Protecting Pluralism by Protecting Thy Neighbor

Rachel Held Evans Tweet

I learned with relief that the first gay couple in Kentucky received their marriage license, but not without disappointment that Rowan County ClerkKim Davis was jailed - and that her husband says she will not “bow down.” Surprising, since one would expect expect Kim Davis to be humble and compassionate - she is reportedly a born-again Christian and follows Christ. But it is Ms. Davis’ position as an elected official of the government, not her personal beliefs, that requires her to abide b … [Read more...]

Practicing Pluralism & Protecting Religious Freedom

Both Rev. Dana Trent, author of Saffron Cross, and Alicia Chandler, co-founder  of AJC Access Detroit, recently posted pieces exemplifying pluralism, through respective discussions on interfaith marriage and raising multi-faith children.Their practice of pluralism is possible because they are in settings where there is mutual respect  for another’s religious path. Pluralism and religious freedom can go hand in hand when conditions promote an open and fair exchange of ideas: there really is a choi … [Read more...]

Ethics of Vegetarianism: Evangelizing for the Environment

A recent NPR piece that someone shared with me reminded me why I no longer support them financially.  An Indian vegetarian diet and efforts to promote this are portrayed as a culture or caste issue, instead of one about the impact to environment, human health, animal welfare or religious freedom: the  “Egg War” seemed more of a war on Hinduism and Jainism. I have been raised on a traditional Indian, and to be even more specific, an Andhra vegetarian diet, while growing up in America - where being … [Read more...]

The Future of Hinduism in America: Publicly Engaging Pluralism for Peace

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Eastern Religions. Read other perspectives here. When I last wrote about the Future of Hinduism, I had become a voice for the Hindu community in interfaith relations, as co-founder of both the local interfaith group in Michigan’s most Asian American cities and the Outreach Committee of one of Michigan’s oldest and largest Hindu temples. Because of my interest in the way that Hinduism i … [Read more...]

On International Day of Yoga, a Trip Down Memory Lane: The HAF Take Back Yoga Project


Namaste. International Yoga Day is today, and to celebrate, Suhag & Aseem Shukla, and Sheetal Shah, of the Hindu American Foundation embarked on a trip down memory lane.  Over four days, they have shared the story of HAF’s Take Back Yoga Project (TBY).  What started as a simple letter to the editor expressing frustration over the hyper-fixation on the physical aspects of yoga and a delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots, ultimately spurred an unprecedented global conversation acknowledging th … [Read more...]

Another Rite of Passage: Celebrating a Decade of Interfaith Activism

A week ago the Troy-area Interfaith Group celebrated its 11th annual National Day of Prayer event. I helped start this community organization over a controversy - the contentious history is here, and also taught as a case study in pluralism by Harvard University's Pluralism Project - but it was a very peaceful, harmonious group that gathered to celebrate unity in diversity, with prayers from many people, from many traditions. I was honored that I was invited to share the reflection below on the … [Read more...]