A reader asks:
[I was wondering if] you could post a query on the philosopher's cocoon about applying to religious institutions, especially ones that either ask for a whole statement about how one would contribute to their mission or (more often) a bit in the cover letter about that. I'm actually religious myself but it just seems clumsy and more than a bit distasteful to flatly say that. So I'd like to see if anyone has advice about how to communicate the fact that one actually is religious and would be happy to work at a religious institution (or at least some religious institutions) and isn't just applying out of desperation without seeming smarmy.
I'm glad this reader asked the question. Truth be told, it's something that I struggled with myself as a job-applicant--and I don't think I was ever given any clear advice by anyone "in the know" on it. In my cover letters, I generally tried to link my research on ethics and political philosophy to "perennial religious values"--e.g. justice, caring for those in need, etc.--as, in fact, my main research programs address those values. However, I really struggled with the full, one-page statements some religious institutions asked for.
Anyone have any good advice? Advice from people actually at religious institutions would be particularly helpful!