Barbara McGraw, J.D., Ph.D. is director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism, director of the Interfaith Leadership Program, and professor of Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life at Saint Mary’s College of California. An author and speaker on the role of religious pluralism in American public life, she is the first to advance the idea that the fundamental shared value and unifying framework of the American political system, as originally conceived, is pluralism itself—for which she coined the term “America’s Sacred Ground” (see Jon Meacham, New York Times Review of Books, 2005). This idea is based on research of the documentary history of the founding era, which Dr. McGraw then applies to current debates about the role of religion in public life and its role in shaping American values. Her ongoing work builds on this foundation and is dedicated to engaging religious pluralism in popular and political culture to effect change in public policy and to promote interfaith leadership in business and the professions
Her work includes the following: editor of Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S. (2016); lead co-editor of and contributor to Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground (2005); author of Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America (2003); and co-author of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions, one of the most used world religions texts in the U.S.—the 10th edition of which was published in 2014.
Dr. McGraw also gives speeches and facilitates workshops on Interfaith Leadership in Business and the Professions and on Civil Discourse Across Boundaries of Difference. The Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism, under her direction, co-sponsors with the American Academy of Religion the Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity (G-CARD) conference sessions held in conjunction with the AAR’s annual meeting. Dr. McGraw is also a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court; in that capacity, she filed an amicus curiae brief in the Pledge of Allegiance case (Newdow vs. Elk Grove School District), February 2004, making a unique argument. She holds a Juris Doctor Degree and Ph.D. in religion and social ethics, both from the University of Southern California.
Selected Links and Publications
- Website: Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism at St. Mary’s College
- Website: The Prison Religion Project
- Website: Interfaith Leadership
- Website: G-Card Conference
- Book: Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America (SUNY Press, 2003).
- Case/Amicus Curiae Brief: Newdow vs Elk Grove School District (Feb., 2004)
- Book:Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground (Baylor University Press, 2005).
- Book:Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions, Robert S. Ellwood and Barbara A. McGraw, 10th Edition (Pearson, 2014).
- Book: Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S. (Wiley-Blackwell 2016).