CLAREMONT, CALIF. – CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) — A rabbi, a minister and an imam walk into a classroom, and it's no joke.
The venerable Claremont School of Theology has taught Methodist ministers and theologians for more than a century, but in the fall they'll try an unorthodox approach: cross-training the nation's future Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders in classrooms scattered around Southern California as they work toward their respective degrees.
The experimental approach launched Wednesday is intended to create U.S. religious leaders who not only preach tolerance in an era of religious strife, but who have lived it themselves by rubbing shoulders with those in other Abrahamic faiths.
The idea has already met resistance from more conservative elements in some religious communities; its architects say that only underscores the need for such an approach.
"Christians attend school with Christians, Jewish with Jewish and Muslims with Muslim," said Rev. Jerry Campbell, president of the Claremont School of Theology. "Educating people in a segregated environment is not a way to teach them to be peacemakers. It only steeps them in their own religion and with their own people."
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