Religion is apart of everyday life. There is no way to avoid it. As Americans we “trust in God,” we affirm that we are “one nation under God,” and we continually promote legislation that is aligned with Christian belief (i.e. marriage). We are a society that is engrained with Christianity, whether you believe in it or not. Of course, there are many Americans who aren’t Christian. In fact, there are a plethora of Americans who don’t believe in God, have a different God, or simply don’t care about religion. There are the atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and a variety of other religions throughout the states. In many cases, people don’t understand these other religions, and in doing so neglect them whether doing so consciously or unconsciously.
Religion is a massive amount of culture. Believe it or not, the American citizens walking around represent a lot of world cultures that are often neglected due to the inability to teach our children about the world. In Ghana (a primarily Christian nation), public schools teach religion and moral ethics as a part of the students’ primary subjects. Within the classes, students learn about what Christians believe, however they also split time learning about the Muslim religion, and the ethnic and traditional religions throughout the country. This is where WE learn from Africa.
Parents and politicians listen instead of writing this off.
We are doing a disservice to our students if we don’t teach religion in schools. It is difficult to teach about other cultures without first understanding what they believe in. Yes, parents are going to call their school administrators and tell them to NEVER listen to this crazy college student, but here is a little side note…are you going to remove your child from school when they get to a government class and the teacher has to teach about being a Democrat or Republican? The same goes for religion.
A good teacher (as we all hope teachers are) will challenge students to study and examine religion as a part of a cultural practice. I personally wish I was able to know what Muslims believe in or how those who are Jewish differ from Christians. There is a need to teach religion, not to persuade students to a religion, but to encourage them to become culturally diverse and understand the views of others. Why can’t schools incorporate religion into social studies classrooms?
I know you’re afraid America, but children need to discover, they need to grow, and they need to educated with a global mindset. We are a nation full of diverse people and cultures and will always be. As a nation already behind in education, we have nothing to lose and only an infinite amount to gain. Take a bold step and think about why religion should be used in classrooms.
Comments are much appreciated. I only learn through others perspectives.
*A side note should be written that I believe that religion would be best integrated into high school social studies curriculum. I do not believe elementary is a suitable level to delve into the topic. Middle school is another area worth exploring (it seemed to work in Ghanaian public schools).
- Religion survey: Christianity remains dominant, but maybe not in your corner of the globe (reporternews.com)
- Public Schools are Teaching What? (ConservativeActionAlerts.com)
- How much Quran belongs in the classroom? (csmonitor.com)
- [politics|religion] Where should the rules come from? (jlake.com)