Role Of Religion In Public Education

1281 words - 6 pages

American society is a blend of secularized and religious elements. Anderson (2004) noted that these two elements have always posed a dilemma for public education. The struggle is how to accommodate both of these societal characteristics. He pointed out that the secular nature of American public culture and its underlying pluralistic character are important aspects of the context for our system of education. The role of religion in public education is not limited to America alone. There are several examples from different parts of the world to prove how widespread the problem is. Thomas (2006) reported a case in France in which a Muslim girl was expelled for wearing a traditional Islamic ...view middle of the document...

In all the three presidential elections that I have witnessed since I migrated to this country, the pastors of the different churches which I have attended have actually preached against the election of any pro-abortion (read Democratic) candidate. Just before the elections, all kinds lf leaflets were handed out in church with the message that it would be a sin (or supporting sin) if a member supported a candidate who did not support their stand on such issues as homosexuality and abortion. I have come to conclude that the primary purpose of churches in this country is to gain control of, and radically transform the nation’s politics and society. The campaigns by religious groups have become even more intense with time. Candidates supported by these Christian groups have a great advantage over the others. In the last elections, there was no single candidate universally supported by these groups and this made it easier for Obama to win. Interestingly, although Obama is a professed and practicing Christian, most religious groups have not been keen on giving him support. They have continued to make his work very difficult because he was not their candidate. In the school board elections, conservative Christians do not want to be left out. Deckman (2004) pointed out that the campaigns of conservative Christians running for positions in the school board and the support by their pastors and fellow congregation members has ensured that the interests of these groups are taken care of at the board level. It is very difficult to win a position in the school board in a Republican district like Lee and Collier unless you are supported by the protestant churches and related organizations.

It is interesting to note that today, public schooling is peripheral to most Christian conservatives unless it is tied to threats on the traditional family and sexuality. This is as opposed to what it has historically been. For instance, Greenawalt (2004) noted that in the early colonies, American education was almost entirely private and substantially religious. One can recall the “Old Deluder Satan Act” of 1647 that demanded the tax-supported town schools. Fast-forwarding this, it is important to note that political involvement of fundamental religious groups can be traced back to the 19th century. In the 1870s, protestant groups rallied together in the anti-catholic rhetoric. Since the catholic groups had built a number of private schools that allowed them to teach catechism, these conservative Protestants fought against the use of public funds to support parochial schools. One should note that the battle between the religious right and public schools predate the constitution. Manatt (1995) pointed out that the framers wrote the constitution as a secular document not because they were hostile to Christianity, but because they did not want to imply that the new federal government had any authority to meddle in religion.

Religion became an...

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