Children and Childhood in American Religions

Children and Childhood in American Religions

Children and Childhood in American Religions

Children and Childhood in American Religions

Synopsis

Whether First Communion or bar mitzvah, religious traditions play a central role in the lives of many American children. In this collection of essays, leading scholars reveal for the first time how various religions interpret, reconstruct, and mediate their traditions to help guide children and their parents in navigating the opportunities and challenges of American life. The book examines ten religions, among other topics:
  • How the Catholic Church confronts the tension between its teachings about children and actual practic
  • The Oglala Lakota's struggle to preserve their spiritual tradition
  • The impact of modernity on Hinduism

Only by discussing the unique challenges faced by all religions, and their followers, can we take the first step toward a greater understanding for all of us.

Excerpt

This book is the result of efforts by many individuals and organizations. First, every book must be preceded by a vision. This came from the fertile mind of John Witte, the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, School of Law, Emory University. He conceived and ably directed the two-phase research project that stimulated and supported the development of this book. These were the Sex, Marriage, and Family in the Religions of the Book project (2001–2003) and the Child in Law, Religion, and Society project (2003–2006). Both of these were located in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion in the School of Law at Emory. Appreciation as well must go to his great staff—Eliza Ellison, Amy Wheeler, Anita Mann, Janice Wiggins, and April Bogle—who all do countless important things to move projects along to completion. Christian Green, formerly on the faculty of Harvard Divinity School and now with Emory School of Law, did some of the early conceptualizing of this volume. But then there are the organizations. First, deep thanks must be expressed to the Pew Charitable Trusts for the significant grant that made all these projects, including this book, possible. The Pew grant was generously supplemented by Emory University as part of its long-term commitment to investigating the relation of religion to culture, including law.

Then there were the managing editors of this volume, who did much of the day-to-day work of organizing, communicating, and providing significant stimulation and feedback. This book unfolded over three years and was moved along by the able management skills of Kevin Jung (now on the faculty of Lake Forest University School of Divinity), Sarah Schuurman, and Antonia Daymond, all at one time or another graduate students at the Divinity School, University of Chicago, where much of the work on this volume was done. Their contributions were both vital and outstanding. Appreciation must go to Dean Richard Rosengarten of the Divinity School at Chicago for providing our office, phone, and other supports. Miller-McLemore expresses her appreciation to Vanderbilt Divinity School for its continuing support of her . . .

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