Religious Diversity and Inclusion
Religious diversity at Loras is represented by students of diverse faiths including Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Mormon, and many other Christian denominations. Loras embraces Catholic Social Teachings and our Catholic Identity Statement that include celebrating the spirituality of all people, seeking an understanding and acceptance of those around us, so that we may better understand our ability to contribute positively to the world, together.
Some course offerings encourage an analysis of faith and religion through the comparison of Catholic, Christian and other faith traditions, and our faculty and staff have taken leadership roles in several groups designed specifically to garner a better understanding of faiths other than Catholicism.
First-year students read Acts of Faith
by Eboo Patel for their Modes of Understanding class. Mr. Patel visited Loras in 2011--check out what he had to say.
In its second year, the Children of Abraham program, a series of conversations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, all open to the public. Each conversation is focused on a specific topic, ranging from various prophets (Abraham, Moses) to the
understanding of God to dimensions of experience (conversion, suffering) to social concepts and behaviors (peace, discrimination). Following the gospel principle of “love your neighbor as yourself,” and oriented toward peace-building through nurturing relationships between people, the Children of Abraham program emphasizes listening and learning and does not involve debate or any attempt at persuasion. The result has been the formation of cross-cultural friendships and inter-religious respect and understanding.
For the past three years, Loras has invited the imam at the Tri-State Islamic Center to come to campus to lead a discussion of the Qur'an for anyone, from campus or the Dubuque community, who wishes to participate. The sessions involve hearing the text translated (also with written translations on hand) and then explained from Muslim perspective, followed by questions and discussion. The purpose of the sessions is to expose participants to a different perspective that provides depth of understanding through repeated experience and sympathy through personal experience. Attendance is typically small - usually less than ten people - which allows for the development of strong and meaningful relationships.