Pluralism Project Affiliates Map Religious Diversity of Northern Ohio

July 31, 1999

Source: Akron Beacon Journal

On July 31, 1999 Akron Beacon Journal featured an article on the research of Northern Ohio's religious diversity by Pluralism Project affiliates. The "growth in religious diversity has been examined by two Kent State University researchers... Dr. David Odell-Scott, associate professor of philosophy... and Dr. Surinder M. Bhardwaj, a professor of geography... received a 1998 grant through the Pluralism Project at Harvard University to map the religious diversity of Northern Ohio... As a result of that work, the researchers have received three other grants and have started what is called The Ohio Pluralism Project at Kent State and are now examining religious diversity throughout Ohio... The researchers found that there are at least 15 Buddhist, five Hindu, four traditional Islamic, two Sikh and one Jainist committee in Northern Ohio. They also found there is great diversity within similar religious groups... In addition, students studying religious diversity, the researchers said, reported religious stereotypes were broken down by visiting a variety of religious institutions... 'The religious landscape is changing greatly,' said Bhardwaj, a native of India and a Hindu who worked with Odell-Scott, a native of Alabama who is a Protestant Christian... According to Bhardwaj, immigration into the United States used to come from Europe, but now people coming into the country are coming from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other traditions... Odell-Scott said during his research he had been contacted by a number of Christian ministers who were seeking advice on how to educate members of their church on different religious traditions." The article also featured descriptions of several centers profiled by the affiliates.