Eboo Patel plans to overhaul the country’s approach to religion. And his mission starts with giving his organization a new name.
For the past 20 years, Patel’s work happened under the banner of Interfaith Youth Core, a name that reflected his team’s focus on issues facing colleges and universities. Now, they’ll be known as Interfaith America and work to improve society as a whole.
“Our work on campuses will continue and grow. And we’ll add to that interfaith work in health, tech, racial equity ... government agencies and private companies,” said Patel, the organization’s founder and president, during a May 10 launch event in Washington, D.C.
In announcing the new name, Patel emphasized that the phrase “interfaith America” casts a vision of what the country could be. He and his team are calling for a kind of national rebranding, an embrace of religious diversity.
“The mission of Interfaith America the institution is to help build interfaith America the nation,” he told me in a phone interview last week.
Part of that effort will include ushering out the phrase “Judeo-Christian nation” in order to usher “interfaith America” in. The former served a valuable purpose in the mid-20th century, Patel said, but it’s no longer serving us well today.
During our interview, I asked Patel to say more about what the future will look like if Interfaith America succeeds. Here’s what he told me about his organization’s plans to build a “potluck nation.”