Living Questions | WYPR

Living Questions

Photo courtesy Ira Forman

Today it's another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on religion in the public sphere, produced in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

We focus today on the persistent problem of anti-Semitism.  Acts of bigotry and intolerance toward the Jewish community in the US are on the rise, with a particular spike after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer.  There have been 60 more incidents in our region this year than occurred in 2016.  And we’re not talking about anonymous trolls on the internet.  These are physical incidents of bullying and vandalism, which often take place on school and college campuses. 

Tom's guest on today's Living Questions segment is Ira Forman, a distinguished visiting professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the University's Center for Jewish Civilization. Professor Forman, who has worked for more than forty years as a leading advocate for Jewish culture and community, is currently teaching a course in Contemporary Anti-Semitism.  Previously, he spent four years as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.  Forman and most other Obama political appointees were asked to resign their positions this past January by the incoming Trump Administration; the Special Envoy post is still vacant.  What does that vacancy signal about current U.S. engagement in programs to combat anti-Semitism? What has the US Government traditionally done and what should it be doing at home and abroad to stop the curse of religious intolerance?  

Photos courtesy Asma Uddin, Union Theological Seminary

Welcome to another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Today: a conversation about religious freedom in the United States.  President Donald Trump continues to advocate for restricting access to the US for Muslims from certain countries, and he nominated Sam Brownback, a strict religious conservative, to head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the State Department.  Mr. Brownback, the highly unpopular governor of Kansas, will leave that post with the Kansas economy in tatters, but his appointment to oversee religious freedom world-wide is being hailed by evangelicals - and others - as a good choice.  Perhaps his most well-known involvement with a religious freedom case in the US is his advocacy for a Kansas florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same sex couple’s wedding. What does that portend for America’s posture in other countries where LGBT citizens face discrimination? 

Joining Tom today to discuss "religious freedom" in America today:  The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones. She is the president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is the first woman to head the historic institution.  She also holds the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy at UTS. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Religion, and she served for 17 years on the faculty of Yale University.  She joins us from Argot Studios in New York.

Asma Uddin joins us as well.  She is the founder and editor-in-chief of altmuslimah.com, and the co-founder of altFem Magazine and altVentures Media, Inc. She is a lawyer and a scholar who speaks frequently about American and international religious liberty.   She speaks to us from NPR Studios in Washington, D.C.

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HBO

 

In another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, we take a look at depictions of religious faiths in movies and on television.

A lot has changed since Charlton Heston  starred as Moses in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments. Show’s like Greenleaf on OWN take us behind the scenes at a Black Mega Church; HBO’s The Young Pope imagines an insurgent named Lenny Belardo rising to the Pontificate. How do these, and a host of other TV shows and movies feed our perceptions and even skepticism around organized religion? How does a movie like Silence, which tells the story of 17th century Jesuit Priests in Japan, help us understand religion in a historical context? How are we to appreciate the complexities of various faith traditions if directors and writers take artistic liberties in their story-telling?  

Photo courtesy of Rev. Maria Swearingen

This is another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.  

This past January, the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, elected the Reverend Maria Swearingen and Reverend Sally Sarratt as their congregation’s co-pastors.

Calvary Baptist has a long, progressive history since its founding by anti-slavery abolitionists in 1862, but the selection of these two women to lead their congregation was nonetheless a bold move.

Maria Swearingen and Sally Sarratt are a married, lesbian couple.  They join Tom in the studio to talk about the journey that brought them to Calvary Baptist, what they are doing in their co-ministry, and what their election as co-pastors may say about the Baptist Church and about tolerance in established denominations across the broader religious landscape.

Public Domain

Roughly a fifth of the US population – and a third of the under-30 crowd – say they have become disaffected with traditional religious institutions and they’re telling pollsters that they don’t identify with any particular church or religious faith.

They‘re called "nones" -- as in "none of the above," but most say they still believe in God. So why are growing numbers of Americans turning away from the traditional church, synagogue, and mosque? And what are they looking for? Senior Producer Rob Sivak sits in for Tom Hall as host of today's edition of Living Questions, our monthly series examining the role of religion in the public sphere, produced in collaboration with The Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Joining Rob in Studio A are the Reverend Joseph Wood, assistant rector at Baltimore's Emmanuel Episcopal Church;  Joshua Sherman, program associate at Repair the World at Jewish Volunteer Connection;  and Terrell Williams, associate organizer for Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD).  Alan Cooperman, Director of Religion Research at the Pew Research Center and the author of its 2012 report, Nones on the Rise, joins us on the line from Pew headquarters in Washington D.C.

CreativeCommons

Today, a conversation about the relationship between religion and environmentalism on another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series exploring faith in the public sphere. 

Some have decried President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord as a “dishonor” to God. To what extent does faith play a role in motivating environmental activists? What do religious scriptures and faith leaders say about the human responsibility to protect the earth?

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is a Baltimore-based rabbi, writer, and environmental advocate.  She is the director of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center. She is also the founder of the Baltimore Orchard Project, a non-profit coalition of Baltimorians dedicated to growing the urban orchard and providing free healthy local fruit to people living in Baltimore’s food deserts.

Jodi Rose is the executive director of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, a 5-year-old network of nearly 200 congregations working on the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake watershed.

Emmalee June Aman is a convert to Islam and the founder and lead advocate of Winds of Change Advocacy, a consulting business which advises environmental groups on effective ways to organize and mobilize. She also helps lead the Dayspring Permaculture Garden, a communal farming experiment underway on a private 200-acre environmental preserve and interfaith retreat in Germantown, MD.

Photo courtesy Patheos.com

Today it's another edition of our monthly series called Living Questions – a series produced in collaboration with the ICJS, the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies here in Baltimore – that explores the role of religion in the public sphere.  

On today’s program, we’re going to be looking at the impact of the 112-day-old Trump Administration on religious freedom and tolerance in the United States.  Much has been said and written about the polarization in American political dialogue since the November presidential election, but we’re going to focus on how Donald Trump’s election victory has affected the way diverse religious groups interact with the larger society, and how presidential actions may have improved or worsened the climate of religious freedom -- one of America’s bedrock values.

Joining Rob to examine these questions are three leaders in their respective faith communities: 

John Gehring is Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, which describes itself as a non-profit “strategy center…advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.”  He is also a contributing editor to Commonweal Magazine, and the author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church, published in 2015. His analysis has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Commonweal, and the National Catholic Reporter.   John Gehring joins us from NPR studios in Washington.

Joining Rob in Studio A is Rabbi Daniel Cotzin Burg.  He has been the Rabbi at the Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill here in Baltimore since 2010. He is a fellow in the Rabbinic Leadership Initiative of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and is a contributing author to Keeping Faith in Rabbis: A Community Conversation about Rabbinical Education.  He is a trustee of the ICJS.

Also in the studio is Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat.  A native of Syria who has lived in the United States for nearly 30 years, Imam Arafat serves as the President of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland, and is the president and founder of the Civilizations Exchange & Cooperation Foundation, a non-profit group that provides religious and cultural training, consultation and orientation services for foreign exchange students and for the staff of the State Department’s Youth Exchange Study Program.

Photos by Sigrid Estrada

In this week when Jews celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter, it’s another installment of Living Questions, our monthly series in which we explore the role of religion in the public sphere.

Today: the thorny issue of anti-Judaism in some of the great works of Christian art, with two writers for whom the famed 18th-century German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, is a central focus.   

Lauren Belfer is a novelist.  Her latest book, And After the Fire, follows the journey of a Bach cantata as it changes hands over the course of two hundred years.

The music scholar Michael Marissen has written extensively about the religious and often anti-Jewish sentiments in the texts that Bach chooses to set to his glorious music.

His latest book is called Bach and God.   Marissen also explored this topic in a monograph he co-wrote in 2005 with Tom Hall and former ICJS executive director Christopher Leighton, called The Bach Passions in Our Time: Contending with the Legacy of Antisemitism.  

Confronting the legacy of anti-Semitism in the arts, on this edition of Living Questions, a collaborative production of WYPR and the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS).

photo courtesy washingtonwire.com

This is another installment of Living Questions, a program produced in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies that explores the role of religion in the public sphere.  On today’s edition, guest host Rob Sivak leads a discussion about "school choice" in Maryland.

Creative Common

Today, another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

There’s been a sharp rise in anti-Muslim violence in the United States over the past two years, which coincides with the divisive presidential campaign and election of Donald Trump.  Negative perceptions of Muslims are nothing new.  Nearly half of all Americans believe Islam is a faith more likely than others to encourage terrorism.  

These notions have been fueled by several high-profile terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States by self-proclaimed “jihadists,” but they’ve also been advanced by a well-organized chorus of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US that started long before President Donald Trump started campaigning on a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States.  One week after he assumed office last month, he issued a controversial executive order that attempted to halt immigration from 7 Muslim-majority countries, including an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.  That order has been stayed by a federal court.  

Last November, Mr. Trump’s former national security advisor. Michael Flynn, described “Islamism” as “a vicious cancer” in the bodies of every Muslim that he warned “must be excised.”

For many American Muslims, that kind of rhetoric has posed challenges to their basic safety. 

Next month, the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies will begin a series of lectures called Confronting Islamophobia

Today we’ve invited three Islamic scholars to Studio A to discuss their own experiences "confronting Islamophobia" and how evolving American perceptions of Islam have been influenced by the new political landscape in Washington:

Imam Tariq Najee-ullah is the Interim Resident Imam of Masjid Muhammad, a mosque in Washington, DC, and he’s the founder of DC Musliman, which uses interfaith activities to address social issues…

Kristin Garrity-Şekerci (sheh-CARE-jee) is a Research Fellow and program coordinator at Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, a multiyear research project that connects the academic study of Islamophobia with the public square. 

And Nazir Harb Michel is a senior research fellow with the Bridge Initiative.  He has worked with the Woodrow Wilson School training future policy makers and analysts to detect and counteract Islamophobia in legislation.

Image courtesy Victory Fellowship

It’s time for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Today, we’re actually going to be talking about the role of religion in a not-quite-so-public sphere.  Tom's guests are two Lutheran pastors who bring their ministries to Maryland prisons, and a religious scholar who’s taught classes on the Hebrew Bible for Maryland inmates.

The Rev. Gerry Rickel is the Pastor at St. Dysmas, a Lutheran community in the Maryland prison system.  The Rev. Susan Beck is the pastor at The Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran Church in Glenwood.  She works with Gerry Rickel in his prison ministry. And joining Tom on the line from public radio station WAMU in Washington is Dr. Jerome Copulsky. He is a Scholar-in-Residence teaching religion at American University’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, and has taught classes on the Hebrew Bible at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup.

Photo courtesy ICJS

Today, another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Following the riots and uprising in April of 2015, the ICJS embarked on a two-part project they called Imagining Justice in Baltimore.  The first part consisted of three lectures delivered earlier this year by Religious scholars from outside Baltimore.  Dr. Robert Franklin, from Emory University in Atlanta offered the Christian perspective.  Dr. Marc Gopin of George Mason University offered the Jewish perspective, and Dr. Najeeba Syeed of the Claremont School of Theology in California considered the notion of justice from the Muslim perspective.

ABC-News

Today, in the November installment of our monthly series, Living Questions, a look at Native American spiritual practice and the sanctity of tribal land.  We’ll examine how tribal traditions have factored into the months-long conflict between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota and Energy Transfer Partners, a Dallas-based company trying to complete the 1200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline at a Missouri river crossing near the tribe’s reservation.  The standoff at Standing Rock has become an historic gathering of Native Americans and other activists.  We’ll talk with Akim Reinhardt, a professor of American Indian history at Towson University,  Ann Duncan, associate professor of religion at Goucher College, and Richard Meyers, an Oglala Sioux and coordinator of the American Indian Studies program at South Dakota State University, who’s joined the Standing Rock protests.  Spiritual practice and the intersection of religious freedom, property rights, and the US Constitution -- and your calls -- in this edition of Midday's Living Questions.

Photos courtesy Lamptey, Calabria, Duffner

Today, another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.

Our focus today is on Islamophobia, particularly as it pertains to American Catholics.  Only 14% of Catholics have a favorable view of Muslims.  Are Catholics more pre-disposed to be Islamophobic than adherents to other faiths?   While the mass media often portray Muslims in a negative light, it appears that Catholic media do so even more frequently.  Is it a matter of bias, or bad reporting?  And what about the role of church leaders?  Pope Francis has garnered a reputation as one of the most open and inclusive pontiffs in history.  What is his message about Muslims, and is his flock getting it?

Those questions are at the core of a new report, Danger and Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam, published by Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative, a multi-year research and communication project that's based at the University's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.   Joining Tom in the studio to discuss the report's findings is author Jordan Denari Duffner, a research fellow at the Bridge Initiative. Also joining us by phone are Father Michael Calabria, a Franciscan friar and director of the Center for Arab & Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University in  upstate New York, and Dr. Jerusha Lamptey, Associate Professor of Islam and Ministry at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Beth Am Synagogue/Memorial Episcopal Church

Time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Tom's guests this afternoon are two young, dynamic clergy whose work in their congregations is informed by their commitment to social justice. They are not only spiritual leaders. They are also animating their largely white congregations around the issues that affect our majority African American city.

Daniel Cotzin Burg is the senior rabbi of Beth Am Synagogue in Reservoir Hill, just south of Druid Hill Park. The Rev. Grey Maggiano is the rector of Memorial Episcopal Church in the neighborhood that’s adjacent to Reservoir Hill to the south, Bolton Hill.

Jessy Gross

It’s time for another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. This series is being produced in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Jessy Gross is the Senior Director of Jewish Life at the Baltimore Jewish Community Center, and the founder of the Charm City Tribe, a group of Jewish millennials. She joins Tom in-studio to talk about the way millennials are exercising their faith. Rabbi Gross was recently named one of "America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Forward Magazine.  

Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies

It’s time for another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series of conversations in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. 

Dr. Christopher Leighton is retiring after more than 30 years as executive director of the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, a nonprofit organization that promotes religious tolerance.  Dr. Leighton's successor at the helm of ICJS is Dr. Heather Miller Rubens.  A specialist in Roman Catholic affairs, she and Dr. Leighton join Tom in-studio to reflect on the group's legacy and its mission going forward. 

Then, the discussion turns to the dark challenge posed by religious extremism, one of the apparent motivating forces behind the Orlando mass shooting, the Paris attacks and other recent acts of terror. Dr. Homayra Ziad, an Islamic scholar at ICJS, and Dr. Benjamin Sax, the group's Jewish scholar, join Tom, Dr. Leighton and Dr. Rubens to discuss how people of faith should respond to acts of violence carried out in the name of God, and how communities of faith can work to counter emerging cultures of hate. 

John Gehring

It's time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. 

John Gehring is the Program Director at Faith in Public Life and author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope's Challenge to the American Catholic Church. Earlier this year, Pope Francis publicly disagreed with presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stance on immigration, calling Trump’s suggestion to “build walls,” to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country, “not Christian.”  Gehring joins Tom to discuss the interactions this outspoken Catholic Pontiff has had with some of the US presidential candidates, and the prominent role faith is playing in this year’s race for the White House.  

PHOTO: Claremont School of Theology

Time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

In February of this year, the ICJS inaugurated a three-part lecture series called Imagining Justice in Baltimore, in which a Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholar each address how his or her religious tradition understands the notion of justice -- and how that applies to our community.  

Tom's guest this morning is the third and final speaker in this series, who will address this topic from the Muslim perspective.  Najeeba Syeed is Assistant Professor of Interreligious Education at the Claremont School of Theology, in Claremont, California.

Professor Syeed is recognized internationally as a leader in peace-building.  She has done award-winning work in southern California reducing violence in the schools there and in mediating interracial gang conflicts.   Her international conflict-mediation efforts include work with Israelis and Palestinians, as well as work in Guam, Afghanistan, India, and elsewhere.  Professor Syeed joins us from the studios of KPCC radio in Pasadena, California.

The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University

It's time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. The series is produced in partnership with the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS).

ICJS is hosting a three-part lecture series called Imagining Justice in Baltimore. The purpose of the series is to reconcile and bring communities together in the wake of last year’s uprising following the death of Freddie Gray.

The series brings scholars from Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths to offer insights on the notion of justice from their spiritual perspectives.

Dr. Marc Gopin is a rabbi and the director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. He is also the author of Bridges Across an Impossible Divide: The Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakers. He joins Tom to discuss how conversations across religious lines can bridge ethnic and socio-economic divides. 

Dr. Marc Gopin is the second speaker in the Imagining Justice in Baltimore series hosted by the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS). He will speak  on Tuesday,  April 5th at 7pm at the Reginald F Lewis Museum of Maryland  African American History and Culture.

It's time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS).

Next month, ICJS will inaugurate a three-part lecture series on the theme of Imagining Justice in Baltimore. A Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholar will each address the question of how each religious tradition refracts and understands the notion of justice.  In light of the wrenching events in Baltimore last spring, the Institute is hoping to bridge ethnic, socio-economic and religious divides, and deepen and enrich appreciation for the place of justice-seeking in different faith traditions.

Tom's guest is the first speaker in this new series, and he speaks from the Christian perspective.  The Rev. Dr. Robert M. Franklin is President Emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, a professor of Moral Leadership at Emory University, and the director of the Religion Department at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY.  His latest book is called Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities.

RAJ

It's time for this month's installment of Living Questions, ​a series produced in partnership with the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere.  

As we enter this Christmas week, we invited three prominent local faith leaders to discuss the rise of religious intolerance and bigotry in the wake of several recent mass killings -- three of them carried out by radicalized Muslim terrorists, another by a Christian anti-abortion terrorist-- and what roles prayer and faith are playing, for good or ill, in these troubled and often violent times. 

Joining Tom in the studio are Dr. Christopher Leighton, the executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies, and an ordained Presbyterian minister;  Imam Saafir Rabb II, the CEO of Interculture, a consulting firm that advises public and private sector clients on matters of cultural competency and sensitivity; and Rabbi Steven Schwartz, Senior Rabbi at Beth El Congregation in Pikesville, and ICJS board member.

CreativeCommons

Last June, Pope Francis published an extraordinary encyclical on the environment.  For the first time, the leader of the Catholic Church stated that climate change is real, that it’s being caused mainly by human activity, and that it poses a particular threat to the world’s poor.

Like the Pope's call to the faithful to take actions to heal the Earth, followers of Islam and Judaism are also drawing on their religious traditions to confront the challenges of climate change.

We learn of two such faith-driven initiatives as Tom talks with Kori Majeed, the founder of the Web-based environmental group, GreenRamadan, and with Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center in Philadelphia, co-author of a Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis that's been endorsed by more than 400 rabbis since its publication last June.

About 13 hours ago, it was wheels-up for Pope Francis, following a packed schedule of events in Washington, DC, New York and Philadelphia, that included an historic speech before a joint session of the US Congress, an address to the largest group of world leaders ever assembled in one place at the United Nations, a controversial canonization Mass, visits to a prison and a homeless shelter, and huge adoring crowds witnessing every public step he took.  This morning: a conversation about the Pope’s American sojourn with a Catholic scholar, a Jewish academic and blogger, and a Muslim radio host and professor of Communications.

John Gehring is a native Baltimorean who is the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington.  He’s also the author of a new book called The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic ChurchHe joins me in the studio.

Mark Silk, founding director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity, where he is also Professor of Religion in Public Life also joins us. He writes the blog "Spiritual Politics" as a contributing editor at the Religion News Service and he’s chair of the editorial advisory board of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.

And joining us on the phone from her home in Silver Spring is Sahar Khamis, an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of MD, who hosts a radio show on U.S. Arab Radio, the first Arab-American radio station broadcasting in North America.  

Baltimore's Long Time Carmelite Community

Aug 31, 2015
The Carmelite Nuns Of Baltimore

Tom Hall joins Sr. Constance Fitzgerald at the Carmelite Monastery on Dulaney Valley Road in Towson. Fitzgerald has been a Carmelite nun for 64 years.  The community of Carmelites who live, work and pray on this beautiful, 26-acre campus have a lineage that extends back 225 years.  Founded in 1790 in Charles County, this site was the first community of religious women in the 13 colonies.  Baltimore Carmel is celebrating their 225th anniversary with a number of events throughout the year, including a seminar that Sr. Constance Fitzgerald will co-lead next month.  We discuss the contemplative life of the Carmelites, and how they balance the values of solitude and personal reflection with the values of community and engagement with the wider world.

How Faith Is Shaping Sandtown-Winchester

Jun 29, 2015
Matt Purdy

At one time, there were more than 50 churches in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood in Baltimore. There are now more than 30, which still represents a high concentration of churches in the 72 square block area that Sandtown encompasses. What can and should these churches be doing in this neighborhood, which has long struggled with high unemployment, poverty, addiction, and crime? We explore that question with two pastors who are doing a lot. Pastor Amelia Harris is the co-pastor of the Newborn Community of Faith Church. She has lived and worked in Sandtown with her husband, Elder C. W. Harris, for more than 30 years. Dr. Louis Wilson is here in the studio as well. He came to Sandtown from Chicago in January, accepting the call to lead the New Song Community Church.

Photo Courtesy of Dorret // Flickr Creative Commons

Living Questions is our monthly series examining the role of religion in the public sphere.  Today two very thoughtful church leaders join us whose work in Baltimore and beyond extends to members of many different faith communities.  In the wake of the riots in Baltimore, we want to ask them about the long-term work of healing Baltimore's soul and building social capital in the city. Bishop Douglas Miles is the Pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church in Baltimore and the Co-Chair Emeritus of BUILD, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development.  Dr. Brad Braxton is the Founding Senior Pastor of the Open Church in Baltimore.  He also served for several years as the Program Officer for Religion in the Public Sphere at the Ford Foundation in New York.  

Chicago Leader Behind An Interfaith Movement

Apr 27, 2015
Interfaith Youth Core / Creative Commons

Living Questions is Maryland Morning's monthly series examining the role of religion in the public sphere. These segments are produced in partnership with the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies.

The ICJS will hold their annual Manekin-Clark lecture in mid May, and the speaker this year is Eboo Patel. He is the founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, a leadership movement  supporting college students to foster religious pluralism through service projects and events. And he is a member of President Obama’s first faith council.

Patel is also the author of two books, the latest of which he published in 2012,  called Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America. Eboo Patel joins host Tom Hall from  WBEZ in Chicago.

Muslim Portrayals In The Media

Mar 30, 2015
premasagar / Creative Commons / Flickr

What role does the media play in shaping our perceptions of Islam and how is it shaping religious discourse? That's the question on our minds in March's edition of  Living Questions, our series in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute  for Christian and Jewish Studies. Maryland Morning will be partnering with ICJS at a public panel at the Park School on April 15th that takes up the same topic, Being Muslim in America: Why Media Matters. Today's guests are Rabia Chaudry and Wajahat Ali, who will be serving on the April 15th panel.

Rabia Chaudry is an attorney and a National Security Fellow at the New America Foundation, and  also the advocate whose phone call to This American Life producer Sarah Koenig sparked the podcast series Serial.  Wajahat Ali is a playwright, and the co-host and digital producer of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. Both  Chaudry and Ali join host Tom Hall by phone.

Columbia University Press

February's edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, examines the idea of religious moderation. With each new atrocity perpetrated by radical factions claiming divine guidance, a call comes for “moderates” to step up, counter those claims and restore reason to religion.  But how does one do that?  What does it actually mean to be a moderate?  How is it possible to be religious and not be, in some way, radical? Today's guest, Dr. William Egginton makes the case that the divide between atheists and fundamentalists are more closely aligned than they may appear. Dr. Egginton is the Vice Dean for Graduate Education at Johns Hopkins University and has just published his book called In Defense of Religious Moderation. He joins host Tom Hall in the studio.

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