June 7, 2005

In this Issue:

• Director’s Welcome
• Video Clips from Our New Film, Acting on Faith
• The New Religious Pluralism and Democracy Conference
• Current Issues in Interfaith Work
• URI-NAIN Conference, August 12-16, 2005
• Jewish Interfaith Endeavors: OrthodoxIn general, orthodox means having a “correct opinion or outlook” and is a term used by people in many religions who claim authority for traditional views and forms of their religion. JudaismJudaism is the worldview, the way of life, and the religious practice of the Jewish people, living in covenant with God and in response to Torah, the laws and ethics which guide the pattern of Jewish life. Jews today interpret their three thousand year ol...
PresbyterianPresbyterian is the general name for churches governed by elected presbyters or elders and refers especially to Reformed churches in Scotland and England that shaped Presbyterian churches worldwide. The church is distinguished both from those in which aut... Women and Pluralism
• Religious Diversity News: National Day of PrayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not.

Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the new format of our Pluralism Project occasional newsletter. We hope to send you an update once a month as we continue to study America’s changing religious landscape and the intellectual, religious, civic, and political encounters that are shaping America’s new pluralism.

The Pluralism Project is beginning to hum with the energies of our new summer interns and our continuing Harvard research staff. As of this month, we also welcome Kathryn Lohre to our full-time staff as Research Manager. She has documented the work of our Women’s Religious Networks initiative in a wonderful article for the current issue of the Presbyterian women’s magazine, Horizons, as you can see below.

Please stay in touch this summer with news and suggestions.

All the best,
Diana L. Eck

Video Clips from Our New Film, Acting on Faith

[ Image: Logo for film ]

Short video clips from the Pluralism Project’s new film, Acting on Faith: Women and the New Religious Activism in America are now available online. We’ll keep you posted about screening and purchasing opportunities.


The New Religious Pluralism and Democracy Conference

Director Diana L. Eck presented a paper at The New Religious Pluralism and Democracy Conference, sponsored by Georgetown University’s Initiative on Religion, Politics and Peace. Her paper, “American Religious Pluralism: Civic and Theological Discourse” is available online, as are the entire conference proceedings.


Conference Program and Papers

Current Issues in Interfaith Work

The spring 2005 issue of Crosscurrents is devoted to the topic of Interfaith work. Many of the articles are available online including an article by Managing Director GroveSacred groves have historically been among the most important sites for Pagan worship. In Druidism, trees are thought to have specific attributes that contribute meaning to the site where they grow. Contemporary Druid groups are often called “groves.”... Harris, “PaganThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... Involvement in the Interfaith Movement.”


Crosscurrents Spring 2005 issue

URI-NAIN Conference, August 12-16, 2005

This August the United Religions Initiative and the North American Interfaith Network will be joining forces for a conference with resource sharing, networking, interfaith dialogue, and engagement. Each day will feature a different value: honoring the sacred ground, hospitality, gratitude, sharing into interfaith action.


The NAIN Spring-Summer 2005 newsletter has an informative set of “Interfaith Briefs” compiled by Dr. Tarunjit Butalia, and previous briefs are available online.


Jewish Interfaith Endeavors: Orthodox JudaismOrthodox Judaism affirms its commitment to the unchanging divine revelation of Torah, with the theological views and scrupulous ritual observances that accompany this understanding of the divine law.

We’ve got a new online research report about Orthodox Judaism and interfaith endeavors as part of a series of reports on Jewish participation in interfaith activities.


Presbyterian Women and Pluralism

The May/June issue of Horizons: The Magazine for Presbyterian Women is entitled “Beloved Strangers: Christian Faith in a Pluralistic World” and includes an article by Research Manager Kathryn Lohre on the Pluralism Project’s women’s networks. Agendas, transcripts, and pictures of all five consultations held to develop these women’s networks are available online.


[ Image: Sammie Moshenberg presenting ]

The article states, “Sammie Moshenberg, director of Washington Operations of the National Council of Jewish Women, outlined these [women’s] concerns as ‘…childcare, work-family issues, domestic violence, school prayer and vouchers, abortion rights, gun control, peace in the Middle East, international family planning and judicial nominations, among others. These are the issues that Jewish women care about, and it’s striking that these are the issues that SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... women care about, that Muslim women care about, Christian women care about, Buddhist women care about…’ Her sentiment, shared by many others, is the reason women’s interfaith networks have powerful potential.”

Selected articles from this Horizons issue are available online.

The May/June 2005 Horizons

Religious Diversity News: National Day of Prayer

Our Religious Diversity News continues to cover stories on topics such as the National Day of Prayer. The White House holds an annual service with interfaith participation, but questions are rising about the private, exclusively Christian, National Day of Prayer Task Force. While the Act of Congress created a National Day of Prayer for all to pray in the religion of their choice, the “annual National Day of Prayer official website,” draped with flags in red, white and blue, includes only those with a specifically Christian belief and contends that this is not a churchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church .../state issue. In Troy, Michigan, an interfaith coalition contested the appropriateness of single-faith celebrations for National Day of Prayer events; a Christian-only event was held in front of Troy City Hall on May 5, 2005. Separate events were held, and now elected officials who spoke up for the inclusive event are being targeted.

National Day of Prayer Articles