American Values Religious Voices: 100 Days. 100 Letters. has brought together a diverse group of scholars to write letters to President Trump and his administration
What “American Values Religious Voices” Is All About
American Values Religious Voices: 100 Days. 100 Letters. has brought together a diverse group of scholars to write letters to President Trump, Vice President Pence, the Trump administration, and our elected officials in the House and Senate. These letters articulate core American values that are rooted or reflected in our various faith traditions.
These 100 scholars come from a range of religious backgrounds. Our scholars are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh, individuals who represent the full spectrum of each faith tradition. Our Christian scholars are Catholic, Evangelical, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Orthodox, Mormon, and Quaker. Our Jewish authors come from the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox Jewish communities. Our contributors are rabbis, ministers, a Buddhist nun and a Catholic Sister, ordained clergy and active laypeople in houses of worship nationwide.
These 100 scholars reflect the glorious diversity that defines and strengthens our nation. Our scholars approach this project from their individual perspectives as Americans, some as African Americans, Latinas and Latinos, Asians, Native American, people of color from around the world. Our contributors write from their unique sense of self, some as gay women and men, parents and grandparents, activists, immigrants, teachers, people trying in various ways to make a difference in the world.
These 100 scholars live “from sea to shining sea.” Our scholars hail from twenty-one states and the District of Columbia. Our contributors teach at sixty-eight different institutes of higher learning, from large universities, to small liberal arts colleges, to seminaries across the country. Other letter writers lead organizations like the Forum for Theological Exploration, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Interfaith Youth Core.
How “American Values Religious Voices” Came About
In the days following the election, Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Associate Professor of Bible at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, came up with the idea of scholars sending a letter a day to our newly elected officials for the first 100 days of the new presidential term.
Words and actions during and after the election seemed to call into question fundamental values that have long defined our nation. Our divided country greeted the election results with mixed emotions: disappointment and anxiety felt by some, contrasting with excitement and promise experienced by others. Either way, at this time of transition many people appear to long for guidance, inspiration, and a reaffirmation of what it means to be an American.
As the initial idea took shape, a vision of a diverse cadre of contributors gave the endeavor added relevancy and urgency. This nonpartisan project has brought together contributors of different religions, races, genders, ages, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and geography–precisely the type of diversity that makes us who we are as a nation.