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October 12 , 2010

Golden States of Grace

Prayers of the Disinherited


Taking California as a window into the diversity of religion in America, Golden States of Grace documents marginalized communities at prayer in their own faith traditions. The collection is thoroughly interfaith, introducing us to the nation's only halfway house for addicts self-identified as Jewish, a transsexual gospel choir, a Buddhist community in San Quentin, a Mormon congregation organized by the deaf for the deaf, Latina sex workers worshipping the female folk deity Santísima Muerte, and more. Depictions of conventional middle-class religion are widely visible in the media, but the American public rarely sees the sacred worlds of society's marginalized: the outcasts, the fallen, those that have been labeled "other" - ironically, those whom religion aims to serve. The poignant stories Nahmias has gathered here cross numerous boundaries and ask difficult questions few outsiders have been willing to pose.

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