My research deals with the lack of religious education in public schools. The research does not advocate indoctrination of any one religion, but rather, argues that religious literacy and morality education should be taught to all students. I begin by addressing the way the Constitution and Supreme Court cases have viewed this issue and makes it clear that the Supreme Court does not say religion cannot be addressed in public schools. Since this is the case, it is important that we discuss religion because it is the backbone of many nations both of the United States and of many nations with which we are at war. I suggest that the way to do this is through teaching of religious literacy and, moreover, that religious literacy is an essential component of civic education. To be a good member of a democracy requires knowledge and understanding of religions. Religious literacy simply teaches the facts of religions and does not indoctrinate. An education in religious literacy would include two main classes: (1) A Bible course because it is the most popular book in the world and is often quoted by American politicians, and (2) A world religion course to educate about other humans and their decisions. Coupled with religious literacy would be a class on morality. This would seek to help cultivate our students’ humanity, something not always deliberately done at home. Again, such an education would not entail indoctrination to one religion’s values, but rather to common moral values we all share. These coupled together would help to create better citizens, human beings and a better American democracy.
Jeffrey Boyle, ’09 Richfield, MN
Majors: Secondary Education, History
Sponsor: Stephanie Mackler