A robust understanding of culture and a sophisticated grasp of the changing nature of political power require that we consider how religion is embedded in any given cultural moment. At the RLP we believe that when people understand the vital, but often unacknowledged, role religion plays in political and cultural endeavors we gain tools to make better-informed decisions about our public life and common good. To this end, we seek to partner with government officials at the local, state, and national levels to enhance better literacy about religion.
The United States is currently roiled by debates over immigration. Americans bitterly disagree about the best ways to address the flow of people seeking residence in this nation and the place of recent immigrants and refugees in our society. Our case studies on the greater Boston area, central Tennessee, and the Arizona-Mexico border demonstrate how religion is embedded in both constructive and antagonistic approaches to immigration, especially with respect to work undertaken by (or in collaboration with) governmental agencies.
Held on December 7–8, 2017, the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative (RLPI) at Harvard Divinity School considered how religion is embedded in both constructive and antagonistic approaches to immigration, especially with respect to work undertaken by (or in collaboration with) governmental agencies. Shaun Casey, MDiv ’83, ThD ’98, gave the keynote address. Respondents included Nadeem Mazen, Cambridge City Council member, and Diane L. Moore, director of the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School.
► David N. Hempton, Dean of Harvard Divinity School
► H. Bruce McEver, President of The Foundation for Religious Literacy
► Diane L. Moore, founder and director of the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School
► Stephen Prothero, C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell Professor of Religion at Boston University
► Shaun Casey, director of the Berkley Center and a professor of the practice in Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service
► Celina Barrios-Millner, Community Organizer, Leader and Trainer
► Michelle Boorstein, religion reporter at The Washington Post
► Melissa Borja, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan
► Joseph Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts
► Kristin Du Mez, Professor of History at Calvin College
► Scott Harshbarger is the former Attorney General of Massachusetts
► Erica Caple James, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology and Urban Studies at MIT
► Jack Jenkins, Senior Religion Reporter for ThinkProgress
► Abdou Kattih, president of the Murfreesboro Muslim Youth
► Nadeem Mazen, member of the Cambridge City Council
► Juanita Molina, Executive Director for Border Action Network and Humane Borders
► Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente
► Christopher Montoya, retired Border Patrol agent in Tuscon, Arizona
► Marjean Perhot, Director of Refugee and Immigration Services for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston
► Rev. Kathleen O’Keefe Reed, lead-pastor of University Lutheran Church
► Kim Snyder is the award-winning director of the documentary film Welcome to Shelbyville
► Amy Sullivan, journalist covering religion and politics, serving as an editor at TIME, Yahoo, and The Washington Monthly.
► Daniel Valdez, Senior Regional Manager with Welcoming America
► Lauren R. Kerby is the Religious Literacy Project’s education specialist and an instructor in the Religious Studies and Education Certificate program at Harvard Extension School
► Sarabinh Levy-Brightman coordinates and does research for the Religious Literacy in the Professions Initiative