Religion in American public schools

Should the schools teach anything about religion? If they should, what should they teach?

What is your religion’s position (if it has one) on teaching your religion in public school?

Are the Catholic schools in US free or there are fees if the parents want to send their kids to it?

I’d say 99% of Catholic schools charge Tuition. Not sure what the average is, but my brother in law said that to send my 10 year old niece, 8 year old nephew and 5 year old nephew to a Catholic HIGH SCHOOL eventually, it’d cost at minimum $7,000 - $8,000 a year in their city. I just hope they’ll be able to send them, because a Catholic education is very important in the teen years.

Religion in the Curriculum and School Activities
Music, art, literature and drama having a religious theme or basis are permitted as part of the curriculum or as part of a school activity if they are presented in a balanced and objective manner and are a traditional part of the cultural and religious tradition of a particular holiday or field of study. The emphasis on religious themes in the arts, literature and history should be only as extensive as necessary for a balanced and thorough study of these areas. These studies should never foster any particular religious tenets or demean any religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

I support our school board policy on the matter.

kalt,
It is my opinion that American schools should teach how religion has influenced, affected American (and world) civilization, culture, and governance. In the setting of history and civics, as well as the arts, this is appropriate, and it should be presented in an objective manner. As a teacher, I do not hide my faith, but it would also be wrong for me to push it. My audience is captive, and consists of minors, and I recognoze the rights of parents to foster their beliefs in their children.
Rights are not checked at the schoolhouse door. I have an enumerated right to exercise my faith. And while I lack the power to violate the establishment clause, I do recognize that the spirit of the establishment clause includes a responsibility on my part not to proselytize.

From the LCMS website:
lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2163

Jon

I agree with you. It’s a amazing that schools teach history and don’t mention religion. It gives the kids the impression that religion is something separate from “real” life–something that happens beside life but isn’t (and even shouldn’t) be part of it.

When I was in grammar school, we had morning prayer, but it wasn’t until junior high that I had a class (history) that taught anything about religion. It taught only about the religion (tenets of different faiths) and nothing about its role in history.

=kalt;5667977]I agree with you. It’s a amazing that schools teach history and don’t mention religion. It gives the kids the impression that religion is something separate from “real” life–something that happens beside life but isn’t (and even shouldn’t) be part of it.

It isn’t so much amazing as it is intentional. There are those in power in the government schools establishment whose political POV requires them to limit the recognition of the role of religion in American governance.
The American model states that our rights come from our creator, and not government. And further, the level and even existence of government power is subject to the will of the people.
If you disagree with that hierarchy - Creator - people - government - you simply need to eliminate Creator, and the source of people’s rights is up for debate. Convince the young that their rights are subject to government, and not superior to it, and you’ve changed the very basis of American freedom and governance.

When I was in grammar school, we had morning prayer, but it wasn’t until junior high that I had a class (history) that taught anything about religion. It taught only about the religion (tenets of different faiths) and nothing about its role in history.

We must be close to the same age, as your experience is similar to mine. The only thing I might add is that my hometown has such a strong, undeniable religious history, that it was part of the civic pride of the community. I suspect it still is today.

Jon

I think the schools should be required to offer an intro to religion course. It should be an elective that covers the basics of all of the major world religions. I think this would prepare students for the real world where they would encounter people of many different faiths.

My highschool had a course like this and it was very informative. I had not known much about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and a few other major religions untill I took the course.

I quite agree. I took a course such as this at the Lutheran college I attended, and it was very informative. In addition, this in no way violates the establishment clause. We spend a lot of time in schools talking about tolerance; it might help the kids to know what they’re supposed to be tolerant of.

Jon

I read this the other day in one of the books I’m reading and it really struck me as true. The book is The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise:

"Public schools, which have the impossible task of teaching children of many different faiths, must proclaim neutrality. We don’t deal in matters of faith, the teachers explain. We’re neutral.

Think about this for a minute. Arguing for the presence of God is generally considered “biased.” Assuming His absence is usually called “neutral.” Yet both are statements of faith; both color the teacher’s approach to any subject; both make a fundamental assumption about the nature of men and women.

To call this neutrality is intellectually dishonest.

Education cannot be neutral when it comes to faith: it is either supportive or destructive. The topic of education is humanity, its accomplishments, its discoveries, its savage treatment of its own kind, its willingness to endure self-sacrifice. And you cannot learn- or teach- about humanity without considering God.

Let’s take biology for example. Mammals are characterized by, among other things, their tendency to care for and protect their young. Do mothers love their babies because of sheer biological imperative? If so, why do we come down so hard on fathers who neglect their children? It’s a rare male mammal that pays much attention to its young. Do fathers love their babies because of the urge to see their own genetic material preserved or because fathers reflect the character of the father God? How should a father treat a defective child? Why?

We don’t blame the public schools for sidestepping these sorts of questions. In most cases it’s the only strategy they can adopt.

Yet this separation of religious faith from education yields an incomplete education. We’re not arguing the religion should be “put back” into public schools. We’d just like some honesty; an education that takes no notice of faith is, at the very least, incomplete."

I guess I’m just going to follow you around this thread with the :thumbsup: icon.

Again, you are absolutely right. Kids are taught to be tolerant, but in the school tolerance seems to mean hiding religion.

The :thumbsup: back at’cha!
Specifically, tolerance means hiding Christianity. Just being Christian is considered intolerant by some. And to show one’s Christian faith in a public setting, like a public school, is not to be, well, tolerated.
Even Christian universities are not immune, evidence Georgetown University being asked to cover its “ihs” prior to an Obama speech. God bless the Catholic Church, as you guys seem to take the most heat in this way.

Jon

In California’s curriculum, I enjoy being a sixth grade teacher because religion is a constant standard to be taught in our textbooks. We teach Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. And the Christianity in our textbooks is really from more of a Catholic and Orthodox point of view. So I’m right at home. We teach ancient civilizations and so when we teach Israel the religion is dealt with in depth. During our long study of the Roman Empire, Christianity is taught in detail as well. It’s one of the best things about teaching my grade.

All the anti-public school folks who balk at anything but private schools don’t realize that most of my kids in my class tell me that they learned ten times more about their faith from me than in their catechisms and bible studies. The kids that have come to me transferred over from private Christian and Catholic schools tell me the same thing–that they’ve learned far far more about Christianity and Judaism than they ever did in their Christian settings.

That’s because they have a good teacher like you, Scott. And it is encouraging to hear the curriculum bent in Ca. schools. Often, things in Ca. move east in education. Maybe this will follow suit.

Jon

I appreciate the kind words, Jon. From what I’ve read of you, I’d feel great having my three kids in your classroom as well. I just like to spread the word that not all public schools are factories for liberal brainwashing. Here in the central valley it’s a very conservative populace. Most of the teachers are conservatives like myself. We have a few liberals but overall they’re not the majority. Not all of California is the crazy bunch you see on TV lol…but our legislators, governor, and overall politics are schizophrenic. If you lived in this state, you’d never EVER want to watch Predator, the Terminator, or Kindergarten Cop again! lol…Seriously though, California has its shining moments like Proposition 8, forbidding gay marriage. It was a big victory for conservative Californians. We’re all scared and pessimistic that it’ll get overturned in a few years. The gay lobby is hardcore and full of $$$$ and able to brand everyone a homophobe who differs with their agenda.

Except for the San Andreas Fault, LA fires, and the Oakland Raiders as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers, we have an awesome state. Go Giants! :smiley:

i think Religion should be taught in public schools

i grew up in a Catholic school but when we had world history we got to learn a little bit about the different major religions around the world. it helps people of other faiths or no faith to have a little understanding of the people around them. and you really can’t avoid religion especially in history as religion drove the major events through time

**My personal opinion, experience, and current understanding is that some aspects of some religions would not do well as a discussion in a public school setting.

Consider that sometimes there is a very strict punishment implied/enforced by God for the misuse of words or phrases pertaining to religious entities.**

Matthew 12:
22: Then was brought unto [Christ] one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
23: And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
24: But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25: And [Christ] knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27: And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28: But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
29: Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
30: He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32: And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Jeremiah 23:
9: Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
10: For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.
11: For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.
12: Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
13: And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.
14: I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
15: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
16: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
17: They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
18: For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
19: Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
20: The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
21: I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22: But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
23: Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
24: Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
25: I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
26: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
27: Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
28: The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
29: Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
30: Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31: Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
32: Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
33: And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.
34: And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.
35: Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
36: And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.
37: Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?
38: But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD;
39: Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:
40: And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

How I wish I was able to go to Catholic school!

I understand the whole idea of slandering God, but if He’s brought up in literature then possibly somebody will set off in search of Him. Such as the other day I took a diagnostic for English Literature class and nearly all of the passages had God in them in a positive light, as well as biblical allusions and themes of parents as ‘co-creators’ with God when they have children, and a passage about a man who found out he was terminally ill and turned to God. It was quite beautiful actually! I love to see Him in places you’d never expect.

I am in the process of choosing a nice crucifix necklace to wear to school though, because the lack of God on the walls makes the room feel empty and lifeless. I subscribe to the idea that we should carry God with us where we go, especially into places which so attempt to stifle religion.

Thanks for your reply, if its $8000 for the 3 of them then I think its acceptable, but I really think it should be completely free and they should depend on the Churches only for their financial support.

However, here in SA, all the schools (public & private) are teaching at least 5 classes of Islam religious scriptures (Quran, Tafseer, Tajweed, Tawheed, and Fiqeh) from the first grade till the high school.

Here, it’s about $10,000 per year for high school - per person.

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