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
- CRCC in the NewsKPCC: Najuma Smith-Pollard on Same-Sex Marriage and the Black ChurchIn 2008, a majority of Black voters helped ban same-sex marriage in California. KPCC talked to Najuma Smith-Pollard, program manager for the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, about whether attitudes …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, LGBT Issues, Political Attitudes and Values, Voting and Elections
- VideoThe Influence of Archbishop Oscar Romero
- ArticleAfrican American Muslims and the LAPD: Moving from Stories to SolutionsThis article originally appeared in BOOM California. “We don’t want to walk into a kumbaya situation,” said Umar Hakim. The sixteen men and women gathered around a conference table in Inglewood simultaneously …Topics: Community Organizing, Criminal Justice, Muslims and Islam, Southern California, Violence
- CRCC in the NewsLA Times: Murray Center Gathers Women for Discussion of #MeToo in Black ChurchThe USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement convened a group of prominent women to discuss sexual harassment in the Black Church. The Los Angeles Times covered the #MeToo-inspired gathering, organized by …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Gender, Religious Leadership, Violence
- CommentarySexual Assault During Hajj: Will #MosqueMeToo Lead to Reforms in Mecca?In February of 2018, inspired by the #MeToo movement, Muslim women took to social media to describe sexual harassment and assault in the holiest shrines of the Islamic faith: the Kaabah in …Topics: Gender, Muslims and Islam, Place and Religion, Violence
- CRCC in the NewsLAist: Loskota on Congregations Addressing HomelessnessA Los Angeles-area non-profit has been unsuccessful in opening congregations’ parking lots to people living out of their cars, reports KPCC/LAist. CRCC Executive Director Brie Loskota told KPCC that the expectations on …Topics: Economic Inequality, Social Services, Southern California
- CRCC in the NewsThe Hill: Richard Flory on the Religious Right’s Criticism of Trump’s Immigration PoliciesThe controversy over child separation at the southern border is forcing many conservative Christian leaders to be more critical of Donald Trump than they have in the past. Though some believe this …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Community Dynamics, Government and Religion, Immigration, International Affairs and Policy, Political Attitudes and Values, Religious Affiliation, Religious Leadership
- VideoFaith and the #MeToo Movement
- CRCC in the NewsThe Aspen Institute: Loskota on Tackling Hate Through Interfaith InitiativesBridging faith communities is essential to combat violence against minorities and create partnerships to tackle the challenges that face society. The Aspen Institute interviewed CRCC Executive Director Brie Loskota for a podcast …Topics: Community Dynamics, Creativity and Innovation, Faith-Based Organizations, Media, Political Attitudes and Values, Population Trends, Religious Affiliation, Religious Leadership
- ArticleTransitions: New Spiritual Community in Black Radical OrganizingCompeting voices within spiritual groups help to create boundaries of belonging within and beyond the group by articulating notions of identity and meaning that are based in history, myth and gender, among …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Gender, LGBT Issues, Race and Culture
- CommentaryThe Poor People’s Campaign: Learning from the Global Fight Against Structural PovertyLast fall, I attended a high-energy mass meeting for the new Poor People’s Campaign. Part of a 15-state tour, the Los Angeles event rallied a racially mixed and enthusiastic crowd from the …Topics: Economic Inequality, Interfaith/Multifaith Movements, Political Attitudes and Values, Religious Leadership
- CommentaryThe Cosby Case at Church: Why Pastors Should Address Sexual AssaultBill Cosby is back in court this week. This time, in Pittsburgh, his sexual assault case is framed against the backdrop of #MeToo, the movement raising awareness of sexual harassment, and #ChurchToo. …Topics: Black Church, Christians and Christianity, CMCCE, Gender, Religious Leadership, 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.
- Lyn Boyd-JudsonUniversity FellowLyn Boyd-Judson is a scholar focused on diplomacy, ethics, religion and human rights, and international negotiation.
- Brad ChristersonContributing FellowBrad Christenson is a sociologist who has written extensively in the areas of religion, race, ethnicity, and globalization.
- Samuel ChuContributing FellowSamuel Chu is a seasoned community organizer and strategist who works at the intersection of faith and public policy.
- 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 JohnsonContributing 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 MartínezContributing 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.