ReligionWise

Religion from the Ground Up - Jessica Cooperman

April 15, 2022 Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding Season 1 Episode 8
ReligionWise
Religion from the Ground Up - Jessica Cooperman
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of ReligionWise, the discussion features Jessica Cooperman, Associate Professor and Chair of Religion Studies and Director of Jewish Studies at Muhlenberg College.  Our conversation focuses on the materials and methods that a historian uses to paint a picture from the past, including publicly and privately held archives.

Show Notes:



Chip Gruen:

W elcome to ReligionWise, the podcast that features educators, researchers, and other professionals discussing their work and the place of religion in the public conversation. I'm your host Chip Gruen, Director of the Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding at Muhlenberg College. Today's conversation features Dr. Jessica Cooperman, Associate Professor and Chair of Religion Studies, as well as the Director of the Jewish Studies program at Muhlenberg College. Sometimes people say about religious studies that it is the Frankenstein's monster of academic disciplines. Instead of being one whole, it is pieces of other disciplines stitched together in order to make something new. So the constituent parts include political science, history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and puts them together for the purposes of studying this thing that we call religion. Dr. Cooperman's work is actually a case in point. She was not trained as a religious studies scholar, but instead was trained at NYU in history. So as you'll hear, she's interested in American Judaism and the connection between American ideas about religion, and the institutions of the American state. Her first book is entitled Making Judaism Safe for America, World War I and The Origins of American Religious Pluralism. I encourage you to go pick up a copy of that and read it and think about the ways that Judaism is incorporated into a larger discussion of religious diversity in the United States, in particular, for the purposes of integrating Jewish soldiers into the military during World War I. For the purposes of this conversation, though we will talk about some of the issues that are presented in the book, I'm more interested in her methods that lead to it. So as you'll hear, she's an archivist. Someone who goes into the collections of papers, documents, letters, materials collected by organizations, and explores those for primary sources that might help to paint a picture of the historical past. In this case, that would be Jewish identity within the military. These sources are very different from what you might think of as scholarly work in religious studies that very often is interested in sacred texts, or writings that are produced by religious individuals for their communities, or maybe observation of religious communities, what anthropologists call ethnographic reports. Instead, this is taking the actual documents, the actual byproducts, of administration of these organizations, whether they be churches and synagogues, or organizations like the Salvation Army or the US military, and thinking about the conversations that are left behind in those records and thinking about how piecing those conversations together can lead to a fuller picture of the past. Welcome, Jessica Cooperman. Thanks for coming on ReligionWise.

Jessica Cooperman:

Thanks so much for having me.

Chip Gruen:

So, you are a historian. You teach in a religion studies department, but are trained as a historian. One of my favorite comments about the religious studies discipline is that it is sometimes referred to as a Frankenstein's monster, because we put different pieces together, whether it be sociology, anthropology, philosophy, history, history of religions, etc. Can you talk just a little bit about what it's like moving from a history department into a religion studies department? How does your discipline, you know, contribute something a little different? And then we'll talk a little bit more about the the nuts and bolts of that.

Jessica Cooperman:

It was an interesting transition in a lot of ways. I think sometimes the questions that historians ask and the questions that people trained in other fields, including religious studies, ask are going to be slightly different. Sometimes that's exciting. I actually found that to be a really energizing sort of shift. It did lead me though to ask different questions. I think that historians focus on maybe political and economic issues in different ways. I think that historians focus on different aspects of daily life. And for me, as somebody trained in Jewish history, it actually was sort of exciting to think about, not just those larger structural issues, but questions about religious life and about how people experience, define, think about their religious life and to develop those questions in conversation with colleagues who are trained in other fields, actually was an unexpectedly rewarding transition for me to make.

Chip Gruen:

So you talk about different questions, it seems to me like there are also different tools, different types of sources, not to say that people in other disciplines don't ever use those sorts of sources. But the types of sources you use, in particular, archival research, archival resources, are sort of a different kind of material than we might be used to thinking about when we think about studying religion. Can you talk a little bit about, one, the content of those kinds of archival resources, like what does that look like? And two, what is that process like? I know that you are very often traveling to removed archives in different places, some of which are digitized, some which are not. What does that process look like as well?

Jessica Cooperman:

Sure, I actually think archival research is incredibly exciting. And I think that it's one of the big misconceptions that most people I think have about history and the writing of history. We're so used to getting history in a pre-digested form, right? Most of us go through school, and we read history textbooks, that kind of makes it look like these are fixed narratives that have just been sort of canonized through the creation of textbooks. And that's fine. It serves a useful educational purpose. But historians don't start with the textbooks, they go and they look for primary materials, they look for stuff that was written, created, produced in the moment of time that they're studying, that they're trying to understand. And so I think when you start thinking about archival research, and start doing archival research, you realize that those historical narratives are much more changeable than they look in a textbook. They're interpretations of history that come to shape the way those larger narratives are presented. And as the questions that historians ask shift over time, the stories they tell about the past also shift. And so the writing of history is, I think, much more dynamic than we generally get to see when we're sitting in a classroom and reading a textbook. Going into archives, I find to be really fun. Sometimes they're a little overwhelming. I've done some research in the National Archives, for example, which is a huge collection of stuff on every aspect of the federal government. I've done a lot of work with their military archives. It's an enormous collection, and it is sometimes just files and files of pieces of paper. And so when people ask me like, Well, isn't that all digitized by now? I think, Oh, my gosh, you can't imagine how many pieces of paper we're talking about. There'll be archival boxes, filled with folders, and each folder is filled with pieces of paper and a collection, may be hundreds and hundreds of boxes, just filled with pieces of paper and photographs and memos and letters and sometimes newspaper articles that have been assembled together. And so I feel like doing archival research is sort of like going on a treasure hunt. You pick a topic, you identify like, well, this collection of documents might tell me something about it. You go into the archive, you work with archivists to find which box out of the hundreds you're interested in you're going to start looking at, and then you just read things. And for me, there is something really exciting about being able to pick up a letter that was written in 1917 and see the signature of that person at the bottom of the page and have that kind of immediate hands on experience with this historical document. And then the opportunity to think about well, what's the context in which this document was produced? What were the concerns that that person who signed the letter was thinking about? What were what were the problems they were trying to solve, and what other pieces of information to work out that larger puzzle, can I find in this collection of documents, or maybe in other collections somewhere else, that help me build a bigger picture of this moment in time, this set of historical questions.

Chip Gruen:

And you mentioned the National Archives, but I know that there are also smaller, lesser known archives, that might be the personal papers of a particular person or a community organization. How does going to one of the smaller archives different from going to maybe a big, publicly serving institution like the National Archives?

Jessica Cooperman:

Sure. So the National Archives are probably the biggest collection that I've worked with. And there is an enormous collection. But there are indeed lots of other archival collections and archival institutions. I did a lot of work for my first book at the American Jewish Historical Society, which is in New York City, and they are the oldest ethnic Historical Society in the country and they collect papers related to American Jewish history. So some of those are going to be institutional records for an organization like the American Jewish Committee, or the American Jewish Congress. I worked with a collection dealing with the Jewish Welfare Board. And sometimes they're going to be very small collections, personal papers from an individual or a family or a club, a community organization, where people have preserved papers that were important to them, and then as they looked either to preserve them, or sometimes to get rid of them, contact these archival collections. And we'll talk to the archivists there and see if it's worth preserving those papers. And those also are really exciting to get to look at one family's story or one group of people's story, and to think about the differences between different types of archival collections. So I mentioned the American Jewish Historical Society, I've done research at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, and thinking about the different types of collections they have, the different types of papers that you can find, and how you can use those documents to build a sense of, of the past.

Chip Gruen:

Yeah, so being trained in antiquity and ancient materials myself, one of the things that always was a little frustrating is knowing that 100s or 1000s of scholars have looked at some of the materials that I want to say something about. You don't have that problem, you know, it seems to me a lot of these archival materials, you might be the first person with professional training to look at.

Jessica Cooperman:

Yeah, I think that's right. That's how I kind of got started on my first book project. I was looking for a topic to write about, I went into the, I was in graduate school at NYU, so I was close to where the archives were housed, and spoke to an archivist and said, Well, I'm kind of interested in writing something about the chaplaincy and the military. And they said, We have a newly catalog collection of papers that nobody's looked at yet. Do you want to look at it? And I said, Great, that sounds awesome. And so I'm sure lots of scholars have looked at it since then, it's a wonderful collection, but it was exciting to think like, wow, I can use these papers that not many people have seen that have been only recently organized and put into these categories that the archivists there have gone through and sort of carefully thought about. Yeah, it was exciting. It is, I think, a big difference between studying the ancient world and studying more recent history.

Chip Gruen:

So you talk about, you've used this metaphor of building on several occasions, the idea that you look for these materials, and then you're able to build a narrative, or reshape a narrative that has previously been told. And then you also mentioned your first book project, which was Making Judaism Safe for America, World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism. I want to talk a little bit about that monograph, about how these documents, this archival work really enabled you to tell the story of the building of an American pluralism, a religious pluralism in a different way. I was reading some of the reviews and praise for your book, and so many reviewers mention how this really reframes the advent of pluralism, this type of pluralism, from the context of World War II back to World War I. So how did the archives help you see this and how does that narrative spin out differently after your research, after your work?

Jessica Cooperman:

I think one of the ways in which historians build those structures, those narratives is, certainly for me, I started with a question that was pretty open ended. I wanted to find out about Jewish military chaplains in World War I. It was the first time there was an organized Jewish military chaplaincy, I thought, cool, I'll go learn something about those people. But I didn't have an overarching question about, I didn't know in advance why that might be an interesting thing to study, or what I was going to be able to show by studying that group of people. I was just sort of fascinated by that group of people, and this question of, What did it mean to have military chaplains at all in a country that prides itself on separation between church and state; who are these people who are religious functionaries of an institution of the state? What was their job? What did they think about? How did they do that job? What was the purview of their work? And then what in particular did it mean to be representatives of a minority religious community, of American Jews, in the American military? So I thought those were interesting enough questions to start with. But as I read the archival collections, as I thought more and more about the sort of set of questions connected to these groups of people, not just what are their individual stories, but how did they get their commissions? Who was fighting for them to get commissions? What challenges did they face when they got those jobs? What was the support network around them? I realized that it was a much bigger story than just the experience of these men. And there are about 25 Jewish chaplains in the American military in World War I, so a relatively small group of people, but their experience, and then the experience of this network of organizations and individuals that supported their work and advocated for their ability to get these positions told a much bigger story about shifting American ideas about what is religion, what is American religion, and how does it fit into American society. And so there was a long standing and, I think, solid historical narrative about the development of what we talk about as tri-faith religious pluralism, the idea that Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are all intrinsic members of this American religious tradition, what we think of today as a, or have thought of since the mid 20th century, as a Judeo-Christian tradition in the United States, that that emerges from World War II. And there's lots and lots of excellent scholarship about that, and excellent reasons to think about World War II as a crucial turning point in how Americans thought about religion. But as I was doing the research for my work on World War I, it became apparent that a lot of the structural changes and a lot of the institutional changes and even ideological changes that made it possible in World War II for us to think of as the United States having a Judeo-Christian heritage, didn't just instantly appear in World War II, that the groundwork had been laid in World War I. And so what started as a fairly focused set of questions about the experiences of a relatively small group of rabbis working for the US military kind of grew over time into a much larger set of questions about, well, How did the military shape American ideas about religion? And why did the American government change its definitions of who should serve as a religious functionary within the military? And what can that tell us about the structures of government and of society and of the needs of the American population and of the way Americans thought about religion? And my conclusion was that some of those shifts towards thinking about the United States as a tri-faith country, with all the limitations of tri-faith, right, that there are plenty of communities that are not included in that definition, and were not included in that definition in the mid 20th century, that those shifts had happened earlier than people had thought, that they didn't just come about as a result of World War II, that the structural changes have been put in place, I would argue, through some of the changes the military makes during World War I.

Chip Gruen:

So one of the things that's been interesting to me as I think about public conversations about religion, and some of those public conversations happen through policy and in this case, you're talking about the military, the military is nothing, if not practical. That we think, What is the goal of the military? It's to have soldiers that are ready to do their jobs. It is not the job of the military to, to explore narratives of religion necessarily, to make definitions of religion, categories of religion, understand the intricacies of religious belief and practice, yet here they are at the front of this movement. Does your work shine a light on the thinking behind why the United States, States military is interested in pursuing this project? I mean, how does it fit their goals?

Jessica Cooperman:

I think that's a great question. And I think it actually ties back to your original question about being a historian now situated in a department of religion studies and thinking more and more about religion studies as a field, because you're absolutely right, the US military did not enter World War I with the intention of promoting religious pluralism. Their concern was about preparing soldiers for battle and building an effective, efficient military force. And so they end up being this site in which American definitions of religion change I argue almost by accident, almost as a result of their own kind of blind spots. That there is, the military chaplaincy is a very old institution, and so military leaders felt like almost reflexively, like, of course, men need chaplains as they're going to go off into battle. It's necessary to maintain the morale of the troops and the moral character of these young men. And I don't think that they intended to make any reforms in policy as they made those assumptions as they got ready to enter World War I, however, the country had become significantly more diverse in the years between the Civil War, the last major military draft and conflict that the United States had been engaged in- by the time they enter World War I, millions of immigrants have entered the country. It's a more diverse religiously, ethnically, culturally diverse country than it had been in previous years, and suddenly, the military finds itself faced with resistance to old ideas about the chaplaincy. And so in the interest of military efficiency, they end up having to make space for Jews and Catholics, for Judaism and Catholicism, within the structures of the military. So I think it's, it's not with the intention of promoting pluralism, it is with the intention of promoting military efficiency that they end up becoming this site in which pluralism is not only tolerated but encouraged. But thinking about my position as a historian now in a department of religion studies, I think that is something that historians can bring to the table in the study of religion, certainly in the study of religion in the United States, that there's a way in which, in public discourse about religion- a category like Judeo-Christian values, right, that seems like something that we could identify what that means, or that it would have a fixed category. But it's not. That by looking back at historical documents, by thinking about, when did people start using that term? And why did they start using that term? And what did they mean when they started thinking about Protestants, Catholics, and Jews all being part of an American religious framework? By thinking more about how and why those ideas came about, I think that we can sometimes destabilize ideas that seem like they're really fixed. We can appreciate that they themselves are part of a changing narrative of American religion. And we can help people think more creatively and sort of broadly about how it is that ideas about religion have changed over time, and what that can tell us about why they change, and who gets to change them, and for what reasons. And like you say, sometimes it's for reasons that are not about theology, ideology, aspirations towards pluralism, it's for very practical reasons that will have unexpected outcomes.

Chip Gruen:

So I want to follow this thread just a little bit more, because it's an example that I sometimes use when I talk about contemporary religious pluralism that I think that you will appreciate, is that if you go today to Arlington National Cemetery, you will of course see crosses, you will see Stars of David, you probably would, people probably would not be surprised to know that you see a crescent and a star, symbols of Islam, but then you see pentagrams, for example, or symbols of religious traditions that are even more diverse than what we've been talking about in the early to mid part of the 20th century. Your subtitle is Origins of Religious Pluralism, how much do you see those processes that you trace from the early part of the 20th century impacting the way that the public conversation in this particular public organization are happening? And how much is that affecting definitions of religion and inclusion of various religious identities within the contemporary military?

Jessica Cooperman:

I think it's tremendously important, right? And if you think about the significance of a place like Arlington National Cemetery, that people, all kinds of Americans for all kinds of reasons, will walk through that space and encounter, experience these symbolic representations of different religious traditions, some that may be familiar to them, some that may be unfamiliar to them, but by virtue of them all being represented in this space of deep national significance, the country itself, the government is, the military is giving recognition, is sort of officially recognizing those as pieces of the American religious tradition, as components of the American religious tradition. And it's not simply a natural process that led to all those different symbols being there. For each symbol that is included, there is a story of people serving in the military, and then of advocating for their right to representation in the military and having civilian populations at home support them, and having sometimes members of Congress advocate for them, and having clergy come and defend the need for those religions to be represented within the military. And so, you know, each of those symbols represents a different history. And then collectively, I think they change the way Americans think about religion, because even without knowing those backstories, you walk through this space and your idea about religion is changed and expanded. And then that appreciation that there's a narrative that accompanies each of them, I think, is really inspiring.

Chip Gruen:

Yeah, it's interesting, I would think if you just talk to an educated person on the street and they thought about the way that religious identity is adjudicated, or is understood in the contemporary world, I think the first thing that most of us would think of is Supreme Court decisions. Something like use of peyote or practice of Santaria, or, that there have been a list of Supreme Court cases that have dealt with this. But it's interesting to see these other sort of conversations, these other discursive spaces, where that kind of diversity is happening, maybe alongside legislative or judicial paths as well.

Jessica Cooperman:

I think that's exactly right. Supreme Court cases are obviously tremendously important. But they represent moments of conflict that the court will adjudicate, will then resolve for the country. But it's interesting to notice in the example of the military, that these are decisions not necessarily made because there's some sort of conflict that has to be resolved through legal means, back to your original question about the military, there's a pragmatic set of concerns about, How do we move forward in a way that is productive and efficient, and where can we make changes and where can we include people or serve people's needs that will allow them to be better soldiers? And so I think that is an important other story, that not every moment of renegotiation of our categories of religion happens through legal conflict. A lot of them happen through these much more, kind of mundane-looking problem solving moments that happen in other kinds of institutions, the military, in schools, and even just among individuals within communities. How will they mark holidays? Who will be represented? How will they decide upon those representations? Who will be included in those decision making processes? Those also are important moments for helping us understand how religion gets defined and experienced in the United States. And sometimes they are moments of conflict that have to be resolved by the courts, but sometimes they're moments of negotiation between people and within institutions, and I think those are just as important.

Chip Gruen:

So this project, I think it's fair to say, got you interested in these questions of religious pluralism, in what are often described as interfaith interactions, which leads us to your next archival project, what you're working on now. And you don't need to provide any spoilers on what all you found so far, but you're interested in, you mentioned holidays, in Passover Seders. And you don't have to interrogate too many Christian communities before you realize that there's a longstanding tradition of Christians either participating in or hosting their own Passover Seders as a, as an expression, perhaps, of their own Christianity? And so how did you get interested in this topic? How is it related to that archival work we talked about earlier? And how does it relate to this bigger project of religious pluralism?

Jessica Cooperman:

So I became interested in this project really because it was something I'd never heard of. And it was so fascinating to me, as somebody who studies American Jews and American Judaism. I ended up in a conversation with a Lutheran pastor who was telling me about the Passover Seder he had hosted at his church, and how important this was to his interfaith connection to his Jewish neighbors, to Jewish community, and to Judaism. And I thought, wow, that's strange, I've never heard of that before- I didn't say that to him. But I was just so fascinated why, about why something that seemed totally natural and obvious to him as an expression of interfaith connection between Jews and Christians was something that I, as a scholar of American Jews and Judaism, had not encountered. And so that just kind of was a question that lingered in the back of my head for a while until I had time to do what I do, I guess, when I have questions, is to go back into archival collections and see if I could start tracing like, Okay, well, what's the story here? Where does this come from? Who is doing it? And how do different people understand what it is that they are doing when they either decide to host interfaith Seders, or when churches like this pastor's church decide that they're going to host a Seder of their own? Could I unravel something of the story behind that? So part of what makes that interesting to me is that, while you said it seems like maybe an obvious part of a lot of American Christian's tradition today, historically, that was not the case. So thinking about, When did this become part of Christian tradition and why was kind of my starting question. So it seems to me that part of that story is very much about post-World War II periods and reconfigurations, sort of like new understandings of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity that emerged in the post-war period, both among academics and among theologians, and among concerned individuals. And then another part of the story that I found really interesting was the attempts by Jewish organizations starting in, certainly by, the 1950s to use Passover Seder as an opportunity to intentionally reshape relationships between Jews and Christians, and to rethink the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. And so thinking about what Jewish organizations were interested in when they embarked in those on those projects of using this holidays as a moment of conversation and reconfiguration, and then what their Christian partners, or neighbors, or other Christian organizations were interested in when they embarked on that project of using the holiday as a moment of discussion and exploration and thinking about both their own tradition and their relationship to Jewish neighbors, Jewish organizations, to Judaism. I just found that a fascinating story that I wanted to learn more about.

Chip Gruen:

Yeah, that conversation starts, as you get into it, starts to look like other conversations we have in the contemporary world about cultural borrowing as well. That not only is this a question of interfaith relations, or Christians wanting to talk to Jews, or Jews wanting to talk to Christians, because they each have their agendas about diffusing antisemitism, for example, or other concerns of Christians wanting to tie more closely to their Jewish past as, I would hazard, a more nuanced view of the historical Jesus starts to come into view in the 20th century as well. But this also starts to look like appropriation, and I know that some of your, some sources start to get a little bit uncomfortable with Christians using Jewish symbols, Jewish rituals, Jewish ideas, sometimes in concert with Jews and Jewish communities, but sometimes on their own. How does that add another wrinkle to this story?

Jessica Cooperman:

So I think that's the part where I find things really get interesting to me. Thinking about, What are the intentions that people bring to these projects? How do they differ? Where do they overlap and where do they diverge? So again, thinking about archival sources, it was incredibly fascinating to me to look at the records of different organizations that are in conversation with each other about interfaith projects, Jewish-Christian interfaith projects, some related to Passover, some sort of more broad about bringing people together for discussion or educational programs, and that they might be able to work together on building these exciting conversations, conferences, educational programs, but the intention that they bring to it is often very different. As you mentioned, Jewish groups tended to be, particularly in the post-war period, very, very focused on fighting off antisemitism, whereas Christian organizations tended to have theologically motivated intention about, sometimes also about fighting off antisemitism, certainly, but in thinking about the identity of Jesus as a Jew, and how they could better understand that experience. And so there are moments where those two different streams of intention can work together and mesh really productively. And then these other moments where you see them kind of diverge. And I think that's where we get into that sense of discomfort, right? At the moment in which you have two individuals or two communities of people, they're working together, and then suddenly their interests diverge, then I think that sense of maybe territoriality comes in, right. Who gets to make the decision? If we don't agree upon everything, then which one of us will be right? Which one of us has the authority to make a decision about the content of an educational program, or in the case of a holiday where I think the stakes are maybe even emotionally higher, who will get to make a determination about what is an authentic experience of a particular holiday? What are the necessary ingredients that make an experience authentic or not? And who has the authority to decide, I think, becomes certainly, I think, painful and contentious sometimes for the people involved in making those decisions, and for me, as a scholar, I think becomes really fascinating for thinking about, How do we negotiate relationships, discussions, dialogues between different communities where there's types of understanding that are definitely possible and fruitful, and then there are these moments of divergence and how is that negotiated? What can that tell us about religion in the United States?

Chip Gruen:

So I always like to end our conversations with the "so what" question. I think that listeners will agree with me that all of these topics are intrinsically interesting within themselves, and seeing those negotiations, seeing the narratives develop over time, seeing these different groups sort of vying, sometimes cooperatively and sometimes not, to develop over time. But for the contemporary, interested individual, for the contemporary listener, what lessons do you think your work and your conclusions and the historical antecedents to our world that you study, what lessons can we take from all that to be more sophisticated when we're both thinking about this question of religious pluralism or thinking about various religious communities in general?

Jessica Cooperman:

I think the first one is one I mentioned before, that I think that looking back historically helps us appreciate that things that seem like they've existed for all time, almost never have. That ideas that seem the bedrock of our society, almost all of them have some sort of moment of profound, or maybe multiple moments of profound, historical change. And I think that realizing how much the structures of our society have changed in the past is useful for thinking about what is possible in the future. For having a sort of perspective on the potential for change and development and a broader sense of what has been possible, what people have done in the past. I think to that question about the sort of specific moment we live in and those questions of cultural appropriation, I think those are, those are emotionally charged questions as people wrestle with their identities, different individuals, different communities of people, wrestle with their identity and their space in the American public sphere in the contemporary moment. And so I think that being able to look backwards and think about, well, Where have we seen moments of change and why? And what has been possible and why? And then, What can that help us appreciate, both about our contemporary moment and about the types of change we can make, the types of interventions into what seem like fixed ideas about things have always been this way? Well, maybe not. And, how can we imagine things being, creating more space for different voices, different types of people? I think that history doesn't offer a clear map forward, but it offers us an overview of what has been possible that I think maybe can be inspiration for what is possible.

Chip Gruen:

All right. Thank you, Jessica Cooperman. Thanks for coming on ReligionWise. This has been a lot of fun.

Jessica Cooperman:

Thank you so much.

Chip Gruen:

This has been ReligionWise, a podcast produced by the Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding of Muhlenberg College. For more information and additional programming, please visit our website at religionandculture.com There, you'll find our contact information, links to other programming, and have the opportunity to support the work of the Institute. ReligionWise is produced by the staff of the Institute for Religious and Cultural Understanding of Muhlenberg College, including Christine Flicker, and Carrie Duncan. Please subscribe to ReligionWise wherever you get your podcasts. We look forward to seeing you next time.