Religion in the Public Schools

Religion is a broad subject full of possibilities open for discussion. Should it be included in all activities? Some people seem to think they should. However, being as to how there are so many different systems of beliefs, things like government and education are kept separate from religion, except on occasion if the school is private. Now a days one of the hottest debates would have to be whether religion in the public schools should be permitted at all.

Religion in the public schools would have to be wisely dealt with. Public schools are government sponsored institutions and should be kept secular. Also, some children might get discriminated upon based on their religions at an age at which they themselves had not had the chance to explore their religious beliefs and most popularly just follow their parents’. Being in a secular environment can be beneficial to children during this growth process, and can encourage them to learn and choose a system of beliefs based on how they feel about life, as opposed to what has been ingrained in them by family.

Religion in public schools should be kept to oneself. There should be no preference and there should be no persecution. Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley said that “public schools can neither foster religion nor preclude it. Our public schools must treat religion with fairness and respect and vigorously protect religious expression as well as the freedom of conscience of all other students. In so doing our public schools reaffirm the First Amendment and enrich the lives of their students”. That is probably one of the wisest statements made during the ongoing debate of religion in public schools.

It has also been famously stated that there is no equal source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. If religion in the public schools were allowed, consequences would abound.

Religion in the public schools would also cause an unfair advantage to people living in school districts where their religion is not the predominant one. If a Muslim family lived in a predominantly Christian neighborhood, then most probably the public school would be Christianized, proving both uncomfortable and unfair.

Religion in public schools may also cause long-term effects where the segregation between religious groups becomes more defined and obvious. Since people need to live in a public school district in order for their child to attend, everyone of a religious background would live in one district while those of others would live in separate ones. This would create an environment in which contempt would undoubtedly be bred with one religion always thinking they are better than the others.

This kind of problem is what has proven to be the main downfall of religion, which in reality is all relative. Religion in the public schools should be respected, but nothing more. It should not be endorsed. Public schools (as well as private) should focus on the general education of future generations, and leave personal beliefs at home for personal time. Opinions should be cultivated by the person, not by the community, or it qualifies as indoctrination.

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