Contemporary Issues

Israelis and Palestinians: 12 Voices on the Future
Bryant CC. Israelis and Palestinians: 12 Voices on the Future. Christian Science Monitor [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Mideast conflict is not doomed to stalemate. Right and left, religious and secular, hawkish and peacenik, a wide spectrum of Israelis and Palestinians are implementing their vision for the future without waiting for their leaders – or a peace deal.

Diverse Mormon Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage
Rhee-Soo Lee, Christopher Lisee SP. Diverse Mormon Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage. Diverse Mormon Perspectives on Same Sex Marriage [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Gay marriage has been a recent subject of divisive legal, political, and theological debate. This documentary explores how one faith engages with the issue of gay marriage and shows a diverse range of views challenging commonly held assumptions about what Mormons believe. Note: this video was filmed before the Supreme Court ruling in the Spring of 2015 declaring the legality of same-sex marriage.

After Hobby Lobby: What is Caesar's, What is God's?
Moore DL. After Hobby Lobby: What is Caesar's, What is God's?. The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As prelude to the 2015 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference, “Law, Religion, and Health in America,” this pre-conference session held on May 7, 2015 at the Harvard Law School examined the role of religion in the American public sphere. Our expert panel discussed the nature of conscience and conscientious objection, religious freedom, and religious accommodation from philosophical, theological, historical, legal, and political perspectives.  This video features Professor Diane L. Moore's presentation. See here to view the entire forum.


  • E. J. Dionne, Jr., Columnist, The Washington Post; Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

  • Diane L. Moore, Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School

  • Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

  • Frank Wolf, Representative, Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, U.S. House of Representatives, 1981-2015 (retired)

  • Moderator: Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University and Director, Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University 

  • Moderator: I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center

Remarks by Martha Minow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


Diverse Roman Catholic Perspectives on Abortion
Rhee-Soo Lee, Christopher Lisee SP ed. Diverse Roman Catholic Perspectives on Abortion. Diverse Roman Catholic Perspectives on Abortion [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Despite Vatican opposition to abortion and most forms of birth control, lay Catholics hold many positions on abortion. They understand the issue not only in terms of morals and theology, but also of politics, culture, and human rights. This documentary focuses on lay Roman Catholics in the Northeast region of the United States.  It aims to show a wide range of Catholic views challenging common assumptions about Catholicism and abortion.  Click here to view the 13 minute video.

The Beauty and Diversity of Muslim Life
Tariq B. The Beauty and Diversity of Muslim Life. TED talk [Internet]. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Bassam Tariq is a blogger, a filmmaker, and a halal butcher — but one thread unites his work: His joy in the diversity, the humanness of our individual experiences. In this charming talk, he shares clips from his film "These Birds Walk" and images from his tour of 30 mosques in 30 days — and reminds us to consider the beautiful complexity within us all.

Frontline. Muslims. [Internet]. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Frontline examines Islam's worldwide resurgence through the stories of diverse Muslims struggling to define the role of Islam in their lives and societies.

Religious Freedom and Democracy
Religious Freedom and Democracy. Facing History and Ourselves; 2014.Abstract

Shortly after the Constitution had been ratified, President George Washington traveled with luminaries (including then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson) to Newport, RI. where they were greeted by local leaders.  Among them was Moses Seixas, the warden of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport who read a letter celebrating the establishment of a government “which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance” in light of centuries of Jewish exile.  President Washington responded days later with an eloquent affirmation of those aspirations: “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support”. This is a packet of resources and lesson plans for teachers prepared by Facing History and Ourselves