Religious Freedom Center > What Grounds Us?
Seven sources inspire our mission to promote religious liberty and religious literacy in public schools.
● First, the law: the U.S. Constitution provides the legal framework for this initiative. Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional and human right.
● Second, the 3Rs of religious liberty of the Williamsburg Charter — Rights, Responsibilities, Respect — make clear that everyone has rights, which come with the responsibility to guard those rights for others, and require respectful dialogue in order to resolve controversies about religion and public life.
● Third, religious pluralism is “not simply evidence of diversity but an energetic engagement with difference,” as articulated by the Harvard Pluralism Project.
● Fourth, religious literacy is a fundamental civic competency needed in our globalized world, as articulated by Harvard’s Religious Literacy Project and the American Academy of Religion’s “Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K–12 Public Schools in the United States.”
● Fifth, religious identity formation is based on three interconnected but distinct personal characteristics: a person’s beliefs, behaviors, and sense of belonging to a wider community.
● Sixth, the C3 Religious Studies Supplement, published by the National Council for the Social Studies, affirms that the academic study of religion requires a method of inquiry that recognizes and evaluates assumptions about religion without undermining religious identity.
● Seventh, as national consensus statements illustrate, leaders from numerous religious and civic organizations have reached consensus on seemingly intractable issues regarding religion and American public education.
The developers of these ideas have forged a clear path for the next generation of educators and community leaders to build and maintain First Amendment Schools and to promote both religious liberty and religious literacy as part of a citizen’s complete education.