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Print In September, Hendersonville High School in Hendersonville, Tennessee, made national news when it suspended field trips to religious sites as part of an elective class in world studies. The elective, which has been taught at Hendersonville for a decade, includes a unit on world religion covering five traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
In the past, students have visited a mosque, a Hindu temple, and a synagogue without incident. Similar controversies have arisen in MassachusettsOhioand Britain where schools have incorporated field trips to mosques into their social studies curricula.
At Hendersonville the objection was framed as one of equality among religious traditions. This is a frustrating case that demonstrates ongoing confusion about the nature and purpose of public education as well as jurisprudence about religion in pubic schools——all at a time when young Americans need religious literacy more than ever.
Despite being such a religiously diverse nation, America has levels of religious literacy that are abysmal. Most respondents could answer only half of them correctly. In a study conducted for the Bible Literacy Projectonly 10 percent of American teenagers could even name the five world religions covered in the Hendersonville world religions unit.
This does not bode well. Religious literacy is necessary to the health of a democratic, pluralistic society. Religion is not a discrete and ahistorical phenomenon; instead, it is embedded in the very fabric of human history and culture.
Religious illiteracy not only deprives students of the cultural richness that is their birthright as human beings, it makes for an uninformed electorate and produces students who are less equipped to compete in a global marketplace.
Finally, examining other religions allows students to cultivate moral agency. When I worked as a public school teacher, I found that religion made administrators extremely nervous. In the landmark case Abington v. Graham, ; Edwards v.
Furthermore, the world history standards for the state of Tennessee mandate that students learn about major religions and their philosophies.
Public schools have long been a battleground for religious and political movements. However, a democratic society must also educate students to have moral agency and to think for themselves about big questions.
Furthermore, these fears are often unwarranted. Having taught world religion courses numerous times, I have never once seen a student abandon his or her current religion and adopt a new one as a result of the course. This is a fallacy. The purpose of teaching about religion is not to allow students to shop for a new religion.
The point is to empower students with useful knowledge about perspectives and worldviews other than their own. To fail to teach about Islam to a generation whose lives have been shaped by the war on terror, a decade of American military presence in the Islamic world, and the Arab Spring, is grossly irresponsible if not immoral.
However, while the Hendersonville case is frustrating, it suggests that we have progressed from debating whether we should teach about religion in public schools to how we should do it. This, at least, gives me hope. Also In the Discussion.Like most important topics, religion and politics are positions that are held tightly by many individuals who have strong convictions.
That's okay. But that doesn't mean that we should ignore these potentially volatile topics all together. The most recent legal ruling related to religion in corrections was developed in the year The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) was adopted by a unanimous vote in both the U.S.
Senate and the House of Representatives in July of , and later signed into law by President Clinton. The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence.
The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process.
In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers. In many of the current domestic flash points — over guns and geography, race and gender, religion and institutions — the nation’s cultural, political and even economic leaders often seem.
Religion and Government in the United States Historically, throughout the world, America has always been considered a Christian nation. Why? Because Christianity has always been the dominant religion . 1. What are science and religion, and how do they interrelate?
A brief history of the field of science and religion. Since the s, scholars in theology, philosophy, history, and the sciences have studied the relationship between science and religion.