“I was a little surprised that so many people in my community don’t trust this vaccine," said the Rev. Liz Walker, MDiv '05, pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church and a member of Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group. “I am talking to parishioners to try and get people the real information and then they can make wise choices."
T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding Jocelyne Cesari argues that the excess of French laicite on the visibility of religion in France has a boomerang effect on violent extremism.
Rachel Leiken, MDiv '20, Multifaith Engagement Fellow at the Memorial Church, writes about deepening her commitment to social justice, community building, and university chaplaincy.... Read more about A Need to Be All In
"When it comes to social justice, it's not enough to have sincerity of complaint; we must have a substantive knowledge of that which we seek and the means by which we seek it. We must have specificity, particularity and moral clarity in terms of our lens. So we have to seek justice, like this widow, with persistence, with diligence, with an unrelenting spirit," says Visiting Professor Cornell William Brooks.
Sevea studies the role of spirit mediums in the South and Southeast Asian Islamic world
Teren Sevea grew up in a “universe of miracle workers.” They were in shrines, in cemeteries, in homes, and coffee shops, and, of course, on the streets of Southeast Asian cities in which he spent most of his life. He can’t remember the first time he saw a miracle worker, but he does recall vividly the powerful mix of emotions these figures conjured up in him.... Read more about A Student of Miracles
Under the auspices of RPL, programs come together to promote a just world at peace
Yaseen Hashmi, MTS ’21, didn’t expect an epiphany when he joined students from HDS and six of Harvard’s other graduate schools for a January-term course in Israel and Palestine, but that’s what he got.... Read more about The Canopy
As U.S. deputy secretary of state from 1985 to 1989, the investor, diplomat, and philanthropist John Whitehead saw that religion was the thread that connected many of the diplomatic challenges he faced around the world. He believed deeply in the importance of the study of global religion and in Harvard Divinity School’s capacity to advance that work. To that end, Whitehead was one of the School’s most loyal supporters for more than a generation, serving on the HDS Dean’s Council and as honorary chair of its capital campaign.... Read more about An Investment in Understanding
Brooks teaches students to bring sacred and secular together in service of social justice
When Cornell William Brooks saw the video of George Floyd, the African American man killed last May by a Minneapolis police officer, it immediately brought to mind another terrifying image: the photo of the disfigured corpse of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African American lynched in Mississippi in 1955.... Read more about Public Policy, Prophetic Vision
I write at perhaps the most challenging moment of our lifetimes, as our society reels from global pandemic, economic collapse, and social unrest. We have all been affected. Many in the HDS community are on the front lines as activists, caregivers, and even policy makers. I want you to know that we at HDS are thinking of you. We are inspired by your efforts. We thank you for making a world of difference.
In recent months, I have often reflected on my time as an undergraduate at Queen’s University, Belfast, in the early 1970s, the first—and some of the worst—years of the “...
Melissa Bartholomew fosters diversity, inclusion, and belonging at HDS
Melissa Wood Bartholomew, MDiv ’15, has been here before—the horrifying event, the protests, the renewed pledges, soon forgotten, to combat racism. While she has concerns about whether the current movement for racial justice will be sustained, she says this time feels different. ... Read more about On the Path of Love and Justice
Kevin Cranston, MDiv ’86, learned early on that viruses tell the truth. As a gay man coming of age during the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s, he saw the ways that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) crossed national and geographic boundaries to reveal the underlying disparities in U.S. society. The populations that suffered most during the health crisis were also the most vulnerable—the poor, people of color, addicts, and gay and bisexual men like him. In a word, the marginalized “other.”... Read more about There Is No 'Other' Here
Lesedi Graveline is an activist on the path to a career in social justice and human rights work. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, she is passionate about expanding her leadership through mentoring and empowering young people.... Read more about Modeling Multireligious Community
"At this moment, the country stands divided by class fissures and racial fault lines in the middle of a pandemic, and nevertheless nearly 100 million people cast ballots in the midst of 9 million coronavirus cases and 230,000 coronavirus fatalities. This is a testament to the intestinal fortitude of people all across the country," said Cornell William Brooks, Visiting Professor of the Practice of Prophetic Religion and Public Leadership at HDS.
"I think 'Make America Great Again' is broader than just an evangelical attitude. But it is, in many ways, tailor-made for them—they hear that and they absolutely hear, 'We need to make America Christian, the way it used to be when it was run by White conservative Christians,'" says Lauren Kerby, Religious Literacy Specialist for Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School.
"The book (of Revelation) is full of references to plagues and natural catastrophes, earthquakes, floods. It's very easy to connect things one finds in the Bible with things that are happening today," said Professor Giovanni Bazzana.
“Growing up, I always loved literature and the philosophical questions it asked about the world. Religion was the other discourse that I knew was interested in those questions,” said Mayra Rivera, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Religion and Latinx Studies at HDS.
Professor Jacob Olupona said he thought the new Religion and Public Life program, which includes a public speaker series that will feature journalists, historians, economists, and other scholars, might lead to “public enlightenment” about the centrality of religion to a broad range of civic issues.
"Trump's greatest effect on religion has been to privilege the voices of white evangelicals, who have supported him in huge numbers because of their hope that he will restore something that they feel has been lost—namely, the white, Protestant identity of the United States. In contrast, both Jim Kloppenberg and E.J. Dionne noted that religious pluralism has strengthened American democracy," said HDS Professor Catherine Brekus.
"People who are against any compromise in this direction will see this as another sign that Francis has gone astray, that he is not adhering to church teaching. And they will add this to their list of complaints about him," says HDS Parkman Professor of Divinity Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
“I no longer feel zealous for a religion, but rather for the beautiful treasure that this life is, and the incredible fact that any of us are here. I am just trying to use this life in the most meaningful way I can, not just to create meaning for myself, but also for others.”—Amber Scorah, MTS '22
"As I’ve listened to our leaders and those who would become our leaders answers difficult questions of their own these last several weeks, I’ve been led to wonder: Do we fare any better than these Herodians and Pharisees? They are easy to accuse, but can we be as easily absolved?" says Professor Matthew Potts.