should public schools offer classes in comparative religion?

Should government run schools (probably mainly at the high school level) offer classes that would instruct kids about many different religions? The principal aim, one would imagine, would be to foster a spirit of understanding and peace between different religious groups.

good idea or bad one?

Why not, maybe then the Christians will have a chance of being heard.

Absolutely not! Every religion will be heard except the Christians!

Or if it is heard, it will be distorted beyond recognition by atheist teachers pretending to be authorities on *all * religions.

Religion of any kind has nothing to do in a public school at all.

ps: Of course a school should teach something about religions in history courses. And it is ok to tell pupils about what some religions believe, but that should not be done by priests, imams or whatever.

From the public school teachers I have met, I would not want any of them misrepresenting what my faith teaches.
Paul

I think it is a fine line in which it is traveled.

  1. Should prayer be allowed in public schools?

-No (Separation of Church & State)

  1. Should public schools teach anything religious?

-Yes

If you look at US and European history there is a large religious influence in how things worked from Europe (Dark Ages / Renaissance) to the Middle East (Crusades) to the Americas. I do think that if you are going to talk about 1 religion you should compare at least the three major religions in the world… Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. You do not have to go into great detail or preach about them but explain how they impact society in the general areas.

[quote=Iwesshome]I do think that if you are going to talk about 1 religion you should compare at least the three major religions in the world… Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. You do not have to go into great detail or preach about them but explain how they impact society in the general areas.
[/quote]

Since when is Jewish a major religion? How many Jews are out there? And how many Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, …? Those are all “majorer” than Jewish. Boy, there are even more Shintoists out there than Jews.

[quote=AnAtheist]Since when is Jewish a major religion? How many Jews are out there? And how many Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, …? Those are all “majorer” than Jewish. Boy, there are even more Shintoists out there than Jews.
[/quote]

Yes granted but in mainstream America I feel and have seen in statistics that these are three primary religions that affect the majority of Americans.

NO! Bad idea.

When I retired from public schools the H.S. had aprox. 180 teachers/coaches. (The instructional staff).

Of the *180 I would trust maybe *10 to teach a class of compaarative religion. It is too easy to distort what is taught. And then what textbooks would be used?

[quote=Iwesshome]Yes granted but in mainstream America I feel and have seen in statistics that these are three primary religions that affect the majority of Americans.
[/quote]

ah ,ok.

adherents.com/rel_USA.html
I know this is 2001 information and I am sure there are better sources but you get the picture.

[quote=Exporter]NO! Bad idea.

When I retired from public schools the H.S. had aprox. 180 teachers/coaches. (The instructional staff).

Of the *180 I would trust maybe *10 to teach a class of compaarative religion. It is too easy to distort what is taught. And then what textbooks would be used?
[/quote]

That’s why it is such a fine line. Current educational books are not designed to reflect all religions or more than just 1 per say and I totally agree that a teacher of one religion will not be fair to another.

Iwesshome:

  1. Should prayer be allowed in public schools?
    -No (Separation of Church & State)

There is no provision in the Contitution that calls for separation of Church and State. Congress shall make no law** respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

**
[list]
*]If there is separation of Church and State who doe sall our currency bear the words “In God we Trust?”
*]Why does each session of Congress begin with a prayer?
*]Thomas Jefferson’s famous “wall of separation” between church and state comment was made in a letter to a group of Baptist clergymen January 1, 1802 in Danbury, Connecticut, who feared the Congregationalists Church would become the state-sponsored religion. Jefferson assured the Danbury Baptist Association that the First Amendment guaranteed that there would be no establishment of any one denomination over another. It was never intended for our governing bodies to be “separated” from Christianity and its principles. The “wall” was understood as one directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state. The world was not to corrupt the church, yet the church was free to teach the people Biblical values. It keeps the government from running the church but makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.
[/list]

[quote=GoodKnight1443]There is no provision in the Constitution that calls for separation of Church and State. Law respecting odor or
[/quote]

[list]
*]If there is separation of Church and State who doe sall our currency bear the words “In God we Trust?”
*]Why does each session of Congress begin with a prayer?
*]Thomas Jefferson’s famous “wall of separation” between church and state comment was made in a letter to a group of Baptist clergymen January 1, 1802 in Danbury, Connecticut, who feared the Congregationalists Church would become the state-sponsored religion. Jefferson assured the Danbury Baptist Association that the First Amendment guaranteed that there would be no establishment of any one denomination over another. It was never intended for our governing bodies to be “separated” from Christianity and its principles. The “wall” was understood as one directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state. The world was not to corrupt the church, yet the church was free to teach the people Biblical values. It keeps the government from running the church but makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.
[/list]1. If there is separation of Church and State who doe sall our currency bear the words “In God we Trust?”

Quote:

The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins. From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861. It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania.

Source: ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.html

  1. Why does the Pledge of Allegiance bear the words “under God?”

1954**
***Worried that orations used by “godless communists” sound similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, religious leaders lobby lawmakers to insert the words “under God” into the pledge. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, fearing an atomic war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joins the chorus to put God into the pledge. *****Congress does what he asks, and the revised pledge reads: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Source: The Associated Press and Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.

There is a fine line when it comes to Church and State. You have to remember that when the Constitution was written and currency formed (As the USA) that the majority of people were religious in one way or another, the majority of them Christian. Today over 95% of the worlds population believes in God within their own beliefs. With the freedom of religion and the amount of immigrants continually coming here from other countries we now have a large mixture of religion therefore we cannot allow prayer in school because how would you control it or separate it between other religions and that who don’t believe in religion. When I was in high school we would have a moment of silence after the Pledge to allow any to say a prayer to them. I am not knocking beliefs but know it can never go back.

My high school son is taking a comparative religion class starting next sememster (public school). He is interested in other religions and wanted to take it - and I thought it seemed like a good idea. You better believe I’ll be sticking my nose in to find out what is being taught, though. He knows that the Catholic church is the one true church, and he has experienced anti-catholicism among his peers, so I’m not overly concerned that he’ll let one person’s opinion sway him. It may just peak his interest to learn more about his own faith!

[quote=Tom of Assisi]Should government run schools (probably mainly at the high school level) offer classes that would instruct kids about many different religions? The principal aim, one would imagine, would be to foster a spirit of understanding and peace between different religious groups.

good idea or bad one?
[/quote]

I think its a fine idea if we assume the schools have more than enough support to already teach the fundamentals. In other words its not a bad idea but not a practical one with the state of schools now.

[quote=Iwesshome]You have to remember that when the Constitution was written and currency formed (As the USA) that the majority of people were religious in one way or another, the majority of them Christian.
[/quote]

And that still holds true today. If you take the current population of the United States (294 million), about 246 million Americans claim to be Christian.

[quote=lwesshome]Today over 95% of the worlds population believes in God within their own beliefs.
[/quote]

:confused:

Not only doesn’t that sentence make much sense, it sounds very much like a contrived statistic.

– Mark L. Chance.

I just think I was trying to point out that with so many people believing in so many forms of religion that you possibly can’t focus on just one in the schools, therefore you can’t allow pray in public schools.

Don’t mind me I’m just silly :smiley:

[quote=Iwesshome]I just think I was trying to point out that with so many people believing in so many forms of religion that you possibly can’t focus on just one in the schools, therefore you can’t allow pray in public schools.
[/quote]

What do you by “can’t allow pray in public schools”? Pray is allowed in public schools. A public school student can pray in a public school. Are you saying that students ought to be forbidden to pray while in a public school?

– Mark L. Chance.

No you are misunderstanding… I am just stating that Public Schools should not embrace religion such as holding hands and praying as a group in class, preaching the word of God, etc. If students want to pray within their belief then power to them such when at lunch or recess. I am no where hinting that we should chase students down that wish to embrace God in school but I am just stating that we shouldn’t make students who aren’t religious to feel awkward while attending a public school.

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