Paul Monteiro, Office of Public Engagement, The White House

Visits to the White House, Capitol Hill, and lobbying organizations will be arranged during the semester.

From the earliest days of our nation, the debate over the role and scope of faith in public life has marked the development of our democracy. From English settlers seeking a greater freedom to practice their faith, to social movements seeking to eradicate slavery, enact temperance laws, and advocate for gender and racial equality, born out of sincerely held values have consistently been brought into the public square. Yet few ideals have also proven as divisive as the invocation of religious beliefs when advocating for public policies that affect all quarters of our society.

In recent decades, the role of religious groups has evolved as demographic shifts have dramatically changed the religious landscape. The goal of this class is to gain knowledge about the background and contexts for issues of faith in current policy debates and develop the tools for understanding the beliefs and values of diverse faith-based public policy advocates, beliefs and values that may differ from our own.