Research: Religion and United States Essay

Submitted By Megha-Saluja
Words: 1294
Pages: 6

Megha Saluja
AICE Global Perspectives

Many people are concerned with the presence of religion in public schools. Some people feel that public educators should be permitted to openly speak about religion and advise students about religion. Other people feel that religion should be limited to private schools, or no schools at all, and public educators should not have the right to converse with students about religion in any way. Many people state their opinions about religion in education facilities without being educated about the laws. Different countries and areas of the world have very different religious laws. In the United States there are certain rules regarding religion in schools. “The Constitution permits much private religious activity in and about the public schools. Unfortunately, this aspect of constitutional law is not as well known as it should be. Some say that the Supreme Court has declared the public schools "religion-free zones" or that the law is so murky that school officials cannot know what is legally permissible. The former claim is simply wrong. And as to the latter, while there are some difficult issues, much has been settled. It is also unfortunately true that public school officials, due to their busy schedules, may not be as fully aware of this body of law as they could be. As a result, in some school districts some of these rights are not being observed” (Religion In The Public Schools:
A Joint Statement Of Current Law). Many Americans, including public school officials and educators, are oblivious to what the Constitution says about religious activity occurring in public schools. Student prayer is allowed because of what the Constitution says about it: “Students have the right to pray individually or in groups or to discuss their religious views with their peers so long as they are not disruptive. Because the Establishment Clause does not apply to purely private speech, students enjoy the right to read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, pray before tests, and discuss religion with other willing student listeners. In the classroom students have the right to pray quietly except when required to be actively engaged in school activities (e.g., students may not decide to pray just as a teacher calls on them). In informal settings, such as the cafeteria or in the halls, students may pray either audibly or silently, subject to the same rules of order as apply to other speech in these locations. However, the right to engage in voluntary prayer does not include, for example, the right to have a captive audience listen or to compel other students to participate” (Religion). Teaching about religion is one of the biggest issues faced by students across the globe. Some people fear that teaching religion in schools will compel students to think about religion the way their teachers or peers do. Some people fear that not teaching religion in schools will result in students being misinformed about religion and will shut them off to it. The Constitution says the following about teaching religion in schools: “The history of religion, comparative religion, the Bible (or other scripture)-as-literature (either as a separate course or within some other existing course), are all permissible public school subjects. It is both permissible and desirable to teach objectively about the role of religion in the history of the United States and other countries” (Religion). One can see that in the United States, religion is acceptable to teach. It is permissible to be spoken about in schools, but not enforced. In other countries, it is not this way. In France, religion in schools has changed dramatically over the years. The following excerpt shows how religion in schools is viewed differently than it is viewed in America: “The French regime of separating church and state, known as laïcité, has been well entrenched since at least 1905, and its application in schools was reinforced in 2004 by a