Professor Eck Speaks to Prairie Village Crowd About Religious Pluralism in America

October 27, 2005

Source: The Johnson County Sun

On October 27, 2005 The Johnson County Sun reported, "In predominantly Christian America, Americans need to practice engagement with other religions, rather than just tolerance or understanding, to help them cope with the country's religious diversity, a religion scholar said. The word for it is pluralism... Harvard University professor Diana Eck told an audience of about 225 at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village on Friday... In Eck's words, pluralism 'is not just diversity, it's engagement with that diversity. It's not just tolerance, it's a mutual understanding that we need in order to move from tolerance to a society that has a very deep foundation that will support the differences that we will live with in the years ahead'... The 2000 census revealed that 10 percent of Americans are foreign born, which points to the highest level of immigration since the turn of the century. The largest numbers of new immigrants are from Latin America and from Asia. And these new immigrants have brought their religions with them --Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Zoroastrian, African and Afro-Caribbean... Eck thinks it is important to document the changing religious landscape. She has headed an organization called Pluralism Project since 1991 which does just that... 'America is our local workshop for working out these issues, and we have to get to work right here, if we are to reformulate and understand what we mean by "we,"' she said."