Projects & Initiatives
Our aim is to develop a research and education center for people from around the world who want to study and contribute to a Christian-democratic, principled pluralist perspective on government and political community. Implications of this perspective are illustrated in former president James Skillen's book In Pursuit of Justice. Skillen is also engaged in a major book-writing project on the historical, philosophic, and religious roots of civic culture and political institutions and practices.
We are always looking for sabbatical-funded or foundation-funded projects that qualified professionals would like to bring to the Center. If you have an idea and want to explore it, contact CEO Stephanie Summers.
A grant-funded project on economic justice led by James Skillen. Outcomes of the project included a small book, a statement on economic justice for the Center's Guidelines series, and an essay for use by the Christian Community Development Association.
Steven Meyer's International Governance and World Affairs Project, a one-year effort focusing on the challenges of governance in a world where most of the institutions familiar to us are undergoing rapid change.
The Wisdom Project, a three-year effort conducted by Charles Strohmer, on the biblical wisdom tradition and modern diplomacy and foreign policy, with special attention to the Middle East.
Skillen's research that led to The Scattered Voice: Christians at Odds in the Public Square, and With or Against the World? America's Role Among the Nations. This was a “foundations of government” project that searched out the historical, philosophic, and religious roots of civic culture and political institutions and practices.
Skillen's A Covenant to Keep: Meditations on the Biblical Theme of Justice.
Policy and Advocacy Projects
Governments and politics are all about public laws—making, enforcing, and adjudicating laws. That’s why the Center for Public Justice orients its research, writing, and civic education toward the advocacy of just laws and policies.
Sample Policy and Advocacy Projects
- In 2013, the Center launched an initiative called Christians Investing in Public Education, a pilot project in Pittsburgh, Pa., to help equip Christians to make transformative investments in public schools.
In March 2011, the Center for Public Justice, in cooperation with Evangelicals for Social Action, launched a national movement to demand that Washington end our ongoing budget deficits—and do it in a way that helps, not hurts, poor people at home and abroad. A Call for Intergenerational Justice: A Christian Proposal for the American Debt Crisis is the start of a biblically grounded movement in which grandparents, grandchildren and everyone in between can join hands to promote a just solution to our debt crisis.
The Center's Guidelines for Government and Citizenship offer a snapshot of our efforts to articulate guiding principles for policy development and advocacy in specific areas. More Guidelines are still to come.
The area in which the Center has gone the farthest in developing and advocating concrete policy proposals is welfare policy. In particular, we have influenced the shaping of welfare policy reforms—often referred to as faith-based initiatives—that enable government to cooperate with non-government social-service organizations in ways that protect the independence and religious freedom of such organizations.
The Center has also done substantial work in the areas of education policy, religious freedom, citizen participation, and the nature of a just political community. Preliminary work has been initiated on issues of life protection, foreign and defense policies, homosexual relationships, electoral reform, and environmental protection.
The Center's mission is, in principle, to deal with all areas of government's responsibility. Consequently, much work remains to be done as funding and talent become available. All policy proposals begin with a judgment about the Center's ability to make a significant contribution. This goes hand in hand with identifying the most important contemporary questions or issues of public life.
When funding and staff expertise are sufficient, a project begins with wide-ranging research, conferencing, and the articulation of basic principles or guidelines to frame the project in terms of public justice. As insights develop and proposals take shape, they are tested in the give-and-take of public argument in Washington and around the country. Mature recommendations are then advocated to those who make the laws, to those who enforce them, and in some cases to courts that adjudicate the constitutionality of laws.