EAV 300 Virtues in the Public Square

Virtues in the Public Square is an education initiative of the Religious Freedom Institute. The curriculum draws on the insights of two dozen scholars of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The lessons translate the classical traditions of virtue for modern audiences. Rooted in the transformative power of Love and in service to the greater public, the project is a potent antidote to rising political strife and polarization. The curriculum models how our many spiritual paths can overlap to collectively forge a common good.

Virtues in the Public Square is an education initiative of the Religious Freedom Institute. The multimedia course will be published on the social learning community ReligionAndPublicLife.org.

Virtues in the Public Square draws on the insights of two dozen scholars of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The lessons translate the classical traditions of virtue for modern audiences. Rooted in the transformative power of Love and in service to the greater public, the project is a potent antidote to rising political strife and polarization. The course models how our many spiritual paths can overlap to collectively forge a common good.

Learners will receive free access to ReligionAndPublicLife.org and the companion app and explore eight lessons based on the following virtues: wisdom, justice, courage, temperance, friendship, humility, and generosity. 

In each lesson, learners use the app to take the following WISE steps. They Watch videos about the diverse ways that virtue is understood in the three traditions; Interact with retention games to cultivate the civic competency of religious literacy; Study with leading experts by listening to audio roundtables and reading illuminating commentary; and Engage with one another through discussion forums, photo sharing, and games.  

Learners will leave the experience having experienced a series of multifaith encounters, having developed the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and motivations for living in a religiously diverse society, and ultimately, working together to virtuously pursue the common good.

Learning Objectives

The following curriculum uses the KSAM hallmarks of religious literacy (pronounced Kah-Zam). By successfully completing this lesson you will:

  1. Increase your Knowledge about how scholars in three faith traditions understand the applicability of classic virtues to modern life;
  2. Develop new Skills to engage in multifaith dialogue online;
  3. Cultivate the Attitudes of curiosity and empathy when invited to seek to understand one another, aware that understanding need not imply agreement; and
  4. Clearly articulate your Motivations for how to encounter people of different faiths in the public square.

Contributors

Ismail Royer

Director, Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team
Religious Freedom Institute

Dr. Jim Bennett

Associate Director, Center for Religious Freedom Education and Senior Fellow, North America Action Team
Religious Freedom Institute

Noah Torres

Master of Arts candidate in Political Philosophy
University of Dallas

Imam Dr. Khalil Abdur-Rashid

Muslim Chaplain at Harvard University, Instructor of Muslim Studies at Harvard Divinity School, and Public Policy Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Dr. Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali

Associate Professor
Zaytuna College

Dr. Yonatan Brafman

Assistant Professor, Religion
Tufts University

Dr. Yousef Casewit

Associate Professor of Qur'anic Studies
The University of Chicago Divinity School

Dr. Geoffrey Claussen

Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Lori and Eric Sklut Scholar in Jewish Studies; Chair of the Department of Religious Studies
Elon University

Dr. Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and Director of the Arabic Language Program
Brandeis University

Dr. Lenn E. Goodman D.Phil.

Professor of Philosophy, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities
Vanderbilt University

Dr. John Von Heyking

Chair, Political Science Department
University of Lethbridge

Dr. Francis R. Hittinger D.Phil.

Visiting Professor of Theology
Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology

Dr. Atif Khalil

Associate Professor of Religious Studies
University of Lethbridge

Dr. Angela Knobel

Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Dallas

Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn

Former Academic Director
Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation

Dr. Matthew Levering

James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology
University of Saint Mary of the Lake

Dr. Bernard McGinn

Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and the History of Christianity
University of Chicago Divinity School

Rabbi Dr. Alan Mittleman

Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Jewish Philosophy
The Jewish Theological Seminary

Dr. Walead Mohammed Mosaad

Chair and Scholar-in-Residence
Sabeel Community

Dr. Melissa Moschella

Associate Professor
The Catholic University of America

Rabbi Dr. David Novak

Professor and J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies
University of Toronto

Dr. Jawad Qureshi

Director of Graduate Studies and Administration; Assistant Professor
Zaytuna College

Dr. Omar Qureshi

Provost; Assistant Professor
Zaytuna College

Dr. James Robinson

Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Judaism, Islamic Studies, and the History of Religions in the Divinity School
University of Chicago Divnity School

Dr. Scott Roniger

Associate Professor of Philosophy
Loyola Marymount University

Dr. William Schweiker

Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics
The University of Chicago Divinity School

Dr. Kenneth Seeskin PhD

Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor Emeritus of Jewish Civilization
Northwestern University

Dr. David Shatz

Ronald P. Stanton University Professor of Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought; Chair, SCW Department of Philosophy
Yeshiva University

Dr. David Walsh

Professor
The Catholic University of America

Fr. Thomas Joseph White O.P.

Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum)
Angelicum Thomistic Institute

Not Enrolled
Scholarship Students Only
12 hours for professional certificate

upper college, graduate, professional, adult

Special Thanks

The Religious Freedom Institute’s certificate in Virtues in the Public Square was made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute. Onboarding and technical support came from the staff of ReligionAndPublicLife.org, thanks to funding from 1791 Delegates and The Foundation for Religious Literacy. The continuation of this work depends on contributions from generous supporters like you. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Religious Freedom Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization ( EIN 81-0983298).

Civic Education for a Common Good

We apply the U.S. Department of Education’s Consensus Statements about Constitutional Approaches for Teaching about Religion

▸ Our approach to religion is academic, not devotional;
▸ We strive for student awareness of religions, but do not press for student 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 may 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.

We apply the American Academy of Religion’s “Religious Literacy Guidelines”

▸ “Religious Literacy Guidelines for College Students.” American Academy of Religion, 2019.
▸ “Teaching About Religion: AAR Guidelines for K-12 Public Schools.” American Academy of Religion, April 2010.

We apply the National Council for the Social Studies C3 Frameworks for Religious Studies

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, “Religious Studies Companion Document for the C3 Framework.” Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies, 2017.