Why a World Religions Course Should be Required for High School Students Our nation’s founding fathers put forth an amendment to the United States Constitution declaring that it is every American citizen’s sole right as a human being to practice whatever religion he pleases without repercussion from his government. Since then, the U.S has become a “melting pot” of a variety of cultures and religions. In fact, we have come to be known as the “nation of immigrants” in that the United States of America is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Our nation’s tolerance for religious freedom has resulted in an astonishing number of organized faiths about which most of us know little about. The lack of knowledge over our nation’s assortment of religious cultures can easily lead to unwarranted behavior and dire consequences. It only makes sense that we learn to understand our fellow man with whom we share this nation and this world. There is no better starting point for this transformation than with students at a high school level who are still at a formative age and are just beginning to grasp the world around them. Therefore, it should be required for all high school students to take a World Religions course in order to graduate. In many incidents in this country and abroad, those that are not exposed to other cultures and religions possess a limited view of the world. Ignorance at this level perpetuates a fear of the unknown and can ultimately lead to discrimination against those that are different from themselves. It is essential for students to acquire a stronger knowledge of important religious cultures in order to help prevent targeted acts of religious “hate violence” in our schools and our communities. According to Carrie Kilman, author of “One Nation, Many Gods,” students who had to take a world religions course, required for graduation, at a Modesto, California high school, proclaimed to researchers time and time again that they...
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