The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Interfaith panel seeks to join religion, social issues

By Jay Logan Rogers

Promoting social justice is an important part of religious faith, religious leaders said in a panel discussion in the Union on Thursday.

Religious representatives from anti-poverty organizations took part in the discussion as part of Student Interfaith Week.

“My faith calls me to leave the world a better place than when I entered it,” said Linda Hilton, director of the Coalition of Religious Communities, an interfaith social justice organization.

Religious groups are too often complacent and hesitant to involve themselves in social activism or instead focus their efforts on legislating morality instead of pursuing social justice, Hilton said.

“You have to educate religious bodies that social justice is faith in action,” Hilton said.

Excessive military spending by the government will result in cuts in public services, said the Rev. Jennifer Hare-Diggs, executive director of the Salt Lake Interfaith Hospitality Network.

Many anti-poverty programs are in danger of being slashed, demonstrating state and federal representatives’ failure to commit to ending poverty, Hilton said.

She added that if every public official had to live on welfare for one year prior to taking office, governmental priorities would be radically different.

Audience members said they were shocked by some of the examples the panelists gave about poverty and injustice in the Salt Lake City area.

“It really opened my eyes. I had no idea about most of that stuff,” said Kirsten Johnson, a senior in mass communication.

“I feel half depressed and half on fire. I’m extremely disappointed in our State Legislature and the things they’re ignorant of,” said Devan Hite, a senior in classics and philosophy.

Student Interfaith Week is sponsored by the Student Interfaith Council. For more information, contact Jacob Madsen at 671-7419 or visit the group’s Web site at

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