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The History of American Pluralism

This speech was delivered at a White House gathering celebrating and protecting “America’s Tradition of Religious Pluralism.” The speaker was Vanita Gupta, the head of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Shifting Sands of Religion in the United States

Last month Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life published “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” based on 35,071 interviews done between June and September last year, and comparing the new data with a similar survey in 2007.

The Shifting Terrain of Interfaith Relationship

TIO: As a second-generation American Muslim, raised in Chicago, with a doctorate from Oxford, you are an examplar of meeting the challenge of growing up in one culture and navigating the culture we share today. Your books unpack the complexities of ‘growing up Muslim in America’ beautifully, vividly. And today you relate to thousands of young people in American universities and colleges, coming into constant contact with second-generation religious minorities. Could you share the biggest challenges they face collectively?

The End of Religious Freedom?

What is religious freedom? Is it the freedom to worship or otherwise interact with God, gods, or other things and entities as one sees fit? Is it freedom of conscience in terms of the supernatural? If religious freedom also involves the right to live out one’s religion in the public sphere, how far does that right extent? If religious freedom involves the right of churches (and like organizations) as well as individuals, to what extent do they operate independently of state control? Steven D. Smith’s The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom is an elegy for an expansive understanding of the “first freedom” protected by the First Amendment.

Understanding the Roots of the ‘Angry Muslim’

“Brother, brother,” a young man called out to me, as I hurriedly left a lecture hall in a community centre in Durban, South Africa. This happened at the height of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, after all efforts at stopping the ferocious U.S.-Western military drives against these two countries had failed.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and the First World Problem of “Religious Persecution”

Recently, a Sudanese court imposed the death penalty on 27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who at the time was pregnant. Ibrahim, a Christian, was legally considered a Muslim though she had been raised a Christian. Ibrahim was given the opportunity to officially reject her Christian faith prior to sentencing, but refused. As a result, she was sentence to 100 lashes plus death by hanging.

The Necessity of a Hindu American Chaplaincy

A New Kind of Dharma Leadership

Why Americans Love Creationism

Undercutting Sloppy Thinking about Evolution

Why the ‘Interfaith Movement’ Must Rebrand

If I ask you what the human rights, civil rights or environmental movements are about, you likely can give a semi-coherent description that sounds something like what your neighbor might say if we asked her as well. The interfaith relations movement, on the other hand, has no defined brand. (Some people working squarely within the movement actually even giggle a bit when I try to even use the term “interfaith movement.”) 

Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel: A Review

With Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, Eboo Patel establishes himself as the preeminent voice of the interfaith movement. The book is about the “promise of American pluralism,” because, “Simply put, it is people who have protected the promise of pluralism from the poison of prejudice.” Patel unabashedly notes that “the main character” in this book “is the one I love the most – America.”

2011 Look Back

BOB ABERNETHY: As 2011 draws to a close we take our annual look back at what we think were the most interesting and important religion and ethics stories of the year. We begin with a reminder from Kim Lawton of what some of those stories were.