Religion and Social Action


  • Photo of woman praying by Bo47Victims Have Say as Birmingham Bomber Is Sentenced.

  • Toll From Religious and Ethnic Violence in Nigeria Rises to 500.

  • Villages hit by India's wave of religious violence.

  • In Jerusalem, clashes over Temple Mount, Al Aqsa Mosque.  

From the U.S. to Nigeria, from India to Israel, religious violence has gotten a lot of press, but it’s also true that religion can be a force for peace and non-violence. Take a look at a few San Mateo County Library materials which show how believers have followed the peaceful teachings of their faiths to enact social change.

Briars in the Cotton Patch: The Story of Koinonia Farm

This movie tells the story of an intentional inter-racial Christian community in Americus, Georgia, which faced “bullets, bombs and boycotts” as it helped bring about the Civil Rights era. Among other things, Koinonia was the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity.

Love in Action: Writings on Nonviolent Social Change byThich Nhat Hanh

Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, has been working and writing since the Vietnam War on peace, nonviolence, and reconciliation. This book includes a powerful, moving letter to American Vietnam War veterans.

Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness and the Man Who Found Them All by Perry Garfinkel

National Geographic assigned Garfinkel to travel around the world reporting on the global Buddhist movement. In this readable book, he describes his travels, the ways in which Buddhism has adapted to fit with different cultures, and his encounters with practitioners and teachers such as the Dalai Lama as well as Thich Nhat Hanh, who encourages people to practice “engaged Buddhism.”

Photo Credit: Bo47


Author Bio:

Vaughn Harrison works at Half Moon Bay Library and on the Bookmobile. Her reading interests include archaeology and mysteries, among other things.

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