Religion’s Place in Public School
There are many topics concerning the American education system that could be considered controversial. Uniforms, technology, healthy lunch menus, to grade or not to grade, bullying, and the Common Core are just a few examples. However, one controversial issue has stood the test of time. This issue has likely been debated since America’s founding, but the debate really began to heat up a little over fifty years ago. The controversial issue I speak of is that of religion and just what place it may or may not have in our public schools.
Opponents of religion in public schools have several reasons for wanting to keep religion and public education separate. Olivia Godfrey, Editor for The Knightly Herald, and author of the editorial “Why Religion Should Not Be Taught in Public Schools”, argues religion should not be taught in public schools because it is simply too controversial. She believes that disagreement leads to argument, and today’s public schools already have enough arguments present without adding religion to the mix. Another argument Godfrey makes against a religious presence in public schools is that of who’s doing the teaching. She claims that school officials and teachers don’t know enough about religions that aren’t their own. She also believes is that it is simply too difficult to teach a wide variety of children about a wide variety of religions. She makes the case that if some students’ religions are left out of the curriculum, than those students may become offended, and it is therefore easier to simply not teach students about religion (Godfrey, 2013).
Not surprisingly, many of those opposed to teaching about religion in public schools are also opposed to prayer in public schools. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder and co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, writes in her article, “The Case Against School Prayer” that “Public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize” (1995). She believes that...