Religious Causes Arrive at School, Cause Conflict Battle's Been Waged off and on since '63

The Florida Times Union, September 6, 1999 | Go to article overview

Religious Causes Arrive at School, Cause Conflict Battle's Been Waged off and on since '63


For months, the nation's public schools have been like battlefields.

But the combatants in question are not vicious teens gunning to turn the pursuit of an education into a blood sport.

This time, the conflict, which has inflamed public school systems from Kansas to Kentucky to Altoona, Pa., is between religious conservatives who want education to be more reflective of their values and those who counter that public schools are no place for teachings based on specific religious doctrine.

It is a battle that has been waged sporadically since 1963, when the Supreme Court outlawed prayer in the schools, a conflict that has legal implications rooted in the Constitution's separation of church and state and that again raises questions about what role religion should play in the public life of a pluralistic society.

At the heart of each of these debates is the persistent perception that public schools are out of control, that students lack clear moral standards and that the proof of both has been written in blood during a spate of school shootings in the last 23 months.

THE ISSUES

"If ever there was a time to raise these kinds of issues, it's today," said Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the conservative American Family Association Center for Law and Policy in Tupelo, Miss.

Fahling said he was aware that the courts are cool to most efforts to inject specific religious viewpoints into public schools, which have a mandate to educate students from wide-ranging backgrounds. But "in light of Columbine and some of the other tragedies . . . the courts are not immune to the types of cultural shifts we're seeing in these school districts," he said.

That's exactly what worries some constitutional scholars.

David Rudovsky, a Philadelphia civil rights attorney, said that in an atmosphere of fear and panic the courts may be less willing to uphold existing interpretations of the Constitution that all but rule out public schools as a venue for the teaching of morals based on specific religious doctrines.

"The general proposition is that while schools can and do teach morals . . . a problem arises when a school board follows a particular religious persuasion," said Rudovsky, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

THE OPPOSITION

And while many traditionalists argue the Ten Commandments are valid for any student, in fact they are a product of a specific religious tradition.

An early opponent of the plan to post the commandments in Altoona schools, Rabbi Burt Schuman, said he found the move offensive because it would detach the scriptural teachings from their context in Jewish religion and history.

"I think sacred text needs to be treated with sanctity," said Schuman, of Temple Beth Israel, a Reform congregation in Altoona.

Rev. Gary Dull, who led the drive in favor of making the commandments available in Altoona schools, said it's possible that it may be just a first step. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Religious Causes Arrive at School, Cause Conflict Battle's Been Waged off and on since '63
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.