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
- CommentaryWhen a Pastor Shows Up at a Black Lives Matter ProtestI posted a question on Facebook at the beginning of 2018: “What ever happened to Black Lives Matter?” The question wasn’t prompted by animosity, despite the disagreements between clergy and BLM. To …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Criminal Justice, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership, Violence
- VideoThe Black Church and Black Lives Matter – Faith Leaders Institute
- CommentaryPreacher, Save Yourself – America’s Gun Massacres Erode Its CredibilityThe following opinion piece is by Wanjiru M. Gitau, a visiting scholar at CRCC originally from Kenya. The frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. exacts a toll that reaches far beyond …Topics: International Affairs and Policy, Violence
- EventReimagining Religion 2018: New Stories, New CommunitiesReimagining Religion 2018: New Stories, New Communities was a conference hosted at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism by the Knight Program for Media and Religion, along with Religion Communicators …Topics: Community Organizing, Creativity and Innovation, Media
- CommentaryUSA Today: Brie Loskota on Her Late-Term Abortion StruggleBrie Loskota published a personal OpEd on her first pregnancy with USA Today. The views expressed in the OpEd are her own: My first pregnancy happened easily as my husband was finishing …Topics: Gender, Healthcare, Political Attitudes and Values
- CRCC in the NewsThe Nation: Loskota on Bridging the Gap between Progressive and Conservative WomenSince the 2016 election, progressive commenters have wondered why a majority of white women voters voted for Donald Trump as president. The Nation published an article about not only what motivates white …Topics: Gender, Political Attitudes and Values, Voting and Elections
- CommentaryWhy–and How–Catholic Women VoteI was not surprised when the editors of America told me that their recent survey of American Catholic women indicated that Catholic teaching didn’t influence women’s votes. Sociologists and polls often show …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Gender, Political Attitudes and Values, Voting and Elections
- CommentaryThe Liminal Year: 5 Trends to Watch in Religion in 20182018 is a liminal year in America, and with transition comes uncertainty. It is the year of key midterm elections, the results of which are difficult to predict. A major investigation continues …Topics: Community Organizing, Creativity and Innovation, Gender, Religious Beliefs and Rituals, Religious Leadership, Voting and Elections
- CommentaryAs King Encouraged, America Must Face Her FlawsThis post originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel. In Dr. Martin Luther King’s posthumously published essay, “A Testament of Hope,” he wrote, “It is forcing America to face all its interrelated …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Economic Inequality, Gender, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership
- CommentaryStudying Religion in the “Belly of the Beast” – A Prison in RioIt seemed like a good idea when I made the arrangements. But my heart was beating at double speed and I was filled with doubt, as a staff member handed me a …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Criminal Justice, Latin America, Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, Violence
- EventThe Memo Book Signing with John Hope BryantJohn Hope Bryant, founder of Operation HOPE, visited the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement for a book discussion and signing about his new book, The Memo: Five Rules for Your …Topics: CMCCE, Economic Inequality,
- VideoFaith Leaders on Los Angeles’ Homelessness Crisis
“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.
- 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.
- John B. OrrCo-founder & University FellowJohn B. Orr has worked extensively in the fields of religion, education and politics.