Religion in Public Schools

Powerful Essays
Until the early 1960s, religion was accepted in most public school systems across our nation. One of the main purposes for school in early America was for religious purposes (Prothero). Benjamin Franklin stated, "It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand." Thomas Jefferson stated, "The question isn't what religion is true. The question is what religious traditions do we need to know something about in order to be an effective citizen." Something that can be beneficial to our nation should not be taken away. Even though religion offends some people, it should be allowed in public schools because of its influence on America and western civilizations, and its ability to help form closer relationships.
In the early 1960s, people started to view religion in public school systems as a problem. Parents thought that their children should not be taught religion in school. Being taught religion is not the problem, forcing religion is (Boston).
David Paszkiewicz, a teacher in New Jersey, was secretly filmed and accused of preaching religion in his history class by one student. He taught that there were dinosaurs aboard Noah's ark, and that there was no true evidence for evolution. He went too far for his position when he told his students that they were going to hell if they did not accept Christ's gift of salvation (Boston).
The problem is not the subject matter that Paszkiewicz was teaching; it is the way that he taught it. Rather than using an educational method, he instructed with a preaching method. His method of preaching was very forceful and somewhat intimidating. He taught about his personal religion and tried to make his students accept it by force (B...

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...iberties. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Government Neutrality Is Not 'Anti-Religion'." Psychology Today (3 Oct. 2011). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Prothero, Stephen. "There Should Be Prayer and Bible Study in Public Schools." Atheism. Ed. Beth Rosenthal. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Should the Bible Be Taught in Public Schools? (Interview with Stephen Prothero)." 2007. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Staver, Mathew D. "Allowing Religious Expression in School Protects Students' Rights." Students' Rights. Ed. Jamuna Carroll. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "New Federal Guidelines a Real Blessing for Public Schools." Liberator Mar. 2003: 1-4. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
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