Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Religion in Public Schools - An Issue in Education

            Religion is the belief in and worship of a higher power, such as a personal God or gods. Religion is all over the world and we can’t avoid it if you believe in it or not. Public schools frown upon teaching religion even though it is a big part in many people’s lives. Religion should be taught in public schools as an elective course.
            The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This amendment allows people to believe in and exercise any religion they want whenever they want to. If a student wants to express his religion in school he or she is allowed but they are not allowed to be taught it in public schools. I believe that it is the parent’s job to teach their children about a specific religion not the teachers, but if students are willing to learn about the different religions around the world then there should be an elective course that they could take. To find out if students are interested in this type of course there could be a survey done to see how many students are interested in a multi religion elective course.
            By law students are allowed to pray and express their religious views in assignments but are not allowed to be taught about it. Students have the right to pray audibly or silently anywhere as long as it is not disruptive. They can read their Bibles or other scripters, say grace before meals, pray before tests, and discuss religion with other students who are willing to listen. Students are allowed to express their religious beliefs in the form of reports, homework, and artwork, and such expressions are constitutionally protected. Teachers must grade these assignments by ordinary academic standards and are not allowed to reject or correct them because of the religious view on them. The United States Supreme Court repeatedly said, “It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion, or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.” When students are allowed to pray or express their religion through assignments and the U.S. Supreme Court said what they said, one’s education is incomplete without the study of religion, then why can’t their be an elective course to teach the different religions?
In my opinion I believe that there is no problem in allowing a religious course to be taught as an elective. I could see it be a problem if it was mandatory because not everyone believes in a personal God or gods. There is a law of separation of a church and state but that should not be a problem if the course is offered as an elective. If religion was taught as an elective it would have to be about all the religions therefore one religion would not be seen correct to the others. The objective of the course is not to convert any one to a certain religion but to teach students about the different religions and how they influenced history. Someone who agrees with me is BashfulEmil60 on, who says this about religion being taught in school, “I think it is important that people learn about all the religions of the world. As long as the course does not promote any religion as correct, or put down any religions, I do not think it would be a problem for anyone. It is simply a fact that people are different from each other, have different opinions and views, live in different cultures and, naturally, have different religions.”
All in all, religion should be taught in public schools as an elective course. Students are allowed to express their religion so why can’t they have the choice to take a religious course? Like I mentioned before have the students take a survey to see how many students are interested in learning about the different religions around the world and how they influenced history. I know I personally would have taken a class about religion if it was offered.
.  Here is a link to debates on “should courses regarding the world’s religions be allowed in public schools”: Here is a video on what could happen if students were forced to learn a religion:

No comments:

Post a Comment