About the discipline
Religion has played a key role in the formation of educational institutions in the United States. Our oldest and most prestigious universities were initially schools for religious study, and they have evolved along the path of the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. Early elementary schools taught reading by way of religious text, and often the first words read by a school-age child in the 18th and 19th centuries were from the Bible. Understanding these foundational roles helps one understand some of the current debates in society related to issues such as the teaching of evolution, the use of intelligent design in the classroom, prayer in schools and other issues of debate. There is a religious undertone to these discussions that goes beyond mere belief; some of it is based on tradition and how religion and education were once combined more tightly in the United States.
In addition, the spread of religion throughout the world is highly linked to education. Seminaries have handed down the Christian faith for centuries, as those studying other faiths such as Islam, Buddhism and Judaism have received instruction firsthand from the top minds within those belief systems. But it was not only religion that was taught. Monasteries were centers for study on topics such as astronomy, science and geography. The spread of Christianity can often be tracked as a side-by-side surge along with non-religious ideas based on study done in religious institutions. These models and teaching structures help us understand education as we know it today, and it also offers glimpses in to how we can better teach and train students to have open and thoughtful minds.
Higher education: The rise of religious universities in terms of attendance and prestige has been an oft-covered topic in the news media in recent years. The schools offer a liberal arts education with a religious emphasis, and it is useful to study the trends to examine why students are sometimes choosing these schools over elite schools such as Harvard. Also, the issue of education vs. indoctrination is worth examining at these schools, both in terms of understanding as well as whether these are religious reactions to what is seen as a similar secular model in public institutions. Another issue facing higher education is how to encourage religious diversity at schools without promoting it or discriminating against particular religions. Research that attempts to identify the core issues in this debate would fit well with the Center’s mission to help religious understanding become more integrated within a diverse public.
Public schools: No issue related to religion and education has received more media coverage in the past 20 years than the debate over prayer in public schools. But public schools have also seen clashes over topics such as abstinence education, intelligent design, evolution, religious clubs and the Pledge of Allegiance. The Center’s mission can help those going into public school education in two ways. First, teachers will be interacting with students of religious background every day, and learning more about these debates will also help the instructor understand the diversity of the students they teach. Secondly, the Center’s focus on the specific interaction of religion and public life is useful to the educator attempting to navigate the intersection of those two worlds.
Government and parochial schools: The issue of funding private and parochial schools is one that has been debated for years. The educator faces two questions in this public debate. The first is over how to respond to possible changes that could occur in their own classroom in terms of diversity if school voucher initiatives are allowed. Secondly, it is an issue of public funding and equal opportunity for those students who choose to remain in public schools. It is important for educators and education researchers to be familiar with such issues, which could change the landscape of the field very quickly.
- “Diferente Desde Aquí: Twenty-Four Ways of Looking at Religious Education” by Mai-Anh Le Tran. Religious Education. 106, no. 2 (2011): 147-161.
- “Just Act, Don’t Think!” Religion, Education, and Disciplinary Decadence by Wandia Njoya. Atlantic Journal of Communication. 19, no. 1 (2011): 43-53.
- “Science and Religion in a High School Physics Class: Revisiting the Source Materials of ‘The Interaction of Scientific and Religious Discourses’” by Wolff-Michael Roth. Cultural Studies of Science Education. 5, no. 1 (2010): 163-167.
- Buell, Lawrence. “Religion on the American Mind.” American Literary History. 19, no. 1 (2007): 32-55.
- Cressy, David. “Early Modern Space Travel and the English Man in the Moon.” American Historical Review. 111, no. 4 (2006): 960-82.
- Edwords, Fred. “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Humanist. 67, no. 1 (2007): 45.
- Graf, Susan Johnston. “The Occult Novels of Dion Fortune.” Journal of Gender Studies. 16 no. 1 (2007): 47-56.
- Mylius, Johan de. “Religious Views of Hans Christian Andersen’s Works – and their Literary Implications.” Orbis Litterarum. 62, no. 1 (2007): 23-38.
- Brownfield, E.Y. “The First Amendment Implications of Teaching the Theory of Evolution and Creationism In Public Schools.” Journal of Law & Education. 36, no. 1 (2007): 141-8.
- Carpenter, Lucas. “Religion and the Liberal Arts.” Humanist. 67, no. 2 (2007): 25-8.
- Cush, Denise. “Consumer Witchcraft: Are Teenage Witches a Creation of Commercial Interests?” Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education. 28, no. 1 (2007): 45-53.
- Darden, Edwin C. “Public Education, Private Faith.” American School Board Journal. 193, no. 11 (2006): 44-5.
- Moini, Saira. “Interpreting Religion Through Music.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. 23, no. 24 (2007): 32.
- Sanders, Glenn E. “Exposing Students to Intractable Problems: Christian Faith and Justice in a Course on the Middle East.” Journal of Education & Christian Belief. 10, no 2. (2006): 39-62.
- Thurman, R.A.F. “Meditation and Education: India, Tibet, and Modern America.” Teachers College Record. 108, no. 9 (2006): 1765-74.
- Zine, Jasmin. “Safe Havens or Religious ‘Ghettos’? Narratives of Islamic Schooling in Canada.” Race, Ethnicity & Education. 10, no. 1 (2007): 71-92.
- “The First Amendment Implications of Teaching the Theory of Evolution and Creationism In Public Schools” by E.Y. Brownfield, E.Y. Journal of Law & Education. 36, no. 1 (2007): 141-8.
- “Religion and the Liberal Arts” by Lucas Carpenter. Humanist. 67, no. 2 (2007): 25-8.
- “Consumer Witchcraft: Are Teenage Witches a Creation of Commercial Interests?” by Denise Cush. Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education. 28, no. 1 (2007): 45-53.
- “Public Education, Private Faith” by Edwin C. Darden. American School Board Journal. 193, no. 11 (2006): 44-5.
- “Interpreting Religion Through Music” by Saira Moini. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. 23, no. 24 (2007): 32.
- “Exposing Students to Intractable Problems: Christian Faith and Justice in a Course on the Middle East” by Glenn E. Sanders. Journal of Education & Christian Belief. 10, no 2. (2006): 39-62.
- “Meditation and Education: India, Tibet, and Modern America” by R.A.F. Thurman.Teachers College Record. 108, no. 9 (2006): 1765-74.
- “Safe Havens or Religious ‘Ghettos’? Narratives of Islamic Schooling in Canada” by Jasmin Zine. Race, Ethnicity & Education. 10, no. 1 (2007): 71-92.
- “‘The Most Hated Woman in America’: Madalyn Murray and the Crusade against School Prayer” by Bruce J. Dierenfield. Journal of Supreme Court History. 32, no. 1 (2007): 62-84.
- “The Relationship Between Bible Literacy and Academic Achievement and School Behavior” by William H. Jeynes. Education and Urban Society, Vol. 41, No. 4, 419-436 (2009).
- “Federal lawsuit claims Eastern Michigan University dismissed grad student from counseling program for her views on homosexuality” by Amanda Hamon. The Ann Arbor News. April 06, 2009.
- “Professional Ethics: Setting, Terrain, and Teacher” by William F. May. Ethics Teaching in Higher Education, Daniel Callahan and Sissela Bok (eds.).
- “Berlin to vote on religion lessons” by John McManus. BBC April 24, 2009
- “Teacher accused of displaying Bible sues district” by Andrew Welsh-Huggins.Associated Press, June 10, 2009.
- “Quebec’s ethics and religion course is worth defending; It has become a model of how to foster respect and tolerance” by Michael Schleifer. The Gazette (Montreal), May 19, 2009.
- A Guidebook of Promising Practices: Facilitating College Students’ Spiritual Development by Jennifer A. Lindholm, Melissa L. Millora, Leslie M. Schwartz and Hanna Song Spinosa. Published online by the Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, 2011.
- Teaching Adolescents Religious Literacy in a Post-9/11 World by Robert J. Nash and Penny A. Bishop. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2010.
- Teaching Religion and Science: Effective Pedagogy and Practical Approaches for RE Teachers by Tonie Stolberg and Geoff Teece. Taylor & Francis, 2010.
- An Educator’s Classroom Guide to America’s Religious Beliefs and Practices by Benjamin J. Hubbard, John T. Hatfield and James A. Santucci. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited, 2007.
- The First Amendment in Schools by Charles C. Haynes, Sam Chaltain, John E. Ferguson Jr., David L. Hudson Jr., and Oliver Thomas, United States, 2003.
- Learning About World Religions in Public Schools by Emile Lester and Patrick S. Roberts. First Amendment Center, 2006.
- Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools by Charles C. Haynes and Oliver Thomas. First Amendment Center, 2002.
- Bible Electives in Public Schools: A Guide(.pdf) published by the Society for Biblical Literature.
- The Silencing of Student Voices: Preserving Free Speech in America’s Schools. David L. Hudson Jr. First Amendment Center, 2003.
- Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum. Warren A. Nord and Charles C. Haynes. First Amendment Center, 1998.
- Religion in multicultural education. Farideh Salili, Rumjahn Hoosain. IAP, 2006.
- Religion and American Education: Rethinking a National Dilemma. Warren A. Nord. University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
- Reflecting on Faith Schools: A Contemporary Project and Practice in a Multi-Cultural Society. Helen Johnson (ed.), Routledge, 2007.
- Education, Religion and Society. Dennis Bates, Gloria Durka and Friedrich Schweitzer (eds.). Routledge, 2005.
- International Perspectives on Citizenship, Education and Religious Diversity. Robert Jackson (ed.). Routledge, 2002.
- Education, Religion, and the Common Good: Advancing a Distinctly American Conversation about Religion’s Role in Our Shared Life. Martin E. Marty. Jossey-Bass, 2000.
- Lawsuit filed against Eastern Michigan University for dismissing a school counseling student for refusing to affirm homosexual relationships due to religious beliefs: News story | Dismissal letter(.pdf) | Transcript of hearing(.pdf)
- “Cultural Competence in the College Biology Classroom(.pdf)” by Kimberly Tanner and Deborah Allen, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark. Christian Life Sciences Education. Vol. 6 (Winter 2007): 251-8.
- Breen, Damian. “Religious diversity, inter-ethnic relations and the Catholic school: introducing the responsive approach to single faith schooling.” British Journal of Religious Education. Vol. 31, No. 2 (March 2009): 103-15.
- “Culturally competent counseling for religious and spiritual African American adolescents” by Cheryl Moore-Thomas and Norma L. Day-Vines. Professional School Counseling. February 2008.
Codes of ethics
- National Education Association – Code of Ethics of the Education Profession
- American Association of University Professors – Mission & Description
- AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics
- Association of School Business Officials – International Code of Ethics
- American Academy of Religion – Religion in the Schools (pdf)
- International Reading Association – Code of Ethics
- American Montessori Society – Code of Ethics
- Religion & Education
- Journal of Beliefs and Values Studies in Religion & Education
- Journal of Education & Christian Belief
- Teaching Theology & Religion
- Religious Education
- Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School
- Freedom Forum
- Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools (Freedom Forum)
- The First Amendment Center: Religion in Public Life Resources
- An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices(.pdf)
- Bible Literacy Project
- “At Commencement, a Call for Religious Literacy” by Peter Steinfels. The New York Times, May 12, 2007
- The Religion and Public Education Resource Center
- Teaching About Religion in Public Schools
- Religion and Public Schools (U.S. Department of Education)
- Religion in Schools Debate Heats Up (U.S. News & World Report On Education blog), Jan. 22, 2009
- Religion in the Schools: Improving understanding of religious diversity in Missouri public schools
- Religion & Public Schools (The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)
- World Religions in Missouri
Professional associations and faith groups
- American Academy of Religion
- American Association of Christian Schools
- Association of Christian Teachers and Schools
- Association of Classical & Christian Schools
- North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies
- College Theology Society
- Christian Educators Association International
- Christian Scholars Forum (MU Christian faculty and staff)
- Faculty Commons
- Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative
- Jewish Educators Assembly
- The Jewish Teachers’ Association
- National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion
- National Catholic Educational Association
- Religious Education Association
- Society for Classical Learning
- Society for Values in Higher Education
- Blancke, Stefaan, Johan De Smedt, Helen De Cruz, Maarten Boudry, and Johan Braeckman. “Religion, creationism and biological education: a cognitive perspective.” Paper presented at the Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Oct. 31, 2010.