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Lesson Plans


Re: Religion in public schools

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Sat, 14 Aug 1999 15:21:06 -0400


> Teaching about many of the world religions is part of the curriculum for
6th
> gr. social studies in California (and I am sure many places). There is
nothing
> wrong with teaching about other people's beliefs, knowledge leads to
> understanding.
> Heather

Heather,

You radical, you, trying to teach understanding. How could you?!!

You, and others who have posted about CA curriculum, have pointed out a
worthwhile distinction: that there is a difference between teaching *about*
other religions, philosophies, etc. and promoting them, to the exclusion of
others, as a policy of the school system. The separation clause was only to
prevent the creation of a State church/religion and any form of control of
*public* schools by any church.

So far as I know, there is no statute which requires teachers to be of a
specified faith, nor restricts them from expressing their personal religious
beliefs in the course of the day, so long as it does not interfere with
school and class procedures, and is not presented or represented as a part
of the school curriculum, policy or requirements.

On the other hand, I was refused the opportunity to present my "Alternatives
to Violence" workshop, developed by a Quaker and sponsored by the AFSC to a
Lutheran school because "I was a Taoist". First of all, I am not a Taoist,
at least not a very good one; secondly, Taoism is not a religion. It is a
philosophy, an observation of life and the world. Translated loosely,
Lao-tse's writings, Tao Te Ching, mean "The Way and the Nature". But no one
there understood anything at all about Taoism. All they knew was that it
did not include "Jesus Christ".

They continue to have violence; others who are more open minded are finding
better ways of negotiating, mediating, and arbitrating. They are also
learning to listen, to respond authentically and to think critically and
creatively.

Larry