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.
· August 1, 2021

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.
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.