Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Religion in Schools

1st Amendment
Separation of Church & State
  • Separation or a schizophrenic experience?
  • Oaths on the Bible
  • Coins with religious exhortations
  • the Pledge
  • Military Chaplains
  • Congressional prayer breakfast
Assumes religion as a natural part of the human experience - a HEALTHY perspective

The Facts
  • In 2003, 80% identify themselves as belonging to one of the six main religions (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islam, Eastern Orthodox)
  • In 2003, 41% of adults attend church, which has increased since the 1950's
  • Numbers:
  • 49% Protestant
  • 24% Catholic
  • 10% No religious affiliation
  • 4% Buddhism or Hinduism
  • 2% Muslim of Mormon
  • 1% Orthodox

Controversial Issues
  • Prayer in schools - (1961, 1963) Abington Township v. Schempp - outlawed school-sponsored Bible reading in public school... private prayer is permissible
  • Homosexuality - a choice v. sinfulness
  • Gender - in some cases the roles of women and men are defined and polarized
  • Curriculum - tricky standards for subjects like biology (sex ed, evolution,... etc)

Guidelines for Teachers
  1. The function of the public school is to educate about religions, not to convert to any one religion
  2. The public school may expose students to all religious views, but may not impose any particular view
  3. The public school should study what all people believe, but should not teach a student what to believe
  4. The public school's approach to religion is one of instruction not one of indoctrination

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