January 31, 2006

Pluralism Project Newsletter
January 31, 2006

In this Issue:
• Summer Internships at the Pluralism Project
• New Radio Show: State of Belief
• ACLU Challenges Patriot Act on Behalf of Tariq RamadanRamadan is the ninth lunar month during which the first revelation of the Qur’an came to Muhammad. Each year in this month, Muslims abstain from all food, drink, and sexual activity from dawn until sunset. They ar. also meant to make a conscious effort ...
• The Pico National Network
• Southern Nevada Interfaith Council
• Inter-Faith Ministries
• Acting on Faith at Glastonbury Abbey
• Acting on Faith at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research
• Interfaith Youth Resource
• Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground
• Research on New Vrindaban in West Virginia
• Essays on JainismThe term Jain or Jaina refers to the tradition of the Jinas, the “victorious ones” who have won spiritual liberation, and to those who follow it. The Jain tradition as we know it dates back some 2500 years to the life of the teacher Mahavira, said to ... in America
• Women of Faith Lecture Series

Summer Internships at the Pluralism Project

The Pluralism Project is accepting internship applications for the coming summer. Details about this engaging research opportunity are now available online. We also list internships available at many other organizations working on aspects of religious pluralism or interfaith advocacy. These opportunities offer a range of experiences including leadership training.

2006 Summer Internships

New Radio Show: State of Belief

The new radio show State of Belief, produced by The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Air America Radio, airs Sunday evenings at 5 p.m. EST. The premiere show featured Pluralism Project Director Diana Eck’s commentary, “America is the Muslim World.” The host, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, “offers listeners critical analysis of the news of religion and politics, and seeks to provide listeners with an understanding and appreciation of religious liberty.” The second show featured Sarah Eltantawi speaking on the progressive Muslim vision. Featured commentaries and the entire show are available online.

http://shows.airamericaradio.com/stateofbelief/commentary

ACLU Challenges Patriot Act on Behalf of Tariq Ramadan

The ACLU has filed a federal law suit on behalf of Tariq Ramadan and three national academic organizations. Mr. Ramadan, a leading scholar of 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..., has been prevented from entering the U.S. to speak in academic settings, including at the American Academy of Religion. As President of the AAR, Diana Eck has been involved in this case. Mr. Ramadan has been critical of the U.S. war on Iraq.

Religious Diversity News: Tariq Ramadan

The Pico National Network

Pluralism Project Staff Researcher Emily Ronald continues her research on interfaith organizations. In over a thousand member institutions, in 18 states and 150 cities, the PICO National Network is helping people engage in public life and encouraging community involvement on all levels. Over fifty denominations and faith traditions, including Catholic, ProtestantProtestant is a term used for the range of reform movements that broke with the Roman Catholic Church during the period called the Reformation. There are many branches of Protestantism, including the Lutherans, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists..., Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist groups, participate in this nationwide grassroots community-organizing network. PICO works through religious congregations, schools, and civic centers, training the local leadership and providing support.

The PICO National Network

Southern Nevada Interfaith Council

The population of Southern Nevada has tripled in the last ten years, and the religious diversity has increased as well. For the Southern Nevada Interfaith Council, this is an opportunity to act on its principles of inclusivity and partnership. The Council includes a large number of faith communities in the Las Vegas area: Baha’i, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Latter-Day SaintSaints are human beings whose lives have displayed extraordinary holiness and devotion. As such they become examples for others. Indeed some of the faithful may understand them to be intermediaries and seek their help in time of need. Roman Catholics and ..., Hindu, Muslim, 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..., WiccaWicca 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 .../GoddessGoddess is a term used to refer to the female deity, either in the singular as the supreme divine reality, or in the plural as one of many particular or localized feminine deities. In the Hindu tradition, the Goddess refers to the very powerful, even supr... religions, Religious Science, and HumanismHumanism is a belief system that values reason, compassion, and hope. Emphasis is placed on human concerns and that which can contribute to human flourishing. Dogmas or creeds that in any way impede these foci are disregarded and humanity is thought to be.... Less than a year after its incorporation, the Southern Nevada Interfaith Council hosted the first joint gathering of the United Religions Initiative and the North American Interfaith Network. See the online profile for a full report.

Profile of the Southern Nevada Interfaith Council

Inter-Faith Ministries

Inter-Faith Ministries of Wichita, Kansas has been addressing social issues for over 120 years. Their efforts include varied and comprehensive programming that not only provides services but addresses structural issues. For example, not only do they serve the homeless, but they implement programming to end homelessness. More information is included in the online profile.

Profile of Inter-Faith Ministries

Inter-Faith Ministries

Acting on Faith at Glastonbury Abbey

[ Image: Kathryn Lohre speaking ]

On Thursday evening, January 19, Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, Massachusetts hosted a screening of Acting on Faith: Women’s New Religious Activism in America as part of its interfaith lecture series, “Listening to Other Voices: Religion and the World We Live In.” The event drew over one hundred local residents and members of the Abbey. Kathryn Lohre, our research manager, was there to introduce the film, offer comments about the Pluralism Project and our women’s networks, and to lead discussion. The film was well received, and audience members enthusiastically engaged in discussion about the role of faith in activism.

http://www.glastonburyabbey.org/lectures.htm

Pluralism Project Women’s Networks

Acting on Faith at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

[ Image: audience members ]

On Tuesday, January 24, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Pluralism Project co-hosted a reception and screening of Acting on Faith: Women’s New Religious Activism in America at the IWPR office in Washington, DC. Guests included IWPR members, local interfaith leaders, and members of our women’s networks. Research Manager Kathryn Lohre introduced the film, provided commentary, and lead discussion on behalf of the Pluralism Project. The purpose of the event was to promote the documentary to new individuals and organizations and to provide an opportunity for networking among people interested in IWPR’s research and outreach program: “Politics, Religion and Women’s Public Vision.”

http://www.iwpr.org/

IWPR’s Politics, Religion and Women’s Public Vision

More information on Acting on Faith

Interfaith Youth Resource

The Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom offers an online action guide for youth entitled Connect: different faiths, shared values. This 28-page guide focuses on shared values and encourages youth leadership in a variety of interfaith actions. Numerous short case studies offer constructive examples.

Connect: different faiths, shared values

The Inter Faith Network for the UK

Online Interfaith Resource Guides

Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground

Pluralism Project Affiliate Barbara McGraw has published the second book in her three book series. Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground is now available from Baylor University Press. “The clash between the religious right and the secular left undermines any serious debate about the role of religion in American public life. Strident rhetoric polarizes the nation and undermines the potential for the many other voices of America’s pluralistic society to be heard. By contrast, this volume provides a political and moral framework through which Americans from diverse religious perspectives can engage in a conversation about the common good. In so doing, this volume turns away from the divisiveness in the current debate and celebrates America’s religious diversity, demonstrating that religious pluralism is actually one of democracy’s basic building blocks.” Pluralism Project Director Diana Eck wrote the preface to this book.

Barbara McGraw’s Pluralism Project Affiliate Page

Research on New Vrindaban in West Virginia

Pluralism Project Affiliate Greg Emory and students from the Global Learning Community at Ohio University have been researching the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia. Their online research reports cover topics such as organic farming as a form of worship, community expansion, the role of women, and more. Their first slide show provides a photographic tour of the community, and a second slide show is forthcoming.

Research Reports on New Vrindaban

Slide Show on New Vrindaban

Essays on Jainism in America

We’ve placed a set of essays on Jainism in American on our website. These essays are a small part of the CD-ROM On Common Ground: World Religions in America, used with permission from Columbia University Press.

Essays on Jainism in America

Women of Faith Lecture Series

[ Image: 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 and Kate Holbrook ]

On January 26, Managing Director Grove Harris spoke at the Women of Faith Lecture Series held at the 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 ... of JesusJesus is the historical figure considered by Christians to be the Christ, the Messiah, whose life and teachings, death and resurrection give clear evidence of God’s love for humankind. Jesus was born shortly before the death of Herod the Great (d. 4 BCE... Christ of Latter-Day SaintsSaints are human beings whose lives have displayed extraordinary holiness and devotion. As such they become examples for others. Indeed some of the faithful may understand them to be intermediaries and seek their help in time of need. Roman Catholics and ... in Cambridge, MA. This series, coordinated by Kate Holbrook (a former Pluralism Project researcher), features women speaking as scholars and practitioners about being a woman in a particular faith tradition. Grove spoke on PaganismThe 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...; other featured speakers will speak on Islam, Judaism, ChristianityChristianity is the religious tradition of Christians: those who confesses faith in Jesus Christ, follow the path Christ taught, and gather together in the community of the church., and BuddhismBuddhism is a multi-hued tradition of life, thought, and practice that has developed from the teaching and practice of Siddhartha Gautama (6th century BCE) who came to be called the Buddha, the awakened one. The three major streams of the tradition—Ther.... The series is sponsored by the LDSThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called the Mormon Church, was launched by Joseph Smith (1805-44) who discovered a new revelation, the Book of Mormon, which became, along with the Bible, the “latter day” scripture of the new commu... (MormonThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called the Mormon Church, was launched by Joseph Smith (1805-44) who discovered a new revelation, the Book of Mormon, which became, along with the Bible, the “latter day” scripture of the new commu...) feminist journal Exponent II.

http://www.exponentii.org/