Press Releases

Dec 07, 2015

Religious Freedom Center Now Accepting Applications for Spring and Fall 2016 Religious Liberty Courses

Religious Leaders Will Become Constitutional and Human Rights Specialists on Issues of Religion and Public Life

WASHINGTON — The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute is now accepting applications for 2016 spring and fall semester courses focused on the history and significance of the religious liberty principles of the First Amendment and the Universal Declaration of Rights.

The curriculum is designed to prepare emerging and current religious leaders for effective civic engagement in a multi-faith society. The inaugural 40-student, spring 2016 classes will be taught through a combination of online videoconferences, interactive forums and on-site seminars at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

The deadline for early decision applications for the spring 2016 semester is Dec. 15, and the general admission deadline is Jan. 3. Applicants should be enrolled in an accredited graduate theological program or be currently serving a religious community. Students may take individual courses or may complete the four-course program to earn a Certificate of Religion in Public Life.

The Religious Freedom Center curriculum, designed by a team of First Amendment and religious studies scholars, will engage students in core questions about the significance and meaning of religious liberty and religion in public life. The blended-learning classes include “Foundations of Religious Freedom in the United States,” “Religious Liberty and Contemporary American Public Life,” “The Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief,” and “Religion and the News Media.”

“Most religious leaders receive little or no education about the history and significance of the religious liberty principles of the First Amendment,” said Dr. Charles Haynes, vice president of the Newseum Institute and founding director of the Religious Freedom Center. “To fill that gap, our students will study the place of religion in public life under the First Amendment, and explore how best to work together across religious and ideological divides to sustain America’s bold experiment in living with our deepest differences.”

The Religious Freedom Center is supported in part by generous grants from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Dharma Foundation and the Klingenstein Family Trusts.

For more information about the Religious Freedom Center, or to apply, visit

About the Freedom Forum Institute

The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.

About the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute

The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute is a nonpartisan national initiative focused on educating the American public about the religious liberty principles of the First Amendment. Reorganized in 2010 to expand on religious liberty initiatives begun by the First Amendment Center in 1994, the Religious Freedom Center has sponsored numerous public programs at the Newseum, developed partnerships with national and international organizations, and convened a broad range of religious and civil liberties groups. The Religious Freedom Center carries out the mission by educating thought leaders, promoting civil dialogue, engaging the public, transforming schools and publishing religious liberty scholarship.

Press Contacts

Jonathan Thompson
[email protected]