"In twenty-first-century America, we live in a kaleidoscope of religious identities: complex, swirling patterns of faith, spirituality, heritage, and practice," writes Susan Katz Miller, a former reporter for Newsweek and New Scientist. All over the country people are changing religions and/or attending more than one place of worship. In the midst of this flow, interfaith couples are making a new bold choice: raising children in both family religions.
Miller was raised Jewish in a family where her father was Jewish and her mother Christian. Then she fell in love with an Anglican, and they decided to practice both faiths and raise their children to take part in both religious worlds. Miller makes a good case for the benefits of dual-faith life such as promoting transparency about differences, encouraging family unity, giving extended family equal weight, sidestepping the matrilineality conflict, proving literacy in both religions, and more. She shares "A Bill of Rights for Interfaith People" which is really helpful.
Miller also addresses some of the myths connected with raising children in two faiths, including the child will be confused, only people who don't care about religion raise kids in both, or doing both is the same as Unitarianism or secularism. Besides her own story, the author includes material from other families who practice two religions. She then moves on to an overview of the difficulty in finding radically inclusive clergy and the challenges of rituals for their sons and daughters such as baptism, bris, baby-welcoming, and coming-of-age ceremonies.
Miller takes stock of the benefits of raising children with two religions:
"We have given both of our children love for two cultures and literacy in two religions. We have given them the gifts of seeing connections and contrasts, of going beyond embrace of the other to actually embody the other. We have given them the gift of joyful interfaithness. They have learned to take spiritual delight in nature and music, and to feel an organic connection to both family religions. Now may their interfaith childhoods inspire them to strive for greater peace in the world."