2011: Volume 4, Issue 1, pp. 43-60

Public Relations and Religious Diversity: 
A Conceptual Framework for Fostering a Spirit of Communitas

Donn James Tilson



Changes in immigration law, globalization and increased ease of transportation have transformed modern societies into culturally diverse landscapes with religious diversity, in particular, presenting both opportunities and challenges. The author proposes a conceptual framework that embraces an interpretation of public relations as a social function, a covenantal model as a theoretical ground, an expanded worldview to include tolerance as an essential defining presupposition, and expanded communicative conceptual parameters that include religion in definitions of diversity and generic principles of excellent practice. An anecdotal review of faith communities in the U.S. reveals that public relations professionals and other communicators model the conceptual framework in interfaith initiatives and that the framework would serve as a helpful foundation for guiding communication professionals toward such behaviour. The study also illustrates that socially-responsible behaviour often has a foundation of faith common across various faith traditions.



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