For Immediate Release

MORAGA, Calif. (June 3, 2008) Saint Mary's College of California announces the opening of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism, a research center that will explore issues of religious pluralism in political culture and public policy.

The Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism will provide forums for representatives of various religious orientations, including academics and activists from across the political spectrum, in an effort to find common ground on specific issues in the public square.

"Debates about religion, politics, and public policy are often limited to religious right and secular left, with a Christian or Jewish left given a forum from time to time," said Barbara McGraw, director of the new center. "The Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism strives to broaden the dialogue and take seriously all voices from our society's many different belief systems."

The first project to be undertaken by the center is the Prison Religion Project, which will work toward the development of a model policy to accommodate religious diversity in prisons. Future issues to be studied by the center and discussed at center conferences will include K-12 educational issues involving religion, and the religious and cultural implications of economic globalization.

The Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism will share its findings through its website, podcasts, videos, professional conferences and print publications. For more information, go to www.engagedpluralism.org.

About Barbara A. McGraw, J.D., Ph.D.

Dr. McGraw is a professor of social ethics, law, and public life. She is the author of Rediscovering America's Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America, lead co-editor of Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America's Sacred Ground, and co-author of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions. As a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court, she participated in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (the Pledge of Allegiance case) by filing an amicus brief. For nearly 10 years, she also has served as an advocate for prison inmates' religious accommodation rights in the California correctional system and as a consultant for prison religion court cases.

Contact:
Media Relations
(925) 631-4222
media@stmarys-ca.edu

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Saint Mary's College, founded in 1863, is a residential learning community in Moraga, California based in the Catholic, Lasallian and liberal arts traditions. The college currently enrolls more than 3,600 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The Christian Brothers, an international Catholic teaching order, guides the academic growth and spiritual character of the school.

Contact: 

Media Relations
(925) 631-4222
media@stmarys-ca.edu

###

Saint Mary’s College, founded in 1863, is a residential learning community in Moraga, California based in the Catholic, Lasallian and liberal arts traditions. The college currently enrolls more than 3,600 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The Christian Brothers, an international Catholic teaching order, guides the academic growth and spiritual character of the school.

About SMC: 
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For nearly 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 3,800 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at stmarys-ca.edu and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.
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