Does God Belong in Public Schools

  • Filename: does-god-belong-in-public-schools.
  • ISBN: 9781400826278
  • Release Date: 2009-01-10
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Author: Kent Greenawalt
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press



Controversial Supreme Court decisions have barred organized school prayer, but neither the Court nor public policy exclude religion from schools altogether. In this book, one of America's leading constitutional scholars asks what role religion ought to play in public schools. Kent Greenawalt explores many of the most divisive issues in educational debate, including teaching about the origins of life, sex education, and when--or whether--students can opt out of school activities for religious reasons. Using these and other case studies, Greenawalt considers how to balance the country's constitutional commitment to personal freedoms and to the separation of church and state with the vital role that religion has always played in American society. Do we risk distorting students' understanding of America's past and present by ignoring religion in public-school curricula? When does teaching about religion cross the line into the promotion of religion? Tracing the historical development of religion within public schools and considering every major Supreme Court case, Greenawalt concludes that the bans on school prayer and the teaching of creationism are justified, and that the court should more closely examine such activities as the singing of religious songs and student papers on religious topics. He also argues that students ought to be taught more about religion--both its contributions and shortcomings--especially in courses in history. To do otherwise, he writes, is to present a seriously distorted picture of society and indirectly to be other than neutral in presenting secularism and religion. Written with exemplary clarity and even-handedness, this is a major book about some of the most pressing and contentious issues in educational policy and constitutional law today.

American Christianities

  • Filename: american-christianities.
  • ISBN: 9780807869147
  • Release Date: 2011-12-01
  • Number of pages: 544
  • Author: Catherine A. Brekus
  • Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press



From the founding of the first colonies until the present, the influence of Christianity, as the dominant faith in American society, has extended far beyond church pews into the wider culture. Yet, at the same time, Christians in the United States have disagreed sharply about the meaning of their shared tradition, and, divided by denominational affiliation, race, and ethnicity, they have taken stances on every side of contested public issues from slavery to women's rights. This volume of twenty-two original essays, contributed by a group of prominent thinkers in American religious studies, provides a sophisticated understanding of both the diversity and the alliances among Christianities in the United States and the influences that have shaped churches and the nation in reciprocal ways. American Christianities explores this paradoxical dynamic of dominance and diversity that are the true marks of a faith too often perceived as homogeneous and monolithic. Contributors: Catherine L. Albanese, University of California, Santa Barbara James B. Bennett, Santa Clara University Edith Blumhofer, Wheaton College Ann Braude, Harvard Divinity School Catherine A. Brekus, University of Chicago Divinity School Kristina Bross, Purdue University Rebecca L. Davis, University of Delaware Curtis J. Evans, University of Chicago Divinity School Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University Divinity School W. Clark Gilpin, University of Chicago Divinity School Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado at Boulder Jeanne Halgren Kilde, University of Minnesota David W. Kling, University of Miami Timothy S. Lee, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University Dan McKanan, Harvard Divinity School Michael D. McNally, Carleton College Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame Jon Pahl, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia Sally M. Promey, Yale University Jon H. Roberts, Boston University Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University

The Religious Roots of the First Amendment

  • Filename: the-religious-roots-of-the-first-amendment.
  • ISBN: 9780199942800
  • Release Date: 2012-06-01
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Author: Nicholas P. Miller
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press



Traditional understandings of the genesis of the separation of church and state rest on assumptions about "Enlightenment" and the republican ethos of citizenship. In The Religious Roots of the First Amendment, Nicholas P. Miller does not seek to dislodge that interpretation but to augment and enrich it by recovering its cultural and discursive religious contexts--specifically the discourse of Protestant dissent. He argues that commitments by certain dissenting Protestants to the right of private judgment in matters of Biblical interpretation, an outgrowth of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, helped promote religious disestablishment in the early modern West. This movement climaxed in the disestablishment of religion in the early American colonies and nation. Miller identifies a continuous strand of this religious thought from the Protestant Reformation, across Europe, through the English Reformation, Civil War, and Restoration, into the American colonies. He examines seven key thinkers who played a major role in the development of this religious trajectory as it came to fruition in American political and legal history: William Penn, John Locke, Elisha Williams, Isaac Backus, William Livingston, John Witherspoon, and James Madison. Miller shows that the separation of church and state can be read, most persuasively, as the triumph of a particular strand of Protestant nonconformity-that which stretched back to the Puritan separatist and the Restoration sects, rather than to those, like Presbyterians, who sought to replace the "wrong" church establishment with their own, "right" one. The Religious Roots of the First Amendment contributes powerfully to the current trend among some historians to rescue the eighteenth-century clergymen and religious controversialists from the enormous condescension of posterity.

Law and Objectivity

  • Filename: law-and-objectivity.
  • ISBN: 0195356926
  • Release Date: 1995-06-29
  • Number of pages: 304
  • Author: Kent Greenawalt
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press



In modern times the idea of the objectivity of law has been undermined by skepticism about legal institutions, disbelief in ideals of unbiased evaluation, and a conviction that language is indeterminate. Greenawalt here considers the validity of such skepticism, examining such questions as: whether the law as it exists provides determinate answers to legal problems; whether the law should treat people in an "objective way," according to abstract rules, general categories, and external consequences; and how far the law is anchored in something external to itself, such as social morality, political justice, or economic efficiency. In the process he illuminates the development of jurisprudence in the English-speaking world over the last fifty years, assessing the contributions of many important movements.

Religion American Education

  • Filename: religion-american-education.
  • ISBN: 0807844780
  • Release Date: 1995
  • Number of pages: 481
  • Author: Warren A. Nord
  • Publisher: UNC Press Books



Warren Nord's thoughtful book tackles an issue of great importance in contemporary America: the role of religion in our public schools and universities. According to Nord, public opinion has been excessively polarized by those religious conservatives who would restore religious purposes and practices to public education and by those secular liberals for whom religion is irrelevant to everything in the curriculum. While he maintains that public schools and universities must not promote religion, he also argues that there are powerful philosophical, political, moral, and constitutional reasons for requiring students to study religion. Indeed, only if religion is included in the curriculum will students receive a truly liberal education, one that takes seriously a variety of ways of understanding the human experience. Intended for a broad audience, Nord's comprehensive study encompasses American history, constitutional law, educational theory and practice, theology, philosophy, and ethics. It also discusses a number of current, controversial issues, including multiculturalism, moral education, creationism, academic freedom, and the voucher and school choice movements.

Statutory and Common Law Interpretation

  • Filename: statutory-and-common-law-interpretation.
  • ISBN: 9780199756148
  • Release Date: 2012-11-29
  • Number of pages: 391
  • Author: Kent Greenawalt
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press



Kent Greenwalt's second volume on aspects of legal interpretation analyzes statutory and common law interpretation, suggesting that multiple factors are important for each, and that the relation between them influences both. The book argues against any simple "textualism," claiming that even reader understanding of statutes depends partly on perceived intent. In respect to common law interpretation, use of reasoning by analogy is defended and any simple dichotomy of "holding" and "dictum" is resisted.

Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court

  • Filename: religious-freedom-and-the-supreme-court.
  • ISBN: 1602581606
  • Release Date: 2008
  • Number of pages: 1202
  • Author: Ronald Bruce Flowers
  • Publisher:



Examines the Supreme Court's treatment of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment through studies of significant decisions from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Private Consciences and Public Reasons

  • Filename: private-consciences-and-public-reasons.
  • ISBN: UOM:39015034865660
  • Release Date: 1995
  • Number of pages: 225
  • Author: Kent Greenawalt
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA



Within democratic societies, a deep division exists over the nature of community and the grounds for political life. Should the political order be neutral between competing conceptions of the good life or should it be based on some such conception? This book addresses one crucial set of problems raised by this division: What bases should officials and citizens employ in reaching political decisions and justifying their positions? Should they feel free to rely on whatever grounds seem otherwise persuasive to them, like religious convictions, or should they restrict themselves to "public reasons," reasons that are shared within the society or arise from the premises of liberal democracy? Kent Greenawalt argues that fundamental premises of liberal democracy alone do not provides answers to these questions, that much depends on historical and cultural contexts. After examining past and current practices and attitudes in the United States, he offers concrete suggestions for appropriate principles relevant to American society today.

Religion in Public Life

  • Filename: religion-in-public-life.
  • ISBN: UVA:X030275838
  • Release Date: 2007-04-19
  • Number of pages: 262
  • Author: Roger Trigg
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA



How far can religion play a part in the public sphere, or should it be only a private matter? Roger Trigg examines this question in the context of today's pluralist societies, where many different beliefs clamour for attention. Should we celebrate diversity, or are matters of truth at stake? In particular, can we maintain our love of freedom, while cutting it off from religious roots? In societies in which there are many conflicting beliefs, the place of religion is a growing political issue. Should all religions be equally welcomed in the public square? Favouring one religion over others may appear to be a failure to treat all citizens equally, yet for citizens in many countries their Christian heritage is woven into their way of life. Whether it is the issue of same-sex marriages, the right of French schoolgirls to wear Islamic headscarves, or just the public display of Christmas trees, all societies have to work out a consistent approach to the public influence of religion.

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