For background information, read Training students to rethink God's Word

and An Evangelical Manifesto for an Interfaith World


Question from a visitor: I attended 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 more?  


No 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. brainwashing organization?

These quotes provide a partial answer:


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...."

The 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 the results!]....

     "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 Assocation

      "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 civil 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 facilitate dialogue between parents and schools...." Charles Haynes, Ph.D., Senior Scholar The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, Arlington, VA


See also Training students to rethink God's Word

Facilitating permanent social change

 Twisting Truth through Group Consensus

Using Dissatisfaction (a crisis) for social transformation

Catchword For Bush Ideology: 'Communitarianism' Finds Favor