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

VI
Faiths and the Common Faith Church Religion and the Public School to Mid-Century

"Religious education . . . is misconceived when it is regarded as a branch of education. . . . It is rather education itself."

-- Hugh Hartshorne, Yale religious educator, 19311

Emphasis upon our "common religious faith" might "lead to a new sect -- a public school sect -- which would take its place alongside the existing faiths and compete with them."

-- American Council on Education statement, 19472

"Mr. Darrow -- Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife? Mr. Bryan -- No, sir; I leave the agnostics to hunt for her."

-- Tennessee v. Scopes, 1925


Faiths in Transition: Trends in Protestant Thought

For a brief moment in 1925, American attention was riveted on the little community of Dayton, Tennessee, where one John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was on trial for violating the Tennessee anti-evolution law. In effect, the law itself was on trial, as were also Darwin, Biblical literalism, and even the whole American Weltanschauung. For more than half a century Americans had wrestled with evolution. Now in one last dramatic

____________________
1
"The Relation of Religious to General Education", in Studies in Education, ed. P. Henry Lotz and L. W. Crawford ( Nashville, 1931), as quoted by John S. Brubacher, ed., Eclectic Philosophy of Education: A Book of Readings, 2d ed. ( Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962), p. 514.
2
The Relation of Religion to Public Education: The Basic Principles, Committee on Religion and Education ( Washington, D.C., 1947), p. 15.

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