Features

Spotlight on Religion

By
Features Editor
Thursday, April 29, 2010

In a poll conducted earlier this semester, The Herald asked, “How important or unimportant is religion in your life?”

With no explanation as to whether the question referred to religious identity or practice, interpretation of the question was left entirely to the respondents. “Somewhat unimportant” drew 17.2 percent of responses, and a third of those polled responded “very unimportant.” But 26.2 percent responded with “somewhat important,” and 18.1 percent called religion “very important” in their lives.

Though several religious groups on campus enjoy a vibrant presence, University Chaplain Janet Cooper Nelson said it seems like there is “an effort to flatten the conversation into very narrow camps.” Religion, Cooper Nelson said, is a unique topic in that people with little experience or background feel comfortable articulating very strong opinions. Though she has experienced a great deal of “group ignorance,” Cooper Nelson said individually she finds people are often well-informed.

Cooper Nelson said she did not want students to leave the University “religiously illiterate,” but that students “often at very young ages become each other’s teachers about religion.”
In today’s Spotlight, The Herald takes a look at a sampling of groups whose names might not be well-known, but that nonetheless unite students in common ground.