Augustinian Centre for Religion and the Public Square
The core mission of the Augustinian Centre for Religion and the Public Square (ACRPS) to help shape and nurture a new attitude towards the place of faith and belief in policy and political discourse through the academy and into the wider public sphere. It will do so through a range of activities ranging from traditional publications such as articles and blogs through to personal engagements such as interviews with policymakers and discussion forums. It is deliberately non-partisan and seeks primarily, as Augustine argued for in The Two Cities, the peace of all through the work of the state and of its people.
The ACRPS will be both a physical and virtual centre housed within the offices of the GTF. It is intended that its activities should have value in their own right, but also encourage people into engaging with the GTF’s educational courses.
The knowledge and understanding of religion in policymaking circles has continued to decline as the religious literacy of the populations of the West has declined generally. In addition, there has been a suspicion of the influence of religion in the public square and government that have been born out of historical European church-state struggles.
These historical and cultural circumstances make the lack of knowledge about religion and suspicion of it from policymakers understandable, but it comes at a time at which religious beliefs are increasing globally and the impact of religious beliefs and networks have rarely been more visible. It is these circumstances the ACRPS will seek to challenge through its activities for the simple reason that, in a world which is becoming increasingly religious, suspicion and incomprehension of the implications of religious worldviews, along with their impacts, will lead to dangerous and miss-leading policymaking at both domestic and international policymaking levels. So, by gathering information through research, disseminating it through classes and publications and stimulating public and policy debate, the ACRPS will seek to impact a policy culture which is in deep need of changed – thinking.
The ACRPS will be primary located within the offices of the GTF, both physically and in its online presence.
This will enable the ACRPS to carry out both in-person and virtual outputs, thereby increasing the range of people who can be engaged by its activities.
All the outputs of the ACRPS will be driven by, and based upon, rigorous academic research.
We consider this vital to ensuring that the outputs of the ACRPS; the blogs, reports, lectures, courses and events, provide a sound, evidential basis for our work.
The faculty of the centre offer a range of courses at all graduate levels to enable everyone from the interested layperson, the subject specialist, to engage with the subject areas the ACRPS deals with.
The courses seek to prompt thinking about the intersection of faith with policymaking, politics, government, governance and the state.
We will be seeking to add to the course offering on a regular basis, so if there is a subject which you believe is not covered by the current course content, do make a suggestion
We will be holding regular events, both online and in-person, with policymakers, faith leaders and politicians in order to stimulate the discussion and debate that we hope will encourage the eventual development of new ideas at the same time as helping to increase the positive relationships between peoples of faith and the policymaking world.
More to come
More to come