The Atlantic’s Controversial March Cover

We just got a sneak peek at the cover of The Atlantic‘s March “Which Religion Will Win” theme issue. Our guess is that the cover will rile quite a few people up between the oversized crescent and undersized cross (and the fact that, y’know, the Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are out of the running entirely), but the content is top notch. Among other things, Eliza Griswold reports on the competition between Christians and Muslims for Nigerian converts and Alan Wolfe writes about the chance that we’re actually on the verge of a religious peace.

We just spoke to Wolfe, who says he wants readers to take the following home with them:

I wrote the article to warn against those who seem to take delight in showing how awful the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was. I think of liberty — including the liberty either to believe in God or not — the greatest of human achievements.

Apart from that? The March issue has Christopher Hitchens ditching his normal literary obsessions for a piece on anti-Semitism and an article from ex-VH1er Michael Hirschorn… that was written while still at VH1.

The March issue will be on newsstands shortly. After the jump, an exclusive excerpt from Wolfe’s article.

Heading up the graph from eastern Europe in comparative religiosity, we arrive at Latin America, a region famous for its piety. Yet secular values are transforming this part of the world, too, and as they do, religiosity is declining. In 2006, Chile—one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations—elected Michelle Bachelet, an openly agnostic single mother, as president. Last spring, Mexico City, the capital of the world’s second-largest Catholic country, legalized early-term abortions; the law passed in the city’s legislative assembly by a vote of 46-19. One cannot ignore the rising cultural and political importance of Pentecostalism in countries ranging from Brazil to Guatemala. But neither can one ignore the growth of an increasingly secular middle class in countries such as Argentina, Colombia, and Peru.