HUFFPOST RELIGION: INTERFAITH
The HuffPost Religion site is an extension of the main website, The Huffington Post. The main page of HuffPost Religion has a variety of channels to choose from too include, Christianity, Islam, Religion and Science, Buddhism, Judaism, and Interfaith. Each channel has its own blog sites and articles to choose from tailored to each specific channel. I will be focusing on the Interfaith channel. While the HuffPost Religion home page does have an “About Us” section, it merely consists of staff members and their job titles. After digging a little deeper I found a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section to see if I could get a little more info. There I found a small introduction to the Huffington Post Community stating, “We are dedicated to maintaining a respectful community that actively engages in lively discussions about news stories and blog posts.” I also found a small insert on the Interfaith page describing the channel and goals it has. The page claims. “Interfaith features individual and group efforts at fostering positive and productive encounters between people from different faith traditions. It is a repository of actions and ideas emanating out of the growing field of interfaith engagement as well as reporting on events and interfaith groups.”
From reading the about section on the Interfaith channel’s main page I can conclude that the primary audience for this particular channel are individuals who may be interested in promoting interfaith relations or maybe those who are currently involved in an interfaith relationship and would like more insight on the topic. However, I was disturbed to see some of the comments by readers on one particular article I read. While I definitely admired the site from the beginning and respected what it was trying to do by having an interfaith channel I did not expect to see such negative or rude comments. I have provided below two screenshots with comments that really stood out to me as being inappropriate and disrespectful for an open blog. The comments included, “I am sorry to say this writer is smoking a formerly illegal weed” and “To the writer… go F yourself.” So although this particular channel is intended to bring awareness and promote unity, there are still readers who may come to the site just to cause chaos.
My first blog post was written by a woman named Susan Katz Miller, who is an author and blog writer for The Huffington Post. The article was called, “Let us Check More Than One Religion Box.” In her post Miller addresses key topics such as religion, interfaith, change, and college surveys. Her post was written in response to an annual report, “The American Freshman” that surveyed over 150,000 college freshman. Upon reading it Miller noticed the survey only allowed students to choose one religion as their religious preference. Miller believes that by only allowing students to choose one religion, the researchers are “missing an opportunity to better understand the changing landscape of American religious identity.” By reading the title I was able to see where this article was going, however, it wasn’t until mid article the readers learn that she comes from, and identifies herself as both Jewish and Christian. Miller chooses to go with a more personal avenue of approach for this post by using herself as an example and even discusses the survey with her eighteen year old son and shares what he has to say about it. By doing this Miller puts herself out there and allows us to view her life as an example as to why we should take her word or opinion serious. Her goals are clearly stated in her piece that by writing and sharing we have a clear opinion on her argument which she exclaims is “that by allowing them to check more than one box, researchers would be able to gather data to better understand the religious identity of these students.”
My second article was a post called, “Prophet Muhammad’s Example of Anti- Racism” by Craig Considine, a sociologists, speaker, and writer. Key topics Considine discusses are religion relationships, bigotry, and anti-racism. In his article Considine uses examples from Islam and the Quran to show why he believes the Prophet Muhammad is exactly what this world needs in a role model to counter “bigotry and whose acts serve as a model for coexistence.” Considine claims that relations between different ethnic and religious groups are deteriorating at a rapid pace, and this is why what we need most right now is a role model to look to for ways to change or better this issue. Considine’s approach to the post was more factual than anything because he used messages and text directly from the Quran to provide evidence. He did however write in a sense that I still see that his opinions are strictly his opinions and by no means is he speaking for everyone but simply using the Quran to show why he believes what he believes. I think the author chose to reference the Quran to validate his opinions. He makes it quite clear that he considers Muhammad “to be a quintessential ant-racist figure because he promoted peace and equality” and to further promote relations amongst Muslims and Non-Muslims “it is imperative that media outlets highlight Muhammad’s anti-racist ethos.” I believe Considine chose to post this particular blog on an interfaith channel in order to possibly reach a diverse audience. People coming to this site may not be familiar with other religions and their teachings. By providing a perspective some may not have thought of he is allowing his readers to see the Prophet Muhammad in a different way than we may be used to.
After reading both blog posts I strongly believe these posts contribute to the sites overall goal of “fostering productive encounters between people from different faith traditions.” Both articles dealt with interfaith issues and were very interesting reads. Miller’s post on the current issue of college surveys only allowing students to check one box for religion preference could be read and understood by a vast audience. As she stated in her post, the landscape of religion in America is constantly changing and these changes should be addressed. So regardless if the reader has a personal connection or not she writes in a sense that made me feel close to the issue and certainly brought awareness to me. With Considine’s post he did a great job of shedding light on a topic that is widely discussed in our nation today, especially with the latest happenings around the world. Islam is often times a discussion many stray from simply because of lack of knowledge. So to have someone shed a little light of the religions most respected individual, Muhammad, and to show why in his opinion is a role model we can all admire regardless of nationality or religion was unquestionably a contribution to the site’s goals. I chose to study HuffPost Religion because it was fairly simple for me to navigate the site and find various reads separated by religion. I specifically chose the interfaith channel because I am a strong Christian who has been exposed to multiple religions, Islam in particular. I have personally seen how many Christians criticize Islam purely off of ignorance or lack of knowledge, so I am very interested in learning how to bridge this connection between the two. So by reading the above articles I was able to view others perspectives and opinions on the matter. I intend to continue to stay updated with the latest blog posts on the interfaith channel in hopes that my knowledge on the topic will continue to grow and I will be able to be a more effective participant in interfaith conversation.