Religious Diversity News

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National Conference of Christians and Jews Changes Its Name to Better Reflect Its Work and Inclusivity

Source: The Boston Globe

On June 14, 1998, The Boston Globe reported that The National Conference of Christians and Jews is celebrating its 70th anniversary by changing its name to the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). This new name more clearly reflects their work for entire communities, which includes interfaith work and also work on issues of gender, class, race, gay and lesbian issues, and disabilities. In Boston, the NCCJ works on leadership development with a variety of programs that connect people, and they have recently received the YWCA’s Racial Justice Award.

Hindu Temple in California Expands to Accommodate Shiva

Source: Los Angeles Times

On June 6, 1998, the Los Angeles Times published an
article on the expansion project of the Venkateshwara Hindu Temple in
Malibu, CA. The 15 year old temple is adding another wing to its
seven-acre complex to house stone-carved statues of Shiva and two
other deities. The temple is named for a deity who is said to be a
manifestation of Vishnu. Housing both Vishnu and Shiva is uncommon in
India, but more common in the United States. Nadadur Vardhan,
secretary of the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California, stated
that, “our philosophy and approach is to satisfy all Hindus as well
as other Americans.” An estimated 200,000 Hindus live in Southern

Gwinnett Interfaith Coalition Promotes Religious Tolerance

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On May 30, 1998, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
published an article on the activities on the Gwinnett Interfaith
Alliance, which began in 1996 as a chapter of the national
organization to promote the First Amendment right of religious
freedom. John D. Elliott of Duluth, GA, new president of the Gwinnett
Interfaith Alliance, wants to spur more activity from the 40-member
organization to “provide a bridge of love and understanding across
the faiths.”

The Orange County Register Offers a House-of-Worship Tour

Source: Orange County Register

Throughout 1997 and into 1998 the Orange County Register has run monthly articles on different houses of worship. These correspond to actual tours set up by the Interfaith Council in Garden Grove to promote understanding across religious difference. The first stop was the Hacienda Heights Buddhist Temple, the second was the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Over two thousand participants were at the third stop, the Islamic Society of Orange County. The Christian Science Church, Jewish Synagogue Temple Beth Emet, the Greenville Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Orange County Buddhist Church and others have all opened their doors to the tour.

Americans Value Diversity

Source: The Denver Rocky Mountain News

On May 4, 1998, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO reported on a poll released by the National Conference for Communtiy and Justice. The “national poll that questioned 1,014 adults showed 72 percent said “more racial, ethnic, culture and religious diversity” was very or somewhat important among law enforment officers; 68 percent valued it among local, state or national government leaders; and 67 percent valued diversity in elementary and secondary public schools.”

Zarathushti Heritage and Cultural Center Opens in Houston, Texas

Source: No source given.

From April 10-12, the Zoroastrian Association of Houston held their gala opening of the Zarathushti Heritage and Cultural Center. The Association Chairman, Rustom B. Engineer, wrote the following in the Inaugural publication: “…this center will always be a tribute to our community’s commitment to the Zarathushti way of life in our new adopted land. We are at a very significant juncture in time and place. After hundreds of years of religious perseverance and migrations, the followers of Ahura Mazda have finally managed to reassemble at the dawn of the new millennium. It is our greatest hope and desire that our children, grandchildren and the future generations carry on the Zarathushti torch into yet another millennium.”