God Bless America

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God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States

God Bless America lifts the veil on strange and unusual religious beliefs and practices in the modern-day United States. Do Satanists really sacrifice babies? Do exorcisms involve swearing and spinning heads? Are the Amish allowed to drive cars and use computers? Taking a close look at snake handling, new age spirituality, Santeria spells, and satanic rituals, this book offers more than mere armchair research, taking you to an exorcism and a polygamist compound, and allowing you to sit among the beards and bonnets in a Mennonite church and to hear L. Ron Hubbard's stories told as sermons during a Scientology service. From the Amish to Voodoo, the beliefs and practices explored in this book may be unorthodox, and often dangerous, but they are always fascinating. While some of them are dying out, and others are gaining popularity with a modern audience, all offer insight into the future of religion in the United States and remind us that fact is often stranger than fiction.

200 pages



Karen Stollznow, PhD, is a linguist with a background in history and anthropology. She is the author of Haunting America, Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, and Red, White and (True) Blue, and is a researcher of anomalous claims. Dr. Karen writes the "Bad Language" column forSkeptic magazine, and is a host the Monster Talk podcast. She is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and a Research Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation.


 America was founded in a religious tolerance which was later enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. This set up a breeding ground for a motley riffraff of cults and weird beliefs – a kind of theological freak show or theological Badlands. Karen Stollznow ventured intrepidly into this "Here be Dragons" territory and her book parades specimens and trophies for our amazement, described with lively good humour and analysed with a sympathetic intelligence. One of the commonest questions I am asked is what makes America so religious. Karen Stollznow's book will become an essential resource for answering it.
~Richard Dawkins


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