A Leader Who Sees Religion Need Not Divide Us


Today’s RFL offers both an example of courageous leadership and a resource for enrichment. I’ve been following a leader named David Crumm. David’s been a journalist for thirty years, the last twenty as the religion writer for the Detroit Free Press. To me David models courage, because in his mid-50s he has left the rather staid, 20th century world of a big city newspaper, and the even more tranquil realm of religion writing – not to mention a regular paycheck – for the wild, wild west of the worldwide web. I am inspired and challenged as I see entrepreneurism spring from this unlikely place.

I am also enthused at what he’s doing at www.readthespirit.com. Religion has exploded – quite literally – into our mainstream worlds. Globally, we see religious strife in Myanmar, in Israel and Palestine, between Sunni and Shia, and the terrorism driven by extremist Islamists. Religion has become increasingly divisive – in American politics, and in religious sects themselves – where ordination of women and gay and lesbian leadership, abortion and stem cell research threaten to tear apart whole congregations.

David Crumm is disturbed by this, but he has responded with hope and wisdom. His site offers a place to learn, as he takes us from the obsession with what divides us to see and appreciate the overwhelming similarities we share. He offers interviews with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Christians of all stripes and digests great books in the field, and invites us to read, pray, and participate in the dialogue. He has more than once made me say: How great to live in this time when my Catholic faith is enriched by – not threatened by – other traditions through which God has spoken in this world.

On my radio show tonight I’ll be interviewing Imam Hassan Qazwini, whom David recently featured. David’s review of Qazwini’s new book, American Crescent captures Imam Qazwini’s spirit, but I think he has also managed to give us a glimpse into his own open-minded, open-hearted optimism. Crumm writes: “Hassan Qazwini…writes not only to explain his faith to non-Muslims in an uplifting way, but also to critique American culture. And, in the end, he points out eloquently why he has such boundless optimism about Americans’ spiritual potential. He’s not talking about converting Americans. He’s talking about his pride and optimism as an American himself about our respect for cultural diversity and our desire to make faith an essential part our daily lives.” As Ramadan winds down, David Crumm points a way for us to learn and to heal division through understanding.

Perhaps it’s a book you might want to read as you

Lead with your best self,

You can listen to my interview with Imam Qazwini by going to www.Danmulhern.com and clicking on the radio icon to the bottom left. The show airs live from 6-7 PM, EST.