US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Let's share some interfaith inspiration

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Five years after I wrote a college paper on the sorry state of reporting on interfaith dialogue, the subject is finally in the spotlight.

Today's front page of the Chicago Tribune--as sad as the paper has become--featured an article about Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core and a past USC interviewee (see the interview "Have faith in our youth" from July 2008).

Patel has certainly done a lot for raising the profile of interfaith activity--and I'm mean activity, as his organization centers around service and not just sitting around and talking. He is a dynamic speaker and personality, and it's been a big year for him.

He was appointed a member of Obama's council advising the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This week he won the 2010 Louisville Grawemeyer Award, the most lucrative prize for a single work in the field of religion, and became the first Muslim to give the keynote address at the Greater Chicago Leadership Breakfast.

In other interfaith news, the New York Times shared the story of three other dynamic personalities who call themselves the "interfaith amigos" on the National page a few weeks ago. A Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim, the clergymen have traveled the country doing entertaining but also very serious presentations.  

Still, I have yet to see a major news organization cover the Parliament of the World's Religions, now running in Melbourne, Australia.

I applaud Manya Brachear of the Chicago Tribune and Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times for their coverage of interfaith dialogue. The religious community, however, needs to continue to do its part by giving religion reporters more to write on. We need more people like Patel and the interfaith amigos to be ambassadors of peaceful dialogue.