First Five Newsletter: November 7, 2019

First Five
Teacher led prayer in schools, “cancel culture,” Religious Freedom Center graduate intensive course and more

First Five Column

Benjamin Marcus talks about the findings from a recent Pew Research Center study where students simultaneously know that teacher-led prayer is unconstitutional, but still think it is appropriate. Read the column. A plain text version is available here.


The Washington Post’s editorial board called the National Park Service’s decision to withdraw a proposal that would have imposed onerous restrictions on protests on the Mall, “a full retreat by the Trump Administration and, more important, a victory for the First Amendment.” 

A recent survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee found that one-third of Jews in the United States have avoided publicly wearing, carrying or displaying symbols of their faith due to fears of anti-Semitism. 

Writing for The New York TimesJohn McDermott discusses “cancel culture,” the phenomenon of being thrust out of social or professional circles for offensive speech.


On Oct. 17, the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute hosted a film screening of the award-winning documentary, “Same God” at the Newseum. The film explores issues of Islamophobia, religious freedom, academic freedom, race, theology, white evangelicalism and politics. It was followed by a panel featuring Linda MidgettLarycia HawkinsLisa Sharon Harper and Asma Uddin.


Calling all graduate students and seminarians! Register to participate in the Religious Freedom Center’s graduate intensive course, REL 700: African Americans and Religious Freedom, Monday–Friday, Jan. 6–10, 2020 in Washington, D.C. 

This blended learning course, designed for graduate and seminary students, will critically address the contentious politics of race and religious freedom in American public life. Particular attention will be given to the how and in what ways power, violence, identity and pluralism form and frame the discourse of religious freedom across time and space. The course will feature a team of scholars and professional experts actively engaged in addressing these issues in multiple contexts. This course is being offered in partnership with the six Historically Black Theological Institutions. 

Registration is open now through Sunday, Dec. 1. All registrants must currently be enrolled in an accredited academic institution. Learn more here.

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