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. They have provided the legal and academic ground work in the search for common ground and have produced some indispensable tools to help communities find a way to communicate effectively about church/state concerns and religious liberty. Their 3Rs Project has been utilized by many school districts to build greater understanding and respect across religious lines. The following materials are a must-read for educators and parents:
- Finding Common Ground is a 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. You can download the book in a .pdf file, or order them from the Center (615. 321.9588, $9.50 each.)
- Columns written by Charles Haynes, Senior Scholar of the First Amendment Centers, on a First Amendment approach to religious and cultural issues
The following brochures are available from the First Amendment Center free of charge at the number above or you can use the link below to download them in .pdf format. The first three are must-reads and the others offer additional resources.
- Religious Liberty, Public Education, and the Future of American Democracy A statement of principles regarding religious liberty which was sponsored by a number of organizations from the left and right. (You can also view this document online.)
- A Parent’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools. A joint publication with the National PTA. This helpful brochure helps define clearly the appropriate place of religious expression in public education. Every parent and public educator will find this a most helpful tool. (You can also view this document online.)
- A Teacher’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools. First Amendment guide for teachers to know what can and can’t be done in the public school environment.
- The Bible & Public Schools: Prepared by First Amendment Center and the National Bible Association this guide explains how schools can legally teach about religion, the Bible and other sacred texts.
- Public Schools & Religious Communities. How faith communities can work alongside public schools without violating Constitutional mandates.
- Religion in American History: What to Teach and How (Amazon)
- Teaching About Religion in National and State Social Studies Standards, by Council on Islamic Education, First Amendment Center
- Teaching About Religion in American Life: A First Amendment Guide
- Public Education and Sexual Orientation, which BridgeBuilders contributed to.