A Critical Evaluation Of Re Curriculum

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A Critical Evaluation Of RE Curriculum

A Critical Evaluation Of Religious Curriculum

A Critical Evaluation Of Re Curriculum in UK

General Rule

Public schools may not teach religion, although teaching about religion in a secular context is permitted. The Bible may be taught in a school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document. What distinguishes "teaching religion" from "teaching about religion"?

Religion may be presented as part of a secular educational program. Programs that "teach about religion" are geared toward teaching students about the role of religion in the historical, cultural, literary and social development of the United States and other nations. These programs should instill understanding, tolerance and respect for a pluralistic society. When discussing religion in this context, religion must be discussed in a neutral, objective, balanced and factual manner. Such programs should educate students about the principle of religious liberty as one of the fundamental elements of freedom and democracy in the United States.

"Teaching religion" amounts to religious indoctrination and practice and is clearly prohibited in public schools. A public school curriculum may not be devotional or doctrinal. Nor may it have the effect of promoting or inhibiting religion. A teacher must not promote or denigrate any particular religion, religion in general, or lack of religious belief. A teacher must not interject personal views or advocate those of certain students. Teachers must be extremely sensitive to respect, and not interfere with, a student's religious beliefs and practices. Students must not be encouraged to accept or conform to specific religious beliefs or practices.

A program intended to teach religion, disguised as teaching about religion, will be found unconstitutional.

In sum, there is a critical difference between teaching religion and teaching about religion. While it is constitutionally permissible for public schools to teach about religion, it is unconstitutional for public schools and their employees to observe religious holidays, promote religious belief, or practice religion. School officials and parents must be extremely careful not to cross the line between "the laudable educational goal of promoting a student's knowledge of and appreciation for this nation's cultural and religious diversity, and the impermissible endorsement of religion forbidden by the Establishment Clause."

May schools teach the Bible as literature?

The Bible may be studied as literature, but not as religious doctrine. The lesson must be secular, religiously neutral and objective. Classes on the Bible as literature should be optional. The Anti-Defamation League strongly suggests that such classes be taught by school personnel who have some training in Establishment Clause issues. May schools teach secular values which coincide with religious values?

Schools may indeed and should teach secular values such as honesty, respect for others, courage, kindness and good citizenship. These values, however, must not be taught as religious tenets. The fact that most religions also teach these values does not change the lawfulness and desirability of teaching ...
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