TEACHING RELIGION &
TEACHING ABOUT RELIGION
IN IN U.S. PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Many people with exclusivist views -- those
who believe that theirs is the only true religion
-- feel very strongly that their religion should be taught in the schools.
Some want their religion taught as truth. Some do not approve of religions
other than theirs being taught on an equal basis to their own.
Many people with inclusivist beliefs -- those
who believe that their religion is true but that some truth may be often
found in other religions as well -- want all major religions discussed in
the schools, but want their religion to be given special treatment.
Many people with pluralistic views -- those
who believe that all religions are true, when evaluated against their local
culture -- feel that a truly education person needs to have
some knowledge of all of the major world religions and belief systems. Some
are concerned that, in practice, some teachers may teach one particular
religion as truth.
Some strong Agnostics, Atheists,
Humanists, secularists, etc. feel that religion should not be
taught in schools because attempts to do so often degenerate into indoctrination of the
students with the beliefs of the dominant religion.
The constitution of the U.S., as currently interpreted by the U.S.
Supreme Court, requires a strict separation of church and state. This places
severe restrictions on exactly how religion can legally be taught in the public schools.
These limitations are often in conflict with the local culture.