I came across this short piece of video (sorry, no embedding) last week and I am surprised by it. Perhaps I shouldn’t be; after all, writers have been telling us about American exceptionalism for about 20 years now. This is the idea that the place of religion in the US politic has not followed a similar pattern of secularisation as was presumed to have happened in Europe. The US is exceptional because it never had a confessional state in the way that the Catholic Church is associated with France or the Protestant Churches are with Sweden, to give two examples. The plurality of religions, Christian and non-Christian, are said to compete with each other in a ‘marketplace’ of faith.
From the video it seems as if the Capitol building has its back to Mecca which is not really that significant but makes for a good visual counterpoint. You’ve got to ask if the mosque in Clonskeagh, Dublin organised something similar for Merrion Square, what kind of a fuss would be made?