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
- CommentaryThe Moral Power of Stories: How Exemplars Help Us Find Meaning and PurposeWhat has more emotional salience, an abstract moral principle such as love or justice or a good story of someone whose life commitments exemplify these values? Shortly after I finished my Ph.D. …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Media, Spiritual Exemplars
- VideoUnveiling the Heart of 100 Humanitarians
- VideoImam Muhsin Hendricks: Promoting an Inclusive Islam for LGBTQ+ Muslims
- ReportStories of Social Change: Spirituality in ActionA multimedia exhibit on display at USC Wallis Annenberg Hall (ANN) August 21 – September 21, 2023 A global team of journalists and researchers at the University of Southern California produced …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Media, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleSonia Tinoco García: Responding to Muslim Asylum Seekers at the US-Mexico BorderThis article was originally published on New Lines Magazine, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. It’s late afternoon in Tijuana, and the air is hot and thick. Hamza — …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Immigration, Muslims and Islam, Southern California, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleMarguerite Brankitse: Forgiveness Is Key to Overcoming GenocideThis article was originally published on National Catholic Reporter, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. This year marks 30 years since violence exploded between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Engaged Spirituality, Genocide, Race and Culture, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa
- CRCC in the NewsCapRadio: Najuma Smith on Solidarity within Black and Asian American CommunitiesWhat does racial solidarity look like among communities of color? CRCC’s Rev. Najuma Smith was interviewed on CapRadio’s Mid Pacific about the complex relationship the Black community has with the Asian American …Topics: CMCCE, Race and Culture
- ArticleMai Nguyen: A Grain Farmer Applies Buddhist Principles to Preserve the Land — and Maximize TasteThis article was originally published on Religion News Service, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. The first time Mai Nguyen tried bread made with hard Red Fife wheat, it …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Race and Culture, Spiritual Exemplars
- CommentaryDonald E. Miller: ‘Spiritual exemplars’ change the media narrative about religionThis article was originally published on Religion News Service, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. Media stories about religion often focus on corruption in religious institutions, politicians’ alliances with conservative Christians and …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Media, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars
- CRCC in the NewsL.A. Times: Najuma Smith on the LAPD Civilian Review ProcessThe Los Angeles Times interviewed CRCC’s Najuma Smith about her decision to volunteer for Los Angeles Police Department civilian review process. The Times investigation found that some reviewers have been chosen repeatedly …Topics: Community Dynamics, Community Organizing, Criminal Justice, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Culture, Southern California, Violence
- VideoLayli Miller Muro: Protecting the Rights of Migrants
- CommentaryThriving (or Just Surviving): 2023 Trends to Watch in Religion and SocietyIf CRCC’s annual trends to watch have been growing more ominous in recent years, then 2023 feels like a pivotal year for many of the issues we’ve been tracking: Like our final …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Media, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Culture, Southern California, Thriving Congregations
“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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- Brad ChristersonBrad 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 FloryExecutive DirectorRichard Flory is a sociologist whose work focuses on religion and urban life, religious and cultural change, and youth and young adults.
- 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.
- Juan MartínezPast FellowJuan Martinez studies the history of Latino Protestantism, Latino Protestant identity and transnational mission among U.S. Latinos.
- 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 MillerGuest ContributorJon Miller is a comparative sociologist and director of the international mission photography archive.
- Arpi MillerArpi Miller is a sociologist who studies secular and faith-based immigrant advocacy and accompaniment.
- John B. OrrCo-founder & Past FellowJohn B. Orr has worked extensively in the fields of religion, education and politics.
- Najuma SmithAssistant Director of Community and Public EngagementRev. Najuma Smith combines her experience as a pastor and expertise as a community leader to train Murray Center Fellows.
- Nick StreetSenior WriterNick Street is a journalist covering religious change and innovation, Buddhism, Pentecostalism and LGBT issues.
- Megan SweasEditor and Director of CommunicationsMegan Sweas is a journalist specializing in social and economic justice issues and world religions.
- Tarra McNallyTarra McNally is an anthropologist specializing in evaluation and global health.
- Rev. Frank Jackson, Jr.Rev. Frank Jackson, Jr. couples his experience in business and investment with his passion for community development.
- Diane WinstonAs a journalist and scholar, Diane Winston is a national authority on religion, politics, the news media and entertainment.