Volume VI - (2004-2005)
- Written by Ronald J. Brown
Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 11, 2010 - Pages 91-118
The Unification Theological Seminary website is titled “UTS—The Interfaith Seminary.” One click and the heading reads, “UTS—Equipping Interreligious Peacebuilders.” One more click and you read, “About UTS—An International and Interdenominational Graduate Level Seminary.” Click still again and the Mission Statement concludes that the seminary aims to empower people “to serve communities of the Christian and diverse faiths to the glory of God and benefit of humanity.” In addition, the seminary requires students to take Paths of Faith and other course offerings on the world’s religions. UTS is clearly a seminary dedicated to the study of world religions and the preparation of trained professionals with a deep understanding of people and communities of various religions. With such an ambitious goal it was almost inevitable that the seminary should have a venue in the heart of
The multitude of houses of worship, ranging from
This article will analyze five ways in which the experience of living in the modern, religiously diverse city influences our perceptions of world religions. Each of the four topics will analyze the experience itself—The Experience—and how these experiences can enrich the learning experience—Analysis.
- On Fifth Avenue will analyze the street experience of being surrounded by a multitude of houses of worship in a modern religiously diverse city;
- In Flushing, Queens will study the omnipresence of public displays of religion in the Queens neighborhood of
- In Harlem will delve into the influence of the inevitable and often obligatory attendance at different religious ceremonies and holidays in
- Mid-Manhattan will visit the many auditoriums, halls, and exposition centers that publicly perform mass conversions, marriages, and other solemn events; and
On Fifth Avenue
Almost every semester I take my students on a walking tour of
First came the Dutch in 1624 and whose memory is preserved at Marble Collegiate Church, which was made famous by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale and whose life-size statue stands in front of the church. While the Dutch constitute today but a miniscule part of the city’s population, their contributions to the city are monumental. Incorporated in 1628, like most old city houses of worship, the Dutch church slowly followed the growth of the city northward until it reached its present location at
First Presbyterian Church, constructed in 1846 at
Following the English takeover of the Dutch city in 1664, the Anglicans (Episcopalians following the American Revolution) likewise moved northward, until 1829 when their flagship church made the move to
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was founded in 1815 with the arrival of the Irish, who were fleeing English colonial occupation and later the potato famine. Between 1858 and 1878 the current cathedral was constructed on
Likewise, German-speaking Jews who arrived at about the same time founded
In addition to these historic landmarks, there are a host of other houses of worship on or near the Avenue, ranging from the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian and Fifth Avenue Synagogue,
The most obvious response to strolling past a string of different houses of worship is, as Lowell W. Livezey writes in Public Religion and Urban Transformation is a “tangible sense of that abstract concept of [religious] diversity.” Such abstract concepts as “Freedom of Religion,” “religious diversity,” and “religious tolerance” become concrete, visible, and tangible. One can see diversity, experience it, even stop in for a visit.
For many passersby, especially those from foreign countries where one faith is dominant, the
Whatever their backgrounds, the overwhelming impression one gets from walking the streets of the city is of religious pluralism, “It’s
The Center for History and Economics of King’s College,
A second level of analysis I bring to this tour is the heroic and often miraculous pilgrimage that the various religious groups endured in their journey to
- their first living room prayer rooms,
- a rented storefront,
- a purchased secular building (office or factory),
- the purchase of a disused church or synagogue,
- the construction of a house of worship, and finally
- their arrival on
It was a long and laborious process. I refer to these steps as the “Six Step Program” inevitably followed by all immigrant faith groups until today.
The competition to construct ever more monumental houses of worship on
Still another level of analysis deals with the choice of architectural styles is a revealing aspect of a particular denomination or religion, whether on
St. Patrick’s Cathedral proclaims to all the history of Catholicism and the Catholics in the city, from the great age of persecution in the Dutch and English colony through their liberation until the present. Conceived during the Middle Ages when few were literate, Gothic churches were covered with statues of the great saints and theologians of the church, symbols of the lofty mysteries of the faith, and images of Jesus, Mary, and other Christian holy men and women. The massive bronze central doors of the cathedral portray the history of the church in New York from the first Indian converts, the colonial period, and the present. Of course the choice of St. Patrick as the patron of the church testifies to the Irish domination of the city’s Catholics. Likewise, a south-west side window of
Finally, religious architecture, especially when a congregation reaches the stages of constructing its own house of worship, whether on
Even a casual stroll along
Located in the northern edge of
The old Quaker Meeting House of 1694 on
Walking the streets of Flushing, and later reading the revolutionary text of the Flushing Remonstrance leaves one awestruck that already in the middle of the 17th century
However, on any given walking tour of
At Christmas in Flushing, on every corner, in every store, and in many front yards giant red-clad figures of Santa Claus wish you a “Merry Christmas” even before Santa on the last float of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in
Giving in to their children’s queries, “Why don’t we celebrate Christmas?” Jews at the Free Synagogue transformed the relative minor holiday of Hanukah to major holiday status. African-Americans at Ebenezer Baptist and Macedonian A.M.E. churches celebrate Kwanzaa as their contributions to the “Holiday Season.” Hindus at the
UTS students visit the
The public celebration of holidays in
Street religion is also on display in the many “Halal” signs on food vendors, restaurants, and grocery stores in Arabic in heavily Muslim areas of
Still another street experience of religion is the ever-present advertisements, window displays, posters, theater marquees, fliers, brochures, and the barrage of music with religious themes. One can hardly pass a bookstore without noticing a window featuring the best selling vampire novels of Anne Rice, or more, her series on the life of Jesus; the 16-volume apocalyptic Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins; New Age and cult novels and personal accounts; books on miracles, angels, ESP, magic, ghosts, and aliens; terrorism, religious wars in Palestine/Israel, North Ireland, Iraq, and Pakistan; as well as best sellers on or by Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, the Dalai Lama, Rick Warren of Purpose-Driven Life fame, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Osama bin Laden, to name just a few.
If you are not the reading type, movie marquees announce movies on religious themes ranging from the classic Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, from Interview with a Vampire to any number of “end of the world” movies such as The Rapture in a variety of languages. During the summer local pastors hand out leaflets and put up posters advertising their tent revival meetings. And if you should be able to ignore the barrage of street religion long enough to make it to the subway or bus, you will no doubt have to brush aside the fliers and brochures, leaflets and booklets before you can take a seat. Try as you may, you cannot avoid religion on the streets of Flushing,
Numerous scholars and writers have taken the deluge of street religion as a sign of the return of new Yorkers to religion after a decades-long, if not century-long, process of secularization. Harvey Cox of
Another recent book chronicling the rise of religion is God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, which argues that religion has emerged from its centuries-long slumber and entered the world of economics, politics, culture, and warfare. It’s here to stay and we have to deal with it. Strolling through the streets of
Nathan O. Hatch in The Democratization of American Christianity argues that “the return of God” is not a recent phenomenon, but began as a consequence of the American Revolution. The revolutionary American doctrines of separation of church and state and freedom of religion rejected the established authority of the ancient religious institution of the early 19th century “established churches”—the Puritans in New England, Dutch Reformed and Episcopalians in
Many scholars have taken to referring to the city as a “religious shopping mall.” Micklethwait and Wooldridge write, “The great forces of modernity—technology and democracy, choice and freedom” have led to “the triumph of pluralism [which] means that all religious beliefs become competitors in the marketplace.”
The overwhelming presence of so many places of worship can challenge or even undermine the validity of one’s own religion. How can I continue to believe that my faith is the right one, when there is a sanctuary on each corner that believes the same? Are we all wrong? Or are we all right? How can we all be right? So are we all wrong?
Signs in storefront chapels are designed to attract customers. In Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture, R. Laurence Moore wrote that once clergymen recognized the threat to religion posed by the spread of mass, popular culture, “many religious leaders decided to fight fire with fire.” In short, “They entered the marketplace.” Brochures, popular books, subway banners, radio advertisements, television shows and e-mail blasts—Moore devoted an entire chapter to “Religious Advertising,” a phrase intended to shock church people into recognizing to what extent American consumer culture has influenced religion. Churches competed with each other to build the tallest steeple—called “steeple envy” in
“It’s a God-eat-God world out there” one pastor friend once told me. “The strong survive and the weak die. Ya have to give them what they want, because if you don’t there’s always that big church down the street!”
I recently came across a handy guide for harried shoppers in the religious market place, The Savvy Convert’s Guide to Choosing a Religion. A bit tongue in cheek, this religious companion to the city’s Zagat guide to restaurants, states in its introduction, “As a religion consumer, you’ll want to determine what you seek in a faith as well as acquire the tools to find it in the religion marketplace.” If among the 99 religions analyzed “the right fit can elude you,” then “if you’re an entrepreneurial seeker, perhaps it’s time to start your own religion.” The guide provides “easy, step-by-step instructions” to do just that.
Another aspect of the commercialization of religion is the transformation of the city streets into religious bazaars. The fifth session of the aforementioned King’s College,
Robert A. Orsi argues that Catholics have always taken their religion into the streets. In The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950, he masterfully explored the “lived religion” of the Italian annual festa (which is still celebrated) as a melding of ethnicity, religion, and community values. He explores the struggle between the clergy and laity for ownership of the statue, control of the profits from the festa, conflict between the official opening Mass at the church and street festivities, and other aspects of the July celebration.
But Diane Winston and John Giggie stress in Religion and the City that modern street religion is a form of advertising. Just as Madison Avenue advertisers appropriate religious symbols, themes, and holidays to market toys, diamonds and cars, religions draw on Madison Avenue to market their products.
Henry Goldschmidt, in Race and religion: Among the Chosen Peoples of
The streets of
The most Knickerbocker (a New York City Knickerbocker is anyone who can trace his or her ancestry to the Dutch or English colonial period—1624 to 1776) of African-American churches is the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church located at 140 West 137th Street. Founded in 1796, it was one of the first churches to move to
A site visit to
In addition to innate hospitality, the African-American houses of worship share a second reason why site visits to
On one visit to
In addition to the casual visit to a house of worship or street corner conversation, most New Yorkers inevitably find themselves drawn into some form of interreligious experience. The
I remember the funeral of a teacher friend of mine who was High Church Episcopalian. Soon after I arrived at
Invitations to Bar and Bas Mitzvah, baptisms, weddings, and funerals are daily occurrences in a religiously diverse city. Even a simple office birthday party, innocently organized by a loving secretary, can turn into a disaster when she realizes that a pepperoni and cheese pizza might not be acceptable to observant Jews (who only eat kosher meat and don’t mix meat and milk products), Muslims, and Hindus (who don’t eat meat).
The experience of participating in a public celebration, attendance at worship or joining an event at a house of worship is usually eye opening, often confusing, and always an inescapable part of living in a multi-religious city.
A Christian UTS student who attended an Orthodox Jewish synagogue on a study visit for my Paths of Faith class was close to angry when someone asked him to stop writing during services. “It’s for a class, I’m not Jewish,” he whispered. “But we don’t write on the Sabbath,” the worshipper responded. “But I’m not Jewish,” he repeated. “But we are, and it’s rude to violate our rules when you are our guest,” he argued. Needless to say, my student was not overly impressed with the synagogue, or with Orthodox Jews for that matter. “They were so not nice!” she told me. Already held negative stereotypes can be dangerously reinforced by a casual experience of a different religious service.
My duty as a teacher of world religions is, first, to let the student wallow in his or her confusion, and only then provide them with some guidelines for future visits. The most helpful resource I have found is Matlins and Magida’s How to Be the Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook. This book addresses participation in both “the vigorous religious rites and customs of a host of faiths [that] take place in full public view” and those that take place inside “the religious realms of our neighbors.” In encyclopedic fashion the book gives the dos and don’ts for visitors to worship among Native Americans, Roman Catholics, Amish, and a host of other denominations. The Internet provides additional resources. PRLog, a free online press release service, offers a site, “How to Be the Perfect Guest at a Jewish Holiday Celebration!” that explains what is permitted and what is forbidden for strangers at Jewish holiday celebrations.
By this level of street religion—streets filled with houses of worship, public celebrations of religious holidays, and participation at diverse religious celebrations—most New Yorkers have already formed deeply rooted images of what Jews, Pentecostals, Catholics, Black Baptists, or Mormons are.
Stereotype formation, both positive and negative, have long constituted a subject of academic study. My professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, George Mosse, analyzed the emergence of Jewish stereotypes in
Ria Kloppenborg traces stereotypes of women in the religions of ancient
Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Pricilla Warner attempted to get to the roots of their stereotypes of each other as they collaborated on a book, The Faith Club, A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding. Chapter five, “Stop Stereotyping Me!” described their first project. We “assigned ourselves a summer writing project, ‘What religious stereotypes did we carry of one another?’” One of their first disagreements centered on whether the cross and crucifix, probably the most street visible and instantly recognized symbols of Christianity, was anti-Semitic. This bitterly divided the women and almost brought the effort to a halt.
From colonial times until today,
Mid-Manhattan has more than its share of public spaces: the
Just strolling around Mid-Manhattan one is bombarded with marquees, subway station advertisements, flood-lit street level billboards, fliers and posters announcing the arrival of some preacher, as Billy Graham once said, “out to take New York by storm.” Almost any given evening and weekend the signs outside
Evangelist Dwight L. Moody called the city to his revolutionary “take God to the streets” revival meetings following the Civil War. His collaborator Ira D. Sankey introduced Gospel Music to the white folks of the city and redefined the meaning of worship. Father Divine brought Pentecostalism from his native
In 1974 the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the
Moon Marriage Blessing in
Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there in 1979 and attempted to reignite the flagging Catholicism of the city’s millions of Catholics disillusioned by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. What better location to propel himself into the world as the world’s foremost “religious super-star” than
The Orthodox Jewish Lubavitch rapper Matisyahu filled the hall in 2006 and launched a unique synthesis of traditional Orthodox Jewish beliefs and practices with ultra-modern American culture.
It was the towering, flickering neon sign on the Garden that attracted me one hot July evening in 2002 to mobilize my students to hear the nationally famous Reverend Creflo Dollar bring his cutting-edge media ministry to the city. Since 1986 his
Often greeting these performances are crowds filling the streets around the garden denouncing or hailing the preacher. The appearance by the Reverend Moon, for example, provoked a host of Jewish and Christian religious leaders alarmed at the number of Jewish, Catholic, Episcopal, and other Christian young people who were joining the new religious movement. One rabbi brought a bus load of his congregation to the Garden where they carried posters and distributed leaflets condemning Reverend Moon’s advocacy of inter-racial, inter-religious, and inter-cultural marriages. The appearance of Pope John Paul II likewise was greeted by throngs of gays, lesbians, women, married priest advocates, priest abuse survivors, and anti-Catholic Christian fundamentalists.
Almost anytime you stroll through Mid-Manhattan you will encounter advertisements announcing an appearance of a still-obscure religious personality. Some, such as Billy Graham, will use the public venues of the area as a springboard to national and global fame, others will remain in obscurity.
Great religious movements are not born in the sacred precincts of ancient cathedrals, mosques, synagogues or temples. Moses forged the Jewish people into a nation in the wilds of the
While the regular Sunday sermons at the majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral go largely unnoticed, the dramatic Marriage Blessing Ceremony by the Reverend Moon spawned pages of New York Times reports, articles, and commentary. “35,000 Couples Are Invited to a Blessing by Rev. Moon” read the headline, and reporter Laurie Goodstein quoted liberally from core Unification teachings. The purpose of the ceremonies “is to unite families and hasten ‘the emergence of a new world culture based on God’s love’.” The ceremony “isn’t just a publicity stunt” she wrote, “It is absolutely at the core of who they are and what they’re about.” A private ceremony in a city church would have never generated the exposure, publicity (both positive and negative), reactions, and press coverage of the Garden event. The unique Unificationist teachings on the family, marriage, inter-racial couples, and reunification became a city-wide and national topic of conversation.
The Unificationist Marriage Blessing publicized intermarriage and gave it “cosmic implications,” as Goodstein wrote in the Times. Yet in most traditional religious teachings, intermarriage (marriage between two people of different faiths) is frowned upon or even condemned. Orthodox Jews, for example, enter into a period of mourning if such a marriage takes place, often shun the couple, or hold a funeral for the Jewish partner.
Anne C. Rose prepared a historical investigation into the past, Beloved Strangers: Interfaith Families in Nineteenth Century America that presented such marriages as a permanent reality of the American religious landscape. What New Yorker can ignore our beloved Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, the product of an Italian Catholic and an Italian Jewish union? Evidently the compromise position between the religions of the two spouses was the Episcopal Church, which the mayor was raised in! Woody Allen implicitly recognized intermarriage as a fact of modern life in his play, “The Floating Light Bulb,” when he has the star comment, “My mother’s Italian, My father’s Jewish, and I’m still in therapy.”
A second result of the non-stop flurry of religious events in Mid-Manhattan is the constant exhortation to experience what Graham, Moon, Dollar, and the host of others to convert, to abandon their previous lives, embrace a new faith, have a conversion experience, or revitalize their present faith.
Billy Graham wrote in his book, Just As I Am, about his “Marathon in Manhattan.” He made no secret of his heartfelt conviction that “No other city in America—perhaps in the world—presented as great a challenge to evangelism” as New York City. “Evangelistic work in
Like intermarriage, conversion, either a “born again conversion” or conversion to a different religion, is one of the most common forms of interreligious experience in
Popular literature often lauds a person’s “personal spiritual voyage” and thereby encourages others to undertake the same search for authentic religious expression. James Craig Holte writes that conversion narratives are a “central part of the Christian experience.” In The Conversion Experience in America he chronicles thirty biographies by, among others, the televangelist Jim Bakker, Dorothy Day, Malcolm X, and Aimee Semple McPherson. The terminology he employs, such as John Cogley’s conversion to Catholicism as the end of “a long pilgrimage” of faith, not only justifies conversion but even makes it a necessary rite of passage for any serious seeker. Lewis R. Rambo likewise celebrates conversion as the goal of a religious “quest” in his book, Understanding Religious Conversion. In our ever- and rapidly-changing world, people labor to find a response to the many crises that they encounter. Through the discovery of a new faith they “attain a sense of power and transcendence” over these crises. Rambo, as his name implies, seems to celebrate the never ending confrontation with crises and discovery of a new faith.
While such writers as Cogley and Rambo portray a positive image of conversion, the popular press and media often present a negative image. Blacks converting to militant forms of Islam in prison, nice Jews from Brooklyn transformed into radical West Bank settlers, well-raised Catholics becoming wild “holy rollers,” and the recent alcoholic Episcopalian from Texas becoming a “born again Christian,” being elected president, and declaring a holy crusade against a billion and a half Muslims, tend to reinforce the negative image of converts. Nevertheless, intermarriage and conversion have gradually and reluctantly become recognized as permanent features of modern life.
Many of the revolutionary religious ideas, which have since become almost commonplace in religious circles, were first launched at the Garden. Billy Graham’s calls for a “Born Again Religious Experience” and the Unificationist vision of the reunification of the human family through intermarriage have inspired millions, and either founded new religious movements or entered the long-established religious denominations of the city. Other novel teachings or practices that were first introduced at the Garden include Gospel Music, Pentecostalism, Transcendental Meditation, reincarnation, astrology, Tai Chi, and Jewish Orthodox Rap Music.
I often attend and take students to religious gatherings at the Garden and other Mid-Manhattan venues and ask them to listen closely for the religious innovation or teaching that might dominate the next century.
My students were convinced that it would be a short walking tour when I announced that we would only cover the area between 111th and 123rd Streets and between
On the surface one can easily list the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the campus of
At the majestic campus of
The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Columbia St. Paul’s Chapel, the
Jewish Theological Seminary between 122nd and 123rd Streets is a Conservative seminary that was founded in 1886. In addition to its seminary branch which trains rabbis, it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to lay people. Its General School of Jewish Education trains teachers, its
Union Theological Seminary on Broadway between 120th and 122nd Streets was founded in 1836 by the Presbyterian Church but now welcomes students of all denominations. Its offerings to ministerial and lay students and to the community are as rich as those of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Any visitor to services at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is inevitably struck by the rigid hierarchy of the Episcopal Church. At the top is the Archbishop of Canterbury in
One of the “legacies of literacy,” Harvey J. Graff writes in his book of the same title, has been the rise of the common people. Access to knowledge brought about by Guttenberg’s invention of the modern printing press empowered a new class and led them to protest against the intellectual, political, and religious powers that were, and eventually to seize power from them. Central to the Protestant Reformation was the rise of a literate middle class in northern
Stephen Prothero traces the migration of “Bible reading” Puritans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans, Anglicans, and others and the rise of Americans as a “people of the book” in his American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon. Inspired by their reading of the Bible, Americans named cities, streets, mountains, rivers and their children after biblical figures. African-Americans enshrined the stories of Abraham, Moses, the Exodus and River Jordan in their Spirituals. Abraham Lincoln filled his speeches with biblical references. Americans were truly a Bible-filled people. Martin Luther King filled his speeches with Biblical heroes, events, and imagery to rally the nation for Civil Rights. Prothero traces the powerful influence of religion in American history. “Religion is the most volatile constituent of culture,” he writes, and furthermore “one of the greatest forces for good in world history.” However he also acknowledges that religion has also been “one of the greatest forces for evil” as well. He draws the conclusion that it is the religiously illiterate, poorly educated and slaves to “blind faith” who spawn the powerful forces of evil convulsing the world today. Those with a strong religious education become “forces for good in world history.” Thus in his book Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t, he calls for a mass campaign of in religious literacy.
Noam Chomsky, in Chomsky on Democracy and Education, attributes the decline in religious literacy that Prothero laments and finds so dangerous to governments and huge corporations that literally buy the support of the major opinion makers of the world—what he calls the “bought priesthoods.” The mass media, Evangelical Christians, and much of academia have become propaganda arms of Washington and Wall Street, he argues.  Similarly, world Judaism serves the mouthpiece for Zionism and Islam has been harnessed to Arab political movements. During the recent Israeli war against
Conversations with my students reveal that they, like most New Yorkers, accumulate a heavy load of stereotypes, images, impressions, misconceptions, pre-formed, -interpreted, and -packaged information and generalizations from the press, mass media and even religious leaders. Religious wars in the Middle East, the abortion and gay rights struggle in the USA, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka, mainstream Christians and Evangelicals battling for control of Washington, and the Israeli “Jewish” atomic arsenal facing the threat of an Iranian “Muslim” arsenal are only a few examples of the pre-packaged and rigidly controlled issues of today.
However, a stroll through the educational institutions of
The institutions of Morningside Heights, and hundreds of colleges, universities, seminaries, houses of worship, museums, foundations, libraries, and even television networks such as PBS (Religion and Ethics, Frontline, and Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett), the History Chanel, movie producers (The Power of Myth series of Bill Moyers interviews with Joseph Campbell), and publishing houses are responding to this thirst for knowledge about religion.
Samuel P. Huntington predicted in The Clash of Civilizations in 1996 that the future of post-Cold War humanity would be a cataclysmic clash between the nine great civilizations of the world, notably the Western Christian (The USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand), the Sinic (China, Korea, Vietnam and their respective diasporas) and the Islamic (North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Indonesia and Central Asia). Armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, convinced that their God is on their side, and filled with a messianic fervor to convert (or at least conquer) the world, the United States finds itself at war with the Muslim World, Western Europe (Catholic and Protestant) fears the rise of Eastern Europe (Eastern Orthodox), the Israelis (Jewish) and Palestinians (mainly Muslim) are locked in genocidal wars for control of Palestine, and Nigeria is being torn asunder by northern Muslims and Southern Christians. And these are only a few of the global wars between civilizations that
We New Yorkers have a chance, even a duty, to alert the world to this danger. UTS is in a privileged location for students to experience and learn about the religions of the world in this most religiously diverse city in the world. Perhaps from this city,
 Ronald J. Brown,
 Robert Orsi, Gods of the City: Religion and the American Urban Landscape (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999).
 Tony Carnes and Ann
 David Dunlap, From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan’s Houses of Worship (
 “Religion and the State IV: The City,” Center for History and Economics,
 Ronald J. Brown, A Religious History of Flushing, Queens: From the Flushing Remonstrance until Today, A Walking Tour (
 Deyan Sudjic, The Edifice Complex (
 Ibid. 7.
 Ibid. p.102.
 David W. Dunlap, “A New Mosque for
 Harvey Cox, Religion in the
 John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World (
 Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (
 Ibid., 45.
 Ibid., 59.
 Micklethwait and Wooldridge, 355-56.
 R. Lawrence
 Ibid., 204.
 The Savvy Convert’s Guide to Choosing a Religion (
 Ibid., 167.
 “Religion and the State IV: The City,” 80.
 Robert A. Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950 (
 Diane Winston and John Giggie, Faithin the City: Religion and Urban Commercial Culture (
 Henry Goldschmidt, Race and Religion among the Chosen Peoples of
 Orsi, Gods of the City, 567.
 Stuart M. Matlins and Arthur J. Magida, How To Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook (
 Lisa Friedman, “How To Be The Perfect Guest At A Jewish
 George Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (New York: Howard Fertig, 1999).
 Ria Kloppenborg, Female Stereotypes in Religious Traditions (Leiden: Brill, 1995).
 Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Pricilla Warner, The Faith Club, A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding (
 Laurie Goodstein, “35,000 Couples Are Invited To a Blessing by Rev. Moon,” New York Times, November 28, 1997.
 Craig D. Townsend, “Designing An Interfaith Ceremony,” The
 Stephen Carr Reuben, A Nonjudgmental Guide to Interfaith Marriage (Bloomington, Xlibris, 2002).
 Jane Kaplan, Interfaith Families: Personal Stories of Jewish-Christian Intermarriage (
 Anne C. Rose, Beloved Strangers Interfaith Families in Nineteenth Century
 Billy Graham, Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (New York: HarperOne, 1997), 351.
 James Craig Holte, The Conversion Experience in
 Lewis R. Rambo, Understanding Religious Conversion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 167.
 Harvey J. Graff, The Legacies of Literacy: Continuities and Contradictions in Western Culture and Society (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991).
 Stephen Prothero, American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (
 Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—And Doesn’t (
 Noam Chomsky, Chomsky on Democracy and Education (
 Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).