Interfaith Conference at Lipscomb Sparks a Firestorm in Nashville

December 23, 2006

Author: Bobby Ross, Jr.

Source: The Christian Chronicle

In many ways, Nashville, Tenn. - sometimes called the buckle of the Bible Belt - is Church of Christ country.

Davidson County, home of Music City, has 106 congregations, according to the 2006 edition of Churches of Christ in the United States. Only Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, boasts more congregations with 142.

Among all religious groups, Davidson County’s roughly 40,000 Church of Christ members and children rank second to the Southern Baptists’ estimated 100,000 adherents there.

But those numbers eschew the reality that Nashville has a large and growing immigrant population with 60 to 70 languages spoken in the city’s schools, said Randy Lowry, president of Lipscomb University. That reality means Nashville has become much more diverse, with increasing pockets of Hispanic Catholics and Sudanese Muslims, among others.

“We could choose, I guess, not to ever talk to each other,” Lowry said. “Or we could choose to live in a safe and respectful environment, to at least know who each other is.”

See also: Interfaith, Civic