Pluralism Project Newsletter
November 16, 2005
In this Issue:
• Director’s Invitation to Philadelphia Events
• Our Diverse Cities: Migration, Diversity, and Change
• Speaking of Values: Religion, Social Justice, and the Women’s Movement
• Airport ChapelsA chapel is a place of worship, smaller than the sanctuary of a church or synagogue, or in an institutional setting such as a college or hospital.: Shifting from Denominational to Interfaith
• Ford Interfaith Network: Religious Dialogue in a Corporate Setting
• 10th Annual Festival of Faiths: The Faces of Faith and Cooperation, Louisville, KY
• SamhainSamhain is an originally Irish holiday, now commonly known as Halloween. Celebrated on October 31, it is the night of the year when the veil between the spirit and the material worlds is the thinnest. It is thought to be the best night for communicating w... (Halloween) in Boston, 2005
• Online Guide: Looking After One Another: The Safety and Security of Our Faith Communities
• The Interfaith Alliance STOP the HATE Campaign
• Religious Passion, Pluralism, and the Young
• Bridging the Cultural Divide: The Ohio Pluralism Project
• Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly Viewer’s Guide
• Using the News to Teach Religion
Director’s Invitation to Philadelphia Events
I invite you to join us at our reception at the AAR conference, this year in Philadelphia. We will be gathering Sunday night November 20, from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. in the Commonwealth A Room of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. For those of you who will be in town, we look forward to the opportunity to meet in person and share some fellowship around our research, teaching, and writing on the issues of religious pluralism in the United States. Our affiliate Stuart Chandler of Indiana University in Pennsylvania will give us an overview of his superb project, “Eastern Religions in Western Pennsylvania.” We will also give you an update of the work of a wonderful student research team here at Harvard. They are involved in four research initiatives: the Interfaith Initiative, the City Hall Project, the International Initiative, and the Women’s Networks Project. We would like a chance to brainstorm about how you might be engaged in this work too.
This invitation, as well as an invitation to our Saturday morning bus tour, is online, linked from our home page if you find you need the particulars again later. We still have space on the bus tour; please feel welcomed to come and join us as we visit the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen MosqueMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... and the ChuaChua is the Vietnamese term for temple. The Buddhist temples of Southeast Asia are distinctive in that the monastery and temple complex form a single institution. Bo De Buddhist TempleBuddhist temples differ considerably from one another depending upon culture and particular school, but most are associated with the residence of the sangha of monks. Theravada temples focus on one or more images of Sakyamuni Buddha. In Mahayana and Vajra....
Let me also extend an invitation from Abby Stamelman Hocky, the executive director of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, to join in an Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving which will be held on Sunday, November 20, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Philadelphia Cathedral, 38th Street between Chestnut and Market.
Pluralism Project events at the AAR, Philadelphia
Our Research Associate, James Young, has prepared an update on the religious diversity of Philadelphia.
Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia Events
Our Diverse Cities: Migration, Diversity, and Change
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 attended the 10th annual MetropolisA Metropolitan is the title given to a bishop, used especially in the Orthodox family of churches today. conference in Toronto, Canada. Conference organizers write, “The unwavering pace of international migration is dramatically changing the world’s cities. Immigrants, refugees, temporary workers, and migrants primarily settle in urban areas where populations have become increasingly diverse with respect to culture, race, language, religion, and ethnicity. These forms of diversity intersect with those of gender, class, ability, and sexual orientation, thereby producing a diversity of greater depth that poses yet greater challenges for our societies. While some cities have embraced this rapidly deepening diversity as a strength, even as a competitive advantage, others are struggling with the social and governance challenges that it presents. Although national governments regulate entry to states, it is usually their cities that must respond to the resulting social changes. ” The conference explored policies and programs that address issues of integration, inclusion, and diversity management as well as issues of exclusion, discrimination, profiling, and marginalization.
Grove presented research on two court cases brought by WiccanWicca is the name of one of the major streams of contemporary American Paganism. It is a form of religious witchcraft, sometimes simply called the Craft. Many Wiccans in America today call themselves “witches,” claiming the name under which women and ... priestessesA priestess is a female leader of a religious community, specially trained and often ordained to service, who leads members of the community in the rituals and practice of shared and individual life. Pagan traditions have many forms of priestesses. The ma... concerning legislative invocations. Please see Simpson v. Chesterfield County, VA and Wynne v. Great Falls, SC.
10th International Metropolis Conference
Speaking of Values: Religion, Social Justice, and the Women’s Movement
On November 8, Kathryn Lohre, our research manager, attended a luncheon conference in Atlanta hosted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) called, “Speaking of Values: A Conversation about Religion, Social Justice, and the Women’s Movement.” Panelists included Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, editor of Living IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to... Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak, and Georgia State Representative Nan Grogan Orrock, who also serves as president of the Women Legislators’ Lobby. Study Director Amy Caiazza spoke about IWPR’s program on “Politics, Religion, and Women’s Public Vision” and her latest research publication: The Ties That Bind: Women’s Public Vision for Politics, Religion, and Civil Society. For more information, please visit this website.
Airport Chapels: Shifting from Denominational to Interfaith
Research Associate Deonnie Moodie has written a comprehensive report on the history and development of airport chapels. She writes, “Approximately fifty years ago, the first airport chapelA chapel is a place of worship, smaller than the sanctuary of a church or synagogue, or in an institutional setting such as a college or hospital. in the United States was built in Boston’s Logan International Airport. This chapel, along with the few others established at this time, was Catholic. Over the past few decades, as the religious landscape of America has changed, so has the orientation of these chapels. Now one can walk into almost any major U.S. airport and expect to find an interfaith space where people of all faiths are welcome to pray and worship. Most significantly, these chapels include features that cater specifically to the needs of Muslim worshippers. These adaptations have been made possible by airport chaplaincies forming their own nonprofit organizations, separate from the government funded transit authorities that run the airports.”
Her full report is available on line at http://www.pluralism.org/research/profiles/display.php?profile=74144 .
Ford Interfaith Network: Religious Dialogue in a Corporate Setting
Research Associate Emily Ronald has written a report on the Ford Interfaith Network. “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s good for business,” said Jim Dosdall of Ford at the 2004 Parliament of World Religions. The Ford Interfaith Network (FIN) is an interfaith employee organization supported by Ford Motor Company. Its mission is: “to assist the company in becoming a worldwide corporate leader in promoting religious tolerance, corporate integrity, and human dignity. We strive to act in accordance with our beliefs and out of love for human beings and all of creation, promoting understanding and respect for the various faiths. We help management to increase and maintain religious diversity, attract, develop, and retain talented employees of faith, and be more aware of religious consumers’ and investors’ needs.”
Ford Motor Company employs over 350,000 people around the world, with plants in Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, and across the US. The Ford Interfaith Network began at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, which also has one of the oldest and largest Arab populations in the United States. Ford’s competitive wages (instituted to allow employees to become consumers) and policy of non-discrimination (established in 1941) made Dearborn a good site for new Arab immigrants, Christian and Muslim alike. One of the first mosquesMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... in America was built in 1919 in Dearborn, and by the 1960s, 3/4 of the Arab population in Dearborn were employees of Ford. Ford sees employee diversity as a way to strengthen the company, either through improving the workplace or allowing a niche-marketing approach.
Her full report is available on line at http://www.pluralism.org/research/profiles/display.php?profile=74143 .
10th Annual Festival of Faiths: The Faces of Faith and Cooperation, Louisville, KY
Early this November, Research Associate Hilary Bogert attended the 10th annual Festival of Faiths in Louisville, KY. This festival-recognized as a premiere example of interfaith dialogue in the United States-took place for one week and engaged members of the Louisville community with the religious diversity present in the city. Events included an interfaith Thanksgiving worship service, a dinner hosted by the Louisville Islamic CenterAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic..., a screening of “Acting on Faith,” and a panel dealing with issues of faith and nuclear proliferation. Hilary also attended the third annual Mayor’s Neighborhood Summit, where she attended a discussion about how faith groups and neighborhood organizations can work together to better their communities.
Festival of Faiths
Samhain (Halloween) in Boston, 2005
While the cultural celebration of Halloween involves children, costumes, treats and perhaps tricks, the religious celebration of the same day, called Samhain, is celebrated by PagansThe 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... in both public and private rituals. In Boston in 2005, there were at least four public ceremonies available over the weekend and on Samhain, October 31, itself. These included a women’s ritual, a ritual held in conjunction with a Unitariana belief in one God that rejects the three persons of the Trinity that has much in common with the belief in the early Christian church about the superiority of God over Jesus and the Anti-Trinitarian writing that emerged during the Protestant Reformation... Universalist 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 ..., one organized by the Earthspirit community, and one held on the Boston Common by the Tremont Tearoom. While many Pagans celebrated in small groups or privately, there was also a range of public ritual from which to chose.
The full report is available on line at http://www.pluralism.org/research/profiles/display.php?profile=74153 .
Online Guide: Looking After One Another: The Safety and Security of Our Faith Communities
The Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom has made available online their guide for maintaining safe communities. It was created in collaboration with over 100 member groups of the Network, and was hastened to publication in the aftermath of last July’s bombings in London. It offers pragmatic action guidelines for individuals and leaders, including joint visits to religious centers, joint statements to the press, individual responsibility for intervening in inaccurate or hateful language, etc. They write, “We as faith communities have a role in responding to emergency situations and to inter community tensions, both as individual communities and -very importantly- together. In our shared society we are deeply interconnected. An attack on one is an attack on all. These short guidelines have been produced by the Inter Faith Network for the UK, in consultation with the Commission for Racial Equality, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, to assist in responding together as communities to increase our safety and security.” Their suggestions are in the following categories: Respond jointly- an attack on one is an attack on all; build on existing good inter-community relations; calm in times of tension. They advise communities never to under-estimate their contribution.
The report is available as a PDF on line at http://www.interfaith.org.uk/lookingafter.pdf .
The Interfaith Alliance STOP the HATE Campaign
The Interfaith Alliance has re-activated their STOP the HATE Campaign. Their website states, “Hate and bigotry are neither religious nor American values. Every religion teaches the overriding rule and belief that we should treat one another with respect and dignity. As people of faith and goodwill, we have a calling to stand up for the rights of all members and send the message that prejudice and intolerance against any group is unacceptable. Ending religious bigotry and hate violence depends on people of faith and goodwill with the courage to act. It is in this spirit that The Interfaith Alliance has once again launched its STOP the HATE campaign: Uniting people of faith and goodwill to counter religious bigotry and hate violence.”
Their website offers tools for organizing STOP the HATE vigils and other suggestions for citizen activism.
Religious Passion, Pluralism, and the Young
“Speaking of Faith” is public radio’s national conversation about religion, meaning, ethics and ideas, hosted by Krista Tippett. This week the subject is “Religious Passion, Pluralism and the Young” with Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core based in Chicago. This young American Muslim leader says we will not save the next generation of every faith by seeking to tame their religious energies, but by deepening and emboldening them. The program will air on public radio stations across the U.S. from November 10 through November 16. On the Web site you can listen to the program via streaming audio or purchase a downloadable copy. Broadcast locations and times can be found on the site at by clicking the “Stations” link at the top of their home page, http://www.speakingoffaith.org/ .
Bridging the Cultural Divide: The Ohio Pluralism Project
Pluralism Project Affiliates DavidDavid was the King of Israel (c. 1000 BCE) credited with uniting the many tribes of Israel into a centralized kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital. David is said to have planned for the Temple in Jerusalem, which was subsequently built by his son Solomon... Odell-Scott and Surinder Bhardwaj are featured in Kent State Magazine. “Peaceful acts of engagement between different religions and cultures are the goal of the Ohio Pluralism Project. Odell-Scott and Bhardwaj hope the project continues to build bridges of communication for students, families and communities. Bhardwaj adds, “We have an opportunity to develop a model for the world on how different religions can engage peacefully. Our project is a little part of it, but at least it is part of it.” The friendship between the two men plays a small part as well. As Bhardwaj told me: ‘Who would have thought a boy from a remote Indian village and a boy from the bayous of Alabama would ever meet to discuss issues of freedom, human dignity, colonialism, oppression, slavery, casteCaste comes from a Portuguese word “casta” which was used by early traders to describe India’s complex class structure of varnas. The four major inherited varnas are the Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (kings, warriors), vaishyas (merchants), and shu... and religious pluralism – all with stark honesty and yet with respect of the other’s religious traditions?'” Read Bridging the Cultural Divide online.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly Viewer’s Guide
Eight seasons of the Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly companion viewer’s guide are available online. The most recent 28-page edition includes essays, resources and discussion questions on the following topics: the meaning of martyrdom; Christian-Buddhist dialogue; the influence of the BibleThe Greek term biblia means the “books.” Bible is used in both the Jewish and Christian traditions to refer to the book which gathers together their sacred writings. The Hebrew Bible includes the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings—a collection re... on African American life; mysticism; religion’s role in the assimilationAssimilation refers to the process of “making similar,” a process by which people lose their national, cultural, or even religious identity through absorption in the wider society. In the history of American immigration, it has usually meant the absor... of new immigrants to the U.S.; forgiveness in international affairs; and the faith-based social services debate. Printed copies of the newest guide also include a DVD of selected segments from the show. They are available free of charge while supplies last from: Religion & Ethics Guide, P.O. Box 245, Little Falls, NJ 07424-0245.
Using the News to Teach Religion
This video and Web site resource for high school and college religion teachers demonstrates teaching religion through reading and discussing the news. Shot by Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly at Colgate University in 2003-2004, the video features classroom footage illustrating how two teachers conduct an innovative religion course using The New York Times as a text. The video includes interviews with the teachers, the course description, syllabus, and exam questions. The course highlights both the newsworthiness of religion and the role that newspapers and the news in its many forms (print, television, radio, and other new media) can play in a classroom. To request a dvd version of the video, contact email@example.com.