For background information,
Training students to rethink God's Word
Evangelical Manifesto for an Interfaith World
Question from a visitor:
a 'Bridge Builders' induction ceremony this past week-end.
The parents of my next door neighbor were out of town and
prior to leaving, asked my wife and I to attend for their 16
year old son. Well, I have to tell you, I was totally in
shock. This is a United Way sponsored program…need I say
religion could be mentioned. There were 200 kids divided
into 10 groups. All were from schools around the Memphis
area. The goal was to break down all racial biases (a good
thing) without the use of any religious means (especially
Christian - a bad thing). Each group had 2 facilitators who
were college aged kids and graduates of the program. My
neighbor told me there were 2 lesbians in his group. During
one of the many group discussions, homosexuality was brought
up and the group was asked how they felt about it. He stood
up and said that the Bible says that this is a sin, and we
should not participate in any homosexual activities. He was
hammered by the facilitators and called religiously biased
and backwards. Have you ever heard of this fine, U.N.
These quotes provide
First Amendment Center Resources:
"No one has done more to help cultivate the common ground in these difficult areas than the folks at The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.....Finding Common Ground
is an full-length, in-depth resource manual that should be on the desk of every school administrator in the country. It covers all of the details dealing with the legal and historical framework for
common ground work. ....Columns written by
Charles Haynes, Senior Scholar of the
First Amendment Centers
BridgeBuilders Fact Sheet:
"Communities across the U.S. are discovering that
Common Ground Thinking provides a
proven civic framework to rebuild mutual respect and cooperation in the face of some of our
deepest religious and cultural differences...."
quote below gives a one-sided report on the
California CLAS test
(click on that link). I wasn't at the
meeting, but I read many of the tests. They were full of subtle
suggestions and politically correct illustrations.
Building Bridges to Religious Parents:
"As she tried to explain her role grading the ill-fated
California CLAS test, her remarks were rudely shouted down with mockery and her honesty repeatedly challenged.... These were deeply religious parents whose concern for education was well-known.... Rumors circulated that the literature readings advanced leftist political agendas. Furthermore, they saw the CLAS test as a
psychological tool being used to evaluate and classify students based on whether or not their values lined up with the 'liberal public school establishment.'
[Psychologists were actually evaluating
"There are many ways that a school district can move toward a religious-neutral setting that will even engender the support of religious parents....
5. Educate. ...Community forums and seminars on this topic can help stir constructive dialogue.
6. Invite the religious community to the table. Make an effort to build relationships with influential members of the religious community, just as you do the business community.
... Churches can provide Christmas baskets for the needy or tutors for disadvantaged students.
Two things will happen by doing this. First, religious views will get a hearing and become part of the process. Second,
relationships are built that will go along way toward diffusing tensions. It is easier to complain from the sidelines than it is when you're on the team."
We have more to gain by pulling together
than we do by pulling apart.
Can we really turn angry adversaries into cooperative colleagues? Can we help polarized groups discover enough common ground to resolve their differences where everyone walks away a winner?....We live in an age where competing worldviews battle for the upper hand and because they are derived from people's core values, compromise is often unthinkable. The tension, mistrust and polarization that result shred the fabric of our society and paralyze our institutions.....
....We help groups draft COMMON GROUND AGREEMENTS. These agreements are often unanimous because they don't arbitrate between different worldviews, nor seek a lowest common denominator compromise that satisfies no one. Instead they reach for the highest possible consensus and uncover solutions that are fair to the differences in their community. For this reason they endure the test of time and shifts in political or corporate power."
What Others Are
Saying about Wayne Jacobsen and BridgeBuilders:
"Communities and school districts should seek common ground on
religious liberty issues as illustrated by the Three Rs Projects
("Rights, Responsibility, and Respect") of the Freedom Forum
First Amendment Center and by the BridgeBuilders program...."
--The American Assembly at Columbia University
"Organizations like the First Amendment Center and
BridgeBuilders are not belligerents but are peacemakers in the
culture wars. They specialize in helping communities work toward
common ground on polarizing issues...." --National School Boards
"Your efforts to help school districts and communities find
common ground on issues concerning religion in the public
schools is of vital importance....You bring a deep commitment to
dialogue and a clear understanding of the First Amendment
[strict separation of church and state].... We are
especially pleased that someone with both religious conviction
and civic understanding is available to
between parents and schools...."
Ph.D., Senior Scholar The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center,
Training students to rethink God's Word
permanent social change
Truth through Group Consensus
Dissatisfaction (a crisis) for social transformation
Catchword For Bush Ideology: 'Communitarianism'