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Pastoral Agriculture: John B. Griffing, Agricultural Missionaries, and Transnational Agricultural Development

August 9, 2023

This report examines the life and career of John B. Griffing to understand the larger transnational project of rural development in the twentieth century. Griffing had an eclectic career that took him to various parts of the United States, China, and Brazil. While Griffing's papers are scattered across multiple institutions and countries, collections from the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) were particularly useful in tracing the evolution of Griffing's ideas about rural development over time. At least two themes emerge when studying his career. The first is his views on religion and rural development. As the son of a small-town dairy farmer and grandson of a Methodist minister, Griffing found a way to blend these two influences by working as an "agricultural missionary" where he promoted agricultural improvement as a tool for spreading Christianity in China. His later work in Brazil focused less on proselytizing but he continued to champion the rural church as an effective center for agricultural change. The second theme is Griffing's emphasis on extension work and the importance of reaching rural youth through programs such as 4-H clubs. For Griffing, club work (which focused mostly on boys) was an effective way to cultivate a form of rugged masculinity, while also spreading new agricultural crops and practices to their parents. 

The Imperative for Religious Literacy Evaluation: Context, Key Insights, and Recommendations

June 27, 2023

Religious literacy education is a nascent field. Its proponents make substantial claims about its ability to lead to social change, both in countering negative forces that threaten social cohesion and in producing positive, pro-social changes in attitudes and behaviors. Yet at present, religious literacy educators have little empirical evidence to demonstrate the proposed relationships between religious literacy education and positive social changes in civil society. This report seeks to ameliorate this issue by providing an overview of current research and practices related to the evaluation of religious literacy. There is no one-size-fits all version or approach to religious literacy education—it is a context specific endeavor. Accordingly, there is also no one way to approach its evaluation. In response, this report highlights the challenges and advantages of evaluation, as well as current barriers to the practice. The recommendations, along with the companion guidebook, encourage scholars and practitioners across the field of religious literacy education to begin incorporating more research and evaluation across programs and initiatives.

A Guidebook for Religious Literacy Evaluation: Resources for Planning and Design

June 27, 2023

At present, many scholars and programs make large claims about the impacts of religious literacy education, but do not have empirical evidence or clear models to demonstrate those impacts to funders, school administrators, educators, students, or other practitioners in this field. This guidebook is intended to support religious literacy educational initiatives. It is not a complete primer on evaluation and does not dictate a particular methodology or approach to evaluation. Rather, with guiding questions at each step, it provides an introductory evaluation framework to help educators and researchers engaged in religious literacy educational initiatives.The companion report, The Imperative for Religious Literacy Evaluation: Context, Key Insights, and Recommendations, provides more detail and background about the need for evaluation in religious literacy education and a review of current practices and literature.

Emgage Annual Report 2022

June 22, 2023

Emgage Foundation educates and mobilizes Muslim American voters in support of policies that enable our communities to thrive and democracy to flourish. From hosting our "Million Muslim Votes" Summit, to achieving unprecedented Get Out the Vote successes in our state chapters, to connecting our community members with elected officials through town halls, candidate forums, and galas, 2022 was an absolutely remarkable year for our organization.

America’s Global Civil Religion: Making the UN Sacred in the Postwar US

June 21, 2023

The founding of the United Nations represented not only a new venue for international cooperation, but also an opportunity for re-thinking the place of America in the world. This report attends to the religious dimensions of that recalibration, highlighting especially the role of the Rockefeller family in crafting a civil religion of the United Nations in the late 1940s. Drawing on longstanding aspects of American civic culture that placed the nation in sacred history, the religion of global community, presented to the American people in hymns, prayers, and community celebrations, was both deeply familiar and altogether new. Letters to the Rockefeller family from ordinary Americans, and the family's own administrative records, reveal both the popular appeal of this reformulated civil religion and the tremendous efforts exerted to bring it to life. In the end, it never quite became fully realized; "the flickering flame of the United Nations burn(ed) too low," in the words of Robert Bellah. But UN civil religion mattered all the same, as both a tool of Cold War nationalism and a springboard for new modes of spiritualized global consciousness.

Regional Portrait of Catholic Care for Children in Eastern Africa: A study based on information from Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia

May 16, 2023

Catholic sisters are champions of care reform. Working with governmental, civic, and church leaders, and within their local communities, they are leading efforts to transition from institutional care toward family- and community-based care. Their leadership, service and spiritual witness have advanced the common good through a profound commitment to working on behalf of the vulnerable and marginalized. Focused on east Africa, this regional portrait offers data and information on care reform and the significant shifts and progress led by Catholic sisters in the region.

Beyond Erasure and Profiling: Cultivating Strong and Vibrant Arab American Communities in Chicagoland

February 13, 2023

This report captures the conditions and experiences of Arab Americans in the Chicagoland area. The report uses demographic research, surveys, focus group data, as well as expert commentaries by organizers and academics to analyze how systemic inequities and anti-Arab/anti-Muslim racism affect the lives of Arab Americans in employment, education, health care, housing, and policing. The report engages with the diversity of experiences among Arab American communities and their common challenge in navigating being at once hypervisible as a result of commonplace stereotypes as well as invisible due to being classified as white by government agencies and due to the general lack of knowledge about Arab Americans in our society.

Religion and Spirituality Among LGBTQ Youth

December 21, 2022

Religion and spirituality play important roles in the lives of many Americans. Overall, 68% of young adults ages 18-29 in the United States report that they believe in God, and 30% report that they believe God hears people's prayers and can intervene (Jones, 2022). Numerous studies have documented the ways that religion and spirituality are associated with positive mental health and healthy development among adolescents, including prosocial behavior and better physical health (Hardy et al., 2019; Canda et al., 2019; Koenig, 2018; Smith & Denton, 2005; Yonker et al., 2012; Nadal et al., 2018). Despite this, religion and spirituality can be fraught topics among LGBTQ communities due to historical anti-LGBTQ sentiments among many religious groups. Religious dogma has been used to dehumanize LGBTQ people, and LGBTQ people have often been excluded from religious spaces, ceremonies, and communities (Sherkat, 2019; Taylor & Cuthbert, 2019). While some American religious communities are shifting toward affirming and celebrating their LGBTQ members (Barton & Currier, 2019; Rodriguez & Etengoff, 2016), significant strides remain to ensure LGBTQ inclusion in many religious communities and spaces. Perhaps due to this historical exclusion and dehumanization, religion and spirituality have mixed associations with mental health among LGBTQ youth and adults. While, LGBQ young adults who report that religion is important to them also report higher odds of recent suicidal ideation (Lytle et al., 2018), LGB adults who report that they left their religion due to conflict with their sexual identity report higher odds of attempting suicide, compared to their peers who had no conflict between their faith and sexuality (Gibbs et al., 2015), suggesting the mental health impact is related to how they are treated in these spaces. Historical conflicts between religious communities and LGBTQ people have created a common misperception that LGBTQ people cannot be religious or spiritual. Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief sheds light on the importance of religion and spirituality in the lives of LGBTQ youth.

How Religion Intersects With Americans’ Views on the Environment

November 17, 2022

Pew Research Center conducted this survey to explore the relationship between Americans' religious beliefs and their views about the environment. For this report, we surveyed 10,156 U.S. adults from April 11-17, 2022. All respondents to the survey are part of Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, religious affiliation and other categories.

A Year of Learning: Educating the Philanthropic Community About Racialized and Stigmatized Nonprofits

October 1, 2022

The Muslim nonprofit sector is diverse and young, with many organizations established in the post-9/11 era. The Muslim nonprofit sector has been under scrutiny and faces discrimination in the form of Islamophobia. The racialized and stigmatized identity of Muslims has further increased the disconnect between the Muslim nonprofit sector and the philanthropic community. This report paper examines the work of the Year of Learning and its attempts to educate philanthropic leaders about the importance of engaging with racialized minorities including US Muslims. It raised the following questions: Why is there a lack of interaction between the racialized nonprofit sector and the foundation world? What are the challenges? This research suggests that the most powerful way to overcome these challenges is by engaging and educating both sides.

Houston Muslim Study

May 20, 2022

The purpose of the Houston Muslim Study is to provide an in-depth and policy-relevant study, through a non-security lens, about American Muslims at the local level in Houston, Texas. The study offers fresh insights and helps shape a discussion about American Muslims that is data-driven and moves beyond the generalizations, prejudices, and fear that too often surround public and policy discourses about Muslim communities in America.

Impact 2020: the Million Muslim Votes Campaign Voter Turnout Report

April 27, 2022

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presidential election set a record for voter turnout nationwide, significantly changed how Americans participate in voting, and resulted in 66.8% of eligible voters casting a ballot—7 percentage points over 2016. For years the Muslim American community has focused on improving and building institutional capacity to change the way Muslim Americans engaged in politics to ensure that the Muslim American narrative is at the core of the social fabric of this nation. In 2020, Emgage launched and implemented the largest Muslim mobilization program in history, the Million Muslim Votes campaign. Alongside statewide and national Muslim American civic groups, we concentrated our efforts on 12 states that made up a total of 1.5 million registered Muslim American voters. Our organizing efforts included making 1.8 million calls, sending over 3.6 million text messages and over 400,000 mailers, knocking on over 20,000 doors, holding over 50 organizing training sessions, and activating 672 volunteers nationwide.This effort contributed to 1,086,087 million (71%) registered Muslim voters casting a ballot, two percentage points over the 2016 turnout. Of the 1.5 million registered Muslim voters in 2020, 52% (779,793 million) voted early or via absentee ballots.This report takes an in-depth look at three core elements:the growth of the Muslim American electorate in the 12 states in which we organized;Muslim American voter turnout for 2016 and 2020, with a special focus on Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Illinois;the pivotal organizing shifts necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.