Immigration, Pluralism Bring New Faiths to Fox Valley

March 30, 2008

Source: Courier News,3_5_EL30_FAITH_S1.article

The building retains its classically American-Protestant design outside, right up to the steeple pointing heavenward. Inside, the pews have been removed to accommodate Eastern worshippers, and the former pulpit focal point has given way to a 6-foot-tall white marble statue of Sai Baba.

This is the Shirdi Sai Temple, a Hindu place of worship that moved into the former Lutheran Country Church at Plank Road and Illinois 47 in Hampshire in 2001.

The scene illustrates changes taking place in America religion.

According to a recently released survey of 35,000 Americans by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Americans feel freer than ever to change religions. About 28 percent of Americans have changed their religion from that in which they were raised, and 44 percent have changed their denominational affiliation from that in which they were raised.