The Pluralism Project in Texas

June 21, 2003

Source: American Statesman

On June 21, 2003 the American Statesman reported that "recent college graduate Joe Laycock is spending his spare time this summer at Buddhist temples and mosques and with Sikhs in backrooms of yoga studios... Laycock, an Austin resident who will pursue a master's of theological studies at Harvard University this fall, is one of hundreds of student researchers across the country working for the Harvard Pluralism Project, a nationwide religious education initiative begun in the early 1990s... The project, headed by Harvard religion professor Diana Eck, gathers data and creates profiles of religious centers and offers the results on its Web site for teachers, journalists and the general public. The profiles are short descriptions of the center and include some basic statistics such as how many members they have and how long they have been open... The Pluralism Project is also useful at the college and seminary level, according to Arun Jones, assistant professor of mission and evangelism at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The research offers more than just academic value, he added... 'In terms of furthering civic peace and harmony and good will, it's crucial we do know who our neighbors are religiously,' Jones said."