Lowell Brown writes in to point us to Article 6 Blog, which according to the “About Us” page, “is dedicated to the issue of religious â€œqualificationâ€ for elected office in this country – something pretty well prohibited in Article 6 of the constitution.” Lowell, who is LDS, is one contributor to the blog; the other contributor is John Schroeder. According to his bio,
John comes to this blog primarily to be a voice of a moderate â€˜evangelicalâ€™ Christian and a center-right political person. The word â€˜evangelicalâ€™ is in quotes as used here indicating it is used in the sense it is used by political observers – John does not necessarily agree with all of mainstream evangelical theology.
The blog itself looks to be an interesting discussion of the issues surrounding politics and religion in this country, and specifically (but not exclusively) as they relate to Mitt Romney’s potential presidential candidacy. If you’re interested in such dicussions, I recommend you take a look.
I’m personally not that interested right now in the specific topics being discussed there (give me another year or so), but I am interested in the broader question of how to facilitate constructive online interactions between people of different faiths.
As some of you may know, for the past few months I have been busy creating a website for homeschooling parents. Due in part to the cirucumstances which led to its creation and in part to the general makeup of the homeschooling population in this country, the forum membership consists largely of evangelical Christians (perhaps 70% or so).
One of my stated goals in starting the site was to create a place where people of all religions, political beliefs, and homeschooling philosophies (all three of which can inspire fervent, impassioned debate) can feel comfortable talking about what they believe even when in the minority. So far, it seems to be working. I haven’t had to reprimand anyone or moderate any comments yet. I simply ask the forum members to remember that their beliefs are not necessarily the beliefs of the entire group, and to act appropriately. The environment is such that we even have a small group of pagan homeschoolers who feel comfortable jumping right into discussions with the evangelical majority.
While I don’t claim that the success to date of the site is entirely my doing, I do know that I put my vision out there, and the members responded to it. I suspect that my being the administrator and in the minority in many ways myself (Mormon, male, left-leaning) probably helps head off some of the tendencies towards groupthink. Another important factor is the strong commitment of the members to a common cause, that of supporting each other in their homeschooling journeys, no matter where those paths may lead.
I’m interested in hearing other stories and ideas about how we can build communities that include our brothers and sisters across religious divides.