[www.washtimes.com] Any thoughts on this story?

Richard Dougherty doughr at ACAD.UDALLAS.EDU
Mon Jan 21 12:30:13 PST 2002

Brilliant suggestion, Michael.  I read through Alan's post again, doing just that,
and it turns out to be quite funny.
Still...our reaction may turn on what we think might be different about the public
(school) teaching about religion and sex; I wonder if the range of opinions on
teaching about sex might be even more narrow than that for teaching religion.
Richard Dougherty
University of Dallas

Michael MASINTER wrote:

> The wisdom of Alan's observation becomes all the more obvious is one
> simply substitutes the word "sex" for "religion" in his post.
> Michael R. Masinter                     3305 College Avenue
> Nova Southeastern University            Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33314
> Shepard Broad Law Center                (954) 262-6151
> masinter at nova.edu                       Chair, ACLU of Florida Legal Panel
> On Sat, 19 Jan 2002, A.E. Brownstein wrote:
> > I doubt that most of the people who express concerns about the teaching of
> > religion in the public schools believe that "religion is outside the range
> > of experiences deemed
> > valuable by many people," or that it is "not a human experience commonly
> > deemed valuable." It seems reasonable to me for people to believe that
> > something less than the entire "range of experiences deemed valuably by
> > many people" is appropriate material to be taught in the public schools.
> > Other institutions and individuals, in addition to the schools, have
> > important roles to play in the education of children.
> >
> > Similarly, it is not at all clear to me that the best way for students to
> > learn about religion is to require them to engage in different religious
> > rituals. Religion, unlike art, music, or physical education is not a skill
> > to be mastered. Prayer and ritual acquires meaning because of the beliefs
> > and identity of the participant.  Because of this, I think many parents of
> > all religious persuasions (or none) dislike having their children
> > participate in religious activities of other faiths at school. Either the
> > role playing is meaningless and trivializes the activity or it invites
> > acceptance of the beliefs and identity that make it meaningful.
> >
> > Certainly, children can learn about the diversity of faiths in our society
> > in other ways. Professor Gibbens' child can learn about Hunukkah without
> > reciting prayers and lighting the candles on the Menorah. Indeed, if the
> > schools focused more on teaching about religion rather than emphasizing
> > minor holidays with culturally assimilated meanings or very visible
> > rituals, kids might actually learn something about what their neighbors
> > believe. But that is a more precarious undertaking because it presents far
> > greater risks of error in interpretation and exposition.
> >
> > Alan Brownstein
> > UC Davis
> >
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