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
- 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
- ArticleSister Mary Scullion: Fighting to End Homelessness in PhiladelphiaThis article was originally published in Global Sisters Report, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. PHILADELPHIA — On a recent late summer afternoon, Mercy Sr. Mary Scullion found herself, as she …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Economic Inequality, Engaged Spirituality, Nuns and Women Religious, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleCOVID-19 Proves To Be a Test of Faith for Believers, Churches and CommunitiesThis USC News article was built off of a source alert “Spirituality in a Pandemic: A Test of Faith for Believers and Organizations.” The source alert has additional perspective from Najuma Smith-Pollard …Topics: COVID, Creativity and Innovation, Government and Religion, Race and Culture, weforum
- CRCC in the NewsPC Magazine: Quraishi on the Possibility of Productive Online ConversationsAre productive online conversations possible? According to Amanda Quraishi, founder and director of the Institute for Digital Civic Culture (IDCC), they’re not only possible, but crucial. PC Magazine interviewed Quraishi on designing …Topics: Digital Culture, Media
- CommentaryThe Women Sustaining Sufism—and an Activist—in TunisiaPriyadarshini Sen reported from Tunisia as part of CRCC’s Global Project on Engaged Spirituality. On a hilltop overlooking western Tunis, the whitewashed shrine of Syeda Manouba—a Sufi saint of the 13th century …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Gender, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleSwami Agnivesh: One of His Final Interviews in Caravan MagazineThis interview was originally published in The Caravan, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. It has been edited and condensed. *** On 11 September, Agnivesh, a swami in the Arya …Topics: Asia, Engaged Spirituality, Government and Religion, Hindus and Hinduism, Religious Extremism, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleMarie-Stella Kouak: The Togolese Nun Caring for AIDS Patients Amid COVID-19This article was originally published in The Guardian, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. Dapaong is a buzzing, multi-religious city, 13 miles south of Togo’s border with Burkina Faso and …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, COVID, Engaged Spirituality, Healthcare, Nuns and Women Religious, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa
“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.