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When I first started teaching, I obeyed the taboo rule on religion and
avoided exposing the children to any artwork related to religion. Doing this
left a nasty taste in my mouth, and I was mainly censoring this aspect of art
history out of fear. Doesn't censoring religious art foster ignorance? To me,
this censorship is contradictory to what it means to be a teacher.
I agree with Linda in that religion is a part of social studies and often a
part of art. I can not avoid teaching about culture, of which religion is a
significant part. How can I show the children images of the Sistine Chapel
without discussing the Bible and Christian beliefs? How can I expose children
to Chinese Landscape Painting without discussing the Buddhist Chan and their
ideas about nature? I might as well forget exposing the children to any
Native American Art. Greek Temples and sculpture? Forget it, then I would
have to discuss Greek gods and goddesses. What is my curriculum left with?
Techniques? Maybe some portraiture (make sure the portraits that you show the
kids don't have any religious symbols in it!) and modern art? Am I expected
to show works of art to kids and every time religion comes up tell them to go
ask their parents about it?" This is a mask of King Tut, boys and girls. I
can not explain to you why Egyptian pharaohs wore death masks because it has
to do with religion. Ask your mom and dad." And if mom and dad's schools had
the same philosophy, what would they know? As it is, I dont think many
parents know much about theology. This kind of censorship does not prepare
children for a global community.
I dont really believe that most parents advocate this. As Linda mentioned we
have seen all too many incidents in our society that propose a need to
educate about different religions and reduce ignorance. In our melting pot,
how can our public school censor education about religions? I understand the
history of the separation of church and state, but I think this censorship
is beyond the original intent of the law.
This is the end of my rantings on this subject :)...............Dawn in Tucson