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 Ramadan
• 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 Jainism 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 Islam, 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, Protestant, 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 Saint, Hindu, Muslim, Judaism, Wicca/Goddess religions, Religious Science, and Humanism. 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: Grove Harris and Kate Holbrook ]

On January 26, Managing Director Grove Harris spoke at the Women of Faith Lecture Series held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 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 Paganism; other featured speakers will speak on Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism. The series is sponsored by the LDS (Mormon) feminist journal Exponent II.

http://www.exponentii.org/