Austin Peace Academy plays a vital role in fostering understanding across faith lines. But unfortunately, most of our students learn little more than the basic facts, dates, and doctrines of major religious traditions — a superficial form of religious literacy that does not prepare young Americans to participate in the civic life their multicultural democracy.
Our teachers work to develop programs for students built around panel discussions with local religious leaders and site visits to local houses of worship. Panel discussions can be structured in a number of ways, including interfaith dialogue on a range of issues, discussions of local neighborhood religious life, or discussions of the diversity within specific faith traditions. In the past, for example, we have facilitated panel discussions for students exploring faith-based perspectives on restorative justice and reconciliation,
free speech and hate speech, hunger and food security, and other issues. Site visits can include attendance at worship services, walking tours, and/or presentations by community leaders. In the past, for example, we have brought students to visit the Hindu Temple , Jewish community center. We have built relationship with St. Andrew and St. Trinity schools. We can help teachers facilitate dialogue between religious leaders and
students, prepare students to visit another community’s sacred space, and lead classroom discussions of their experiences afterwards.