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Role of InterfaithEngagement in a Pluralistic Democracy

To enlarge the interfaith circle and more deeply engage those in the circle.

Photo of Ernestine Jackson
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In an increasingly pluralistic and diverse society, we find ourselves interacting with people of different faiths and belief traditions. Building relationship with those of other faiths and beliefs can be challenging, and many avoid trying. The Interfaith Association of Central Ohio (IACO) proposes to create and implement a program to build understanding of faith traditions and belief commonalities.

Explain your idea

IACO wants to expand its circle of trust and friendship -- peace advocates --- by organizing and implementing a series of events to bring people together, engage them in conversation, and listening, and in examining our commonalities of faiths and values. We believe our current environment and public discourse can be stimulated through acknowledgements of core values to re-establish respect for human rights, lessen discrimination, and help to eliminate oppression.

Who Benefits?

the beneficiaries are the community.

How is your idea unique?

Our uniqueness begins with the core group of representatives from 9 faith traditions and the support of individuals from yet other faiths but mostly those that define themselves as spiritual but not religious and those that reject religion as definer.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about you

The Interfaith Association of Central Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501 c 3 organization. We have several affiliate organization that look to IACO for guidance and inclusion. IACO puts its mission into action by (1) educating the public about customs and practices of faith traditions; (2) advocating for social justice, peace and human dignity; (3) promoting interfaith gatherings and events that address local and global concerns, and (4) partnering with organiztions committed to deliver quality interfaith programs. We work with many community based or faith based organizations, as well as entities like the Ohio Humanities Council, the Columbus Foundation, Puffin West Foundation, Martin de Porres Center, etc. IACO does not have paid staff and is governed by the IACO Council which consist of three representatives of each of the nine faith traditions that comprise the organization. Individuals of the IACO Council and representative of supporting organization will create both the partnership and the leadership for implementation of our idea. The Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area is a strong setting for this proposed project. Columbus has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, defense, aviation, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail and technology. The Metropolitan Area has recently experienced an increase in African, Asian, and Latin American immigration, including groups from Mexico, India, Somalia, and China. Many other countries of origin are represented in lesser numbers, largely due to the international draw of The Ohio State University. Due to its demographics, which include a mix of races and a wide range of incomes, as well as urban, suburban, and nearby rural areas, Columbus is identified as a typical American city. It is a test market for retail and restaurant chains for new products. The Columbus area has a broad LBGTQ community with an estimated 35,000+ gay, lesbian or bisexual residents.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of eldy wullur

Hello Ernestine,
In Indonesia the fourth largest population in the world, we have a diversity of not only religion but also differences in race, ethnicity, culture, food and so on. And this is what we always do every day to adapt to the neighbors, learn to understand their habits and even though we was very disturbing, we learn not protest. yes easiest thing that we do are moving house and look for a suitable environment