Southern California is one of the most diverse regions in the United States. Immigrants from almost every country in the world bring their cultural traditions with them. From strip-mall mosques to megachurches, the religious communities of Greater Los Angeles are strikingly vibrant and varied. Yet, California also leads the trend away from religion. By population, the state has the largest number of religious “nones,” those unaffiliated with a religious institution, in the United States.
Religion in Southern California is about more than prayer and ritual in churches, temples and masjids. CRCC’s research on religion in Los Angeles traces it roots back the faith-based response to the L.A. riots. Religious groups here have long been active in civic and political movements—for both conservative and progressive causes. The region provides ample opportunities to understand how race, religion, politics and culture interact with each other. Many of our findings provide useful comparisons for other regions in the United States and across the globe.
- MapCalifornia Mosque ListA mosque, or masjid, is the place of worship for Muslims. With the largest Muslim population, California is cited to have more mosques than any other state in the United States. The …Topics: maps, Muslims and Islam, Southern California
- CommentaryIn Wake of Chauvin Trial, What Can Faith Leaders Learn From the Rodney King LA Civil Unrest?This article was originally published in Religion News Service and The Washington Post. As the U.S. reacts to the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, many are wary of violence …Topics: CMCCE, Criminal Justice, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership, Southern California
- BookReligion in Los Angeles: Religious Activism, Innovation and Diversity in the Global CityReligion in Los Angeles: Religious Activism, Innovation and Diversity in the Global City Edited by Richard Flory and Diane Winston (Routledge, 2021) Why has Los Angeles been a hotspot for religious activism, …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Community Organizing, Creativity and Innovation, Faith-Based Organizations, Hindus and Hinduism, Interfaith/Multifaith Movements, Jews and Judaism, Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, Religious Leadership, Southern California
- ArticleAl and Andi Tauber: How Two Mennonite Musicians Turn Street Ministry Into SongThis 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 SpiritualEdge.org. To hear this and other profiles, subscribe to …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Creativity and Innovation, Economic Inequality, Engaged Spirituality, LGBT Issues, Race and Culture, Southern California, Spiritual Exemplars
- EventVirtual Town Hall: Najuma Smith-Pollard, Congressman Adam Schiff, and Faith Leaders on the “Quadruple-threat Crises”Los Angeles-area faith leaders joined Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) for a Zoom town hall. Moderated by Najuma Smith-Pollard, program manager of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, the interfaith leaders …Topics: CMCCE, COVID, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership, Religious Pluralism, Southern California
- CRCC in the NewsKCET on Rev. Cecil ‘Chip’ Murray: The Reverend Who Led the Rebuilding of South L.A. After the 1992 RiotsIn the wake of George Floyd’s death, the United States has been gripped by fury over the nation’s persistent racism and police brutality. The unrest is reminiscent of the 1992 Los Angeles …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership, Southern California, Violence
- VideoFaith & Politics: Leadership in the Time of COVID-19
- ReportUncharted Pilgrimages: Mapping Contemporary Spiritual JourneysTopics: Creativity and Innovation, Southern California, weforum
- VideoHoly Spirit: A Progressive Episcopal Community in Silver Lake
- Video5,000 Pies: Serving Pizza and Faith in Long Beach
- 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
- ArticleEvangelicals Versus Oil: Environmental Justice in South Los AngelesThis article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Sojourners magazine. Sentinel Peak Resources recently announced its intention to abandon petroleum production at its Jefferson Boulevard site. The families arrived early …Topics: Community Organizing, Environment, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Southern California
“All of these movements and organizations flourish side-by-side in a degree of harmony that is rare or even unheard-of in other parts of the world. The occasional crisis, like the 1992 civil unrest, has prompted diverse groups to extend the olive branch and build bridges, even when these relationships are challenging.”
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- 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 FloryExecutive DirectorRichard Flory is a sociologist whose work focuses on religion and urban life, religious and cultural change, and youth and young adults.
- Nalika GajaweeraResearch AssociateNalika Gajaweera is a cultural anthropologist specialized in Buddhism, transnationalism and ethics, with an area expertise in South Asia.
- 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 LoskotaContributing FellowBrie 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bruce PhillipsUniversity FellowBruce Phillips is among the leading researchers in the sociology of American Jewry and is an avid historian of Los Angeles.
- Rebecca SagerContributing FellowRebecca Sager’s work focuses on political and religious movements and parties in American political life.
- Najuma Smith-PollardAssistant Director of Community and Public EngagementRev. Najuma Smith-Pollard 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.