Chaplaincy services has a display, a collage dedicated to world religions. They don’t rank them, but as advertisers know, there is prominence of placement, if color and size of print are the same. Eye level is the area of greatest prominence, and people tend to view from left to right, as in reading. This is especially true if eye level is also the top row. The center position of a poster, or slightly above it, is second-most important.
I don’t think this is a value ranking in their eyes, but a show-we’re-culturally-sensitive ranking. Culturally sensitive people don’t actually rate Islam that highly, but they are careful to make sure there is no suggestion of slight. That the UU’s and Bahai made the list at all suggests there is some advertising going on.
Top row, eye-level: Unitarian Universalism, Native American Spiritualities.
Second row: Islam
Third row, which is also the center: Buddhism, Hinduism
Fourth row: Wicca, Bahai, Judaism
Bottom row: Taoism, Christianity
Forty years ago the display would have been different. First difference – it might not have been there at all. Christianity would have been broken into Roman Catholic and Protestant parts, Eastern Orthodox unnoticed, despite a fairly large Greek population in NH. Judaism would have been on with some similar prominence. Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism would have been included only as exotic extras, to show that someone had taken a world religions course.
Twenty years ago, hmm. This is a pretty multi-culti place, but I don’t know whether it would be closer to the 1970 version or the 2010. I think it would have been the big five, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, all placed so that there could be no implied preference.