The need for improving religious literacy is higher than it’s ever been, given frequent reports of acts of religious bigotry, whether they’re aimed at Jews, Muslims, Sikhs or others, in the United States.
The Boston suburb of Reading recently had a rally against hate in response to swastikas found in the town’s high school. Someone had drawn them on a science table. This was just the latest in a string of incidents there, and a Jewish teen at the rally spoke about the effect on her to see the swastikas and hear some students poke fun at the incident.
It’s easy to blame the vitriolic atmosphere in our country on these incidents, but anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and religious bias and hate preceded Donald Trump. How can we, as parents, as educators, as communities, religious and secular, teach the next generation to respect other faiths and to understand the damage that hate symbols cause? Holding a rally gives support in the moment. We also need to continue to work on long-term solutions to educate children, beginning long before such incidents happen.
I’ll continue to offer my own take on possible solutions at two upcoming conferences and hope to see some of my #FaithEd followers there. If you’re not attending, please pass along the word.
Upcoming events and writing workshops:
November 4-6: Parliament of the World’s Religions, Toronto, Canada: Come visit me at the Something or Other Publishing Booth at Booth 232 in the exhibit hall during any of these times, get a copy of Faith Ed and have it signed or attend my panel, Bringing Interfaith Home, on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.. Faith Ed also will be available for sale through the entire conference. Nov. 1-7.
Faith Ed book signings, meet-and-greet the author:
3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Sunday, Nov. 4
11 a.m. to noon: Monday, Nov. 5
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Tuesday, Nov. 6
The booth also will host giveaways during the full conference.
December 2: National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Chicago. Thanks to Naperville, Ill., social studies teacher Seth Brady and the Kaur Foundation, I will be returning to the NCSS this year as the featured author, guest speaker at a Kaur Foundation breakfast and a panel following. Stay tuned for more info but mark your calendar now for the 8 a.m. breakfast and the 9 a.m. panel afterward. The Kaur Foundation, which works to educate others about Sikhism, has graciously pre-purchased books for a limited number of attendees at each event.
December 7, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Writing about Religion class at Grub Street in Boston. Read, analyze essays with religion – including finding it or losing it – as the focus and then work on one of your own. Sign up at this course link.
In other news, I’ve begun to share mini-stories with photos in Instagram based on my reporting around the country on Faith Ed. I’m interested in sharing the space with educators who have stories of their own and photos to share. Interested? Email me a short story and photo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the first three #Faithedstories here.
As always, thanks for reading!