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So You Want to Be President: How's Your Interfaith IQ?

3 Interfaith IQ Tests that Our Future President Must Know (and Pass)

In the midst of a tumultuous election year, it’s important to critically assess all those who vie for the Oval Office.

Some important qualities to consider in those who are running for the highest office in the land are being intimately familiar with global affairs, can master and exude diplomacy, and can effectively lead change on a local, regional, and national scale.

But one important factor has become crucial in recent times: how is our future Commander-in-Chief’s interfaith IQ?

According to an article posted by Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, “our culture and political practices place high value on diverse voices and participants in the civic square.” Varnon-Hughes goes on to stress the significance of religious literacy in community conversation and the importance the President has on these conversations.

Varnon-Hughes also goes on to detail in this HuffingtonPost article the 3 interfaith IQ tests that the nation’s future President must know and pass:

1.) Practice self-awareness.

The President must take the time to notice and reflect on what’s happening in any given situation, so that any action taken can be one that’s been contemplated, rather than one that’s reactive.

2.) Recognize your position of power in conversations.

Varnon-Hughes also states that the person with the most power in the room should speak last. This order recognizes the amount of power and corresponding privilege that any given speaker has in a conversation.

3.) Having a high interfaith IQ includes recognizing that learning and change depend on relationships.

Lastly, having a high interfaith IQ does not mean simply knowing about cultural practices, holidays, or food. Varnon-Hughes goes on to state that the President must practice “postures, attributes, and ways of being in the world.” It goes beyond just knowing what the major practices a certain religion or culture displays, but also understanding and knowing how these cultural and religious factors integrate into daily lives, into certain systemic structures, as well as being able to encourage all these various and diverse viewpoints in order to make any given decision.

Read the full article here.

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D., is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader whose research interests include the history, theories, and practices of inter-religious education, mindfulness and compassion practices (with particular emphasis on practices from the Dharmic traditions, especially Jainism), public policy (especially regarding inequities in public education), and how digital and online resources can make education accessible and learner-focused. Her doctoral dissertation, in inter-religious education, focused on disequilibrium, resilience, and reflective practice as key ingredients for learning. She was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Lincoln University, an M.A. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.

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Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D., is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader whose research interests include the history, theories, and practices of inter-religious education, mindfulness and compassion practices (with particular emphasis on practices from the Dharmic traditions, especially Jainism), public policy (especially regarding inequities in public education), and how digital and online resources can make education accessible and learner-focused. Her doctoral dissertation, in inter-religious education, focused on disequilibrium, resilience, and reflective practice as key ingredients for learning. She was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Lincoln University, an M.A. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.