Naturalization ceremony at the US Archives

A robust understanding of culture and a sophisticated grasp of the changing nature of political power require that we consider how religion is embedded in any given cultural moment. At the RLP we believe that when people understand the vital, but often unacknowledged, role religion plays in political and cultural endeavors we gain tools to make better-informed decisions about our public life and common good. To this end, we seek to partner with government officials at the local, state, and national levels to enhance better literacy about religion.

Case studies

The United States is currently roiled by debates over immigration. Americans bitterly disagree about the best ways to address the flow of people seeking residence in this nation and the place of recent immigrants and refugees in our society. Our case studies on the greater Boston area, central Tennessee, and the Arizona-Mexico border demonstrate how religion is embedded in both constructive and antagonistic approaches to immigration, especially with respect to work undertaken by (or in collaboration with) governmental agencies.

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Several speakers from the Symposium on Religious Literacy and Government published versions of their remarks in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.


The Symposium on Religious Literacy and Government: Immigrants and Refugees was held at Harvard Divinity School on December 7-8, 2017. Shaun Casey, the former director of the US State Department’s Office on Religion and Global Affairs, delivered the keynote address.

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