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Story Ideas for Religion Reporters

ICJS Scholars and Program Directors are experts in their field and are happy to serve as sources for journalists. Here are a few story ideas that show the kinds of topics they are prepared to discuss.

Cancel the Christian seder

It is easy to misstep when trying to make a gesture of interreligious outreach. Why would adherents of Judaism find the notion of a Christian seder offensive? What’s wrong with praying in the name of Jesus at a public event?

ICJS Sources: Heather Miller Rubens, Ben Sax, Matt Taylor

A growing American Muslim pop culture

There is a vibrant Muslim Pop Culture developing in America. From comedy to art, poetry, music, film and more, young Muslims are expressing and asserting their religious identities as both Americans and Muslims.

ICJS Sources: Zeyneb Sayilgan, Fatimah Fanusie

Christian Nationalism in American Politics

The rhetoric of Christian violence, narratives of spiritual warfare in American politics, and religiously inflected support for Donald Trump that surged into view on January 6, 2021 are all still present and have been, if anything, galvanized by the riot. The same groups and leaders have turned their attention and considerable networks to the presidential election of 2024. Whether Donald Trump is the Republican nominee or not, we could well see further outbreaks of violence fueled by the worldview of Christian nationalism.

ICJS Source: Matt Taylor

An interracial realignment in American Christianity

Many people think that American Protestantism is fracturing along racial lines, but some would argue that that fracturing happened long ago. A more recent trend is the formation of two interracial coalitions that are actively forming in American Protestantism: one politically, theologically, and ideologically progressive; and the other deeply culturally conservative and theologically amorphous.

ICJS Source: Matt Taylor

Does your HR Department need a staff theologian?

The religious exemptions to vaccines conversation has put a spotlight on the fact that HR professionals in corporations are now being made into arbiters of authentic religiosity. Are they ready for this job? Who is equipping HR professionals to make these decisions?

ICJS Source: Heather Miller Rubens

An international, virtual Jewish study group

Daf yomi (Hebrew for “page a day”) is an international program to read the entire Babylonian Talmud — the main text of rabbinic Judaism — in seven and a half years at the rate of one page a day. The first Daf Yomi cycle began on the first day of Rosh Hashanah 5684 (11 September 1923); the thirteenth cycle concluded on 4 January 2020 and the fourteenth cycle began the following day, to be concluded on 7 June 2027. There are numerous daf yomi calendars and other resources available online, as well as virtual communities of fellow learners on Facebook, Twitter and even Tik Tok.

ICJS Source: Ben Sax

Yes, you CAN teach religion in public schools

Religion is an integral part of history as well as our society. There’s no use avoiding it. In fact, many young people first encounter religious difference in the classroom. The key is the approach. With the right skills and background, teachers can transform classrooms and schools into places where learning about religious diversity prepares students for fuller participation in the life of our city, nation, and world. There are many resources available to increase interreligious literacy for teachers.

ICJS Source: Christine Gallagher

Chaplains and COVID-19

When considering the toll that COVID has taken on essential workers, chaplains and spiritual care providers are often overlooked. Yet they have had an essential role in providing spiritual support to their communities in long term care facilities, hospitals, prison, colleges/universities, police departments, social justice movements etc. They have accompanied people as they grieved the loss of loved ones, jobs, and a sense of normalcy. What toll has this taken and how are they learning to cope? What support systems do they have?

ICJS Source: Alisha Tatum

Does the term Protestant mean anything anymore?

What is Protestantism? Well, its identity is historically rooted in being “Not Catholic.” Apart from that basic barrier (which itself is breaking down these days), Protestant can mean just about anything under the sun and is a term that could well go the way of the dinosaur in a generation or two.

ICJS Source: Matt Taylor

Women in Muslim scholarship

Did you know that the first university in the world was established by a Muslim woman – Fatimah al-Fihri (University al-Qarawiyyin in Fez /Morocco)? Women are continuing to blaze new trails in Muslim scholarship, with paths opening up that may have been closed or very narrow in the past. Some of the women having an impact include Ingrid Mattson (twice ISNA President, built the first accredited Muslim chaplaincy program in the US at Hartford Seminary); Asma Uddin (a religious liberty lawyer and scholar); and Dalia Mogahed (Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, where she leads the organization’s pioneering research and thought leadership programs on American Muslims); and Dr. Tamara Gray (founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through creative educational experiences).

ICJS Sources: Fatimah FanusieZeyneb Sayilgan

Catholicism is secretly dynamic

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has a long history in incorporating cultural ideas and practices from around the world, as well as embedding beliefs and rituals in specific cultural contexts. American Catholicism is a creative amalgamation of many diaspora Catholic traditions.

ICJS Source: Heather Miller Rubens