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
- EventFaith Leadership Engagement with the FBIJoin the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s Critical Conversation series as Pastor Najuma Smith Pollard, program manager of the Cecil Murray Center for Civic Engagement, moderates a discussion with Kristi Johnson, the …Topics: CMCCE, Criminal Justice, Event
- CommentaryShowing Up! Female Faith Leadership in the COVID-19 PandemicThis post was originally published on the Berkley Forum, as part of a series on Gender, Religion and COVID-19. As a female pastor and community faith leader, I found myself called to …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Criminal Justice, Gender, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Culture
- CRCC in the NewsSojourners Magazine: Can Churches Earn the Trust of Young Racial Justice Activists?Religious adherence may be on the decline among young people, but activists in the racial justice movement remain animated by spiritual practices, Sojourners magazine reported. The article quotes CRCC’s Hebah Farrag and …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture
- EventBlack Female Leadership within LAPD: Untold Stories!High-ranking African-American female leadership in the Los Angeles Police Department share untold stories of issues around racial equity, internal culture and politics of the LAPD, and being a Black woman in law …Topics: CMCCE, Criminal Justice, Event, Gender,
- ArticleVoices of Women and People of Color Must Be Part of Catholic Social Teaching DiscussionThis article was originally published in the National Catholic Reporter. In a recent essay, Francis X. Rocca of the Wall Street Journal argued that Catholic social teaching presents a framework for uniting America, noting …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Gender, Political Attitudes and Values
- ArticleNica Aquino: Searching for HomeIronically, hope for the Kalinga way of life may be found far from Lubuagan and the Chico River, in the outposts of the Filipino diaspora. For example, one of Cirilo “Sapi” Bawer’s …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Engaged Spirituality, Place and Religion, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Culture
- CommentaryPredictions 2021: An Uphill StruggleAs we do around this time each new year, we at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) are going to make some predictions for 2021. Even though the world …Topics: Government and Religion, Political Attitudes and Values, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture, Voting and Elections
- ResourcesTransforming the American Sangha: Race, Racism and Diversity in North American Insight MeditationNorth American Insight Meditation institutions, rooted in the Vipassana tradition of Theravada Buddhism, are often seen as liberal, inclusive multicultural spaces committed to welcoming diverse constituencies into their communities. The research undertaken …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Creativity and Innovation, Race and Culture
- ArticleSister Mary Catherine Redmond: Connection, Compassion and Care in a Bronx COVID-19 WardThis article was originally published in Global Sisters Report, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. NEW YORK — In the first three months of the pandemic, Sr. Mary Catherine Redmond …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, COVID, Engaged Spirituality, Healthcare, Nuns and Women Religious, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleScott Warren and Emily Saunders: Facing Decades in Prison for Helping MigrantsThis 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. Most religions teach people to …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Immigration, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleThe Mothers of the Righteous Society: Lay Buddhist Women as Agents of the Sinhala Nationalist ImageryThe following is an excerpt of an article by Nalika Gajaweera published in the Journal of Global Buddhism. Read the full article on globalbuddhism.org. Discussions about the gendered experience of Buddhism, especially …Topics: Asia, Buddhists and Buddhism, Gender
- ArticleSunita Viswanath: A New Kind of Allyship with Black Lives MatterThis article was originally published in The Juggernaut, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. When restaurant owner Ruhel Islam said “let my building burn” last month in Minneapolis, he instantly …Topics: Community Organizing, Engaged Spirituality, Faith-Based Organizations, Political Attitudes and Values, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture, Spiritual Exemplars
“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.