Separation of Church and State in Public Schools
AP Language and Composition
January 28, 2014
Abstract: The topic of religion in schools is very controversial. There are many benefits and disadvantages of religion in public schools. Disadvantages being that religion can conflict with the scientific teaching of evolution through the idea of creationism. Another disadvantage is that religious teaching and practices can impose their beliefs on students. Benefits can be seen in the discipline and structure it provides to a student. Also, religion can teach morals and give perspective to students. The conclusion is that religion should be taught in a non-biased and educational manner.
THESIS: Despite the controversy and problems associated with religion in public schools, it should be concluded that when taught in an objective manner religion is constitutionally supported and beneficial to a school because of the rights that students have to a well-rounded education and because of the benefits it gives that lead to a greater community. I. Introduction
II. Removing Religion From Schools
A. Religion can teach false information
1. Conflicts with evolution
1. Charles Darwin
2. Reactions towards evolution
2. Against Constitution
B. Differences between science and religion
1. Scopes Trial
2. “Evolution and Creationism in American Public Schools” III. Keeping Religion In Schools
A. Gives stability and structure
B. Teaches morals
3. Buddhists teaching
4. Hindus teaching
IV. Removing Religion From Schools
A. Morals without religion
B. Problems with prayer
1. Teachers rights
2. Students rights
C. Problems with Pledge of Allegiance
V. Keeping Religion in Schools
A. Psychology of a student
B. Counter argument to prayer
1. First Amendment rights
A. Rights of students\teachers
B. Teaching creationism and evolution
C. Moral and social benefits
D. Closing statement
Over the course of U.S. history, conflicts over church-state separation have been frequent and passionately debated. The base of this country was built on the idea of being free, especially in the case of religion. Previously, the United States culture has been greatly influenced by religion, predominately by Christianity. However, as this country has developed and progressed, views on religions role have become as diverse as the people living in it. This poses a problem to public schools, which are funded by the state, and the young, impressionable students in them. In the past, decisions on religion in public schools have been indecisive and different depending on the case. To avoid future confusion a precedent should be set on religions place in public schools. Despite the controversy and problems associated with religion in public schools, it should be concluded that when taught in an objective manner religion is constitutionally supported and beneficial to a school because of the rights that students have to a well-rounded education and the benefits it gives that lead to a greater community. Some would disagree with the viewpoint above. They would argue that religious teaching conflicts with widely accepted scientific concepts and that religion imposes customs and beliefs on children in public schools (“Evolution and Creationism in American Public Schools” 1). However, the complete opposite of this is argued by religious leaders, most of them Christians, since they are the largest religious groups in the United States (“World Religions”). They fear for the diminishing importance placed on teaching morality to young children and teens. Also, they see the exclusion of God and religious sentiment in public schools as a violation to their right to freely practice religion (Lupa, Elwood, Davis, Masci, Tuttle, David R., and Berz). Those who are fully against religion in public schools fear...
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