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One Nation, Many Beliefs: Talking About Religion in a Diverse Democracy

This is the pilot version of the 43-page discussion guide, One Nation, Many Beliefs: Talking About Religion in a Diverse Democracy from Everyday Democracy. Adapted from a 2006 guide created by LaGuardia Community College, One Nation, Many Beliefs was revised in 2011. The guide helps people of different faith groups and secular groups develop relationships to work together in creating a community where everyone can thrive.

Below is an excerpt from the guide, which can be downloaded in full from Everyday Democracy’s site here.

From the guide…  

The connection between religion and public life is important everywhere in the world. In the United States, we have always paid attention to this connection, because religious freedom has a special place in our history. The freedom of (and from) religion is even in our Constitution, and has always been a subject of much discussion.

This country includes people with many kinds of beliefs – religious, spiritual, and secular. And there is a greater diversity of beliefs than ever before. Often, stereotypes or lack of knowledge make it hard for people to understand and trust each other. Since many complex public problems have religious and philosophical aspects, it can be challenging to know how to work on those problems.

As a result of greater diversity, misunderstanding, and complex tensions, discussions about religion and public life are becoming more divisive, making it even harder to tackle important issues. More people are experiencing discrimination because of their beliefs. More communities are experiencing conflict and even violence about issues of religion and public life. That is what prompted us to write this guide.

Community tensions tend to fall into two separate but related categories. The first has to do with relationships among various faith groups and, at times, between faith groups and secular groups. The second has to do with the role that religion plays in public decisions, particularly at the community level. Both of these categories are reflected in this guide.

Read the full guide on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: www.everyday-democracy.org/resources/one-nation-many-beliefs-talking-about-religion-diverse-democracy

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