The statement of support for Muslims was not directed at any individual or group but at attitudes that are contrary to ideals widely shared in America about religious people from different traditions respecting one another and living together in peace.
When President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, challenged the nation to "reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion," he offered a social commentary that has timely relevance in higher education.
Many people are very discouraged by the current climate of anti-Muslim and anti-"other" rhetoric that so fills the airwaves. However, the larger reality is that we are progressing as anation towards a more positive appropriation of our rich religious diversity.
In the year ahead and for years to come, may we seek opportunities to learn from one another, practice respect for each other's traditions, and work together across lines of difference to create diverse, democratic and peaceful communities.
Religious diversity presents us with new challenges and opportunities that may be described, broadly, as political and theological. These are interrelated, but, for convenience, we will discuss them separately. Let us consider first, the political.
Before embarking on the information modules, a philosophic overview of religious diversity training should be considered. There will be people who are skeptical, or hostile, to anything labeled as interfaith.
Religion aside, I firmly believe that those who argue that homosexuality is a choice do so in order to justify senseless beatings of gays and lesbians, and continued discrimination and mistreatment against them. I also believe without a doubt that it is a choice to be a nasty human being.
When pluralism is wrongly defined, nonsensical policies result. In the California State University system, for example, sororities and fraternities are explicitly exempted from gender discrimination in selecting leaders, while faith-based groups are not.
While we here in America continue the Hobby Lobby debate, there are religious freedom matters with serious life and death consequences elsewhere in the world right now, today, which also deserve your attention.