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.
This panel discussion of "The Religion of White Rage" was held November 2 with the book’s three editors, as part of the Center for the Study of World Religion's series on “Race, Religion, and Nationalism.” This book sheds light on the phenomenon of white rage, and maps out the uneasy relationship between white anxiety, religious fervor, American identity, and perceived black racial progress. Among other things, the book examines the sociological construct of the “white laborer,” whose concerns and beliefs, this book argues, can be understood as religious in foundation. The book argues further that white religious fervor correlates to notions of perceived white loss and perceived black progress.... Read more about Video: The Religion of White Rage
"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.
View a conversation on religion and the 2020 election with James Kloppenberg, Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard, and E.J. Dionne, Visiting Professor in Religion and Political Culture at HDS. This event was moderated by Catherine Brekus, Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America at HDS, and was sponsored by the Council on the Study of Religion, the Committee on the Study of Religion, and Harvard Divinity School.... Read more about Video: Religion and the 2020 Election: A Conversation with James Kloppenberg and E.J. Dionne
"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.
"So let us hold fast to love on the road to justice, though the road is windy. I believe we will get there to the promised land. We will get there indeed if we hold fast to love," says Aric Flemming, MDiv '19.
Former WSRP director Constance Buchanan "was hired to be a bridge between the righteous anger of the young radical feminists in the divinity school classrooms, and the millennia of theological education that had been exclusively in the hands of men," said Ann Braude, current WSRP director.
Harvard Divinity School launched this week Religion and Public Life (RPL), a new initiative and degree program with the core mission to advance the public understanding of religion in service of a just world at peace. The master of religion and public life (MRPL) is the first new degree program at HDS in 50 years, since it introduced the master of theological studies.... Read more about Understanding Religion and Public Life
Celebrated by Italian immigrants in the United States since 1792, Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937 to commemorate the "arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas." The explorer’s reputation has darkened in recent years as scholars have focused more attention on the killings and other atrocities he committed against Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.... Read more about Pushing to End Myth of Columbus, Honor History of Indigenous Peoples
This conversation was presented on August 27, 2020, by the HDS Women’s Studies in Religion Program, which brings five scholars in gender from around the country each year to enrich the experience of HDS students. The research associates shared their thoughts on the ethical responsibility of scholars to be engaged in the study of gender.
"In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—and the racism pandemic we have been fighting since my ancestors arrived from the West Coast of Africa, I am reminded that there is so much that we don’t know," says Melissa Wood Bartholomew, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at HDS.