I just got a reminder from the student affairs folks at ACPA about an exciting conference call happening next week!
It’s called “Encouraging Religious Pluralism & Interfaith Cooperation: A winter holiday conversation.”
That’s right, this student affairs professional organization has a whole commission dedicated to spirituality, faith, religion, and meaning.
And what’s this conference call going to be about?
The end of the fall semester presents an opportunity for university staff to educate students about the many religious celebrations that take place at the end of the calendar year other than Christmas. However, finding ways to have meaningful celebrations that are inclusive of multiple faith traditions, while avoiding overly simplistic gestures can be challenging. This hot topics discussion will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about best practices and conversation on promoting religious pluralism and interfaith cooperation on campus during the winter holiday break.
As long as all faiths are included, no one will feel excluded right?
And who’s leading the call?
The Reverend Gregory W. McGonigle has served as Director of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL) at Oberlin College since 2008. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 2004, focused on academic chaplaincy, interfaith relations, and American religious history.
A Master of Divinity, of course.
Dear ACPA members,
There are atheist students on your campus. They might call themselves nonbelievers, freethinkers, agnostics, brights, secular, or humanists, or whatever, or nothing at all, but they’re there. They don’t identify with faith. They don’t identify with spirituality. They don’t identify with religion. Some of them have valid challenges to faith, spirituality, and religion to make. Believe it or not, they are capable of making meaning without any of the mystical stuff you keep triumphing. And they already feel ostracized on their campuses. Please stop ignoring them.
The recent issue of the Secular Student Alliance newsletter offers a debate on interfaith movements. I have to say I agree with Ed Clint (and Hemant Mehta) that interfaith movements, by definition, are contrary to the experience of nonbelievers. An interfaith community is one of different faiths, but of faiths, nonetheless. How could it be inclusive of people without faith who are intent on challenging faith?
As long as the focus is on faith, religious privilege will prevail.
Thanks for such a critical, progressive approach to creating inclusive campuses, ACPA.