God in the Classroom: Religion and America's Public Schools

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Overview

To help readers gain a better understanding of conflicts over the proper role of religion in American public schools, this book focuses on the seven major types of conflicts that have become particularly confrontational. Thomas does not take sides; rather, he lays out the arguments, their historical and cultural contexts, and the groups that debate them and their goals. Anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the controversies surrounding religion in American schools will find here not just a review of the issues, but a deeper consideration of the causes, consequences, and future of the debates.

Conflicts over the proper role of religion in schools-and particularly in public schools supported by tax monies-are frequently featured in news reports. For example, in the United States there currently are conflicts over the teaching of evolution, inserting the word God in the pledge of allegiance, conducting school holiday celebrations, posting the biblical Ten Commandments in schools, and praying at school functions. People who are interested in such controversies often-or, perhaps, usually-fail to understand the historical backgrounds to the conflicts and therefore do not recognize the very complex factors that affect why the controversies become so heated. To help readers gain a better understanding of such matters, this book focuses on the seven major types of conflicts that have become particularly confrontational during the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The cases on which the chapters focus concern issues that currently are being hotly debated in America. Controversies are described in relation to their historical origins and the author shows how the history affects current understanding of the issues. Thomas does not take sides in the arguments; rather, he lays out the arguments, their historical and cultural contexts, and the groups that debate them and their goals. Anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the controversies surrounding religion in American schools will be happy to find here not just a review of the issues, but a deeper consideration of the causes, consequences, and future of the debates and the role of religion in our public schools.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275991418
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

R. MURRAY THOMAS is Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he taught educational psychology and headed the program in international education for three decades. His professional publications over a 56-year period exceed 370, including such books as Moral Development Theories: Secular and Religious, What Wrongdoers Deserve: The Moral Reasoning Behind Responses to Misconduct, and Religion in Schools: Controversies around the World.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: As Seen from Here     1
Illustrative Conflicts over Religion in Schools     2
State, Religion, Secular Public, and Schools     9
Belief Constituencies     13
Traditions and Critical Events     14
Conclusion     15
From Then to Now     17
A Background Sketch     17
Trends of the Times, 1600-2007     52
Summary     55
God and Darwin     57
How the Controversy Developed     57
Guidelines for Educators     85
Curricula and Text Materials     87
How the Controversy Developed     88
Guidelines for Educators     112
Prayer and Scripture Reading     113
How the Controversy Developed     114
Guidelines for Educators     131
Holidays and Celebrations     133
How the Controversy Developed     133
Guidelines for Educators     148
Financial Support     151
How the Controversy Developed     151
Guidelines for Educators     170
The Pledge of Allegiance     173
How the Controversy Developed     173
Guidelines for Educators     187
Released Time and Clubs     189
How the Controversy Developed     189
Guidelines for Educators     201
Symbols and Maxims     203
How the Controversy Developed     204
Guidelines for Educators     218
Sexual Matters     219
How the Controversy Developed     219
Guidelines for Educators     235
State/Church/Secularists/Schools     237
The State     238
The Church     247
The Concerned Secular Public     249
The Public Schools     250
Conclusion     250
Notes     253
References     255
Name Index     273
Subject Index     277
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