The devil is in the details: in America, can you really say “God” in school?


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Dono: Marcos Pedroso

Versão: 1.1

Última Atualiz.: 06-12-2018 10:46


This article examines conflicts that have unfolded over the past 75 years regard-ing the separation of church and state in American public education. Through discussion of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses as articulated in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as influential court cases that have set legal precedent and driven educational policy, it examines what is typically referred to as the “separation” mandate. This mandate, codified in the Constitution and interpreted and upheld by the courts, concerns the inclusion of religion in public schools, including discussion of religious history and ideology in the classroom setting as well as tolerance for religious exercise through such venues as school prayer and/or the celebration of religious holidays. It advances the argument that the controversy and litigation that have surrounded issues regarding separation of church and state in the realm of public education have prompted schools to remove most study and discussion of religious history and culture from the curriculum. This move, although understandable, is unfortunate because it denies them exposure to the religious ideologies and historical events that comprise their history and continue to influence the world in which they live. More troubling, it fails to equip them with a fundamental understanding of religious difference they need to co-exist and practice tolerance in a religiously pluralistic society such as our own. For these reasons, the author calls for the incorporation of religious literacy in k-12 public education.

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