On April 21, 2012, The Buxton Initiative, in partnership with the Institute for Public Service and Policy Development and Ethica Alliance, and co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding hosted an event titled “Is America Under Siege?: The Threat of Religion to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
The event was a two-part session, moderated by founder of the Buxton Initiative, Ambassador J. Douglas Holladay, which included four Muslim speakers, Imam Mohamed Magid, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Dr. Jonathan Brown, and Maha Elgenaidi and four Christian speakers, Wilmot Allen, Dr. Joan Coolidge, Dr. Richard Gathro, and Richard Cizik. The speakers engaged each other and the audience and discussed questions on the role and intersection of religion and democracy in the context of the American narrative and the American socio-political landscape. They provided an array of perspectives, some that did not necessarily agree with another, and focused on providing insight on questions and ideas of faith related to the future of American politics and society. The focus on Muslim and Christian faith groups was present in attempt to bridge conversation between two groups whose narratives and social issues are often presented in sensational and polarized language in the political and public square.
After answering a series of questions and engaging with each other in a conversation, the second part of the session catered to audience questions and reflections on the first part of the event. It was an engaging and thought-provoking session that opened the door to more conversations and perspectives on the state of American democracy and religion.
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