Skip to content

Statement of Principle

The Department of Religious Studies is committed to the non-confessional academic study of religion, which promotes a commitment to critical intellectual inquiry, global awareness and engagement, respect for diversity and cultural variety, and civility and inclusion within and outside of the classroom. As a department, we advocate for no single religion or political position, and our diverse faculty, staff, and students hold a wide range of religious and political views. In our commitment to diversity and inclusion we stand united against discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality and sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, national and regional origin, and religion. We express this principle as a moral truth rather than a political position, because we hold that human rights and human dignity are not subject to debate.

As scholars of religion, we are well aware that people have invoked religious differences to perpetrate violence and bigotry in both the past and present. We understand the dangers of religious discrimination and its intersections with other forms of discrimination, including racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism, and we denounce ideologies that mobilize religious difference only to benefit certain people and denigrate others. We instead encourage thoughtful and insightful comparisons 
and contrasts within and across the boundaries of religious traditions to appreciate not only what distinguishes religions from each other, but also what unites them.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.