cultures face-to-face and to build bridges of goodwill and understanding. It offers a platform for promoting positive Arab and Islamic values, art and culture to a global audience.

The Qatari organisers hope to promote increased regional cooperation by providing opportunities for neighbouring countries to join in the celebration of the Middle East’s first-ever World Cup. Non-Qatari volunteers will be invited to play an active part in the success of the tournament and neighbouring countries will be offered the chance to showcase their attractions and culture to visiting fans.


 
Economy

The Super-Rich Can't Hide From the Rest of Us

They're getting ready to run away from the mess they've helped create.
My friend Craig Zobel just premiered his new movie at the Sundance Film Festival. Z for Zachariah is based on a young adult novel from the '70s about a post-apocalyptic world and a woman who lives on a farm in a remote valley. A geographic anomaly, the valley has been isolated and protected from the nuclear radiation that devastated the rest of humanity. But then a man arrives, and a while later, another. You'll have to see it.
Craig's movie is the latest in a long line of stories about faraway, idyllic places trying to fend off human wrongdoing, from Aristophanes' Cloud Cuckoo Land and the pre-serpent-and-apple Garden of Eden to the Shangri-La of James Hilton's novel, Lost Horizon. In the classic 1937 movie version, Shangri-La's High Lama says to the hero, a British diplomat, "Look at the world today. Is there anything more pitiful? What madness there is! What blindness! What unintelligent leadership! A scurrying mass of bewildered humanity, crashing headlong against each other, propelled by an orgy of greed and brutality."
Sounds like a typical night at Fox News.
Z for Zachariah was filmed on New Zealand's South Island, about as close to a paradise on Earth as I've ever been. Which apparently is part of the reason why, according to former hedge fund director Robert Johnson, "I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway."
And not just a getaway for a couple of weeks of vacation fun. No, the British newspaper the Guardian reports, "With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people's mind, the world's super rich are already preparing for the consequences."
In other words, they're getting ready to run away from the mess they've helped create. But instead of holding off the barbarians at the gates, they are the barbarians. Take your ill-gotten gains behind the walls of your Fortress of Solitude, you ubermensches, and pull up the drawbridge behind you.
Johnson's remarks about hedge fund managers seeking refuge were made at another greed fest, the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, high in the Alps, the perfect combination of attitude and altitude. He's head of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, a board member of both the Economic Policy Institute and the Campaign for America's Future, and a former managing director at Soros Fund Management.
Jim Wallis, founder and president of the Christian social justice organization Sojourners, was at Davos, too, and has a more benign view of the proceedings. He's on the conference's Global Action Values Council, which holds daily sessions on ethics. But writing in the Huffington Post, he too saw evidence that the rich and influential are running scared:
"Those who control the world seemed to feel, and be, out of control and unsure how to deal with growing and frightening global instabilities and the violence that keeps emerging. Terrorism and blatant inexcusable barbarism arise out of grievances and injustices that nobody wants to confront or seem to know how to address. In theological language, sin begets sin, and we don't seem to know how to deal with that."
Robert Johnson recognizes that rampant inequality could be the death of us all. "People need to know there are possibilities for their children, that they will have the same opportunity as anyone else," he said at Davos. "There is a wicked feedback loop. Politicians who get more money tend to use it to get even more money."
That's the money they get from the plutocrats who pull their strings; in the past three elections alone, the financial sector has given $256 million to Republicans and $153 million to Democrats. USA Today recently editorialized, "Wall Street got its swagger back not long after the bailout, which is no surprise. Its culture is built on greed and ego. What is more surprising is how quickly Congress again became Wall Street's errand boy."
That's not really surprising either. Dangle enough cash before their hungry eyes and most elected officials turn into Labradoodles begging for stray bits of bacon. In exchange for treats, in just the last few weeks, the wealthy have been granted a ten-fold increase in campaign contribution limits, a weakening of the Dodd-Frank bank reform law, proposed legislation to hinder environmental and other safety regulations by weighing them down with burdensome cost-benefit analyses, and the move to fast-track trade treaties that will make the rich richer while sucking more jobs from America. And that's on top of the tax breaks and loopholes that have allowed the 1 percent to horde excess billions, rather than paying their fair share of taxes or investing those dollars in jobs and better wages, education, infrastructure, rebuilding the middle class and helping the poor.
Instead of spending their mega-fortunes on luxury hiding places to escape the mob, better to use that money to improve the conditions that have the populace thinking about tar and feathers or worse. But as DePaul University's Paul Buchheit writes, "Even though corporate profits are at their highest level in 85 years, corporations aren't pumping it back into the economy. Instead they're holding it. S&P companies last year spent an incredible 95% of their profits on stock buybacks to enrich executives and shareholders."
Wages grew just 1.7 percent last year, "the slowest rate since at least the 1960s," Bryce Covert at ThinkProgress reports. "That's not because American workers are slacking off, though. While they have seen an entire decade of stagnant or falling wages, they've increased their productivity by nearly 25 percent."
We've learned this past week that 16 million kids in this country relied on food stamps last year; that's one in five, a rate higher than before the financial meltdown. We've learned that, as Buchheit notes, "almost two-thirds of polled Americans said they didn't have enough money to cover a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit." We've learned that, as economist Justin Wolfers writes at the New York Times, "The concentration of income among the richest Americans remains at levels last seen nearly a century ago... so far all of the gains of the recovery have gone to the top 1 percent."
Meanwhile, Michael Fletcher at the Washington Post writes, "black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse." And across the country, a Los Angeles Times headline reads, "More homeless camps are appearing beyond L.A.'s skid row." The paper's Gale Holland reports:
"Over the last two years, street encampments have jumped their historic boundaries in downtown Los Angeles, lining freeways and filling underpasses from Echo Park to South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a city-county agency, received 767 calls about street encampments in 2014, up 60% from the 479 in 2013."
Unlike the rich—especially the ones who, according to a Pew Research Center poll, think the "poor have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return"—these impoverished, desperate people have no safe place to hide.
And as for those hedge managers Johnson was describing at Davos, the wealthy ones buying up remote retreats far from the madding crowd, they shouldn't be hiding out of fear. They should be hiding out of shame.


Tea Party and the Right

Koch-Supporting Texas Billionaires Explain What Richest Americans Are After

They complain and complain, but can't recognize themselves in the mirror.
http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/koch-supporting-texas-billionaires-explain-what-richest-americans-are-after
 
This is rich. Some of the wealthiest Texans who attended the Koch brothers’ political donor conference last month—where participants set a goal of raising $889 million for the 2016 elections—are saying that all the Kochs really want is to end “special interests” influence in Washington. 

“We attended that meeting — and we have an answer,” wrote Doug and Holly Deason of Dallas, in a Dallas Morning News column co-signed by eight other wealthy Texans. “We want Washington to do what it hasn’t done for years: work for, not against, the American people.”
Um, nice try. But if you are as wealthy and powerful as some of these Koch attendees, you are not exactly representative of the American people, whose median income was $51,939 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census.

In the Dallas News column, the Koch network donors describe their shared agenda. The commentary is a good faith effort by its authors to say what some of the wealthiest right-wing Americans want, even as it reveals a blindness to their own power and privilege. As commenter Texas_Vinyl astutely pointed out, some co-signers who say they want more freedom, as well as "an impartial, accountable, efficient and limited govermment," are among the wealthiest Americans ever.

Such as, “Elaine Marshall, who holds 15 percent of Koch industries and has a net worth of $8,800,000,000. This also was co-signed by business magnate Tom Hicks who recently discounted the selling price of his home to $60,000,000… I do not think I am out of line, nor is anyone, to question the motive or message when so much money and effort lays under the surface,” he wrote.  

But back to the Koch confessional. “What we want: an impartial, accountable, efficient and limited government,” they say. “Texas shows that this is possible — but Washington looks nothing like what we’ve described.”

Ah, Texas, the state with the runaway death penalty. The state where nearly 1 million poor people are deniedaccess to healthcare because Republicans won’t expand Medicaid enrollment under Obamacare. The state that is trying to end access to abortion outside its cities. Yup, the oasis of American freedom and impartial, limited and restrained government.   
But I digress. The libertarian letter writers say they want an “impartial” government: “Special interests have never been more powerful in Washington. Both Democrats and Republicans hand out corporate welfare like it’s candy, spending billions of taxpayer dollars every year to prop up well-connected businesses and individuals. Meanwhile, politicians make millions of dollars through questionable deals and insider knowledge. We oppose everything that props up this self-serving system, including subsidies, favorable regulations, pork and special favors.”

Perhaps that was a typo; they meant to write a "partial" government. Surely, it could never be the case that energy industry billionaires ever got a special favor from drilling on public lands, or market subsidies via government-built roads and railways, to say nothing of easements or other favors for constructing pipelines across the continent. Nope, they oppose all special treatment, and that’s why they are so pleased about the White House not approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Koch correspondents also insist that government must be accountable, which they curiously define as being able to spend bottomless barrels of cash to present their political message. They don't acknowledge that most Koch network donors can hide their identity behind the fake non-profits Koch political consultants set up, nor that they are talking about monopolizing the microphone and drowning out debate.

“The federal government increasingly stifles the free speech of its opponents,” they write. “Both parties have attempted to limit Americans’ ability to speak their minds about elections and politicians. Last year, 54 U.S. senators voted to amend the First Amendment to give Congress unlimited power to control political speech. And some federal agencies — especially the Internal Revenue Service — have targeted individuals and groups with which they disagree.”
Yes, you remember the IRS spat. Some top agency officials had the gall to notice that a bunch of political activists—i.e, Tea Party chapters—were not forming political committees under state and federal campaign rules, but were pretending to be non-profit charities to hide their donors’ identities. This is the “dark money” game.

Clearly, there's no difference between the Tea Party and the March of Dimes. Yet, astoundingly, these letter writers don’t even know that their side won the fight over that ruse. As Bloomberg.com reported this week, the IRS said it would halt its investigations into these front groups until after the 2016 election season. Nice deal, eh?

You’ve heard the rest of these right-wing complaints before. They say they want “efficient” and “limited” government, as if America’s founders didn’t intentionally implement a system of checks and balances. They did so because a slower-acting government that follows the rule of law supposedly puts the brakes on tyranny, mob rule and aristocratic impulses. 

“In short, Washington is broken,” they conclude, pointing to the size of the federal debt and federal register, which publishes government regulations. “And it’s harming the American people and destroying our country’s future. Simply look around you.”
Yes, let’s do that. Let’s look around us.

“We’re in the midst of the slowest economic recovery in over 50 years,” they say, ignoring that the wealthiest Americans are doing amazingly well. The financial markets are surging and there’s more access to investor capital than in years.

“The labor participation rate is at its lowest level since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president,” they say, not mentioning that American worker productivity has never been higher, even as wages have stagnated for decades as multinational corporations ship jobs overseas.
“Families are making less today than they did six years ago,” they say, not mentioning that their friends in the Koch network have fought minimum wage increases, attacked labor unions, opposed expanding government safety nets, cut employee pensions and still want to privatize Social Security. 

“Washington is doing better than ever, while the rest of America falls further behind,” they conclude, hitting the cresendo of their cascading complaints. “We believe, as do Charles and David Koch, that America deserves better. Together, we want to help the least fortunate, defend individual freedom and create lasting prosperity for more and more hard-working Americans. But that can’t happen until Washington is impartial, accountable, efficient and limited.”

This is where they really go off the rails. Washington isn’t doing better than ever. It’s mired in ridiculous partisan gridlock because right-wingers—funded by the Koch crew—would rather fight and stall than seek compromise and find solutions. Corporate America and big business are doing better than ever, as seen in Wall Street’s record-setting highs in the various capital markets, and high-tech’s latest global boom.

That takes us to the biggest charade of all: the libertarian complaint that American "freedom" is endangered. The wealthest Americans arguably have more freedom, money, power and influence than ever. Most Americans are not living their lives, as displayed in the glossy advertisements in the New York Times Magazine.

What is the freedom these libertarians seek? Is it the freedom to make big money more quickly without having to face the consequences their actions will have on the rest of us? Is it freedom to destroy the possibility of debate in what remains of American democracy so they can buy endless ads or steer the agendas of entire broadcast networks?

It must be rough being so rich, so powerful, so expressed, so unaccountable. Even in a government that serves American aristocracy, our nation's wealthiest claim they can't get everything they want. But take heart, they conclude. They will keep trying.
“That is what we want — and we will pursue it, no matter how long it takes.”

No, America Has Never Been a Christian Country -- Why Does the Myth Persist?

A historian challenges conservative claims that the U.S. has a single religious heritage.
http://www.alternet.org/no-america-has-never-been-christian-country-why-does-myth-persist
 

As Peter Manseau, author of “One Nation, Under Gods: A New American History,”would have it, nothing has done more damage to the ideal of American religious pluralism than the “stubborn persistence of words spoken more than a century before the United States was a nation at all.” Those words are “a city upon a hill,” preached by the Puritan John Winthrop to his fellow colonists as they prepared to leave their ship at Massachusetts Bay in 1630. Most strenuously invoked by Ronald Reagan, the city on the hill, according to Manseau, has for the past 50 years “dominated presidential rhetoric about the nation’s self-understanding, causing an image borrowed from the Gospels to become a tenet of faith in America’s civil religion.”
The incessant citation of Winthrop’s metaphor — which envisioned the fledgling colony as a shining example set up to inspire the world but also to invite its comprehensive moral scrutiny — keeps reinforcing the assumption that the United States is fundamentally Christian. There’s more behind that stubborn belief than just rhetoric, of course, but when even ostensibly pluralistic presidents like John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama conjure up Winthrop’s biblical metaphor, it starts to take on the aura of an unquestioned truth.
Well, Manseau certainly questions it with “One Nation, Under Gods,” an unusual work of history meant to revive the idea that the U.S. is a “land shaped and informed by internal religious diversity — some of it obvious, some of it hidden.” Most key points in our national narrative involve a non-Christian element if you look closely, he maintains. “One Nation, Under Gods” is less a continuous narrative itself than a series of isolated snapshots, each chapter telling the story of a person considered a heretic, blasphemer, atheist or heathen, who nevertheless helped in some way to shape the course of American history.

A few of Manseau’s examples are familiar, particularly Thomas Jefferson, the founding father often branded an atheist in his own time and whose Deism today’s Christian conservatives strategically overlook. In a deft move, Manseau captures Jefferson’s heterodox status by relating how, as an old man, the third president offered to sell 6,000 volumes from his own personal library to the nation. (These books remain the core collection of the Library of Congress.) It was a controversial proposal, as some critics complained that Jefferson’s library “abounded with productions of atheistical, irreligious and immoral character,” and some were even “in the original French”! In examining Jefferson’s own cataloging system, Manseau finds evidence of the Sage of Monticello’s conviction that “religious systems inevitably and necessarily interact with each other in ways at once contentious, intimate and transformative.”
Some of the stories in “One Nation, Under Gods” are more surprising. “It is perhaps the greatest of forgotten influences on American life and culture,” Manseau writes, that some 20 percent or more of Africans living in America around the time of the Revolutionary War were Muslims, a quantity that “dwarfed the number of Roman Catholics or Jews.” The majority of enslaved Africans did practice such Western African religions as Yoruba and Obeah, all of which contributed to the distinctive customs of African-American Christianity. But we also have a handful of stories of African Muslims abducted to the U.S., where, as in the case of one Omar ibn Said, they astonished the natives by writing fluently in a strange alphabet (Arabic) and impressed, if also bewildered, everyone with their abstemious piety.

Tituba, a slave, was the first person accused in the Salem Witch Trials, and although often depicted as African, she was most likely an “Indian” from South America, by way of Barbados. She had made a “witch cake” (a nasty concoction of rye flour and urine) for divinatory purposes, and in doing so was probably tapping into multiple folk traditions, including those of the colonists’ own native England. Manseau believes such practices, though forbidden, were anything but rare in the colonies and should be thought of as “a kind of spiritual equalizer, providing religious authority outside social structures that were inevitably defined at times by class and gender.” Tituba herself quickly figured out that the best course of action when called up before the court was to “confess” every lurid detail the magistrates wanted to hear, including the visits she received from the devil, his commands that she serve him, and the culpability of her two co-defendants (unpopular village women) in casting spells on children. As a result, Tituba was the only one of the three to escape execution. Long before the advent of modern-day spin doctors, she grasped the advantage of getting ahead of the story.

Then there is the network of Jewish merchants extending from Pennsylvania to Amsterdam by way of the island of St. Eustatius, in the Caribbean, a major conduit of supplies and funds through the British blockade during the Revolutionary War. One Polish Jew, Haym Solomon, gave so much money to the cause of independence that he died penniless. He and his co-religionists, driven from one European nation to another in a roundelay of persecution, hoped and believed they could finally find refuge in the fledgling nation.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson’s brilliant, irascible Aunt Mary, a “prototypical American eccentric,” who first introduced her nephew and intellectual protégé to the concepts and iconography of Hindu mythology after she met “a Visitor here from India” in 1822. Their correspondence on these and other spiritual matters would inform Transcendentalism and in turn the Eastern-infused philosophies of generations to come. (Manseau provides a survey of Hindu beliefs and stories cropping up in the work of Thoreau and even Melville, as well as a persistent interest in Indian religion on the part of American feminists like Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Margaret Fuller.)

But perhaps the most fascinating chapter in “One Nation, Under Gods” explores recent theories about the influence of a syncretic Native American revival movement on Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon. The young half-brother of a Seneca chief, Handsome Lake, was an aging, ne’er-do-well hunter who experienced a revelation during a near-fatal illness. What was revealed to him fused Iroquois mythology with Quaker-like morality into a reimagined creation story explaining how the Iroquois had fallen so low in their own land. Handsome Lake died when Smith was 10, but a Mormon scholar has pointed out that only weeks before Smith’s own visions commenced, Handsome Lake’s nephew spoke at a public gathering in Smith’s town of Palmyra, New York.

The Code of Handsome Lake, like the Mormon story of the Native Americans as a lost tribe of Israel, is “a tale of white and Indian unity interrupted by evils brought across the sea.” Both creeds stressed sobriety and involved the manifestation of three angelic presences charged with guiding the inhabitants of the New World to a better future. Both were born during a period of intense, innovative religious activity known as the Second Great Awakening and arose in a region of Western New York state dubbed “the Burned-Over District” for the fervor that seemed to consume everyone in the vicinity. Shakers, utopian communities, millenarians and spiritualists were just some of the unorthodox and fractious believers who flourished there.

But even the idea that Winthrop’s little community represented a unified city on a hill is an illusion, as the Puritan dissidents Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson could testify. The Pilgrims might have all called themselves Christians, but some differences among them were seen by their theocratic leaders as profound threats to the spiritual survival of the community. Both Williams and Hutchinson were cast out and created communities of their own. There was literally never a point in the history of the colonies or the U.S. when all or most Americans genuinely shared the same faith. “The true gospel of the American experience,” Manseau writes, “is not religious agreement but dissent.”


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