The Ebola outbreak is centered in three West African countries where almost 4,500 people have died; 17 people have been treated for the disease in Europe and North America, most of whom are health and aid workers who contracted the disease in West Africa. Americans are vigorously debating whether to place a travel ban on anyone trying to enter the nation from affected regions. Advocates of interreligious engagement—through their willingness to move across dangerous boundaries—show us how exchange does not necessarily beget vulnerability; it can bolster our humanity.
When President Obama argued for U.S. strikes on Syria, he used a familiar trope: When, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. Yet his proposed Syria policy put him in new political territory: against the views of a majority of African Americans.