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
- ResourcesHow to Start a Wealth-Building Ministry at Your ChurchIn disadvantaged communities, economic instability makes it difficult for many to access important financial knowledge. Without this information, people cannot lift themselves up and grow their wealth. And if the people are …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Economic Inequality, Social Services
- ArticleA nascent #ChurchToo movement could improve gender equality in the black churchThis article was originally published by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. By Susan Bell The first advice the Reverend Najuma Smith-Pollard gives male pastors is not to use …Topics: Black Church, Christians and Christianity, CMCCE, Gender, Religious Leadership
- CRCC in the NewsKCRW: Brie Loskota on the United Methodists, Young People and ReligionWith the United Methodist Church facing a possible schism over gay clergy and marriage, KCRW asked CRCC Executive Director Brie Loskota to explain the divisions around LGBT rights in religious communities, and …Topics: Christians and Christianity, LGBT Issues
- CRCC in the NewsArab News: Miller on Remembering the Armenian GenocideApril 24, 1915 marked the beginning of the brutal Armenian Genocide where up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire. Now over a century later, the Turkish government continues …Topics: Genocide
- ToolsNational Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) Religious Literacy Primer 2019The USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement created this religious literacy primer for the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), in an effort to help members of the organization engage …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Economic Inequality, Tools, weforum
- ArchiveThe Rwanda LibraryThe Rwanda Library is a collection of 100 videotaped interviews with orphans and widows who survived the Rwandan Genocide. CRCC’s co-founder Donald E. Miller and his wife, Lorna, conducted these interviews over …Topics: Archive, Genocide, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence
- CommentaryCountering Pessimism and Despair: An Encounter with Two Spiritual ExemplarsAs we enter 2019, two emotions seem to be dominant: political pessimism and personal anxiety. These feelings are rooted in the dysfunctions of government and economic instability, both of which are legitimate …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Genocide, Nuns and Women Religious, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence
- CommentaryNobel Peace Prize Winner Denis Mukwege Keeps the Faith in the Face of ViolenceI had the privilege of interviewing 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Doctor Denis Mukwege in 2017 in the small country of Armenia, where he was a finalist for the Aurora Prize—a $1 …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence
- CommentaryMedicine, Masculinity and Marketing: Trends to Watch in Religion in 2019In the past year, we have seen our 2018 trends to watch come to fruition with stories of the supernatural, trust in institutions, activist healers, faith-based political organizing and women stepping up …Topics: Branding and Marketing, Creativity and Innovation, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Gender,
- CRCC in the NewsCommunity Connection: Najuma Smith-Pollard on #MeToo in the Black ChurchThe USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement organized a meeting of women leaders in the Black Church about #MeToo this fall, prompting an article in the L.A. Times. Following the article, …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Gender, Violence
- CRCC in the NewsPacific Standard: Flory on Evangelical support for TrumpThe Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies have revealed a split among Christians, with some providing sanctuary to immigrants in danger of deportation and others maintaining their support of the president. Pacific Standard quoted …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Immigration
- CRCC in the NewsOC Register/LA Sentinel: Whitlock Fasting to End Gun ViolenceMark Whitlock, executive director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, has committed to a 73-day fast to end gun violence. The Orange County Register and the L.A. Sentinel detailed …Topics: CMCCE, 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.
- 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 PalaciosUniversity FellowJoe Palacios, a sociologist and Catholic priest, studies religion, politics and social justice in Latin America and among immigrants in the United States.