Free Essay

Religious Issues

In: Other Topics

Submitted By mattlandahl
Words 1545
Pages 7
Module 2: Religious Issues

Module 2: Religious Issues
Matt Landahl
Grand Canyon University: EDA-555: Legal Issues In Education

Module 2: Religious Issues The topic of religion has been a stagnant and emotional debate within the educational system since the beginning of public education as well as the first steps of the constitution. The Constitutional First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” With this saying citizens feel it is their constitutional right to practice religion or prayer in any setting including public schools. Several issues that arise in the public schools are; saying God in the Pledge of Allegiance, vaccinations of students, and student led religious activities in the public school setting. These issues have led to many debates and court cases. Religion will be an ongoing controversy in public schools since there are different interpretations of the Constitutional Amendments. It is imperative for an administrator of the school to know and understand the laws, to stay neutral, and to seek legal advice when dealing with separation of church and state One of the most controversial issues in the United States and public schools is the use of the word God in the Pledge of Allegiance. This debate dates as far back at 1892 when Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge without the words “under god” (Russo, 2004). However, the Senate and the House of Representative have continued to support the use of “under god” in the pledge (Russo, 2004). According to Russo, Smith v. Denny (1968), was the first case to challenge the use of “under god” in the pledge. The supreme court supported the use of the words in the pledge stating that it did not violate the First Amendment’s religion clauses (Russo, 2004). As of 2012, the pledge still includes the words “under god”. Many other disputes have gone on over reciting the pledge not only about religion and the use of the words “under god,” but over the schools disciplining students for not standing or reciting the pledge. In the case State v. Ludquist (1971), a father who was also a teacher refused to participate in the mandatory flag salute because it interfered with his freedom to express patriotism in his own way (Russo, 2004). In Florida a student was suspended for refusing to stand for the pledge and argues that his suspension violated his freedom of speech (Russo, 2004). In Goetz v. Ansell (1973), the court ruled that students were able to remain sitting quietly if they were opposed to saluting the flag (Russo, 2004). In 2004, the Supreme Court reversed a decision made by the 9th circuit court of appeals and upheld the Elk Grove School Districts Pledge of Allegiance policy which included the words “under god” (Newdow v. U.S. Congress et al.(2004)). The debate over using the word “god” in the Pledge of Allegiance as well as forcing students to recite the pledge is an issue that will continue to grow in public schools. Administrators must remember the ultimate goal of schools is to educate the students and not to push religion or patriotism onto the students. Humans are all unique in their own way and therefore can have completely different views on faith and religion. Within a public school it will violate freedom of speech if you force students to stand and recite the pledge. Forcing a student to leave the room during the pledge is no different than forcing students to stand during the pledge (Russo, 2004). Until the Pledge of Allegiance is rewritten and or amendments are made to the constitution involving the pledge, it will continue to include the words “under god.” Administrators and teachers must continue to observe student freedoms and be sure not to execute and rules that can infringe on the students’ freedoms. Over the last several years Lansing School District has seen a rise in ethnic diversity within the students and community. Along with this diversity there has been a significant amount of religious diversity. Within the district there has been an increase in students not participating in the saying the Pledge of Allegiance due to religious beliefs. As a result administrators have informed teachers to let the students express their beliefs by not participating in the morning routine and they are allowed to sit until it is completed. Along with the ever changing diversity Lansing Public Schools has acquired in recent years there has been debate over school requirements of vaccinations. Public schools require certain vaccinations to be enrolled into the school and to start the school year. However, some students and their families refuse to get vaccinated based on their religious beliefs. Many people may argue that this imposes a threatening medical hazard upon fellow classmates. This threat reflects on the view that all students are allowed a free and safe public education. Vaccinations may be viewed as a safety precaution within the system. However others can dispute that mandatory vaccinations are unconstitutional and unethical. Most states enact laws that make some sort of exceptions to mandated vaccinations based on religious beliefs. In California, students are required to submit an immunization record and if they so choose, they can request exemption based on their beliefs (Harris). According to Harris, this makes it easy to exercise the waiver because it also states that if the school feels that the student has been exposed, they have the right to remove the student. In District 158 parents that refuse vaccinations must write a letter to the Superintendent explaining why their child will not be vaccinated and must report any illnesses to the school nurse. Student led religious gathering on public school property is also a cause for debate. On one side people may feel that it is perfectly fine to organize religious groups outside of instructional time. On the other side people my be concerned that public schools that allow student led religious groups are in some ways influencing religion on the students by allowing them the use of the school property. The ethical issues that arise with this debate is infringing on students freedom of speech and freedom to practice any faith. However, it also can infringe on the Establishment Clause in that public schools cannot influence religion in the public schools. The Equal Access Act requires public schools to treat all student-initiated groups equally, whether it is for religion or any other purpose (Jampol, 2003). The Equal Access Act applies to any secondary school that receives financial assistance from the Federal Government (Jampol, 2003). According to Jampol (2003), most forms of discrimination stem from the school denying students access to the facilities even though it has granted access to other groups. However, the Equal Access Act only applies to secondary schools which maintain an open forum and allow students the opportunity to form groups outside of instructional time (Jampol, 2003). Determining if the Equal Access Act is to be used, it has to be determined if the groups is curriculum based or not. For example, a language club may be considered curriculum based and therefore will not deem the school as an open forum. However, a club non-related to any class may trigger the Equal Access Act and deem the school as an open forum. It is very important for administrators to know if the school is an open forum and understand the Equal Access Act so that no one group is discriminated against. Lansing public schools have an open forum. Outside groups and clubs must contact the administration building to fill out a form and set up meeting times that do not conflict with school activities. Although they are allowed to meet in the building after school hours it cannot be at the same time as a school related meeting. The debate over religion and public schools is an ever growing issue that seems inevitable. There are so many variations of depicting the Constitution which leads to these issues at hand. Administrators and those involved in the public school system must stand on neutral ground and respect the beliefs of others but not impose on the laws and Constitution. It is imperative that administrators seek legal advice when in doubt to avoid any legal cases in the future.
Jampol, R. (2003). Religion In The Public Schools. Journal of Education, 184(3), 73-78.
Russo, C. J. (2004). The Supreme Court and Pledge Of Allegiance: Does God Still Have A Place In American Schools? Brigham Young University Education & Law Journal, (2), 301-330.

Lofaso, A. M. (2009). Religion in the Public Schools: A Road Map for Avoiding Lawsuits and Respecting Parents’ Legal Rights. Washington D.C.: Americans United For Separation Of Church And State.

McGough, M. (2011). Idaho Says No To Religious Books In The Classroom. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from says-no-to-religious-books-in-the-classroom.html

Smith v. Denny, 280 F.Supp. 651 (E.D. Ca. 1968)

State v. Lundquist, 278 A. 2d 263 (1971)

Goetz v. Ansell, 477 F.2d 636 (1973)
Newdow v. United States Congress, Elk Grove Unified School District, et al., 542 U.S. 1 (2004)


Similar Documents

Premium Essay

A Discussion on the Issue of Indoctrination as It Relates to the Philosophy of Education in General and Philosophy of Religious Education in Particular

...other’s ideas. Philosophy of Education then is the way an individual values education, especially formal education. Msango et al in (Tembo 2000: 33) define Philosophy of Education as: A critical and systematic intellectual endeavour to see education as a whole and as an integral part of men’s culture .... any philosophy dealing with or applied to the process of public or private education and used as a basis for the general determination, interpretation and evaluation of educational problems having to do with objectives, practices and outcomes, child and social needs; materials of study and all other aspects of the field. “Philosophy of Religious Education deals with any problems and issues in the Philosophy of Education that affects Religious Education as a curriculum subject” (Simuchimba 2008: 2). This academic paper is going to discuss the issue of indoctrination as it relates to the Philosophy of education in...

Words: 1891 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Secular and Religious Approaches to Environment Issues

...Assess the claim that secular approaches to environment issues are of more help than religious ones. (35 marks) Secular approaches are ethical approaches that are not religious, for example Kantian ethics. Religious approaches would include Natural Law and biblical references. In both of these approaches to environment issues, a good approach to environment issues would be one that weighed up the pros and cons of both sides of the argument and come to a rational conclusion that is backed up with reason. Utilitarian’s weigh up the long term effects against the short term effects. I think this is a good way of looking at the environment, as the long-term effects are very different to the short-term effects. If we focus on only the short-term effects, then no environmental problems will be solved. Jeremy Bentham follows the quantitative approach, which is where the cause of the action outweighs the maximisation of higher pleasures for the present and future generations. Bentham would weigh up the pleasures and pain for all those involved. For example, a quiet lake with loads of wildlife being used for water skiing and other recreational activities. Bentham would weigh up the pleasure of the people and the amount of income against the pain that the wildlife would take and then make a decision whether it should be allowed or not. This is not a very helpful way of solving environmental problems because each situation will have a different outcome depending on the pleasure and......

Words: 1939 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Religious Conversion

...Social Compass Theories of Conversion: Understanding and Interpreting Religious Change Lewis R. RAMBO Social Compass 1999 46: 259 DOI: 10.1177/003776899046003003 The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: On behalf of: Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education Additional services and information for Social Compass can be found at: Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations: >> Version of Record - Sep 1, 1999 What is This? Downloaded from at University of Zambia on March 22, 2014 Social Compass 46(3), 1999, 259–271 Lewis R. RAMBO Theories of Conversion: Understanding and Interpreting Religious Change The author explores the nature of theory and provides an overview of resources for the study of conversion to Islam. Theory is valuable in so far as it illuminates different aspects of a phenomenon. Various theoretical approaches include some dimensions and exclude others. Scholars of conversion must be aware of theoretical issues and systematically utilize theoretical options with sophistication. Such an approach will expand understanding of conversion and also enhance......

Words: 5949 - Pages: 24

Free Essay

Human Resources

...and coercion are each an example of an intolerable working-condition change that might establish a legal case for a constructive discharge claim, particularly if the employee willfully made or allowed the change as a form of illegal discrimination.” (Unknown 2013) To support this claim, the following conditions must apply * Recent and intolerable change * Decision must be deliberate and unjustifiable for business purposes * The employee must have a cause and effect claim that was presented in a timely manner to the change This is relevant because the employee claims that the policy change affects her/his religious beliefs and for this reason he/she had no other choice but to resign. The schedule change is mandatory has now been extended to include Sundays on a rotating calendar, which it is assumed that this conflicts with the religious belief in question which prohibits work on a holy day. According to the Society for Human Resource Management Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “protects individuals against employment discrimination.” The discrimination categories that are covered under this act are as follows but not limited to * Race/ discrimination based on factors inherent to immutable characteristics *...

Words: 1562 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

1945-Present  Kinship All forms of social interaction.Determines how a person relates to others and how they belong in the community.  Ceremonial life  Corroboree - retelling of Dreaming stories through song, dance, music and mimeRite of passage- Moving into adulthoodBurial and Smoking ceremoniesObligations to the land and people  Dreaming stories help link the people to the land and it outlines the obligations of the people to the land.    |  Dreaming provides meaning and purpose in an Indigenous persons life     Provides connections to family members and spirituality   Provides a link to the dreaming and ancestral spirits. Marks key moments in people's lives.   By keeping obligations to the land and people the inextricable link will be kept | Issues for Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to:  | discuss the continuing effect of dispossession on Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to: / separation from the land * Loss of culture - loss of dignity * "Like a tree without it's roots" - "Buckskin"  * Lost law & lore * Lost purposeseparation from kinship groups * Lost identity * Loss of heritage * Loss of parents/ family * Loss of connectionthe Stolen Generations * Unable to connect with kinship groups and land * Not able to have full spirituality * Lost family ties * Unable to connect with country |    Not able to continue teaching spiritualityLost dreaming stories and part of identityLost traditional ways of life  Loss of LanguageLoss of identityLoss......

Words: 704 - Pages: 3

Free Essay


...“In many parts of the world today religious education is facing dramatic challenges.” (, 2012). We live in a world where society is greatly affected by the ways and customs of different religions and cultures. The questioning of the relationship between religion and education in Ireland has been a sizeable debate recently. The increase in immigration etc. has resulted in new and diverse religions and cultures being introduced into Irish society. Naturally this means that change is imminent. When people first heard that I would be studying to become a religious education teacher their reactions were mostly what I had expected. The look on their face said it all for most people. I could tell they were thinking that religious education was not a real subject. That is was merely a subject where you could catch up on homework or sit back, relax and watch a movie. Of course my natural instinct was to defend the subject as I knew why I wanted to and was going to study to become a religious educator. However as I found myself trying to explain, it was challenging to try and find the words to define what the subject is and what it entails. It was difficult to do this without sounding like a “holy joe” as the expression goes. It made me realise that I needed to sit down and think in detail the meaning of religious education and also what I think the future of religious education in Ireland looks like? Will religious education still be a subject in Ireland in years......

Words: 2048 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Pastoral Counselling Competencies of the Convention Baptist Ministers’ Association Janiuay-Badiangan Circuit Members

...501) ROSENDO D. MIJE FORTUNATO J. BASAL Researcher Course Facilitator RESEARCH PROPOSAL: PASTORAL COUNSELLING COMPETENCIES OF THE CONVENTION BAPTIST MINISTERS’ ASSOCIATION JANIUAY-BADIANGAN CIRCUIT MEMBERS INTRODUCTION: At any time, we can face uncertainties and experiences that threaten our emotional and spiritual well-being. Caught off-guard by the numerous crises and transitions that accompany life, we may not know how to cope or where to turn for help. Some people turn to psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers for help in coping with these crises and transitions. Others look for support and the opportunity to discuss these issues within a spiritual context. But can one find spiritual help and psychotherapy at the same time? Most religious leaders have little time or training to provide in-depth and extensive therapy. And most psychotherapists have little training or desire to discuss in-depth spiritual matters during sessions with patients. The answer may be pastoral counseling. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: According to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) pastoral counseling is a form of psychotherapy that uses spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth. The central theme in pastoral counseling is an awareness of the spiritual dimension in human wholeness. Crises and transitions are addressed in terms such as faith, meaning, purpose, and direction, as well......

Words: 855 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Rh Bill

...side to view the other’s argumentation as the legitimate offering of reasons in good faith which ought to characterize a democratic process of deliberation. Such a process must be valued equally by all who are committed to living together in a democracy, be they Catholic or non-Catholic, pro- or anti-contraception. Questions in the final column are provided to aid further reflection, with a view to clarifying positions and, perhaps, to building compromises that are morally and politically acceptable to both sides. Eleanor R. Dionisio ISSUE ANTI-RH BILL PRO-RH BILL QUESTIONS I. LEGISLATION OF AN RH-BILL Necessity of RH Bill 1. Overpopulation 1. Overpopulation is not the problem. The problems are government corruption and the unequal distribution of wealth and resources. 1. Managing population growth is not the sole solution to poverty but is part of the solution. Are overpopulation and graft and corruption mutually exclusive issues? Or ought they to be addressed simultaneously? 2. Availability/Provision of RH information, resources and services 2. RH information and services are already available. 2. Access to RH information and services is difficult for the poor. Local government officials can also prevent access through local legislation. Is It legitimate for local government units unilaterally to enact laws that limit access to RH...

Words: 1503 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Crime in Religion

...Crime in religion is unfortunately an everyday fact that occurs around our world while millions of people are unaware of it. Religious crimes date back through ancient times and they have been a global problem since mankind can recall. Fortunately, there have been many countries that have opened their arms and humans have found refugee. Others, however, are the cause of these persecutions due to the fact that their governments lack a justice system that protects these crimes against religions. Analyzing the beginning of human civilization we come across two factors that have always played a role. Those two factors are crime and religion. Man, since we can recall, must feel that it has the power to rule fearlessly. That is why when a group of people decide to put men's beliefs aside and follow a religion or a deity of their own, conflict emerges as fast as explosive granite. For this reason, presently we have so many crimes related to religion because some humans oppose others who have a different point of view. Humans feel the need to be accepted and when that can't be accomplished they go to extreme measurements to reach their goal. It is a shame that we must see crimes in every aspect of our lives. Even when we think religion would be the solution to uphold humanity and make it peaceful, the total opposite takes place. But this is not the worst part. Sometimes religion contributes to violence since some religions teach the concept of self sacrifice. In our world we have......

Words: 2647 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Religion in Singapore

...stationed outside of Singapore’s boundaries have depicted a largely positive view of interfaith relationships, while domestic media outlets have stressed the unrest caused by religious divisions amongst Singaporeans. Historically, Singapore was known as a port-city with an “entrepôt” style economy, primarily due to its proximity to major South Asian, commodity-exporting countries. Today, Singapore’s favorable tax laws continue to make it a central figure in the South Asian economic landscape. Singapore is a country of roughly 5.5 million people and, due to economy and geography, is a culturally diverse city-state. Primarily Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian peoples comprise Singapore’s citizenry, with western businessmen representing a small sliver of the population and a large portion of the country’s wealth. Religious diversity within Singapore remains high; an estimated 83% of the population subscribes to a religious belief system. There are five predominant faiths within the country, with no one comprising more than 30% of the population. In aggregate, members of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, and Hinduism constitute 99.153% of all religious practitioners. Not surprisingly, the government of Singapore has realized the importance of maintaining a neutral position and ensuring no one religious group acquires political or social dominance over another; Singapore’s political stability has been the driving force behind foreign investment and national prosperity. In...

Words: 1470 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Peaceable Integration

...reflects the calling of Jesus Christ? In their book, A Peaceable Psychology, Alvin Dueck and Kevin Reimer discuss means in which to approach the art of counseling psychology that amply appeals to an ever-increasing diverse client population. The writers suggest a prominent shift ensues when counselors no longer reside strictly within the objectivist, non-religious mentality of therapeutic sessions. Instead, Dueck and Reimer propose the counselor integrate the clients’ spiritual and religious beliefs with the therapy session in order to assist in distinguishing and accessing the healing resources available to the client. Within the realm of psychology, many researchers and practitioners have considered areas of faith and religion to be irrelevant. The book describes how these psychologists were educated from early in their studies to regard religion and morality as nonfactors. The authors claim “an enculturated American psychology will displace local traditions in favor of presumed psychological universals” (Dueck and Reimer, 2009, p. 48). These “psychological universals” restrict a person’s life and identity by hindering the religious and spiritual affiliations unique to that individual. The therapist is withholding potential sources of healing in the client’s journey through counseling by depriving him or her of this integral aspect of life. Instead, religion and spirituality should be treated like any other cultural aspect of a client’s life, a fundamental feature of his......

Words: 1270 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Religions Effect on Society

...are: wars, discrimination, control, the retardation of science, the denial of healthcare, and death. This argument seeks to research and describe some of the negative effects religion has had on mankind, and thus the world. Certainly the most notable negative impact on society is religious wars. A religious war or holy war is a conflict primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. The account of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites in the Book of Joshua; the Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries; the Christian Crusades, 11th to 13th centuries; Wars of Religion, 16th and 17th centuries. These are the classic examples, but a religious aspect has been a part of warfare as early as the battles of the Mesopotamian city-states in 700BC. Throughout recorded history, more wars have been waged in the name of religion than any other reason. In the last two centuries alone, we have seen several wars fought over religion in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America. Much of the middle ages were dominated by wars, such as: The Crusades, The Thirty Years War, and the French Wars of Religion. It is estimated that nine hundred million casualties have been caused by religious wars. Discrimination is the unjust or...

Words: 1167 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

...Conflict Research Perspectives Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland Rhett S. Close HUMN 305, Global Issues Professor Bakkum March 10, 2015 Conflict Research Perspectives Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland “The Troubles” as commonly known to the people of Ireland is the conflict that has been raging between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland since the 1960’s. This conflict has been defined as a religious one between the Republic of Ireland (Catholic) and Northern Ireland (Protestant). The more recognized believe that it is in reference to the political issue of separating from Britain such as the Republic did or staying “loyal to the crown” as Northern Ireland has. The final point is the hostile actions that both sides have committed in defense of their positions (Hammer, 2009). Both sides make arguments to why the other has been the source of the problem. In the following paragraphs, we will look at each side’s arguments and present the facts as they are known. Republic of Ireland The Republic of Ireland has a vivid memory of the ethnic and religious persecution they endured by their British rulers. There has been a long history of violence and discrimination based on the religious choices and their ethnic background. This is a modern example of religious and ethnic bigotry in a first world country. Citizens were afraid to practice their religion or to be affiliated with their home land based on the violence that may occur. A......

Words: 673 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Religious Tolerance and Pluralism

...Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Langdon Gilkey are religious theorists who both propose theories of pluralist religious dialogue. Their theories turn out to be quite similar, with Cohn-Sherbok’s proposal actually fitting into one of the categories Gilkey proposes. Like many other theories of religious pluralism, their ideas tend to conflict with established religious ideas and may not be feasible for actual use in interfaith conversation. However, Gilkey finally concludes that in order to figure out a pluralist model for religious dialogue, it must first be observed in practice, rather than putting forth proposals that are conflicted in reflection. In the end, the best step towards religious pluralism is in practice, rather than in thought and reflection. Cohn-Sherbok, from the Judaic perspective, starts with the basics, with the history of Jewish inclusivism, before he turns to show how that could turn into pluralism. He explains how, before the Holocaust, Judaism has had a comparatively tolerant attitude towards other religions, while still believing that Judaism was the one true faith. They did not condemn other religions for their practices, as their prophets said that in the end of days all people would accept their God (Cohn-Sherbok, 121). After the Holocaust however, Jewish thinkers distanced themselves from Christianity (Cohn-Sherbok, 123) Unlike the exclusivist view of Christianity, Jews have a long tradition of toleration, with the belief that God’s will extends to other......

Words: 1602 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Religious Article Critique

...article examined, and the overall significance of the article appraised. By doing this, it will be possible to read this paper and obtain a general feel for all the articles the have been provided. WHAT DO WE EXPERIENCE IF WE HAVE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE? By Peter Antes. This article looks at why people who have religious experiences never “...saw a person who was totally unknown in the respective religious context where the apparition took place.” (Antes 3). Why don’t people ever see the God(s) from other religions, why do some people “...see Kali or Durga, while in Christian contexts, if the vision is that of a woman, St. Mary is seen instead.” (Antes 3). This thesis is rather profound in the fact that almost every religion claims to have religious experiences and divine visions, but never of the God(s) from other religions. An interesting contrast shown in the body of the article is between Madeleine Le Bouc, and Ramakrishna. The former, was said to be quite mad by Doctor Pierre Janet while the ladder was considered a saint. Antes points out that “...they had similar types of experience which, according to their surrounding milieus, found very different explanations: a medical one in terms of mental illness in the secular context of France, and a religious one in the Indian context of Hindu spirituality.” (Antes 2). By using this approach, the findings will be more valid as this argument explores “...the field of Psychology of Religion.” (Antes 3). There is an example......

Words: 2847 - Pages: 12