Building Alliances with Clergy and Religious Communities to Advocate for Science Education

Peter HessSally BinghamChris Stedman

Peter Hess            Sally Bingham      Chris Stedman


Reaching out across religious boundaries can be scary for science education advocates. Humanists, atheists, and the nonreligious can feel unsure how to approach clergy or religious communities, while the religious among us can find it awkward discussing religious issues with members of other denominations and religions. Yet we know that religious communities and clergy can be powerful allies when science education comes under attack, and incorporating those voices into pro-science coalitions is essential to defusing the religious appeal of creationism and other forms of science denial, and building bridges with religious policymakers.

To help navigate those issues, a panel of experts in interfaith outreach lead this interactive online training. They share their experiences building coalitions to defend evolution, climate change, and related issues, and share advice and resources to help citizens like you build broad and religiously-diverse coalitions. Topics they discuss include: How do you build interfaith coalitions for science and science education? How can you identify likely religious allies? What are the best ways to bridge religious boundaries?

The panel includes: Peter Hess, NCSE’s Director of Outreach to Religious Communities; Sally Bingham, of Interfaith Power and Light; and Chris Stedman, a Humanist chaplain at Harvard and Yale Universities. Dr. Hess is a Catholic theologian and leads NCSE's efforts to defuse religious conflicts surrounding evolution and climate change. Rev. Bingham is an Episcopal priest and Canon, and is founder and president of the Regeneration Project and its Interfaith Power and Light campaign which coordinates a network of over 15,000 denominations as they work to address climate change. Stedman is a Humanist chaplain, interfaith leader, columnist for Religion News Service, and author of “Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious.” Moderator Josh Rosenau is a programs and policy director at NCSE.