ReligionAndPublicLife.org is a social learning community built on the premise that religiously literate and legally literate professionals are uniquely positioned to promote peaceful coexistence between people of all religions and none.
With support from The Foundation for Religious Literacy and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, ReligionAndPublicLife.org is a project of 1791 Delegates, a delegation of First Amendment and human rights educators named after the year the Bill of Rights was ratified.
Civic Education for a Common Good
ReligionAndPublicLife.org is a social learning community based on the premise that religiously literate and legally literate professionals are uniquely positioned to promote the common good.
We promote the KSAM (pronounce kah-zam) skills of religious literacy: Increased Knowledge and cultural literacy of religion, spirituality and nonreligion; the Skills required to engage in civil dialogue and encounter difference, the Attitudes and needed to empathically encounter the religious other, and the Motivations needed to take up the shared responsibility of defending the rights of others.
We define legal literacy as fluency in not only knowing the constitutional and human rights protections afforded to all people but the virtuous commitment to defend those rights for people other than ourselves.
As an extension of our charitable mission, we designed ReligionAndPublicLife.org to have the following three features. It is a:
- Social network, similar to LinkedIn, that connects young adults, college students, and professionals through sharing profiles, joining clubs, and messaging one another through our companion app;
- Learning management system that allows contributors to build on-demand and live courses, as well as publish digital resources to serve as textbooks to supplement onsite teaching; and an
- E-commerce platform that allows contributors to advertise their services (e.g., speaking, consulting, training) and products (e.g., certificate programs, books, research reports, lesson plans).
These features expose members of the community to a rich network of professionals. Our courses and certificate programs empower individuals with professional-development opportunities and enrich post-secondary institutions with timely and timeless curricula. Our platform empowers scholars of religion and nonprofit organizations to expand their audiences. Overall, ReligionAndPublicLife.org advances the public understanding of religion while serving as a job creator, ensuring the field’s financial sustainability.
Given our reach into public schools, we ensure that our courses are Constitutionally friendly. We apply the Consensus Statements about Constitutional Approaches for Teaching about Religion that the U.S. Department of Education distributed to every public school in the country.
- Our approach to religion is academic, not devotional;
- We strive for awareness of religions, but do not press for acceptance of any religion;
- We sponsor the study about religion, not the practice of religion;
- We expose students to a diversity of religious views, but do not impose any particular view;
- We educate about all religions, we do not promote or denigrate any religion;
- We inform students about religious beliefs and practices, it does not seek to conform students to any particular belief or practice.
Courses offered at ReligionAndPublicLife.org are open to high-school and college students and serve as professional development for working adults. These learners may complete the work at their own pace or join a cohort that connects them with experts via live video conferences. Learners can enroll in a non-credit certificate program or earn academic credit through one of our partner schools.
High school teachers and college professors may assign these courses as digital textbooks to enrich their onsite teaching. All courses meet regional and professional accreditation requirements.