Piety in the Public School: Trends and Issues in the Relationship between Religion and the Public School in the United States

By Robert Michaelsen | Go to book overview

V
Common School, Common Faith? Issues and Trends in the Early Twentieth Century

"Ours is the responsibility of conserving, transmitting, rectifying and expanding the heritage of values we have received that those who come after us may receive it more solid and secure, more widely accessible and more generously shared than we have received it. Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race. Such a faith has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind."

-- John Dewey, 19341

". . . the American people is conscious that its schools serve best the cause of religion in serving the cause of social unification . . ."

-- John Dewey, 19082

"The greater the proportion of our youth who fail to attend our public schools and who receive their education elsewhere, the greater the threat to our democratic unity."

-- James Bryant Conant, 19523

At the turn of the century the Reverend William D. Bliss, Episcopalian social reformer, suggested that there were four ways of viewing the relationship between religion and the public schools:4
(1) ". . . all Socialists and . . . radicals of almost every description . . ." held that the schools should have nothing to do with religion. Religion, to them, was a personal matter
____________________
1
A Common Faith(New Haven and London: Yale University Press, A Yale Paperbound, 1964; 1st ed., 1934), p. 87.
2
"Religion in Our Schools", reprinted in Characters and Events, II, 515.
3
Education and Liberty; The Role of the Schools in a Modern Democracy, p. 81.
4
The New Encyclopedia of Social Reform, 3rd ed.( New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1910), pp. 1056ff.

-134-

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