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
- 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
- CRCC in the NewsMedia on the 30 Years after LA’s 1992 Civil UnrestAs the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture reflected on the 1992 Civil Unrest, the words and efforts of the Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray following the unrest continued to be highlighted …Topics: Black Church, Protests and Uprisings, Race and Culture, Southern California
- ArticleWhy Activism Thrives in L.A.’s Black ChurchesThis article was originally published by Trojan Family Magazine. by Eric Lindberg; Photos by Gus Ruelas Many members of the Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard’s church near downtown Los Angeles struggled for food during the …Topics: Black Church, Christians and Christianity, CMCCE, COVID, Religious Leadership, Southern California
- CommentaryStudent Reflection: Researching Healing Justice with Dignity and Power NowBy Addison Baker Addison Baker is an undergraduate student at The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Addison spent time researching the Black Lives Matter movement, along with healing modalities and …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Race and Culture, Southern California, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
- CRCC in the NewsCBS2 and Spectrum News 1: Najuma Smith-Pollard on Martin Luther King Day Jr.CRCC’s Najuma Smith-Pollard was featured on CBS2 and Spectrum News 1’s “In Focus SoCal” to talk about how Los Angeles communities are continuing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speaking …Topics: Black Church, CMCCE, Economic Inequality, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership, 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: Books, 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, Gender and Sexuality, 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
“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.”
“Mile of Mircles: A Microcosm of LA’s Religious Diversity”
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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.
- 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 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.
- Diane WinstonUniversity FellowAs a journalist and scholar, Diane Winston is a national authority on religion, politics, the news media and entertainment.