Depending on your point of view, religion is the source of values like compassion and social justice that are essential to the harmonious co-existence of diverse groups in any given society. Or it provides the rationalization for intolerance and injustice toward the “other,” which is the root of conflict and suffering. Reality, of course, is much more complicated than either perspective.
In any case, religious beliefs—and beliefs about religion—inevitably shape social values and political power, in both the secular societies of the global North and the deeply religious cultures of the global South. Explore the relationship between religion and a variety of social and political issues, from economic inequality to immigration.
Photo Credit: Franco Folini
- ArticleChao-hwei Shih: Buddhist Nun Leads Asia’s Fight for Gay MarriageThis article was originally published in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. BUDDHIST MASTER THE VENERABLE Chao-hwei Shih beamed at two 30-year-old brides kneeling before her …Topics: Asia, Buddhists and Buddhism, Engaged Spirituality, Gender, LGBT Issues, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleRNS: In Togo, a Catholic nun fights COVID-19 for the sake of her AIDS patientsThis article was originally published in Religion News Service, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. (RNS) — “Here, people won’t die from COVID-19 but mostly from its consequences,” said Sister …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, COVID, Engaged Spirituality, Healthcare, Nuns and Women Religious, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa
- ArticleRNS: India’s pioneering transgender activist defends gains in pandemicThis article was originally published in Religion News Service, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. KOLKATA, India (RNS) — Well past midnight one day in late June, Ranjita Sinha, a …Topics: Asia, COVID, Engaged Spirituality, Gender, Hindus and Hinduism, LGBT Issues, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleAl and Andi Tauber: How Two Mennonite Musicians Turn Street Ministry Into SongThis radio documentary was produced by KALW’s The Spiritual Edge, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. Listen to it on The Spiritual Edge website. The Protestant Reformation of the …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Creativity and Innovation, Economic Inequality, Engaged Spirituality, LGBT Issues, Race and Culture, Southern California, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticlePat Murphy and Joann Persch: Two Nuns Determined to Help Detained ImmigrantsThis radio documentary was produced by KALW’s The Spiritual Edge, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. Listen to it on The Spiritual Edge’s website. When the phone rang, …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Engaged Spirituality, Immigration, Nuns and Women Religious, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleSameer: Leading the Peaceful Resistance Against Israeli OccupationThis radio documentary was produced by KALW’s The Spiritual Edge, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. Listen to it on The Spiritual Edge website. In the Palestinian town of …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, International Affairs and Policy, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
- EventCan America Change?Amid protests against police brutality, a pandemic and a strained economy, Najuma Smith-Pollard, program manager for the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, joined several religious leaders to reflect on a …Topics: CMCCE, Race and Culture
- EventJustice We Shall Pursue: Building the Beloved CommunityCRCC’s Najuma-Smith Pollard joined two other faith leaders, Reverend Mark Whitlock (Reid Temple A.M.E. Church) and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson (Vice President of American Jewish University in Los Angeles), to discuss the …Topics: CMCCE, Race and Culture
- ArticleThe Fight for Black Lives is a Spiritual MovementThis article was originally published in the Berkley Forum as an editorial response to “Religion and Racial Justice: The George Floyd Protests.” A circle of flowers forms a sanctuary honoring the space …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Engaged Spirituality, Race and Culture
- CRCC in the NewsJSTOR Daily, RNS, Religion Unplugged: Hebah Farrag on Healing, Spirituality, and Black Lives MatterHow does the Black Lives Matter movement intertwine with healing and spirituality? JSTOR Daily uses CRCC’s Hebah Farrag’s 2018 article “The Spirit in Black Lives Matter: new spiritual community in black radical …Topics: Race and Culture
- ArticleRNS: In Greece, Pandemic Deprives Refugees of Vital Link to Food and LocalsThis article was originally published in Religion News Service with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. MORIA REFUGEE CAMP, Lesbos, Greece (RNS) — Like many restaurants around the world, Nikos …Topics: COVID, Engaged Spirituality, Europe, Faith-Based Organizations, Immigration
- ArticleAshin Issariya: Leading the Charge Against Militant BuddhismThis article was originally published in New Statesman, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. January is the cool, dry season of traveling sermons in Myanmar, where members of …Topics: Asia, Buddhists and Buddhism, Engaged Spirituality, Religious Leadership, Religious Pluralism, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
“It is, finally, not the external forms of religion that matter so much; they are cultural products, vessels (potential conduits) of the holy, not to be confused with the divine (which would be idolatry). What is important is the quality of life that results from one’s concourse with the God beyond gods.”
—Donald E. Miller
“The Future of Liberal Christianity”
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- Sumaya AbubakerProject ManagerSumaya Abubaker manages leadership and civic engagement programming for minority faith communities.
- Brad ChristersonContributing FellowBrad Christenson is a sociologist who has written extensively in the areas of religion, race, ethnicity, and globalization.
- Hebah FarragAssistant Director of ResearchHebah Farrag manages the center’s research and evaluation projects while engaging in research focused on religion, social change and new spiritualties.
- Richard FlorySenior Director of Research and EvaluationRichard Flory is a sociologist whose work focuses on religion and urban life, religious and cultural change, and youth and young adults.
- Rev. Frank Jackson, Jr.Contributing FellowRev. Frank Jackson, Jr. couples his experience in business and investment with his passion for community development.
- Andrew JohnsonPast FellowAndrew Johnson is a sociologist who studies religion on the margins of society, with specific interests in religious practice inside of prison, Latin American Pentecostalism and religion in the city.
- Brie LoskotaExecutive DirectorBrie Loskota researches how religions change and make change in the world, and works to build the capacity of religious communities around the globe.
- Juan MartínezPast FellowJuan Martinez studies the history of Latino Protestantism, Latino Protestant identity and transnational mission among U.S. Latinos.
- Tarra McNallyAssistant Director of EvaluationTarra McNally is an anthropologist specializing in evaluation and global health.
- Donald E. MillerDirector of Strategic InitiativesDonald Miller focuses on global religious trends, genocides of the 20th century, and the role of religious NGOs in addressing issues of moral concern.
- Jon MillerSenior Research AssociateJon Miller is a comparative sociologist and director of the international mission photography archive.
- Arpi MillerContributing FellowArpi Miller is a sociologist who studies secular and faith-based immigrant advocacy and accompaniment.
- Cecil L. MurrayUniversity FellowRev. Cecil Murray works to ensure that the legacy of African American Church leaders pass on their years of experience to the next generation.
- John B. OrrCo-founder & Past FellowJohn B. Orr has worked extensively in the fields of religion, education and politics.
- Joe PalaciosContributing FellowJoe Palacios, a sociologist and Catholic priest, studies religion, politics and social justice in Latin America and among immigrants in the United States.