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Stephen Prothero, chair of the Department of Religion at Boston University, discussed the issue of religious illiteracy in the United States.

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I couldn’t expect that they knew much at all about Christianity. I’d ask them to draw a line between the two, and it’s amazing – (laughter) – the lines that they would draw in their heads. (Laughter.) And again, these weren’t obscure things. And so now, when I read stories in magazines and newspapers–Appalachian State beats Michigan, or any other David and Goliath story – I always kind of laugh and think nobody knows that story.

And so, I started giving this quiz that’s in my book. Paul would be getting the olive branch from the dove and – (laughter) – Jesus would be parting the Red Sea. Most Americans probably don’t know that reference to David and Goliath.

Speaker: Stephen Prothero, Chairman, Department of Religion, Boston University Moderator: Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Senior Adviser, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Navigate this Transcript The religious literacy project Religious illiteracy as a civic and political problem Religious illiteracy and foreign policy Religious literacy throughout American history A proposal for promoting religious literacy Q&A with journalists MICHAEL CROMARTIE: Welcome to Key West and to the Pew Forum’s event. We’ve been doing this since 1999, and we’re delighted you can be here. I was tempted to call this session “Religious Literacy: What Every Journalist Needs to Know and Doesn’t.” But we decided not to do that.

I know a lot of you know the work of our first speaker, who is the chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Boston University. We’re delighted to have Stephen Prothero here with us. It’s great to be here, not just because of the weather.

So I’ve been making an effort to talk more and more with editors and publishers and journalists and that’s been wonderful for me.