Inclusive America Project

The Inclusive America Project, launched by the Aspen Institute in 2012, is a high-level project building and sustaining the field of religious pluralism.

The American idea is rooted in a vision that people from varied religious and ethnic backgrounds can unite to create a single nation: E Pluribus Unum. Consistent with that idea, the Inclusive America Project envisions a thriving American religious pluralism, where everyone has the rights, freedoms, and safety to worship, or not, according to their conscience.

What is Religious Pluralism and Why is it Important?

Religious pluralism is a vision of the world in which diverse religious communities and non-believers engage each other in beneficial ways, maintain their distinct identities, and thrive and defend each others’ right to thrive.

The first clause of the First Amendment encapsulates an ideal of American religious freedom amid a recognition of American religious diversity. Today, that ideal is challenged from many sides. Distrust between and about faith communities is increasing and exacerbating polarization. Hate crime rates are soaring, and targets include both minority and majority religious communities.

If diversity is merely the presence of difference, however, pluralism is the thriving engagement of it. With over 75% of Americans claiming a religious affiliation, one asset we know brings us together is the strength of our incredibly diverse faith communities. Religion can be a force for positive social change, enabling us to understand ourselves and our relationship to one another. This is not just a nice idea; it is critical to the health of our democracy. Understanding and engaging faith communities and building bridges across difference is absolutely necessary to maintaining a strong civil society and a strong democracy.

To make our vision of a thriving religious pluralism a reality, the Inclusive America Project is creating a national infrastructure of sustained networks and shared learnings across sectors.

We do this by:

  • Building intellectual frameworks and resources that articulate the concept of pluralism, and how various faith-based and secular organizations engage with pluralism;
  • Leveraging our convening power to create a national infrastructure to foster multi-stakeholder and cross-sector connections with thought leaders, funders, practitioners, and academics in order to build and sustain the field of engagement with religious pluralism; and
  • Serving as the backbone organization to the Religious Pluralism Funders Circle (RPFC), a funders roundtable and collaborative.

Inclusive America Project History