Indianapolis as America's Religious Crossroads

July 26, 2003

Source: Indy Star

On July 26, 2003 the Indy Star reported that "Indianapolis... was chosen as one of just five American cities to be showcased to a group of scholars from around the world... 'The question for all of us is, 'How do we go on living with others despite the differences between our religions?'' says the professor from the Philippines. 'We come from 17 different countries with different religions and different faith experiences. We need to find a place where we can look at each other and understand each other...' That goal motivated the U.S. Department of State's Fulbright American Studies Institute when it planned its summerlong journey for world scholars to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis... Organizers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, wanted to show the religious diversity of the United States and how people with differing beliefs can live together. They soon realized the importance of selecting Indianapolis for a field trip, noting the city's history as a place where American religions intersect... 'Even today, if you looked at a map of religious affiliations across America, you would see Indianapolis is a crossroads,' says Shawn Landres, the co- director of the Fulbright project... Landres notes that to the north and east of Indianapolis, America becomes more Catholic; to the north and west of the city, America becomes more Lutheran; and to the south and east, America becomes more Baptist... 'While those are all streams of Christianity, all have different visions,' Landres says. 'That makes Indianapolis an important site of religious pluralism.'"