Religious diversity is a red-hot issue around the world in early 2016. It’s also the subject of a popular educational program available through participating public school systems in metro-Detroit—one of the most religiously diverse regions in the United States. In this area, the program is called Religious Diversity Journeys, developed through the InterFaith Leadership Council of metropolitan-Detroit.
Here’s a summary of the program’s goal:
We promote greater understanding, awareness and knowledge concerning the many religions prevalent in the metro-Detroit area and we prepare students for life in our increasingly diverse society. The diversity message we share with the students includes discussion about the negative effects of prejudice, stereotyping and bullying of different religious groups.
Regular readers of our online magazine understand why that’s a very timely effort in 2016.
Journalists also are recognizing the news value of this program. A team of reporters prepared two different versions of stories and photographs about a recent event for two regional newspapers in southeast Michigan.
One reporter quoted a local teacher:
Jennifer Sepetys, a seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher at Orchard Lake Middle School, said the students are getting a unique experience by learning about the different faiths and taking tours of the houses of worship. “They’re able to gain such a deeper understanding of the religion than they ever could simply by reading about it in the book,” Sepetys said.
The second story quoted a student in the program:
“I know lots of people misunderstand other religions, and I didn’t want to be like those people. So I figured that if I knew and understood the religion and the purpose of it, then I’d be able to explain to others that they’re not bad people.”
Care to read more?
This link will take you to some earlier stories about Religious Diversity Journeys within the InterFaith Leadership Council’s website.