When, in 1776, the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, it marked a radical departure from traditional forms of political authority: a government by the people for the people versus hereditary rulers seen as divinely appointed. Ever since, this principle of democratic rule has been part of the bedrock of US self-identity, gradually extending over time to include voting rights for African Americans and women.
However, in recent years, democracy in the United States has begun to fray as a shared national value. The vast sums of political donations, gerrymandering of voting districts, and concerted efforts of voter suppression, to say nothing of the fiercely partisan debate over election results, all have a deeply corrosive effect on the very foundation of our country as a democratic nation.
” Some consider this state of affairs, though lamentable, as a purely secular matter. We believe the weakening of democracy to be a moral and spiritual crisis as well. In this series of three interfaith conversations, we will explore why people of faith have a vital stake in the survival and flourishing of democracy.”
October 19 at 5:00 PM
Session 1 The Religious Roots of Democracy
Democracy is commonly understood to be of Greek origin. While first practiced in rudimentary form in the city-state of Athens, the modern understanding of democracy has many roots. Among them are significant contributions by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, notably the belief in a shared humanity of all people. The panel discussion will examine how each of the three religious traditions provided a significant tributary to the stream that would eventually become a modern democracy.
Moderator Dr. Reinhard Krauss, Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies
Dr. Scott Spitzer, Cal State Fullerton
Rev. Jonathan Chute, Rolling Hills United Methodist Church
Dr. Javad Hashmi, Muslim Public Affairs Council
Yael Aranoff, American Jewish University
Emilie Nordhues, UCLA
Kienan Taweil, Loyola Marymount University