Essay Guidelines

The following guidelines are designed to support the development of Freedom Classroom Essay Competition entries.

  1. Students who desire to attend Freedom Classroom 2012 and win a scholarship to help offset expenses should write and submit a 1500-2000 word essay per the essay competition topic options and the competition submission form. Only essays that have counted towards a grade in the U.S. Government or U.S. History class may be submitted to NARLA West via SIFE of La Sierra University.
  2. Essays that address a Freedom of Conscience or a Bill of Rights 1st Amendment topic will evidence critical thinking beyond facts and information.  When evaluating a topic or related aspect consider the impact on personal freedoms related to conscientious convictions. What are the “trade-offs”, the pros and the cons?  Is their an economic, moral, political, religious or social agenda that elevates the agenda at the expense of others?  Take a look at the assumptions and rights of all concerned groups or persons. Does the “balanced and fair approach” for all affect or diminish the personal conscientious convictions of some?
  3. The successful essays will address coercive actions, direct (obvious) and indirect (not so obvious) that may diminish personal freedoms. Diminished rights may result from simple over sight for an intended noble purpose.
  4. Finding information from resources available to everyone:  Visit http://www.churchstate.org  [select New Freedom Classroom link] or visit http://www.freedomclassroom.wordpress.com  [select the appropriate tab in the Freedom Classroom header and click the desired subject in the drop down menu]; Google key words or phrases of the topic and explore a related link; see your teacher for reading selected chapters from the resource books The Baptizing of America by Rabbi Ruddin and God on Trial by Peter Irons.  Both are provided by NARLA West.
  5. Helpful Hint:  Students may form a research/study group for the selected essay topic for the purpose of researching one or more aspects of an essay question.  Then share their findings and write an independent essay on one of the aspects or similar aspects or a summary essay that deals with the entire scope of the essay topic as described by the essay question.
  6. Assumption:  The Freedom Classroom essay contest questions assume the applicant’s are U.S. Government and U.S. History students who have benefitted from Freedom of Conscience emphasis based on the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights (natural rights) and who receive in their Religion classes an emphasis on freedom of conscience principles that integrate God’s respect for conscientious convictions in all interactions with others; the proclamation of the Creator/Redeemer’s Gospel to all people without coercive elements; and Christian Liberty that respects conscientious convictions of others in community service and personal relationships.

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