Religious difference is integral to life in the United States. Each religious tradition and community exists within a mosaic of cultural, historical, social, ethnic, and racial contexts. We believe engaging religious difference is necessary and transformative.
We engage religious difference in a society marred by inequities rooted in race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, abilities, socioeconomic status, and other differences. These inequities should have no influence on how we value each other. However, our religious traditions continue to be complicit in the perpetuation of these inequities, and interreligious dialogue often reflects them. We refuse to privilege any individual’s or community’s perspective or to interpret their experiences for them. We commit to fostering a culture of equity and inclusion in interreligious conversations.
Dialogue invites us to bring our commitments to each conversation and calls for patience, humility, curiosity, and courage. The outcome of dialogue does not require agreement, and meaningful relationships can exist even where there are irreconcilable differences. We believe that dialogue around religious difference deepens understanding and is an essential tool for connecting communities.
We use scholarly and educational resources to challenge religious bigotry and to confront the historical injustices that have divided our religious communities. Through the give-and-take of learning together, our understanding of ourselves and others expands through a process of encounter, translation, interpretation and/or misinterpretation; and clarification. We endeavor to create learning spaces where productive discomfort stretches us toward mutual discovery and deepens relationships.
Responsible civic life requires more than tolerance and coexistence. It requires participation in community, respectful dialogue, mutual understanding, and flexibility with resources and positions. We build robust interreligious communities that interweave the civic, educational, and religious dimensions of our lives together.