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Ryan Jordan
Professor Padgett
English 102
February 9, 2016
Should Religion Have Been Taken out of Public School?
In the 1963 cases of Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp, the United
States Supreme Court ruled that public schools must have a secular purpose, and must neither
advance nor inhibit religion. By saying this the court took religion out of schools. While some

Commented [AP1]: What does it mean to take religion


out of schools?

schools have adopted extracurricular activities, students and faculty are not able to come together
and have any kind of religious activity. This topic interests me because I have always thought
that religion should be allowed during school hours. Although I am Christian and therefore
biased, I do not think that Christianity should be the only religion allowed. I do not think that

Commented [AP2]: Allowed where? Do you mean in


schools or in general?

faculty should be allowed to force their faith on students, however teachers should be allowed to
profess their religion without fear of being fired or persecuted. One of the founding beliefs of

Commented [AP3]: What does it mean to profess their


religion?

this country was the freedom of religion, and with the rulings that the courts made they have

Commented [AP4]: Okay, so youre defining freedom of


religion in a specific way here. Can you be clear about how
you mean these terms? It can be easy to toss common
phrases around without telling your audience exactly what
you mean. Really make sure you are defining the
parameters in which you are having this discussion.

taken that right out of the schools. Religion plays a huge role in the shaping of the history and
culture of a nation, and should be allowed in a place that millions of people attend.
William Jeynes, a professor at California State College, argued that since religion has
been taken out of public schools there has been a decline in the American society. Since 1963,

Commented [AP5]: Again what does decline mean?

there has been a drop in academic achievement, an increase in out of wedlock pregnancies, drug
use, juvenile crime, and a deterioration of school behavior. Jeynes cited all of these facts from
the federal government. He believes that if religion is put back in school, that the issues that have

Commented [AP6]: How are you connecting all of this to


religion?

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deteriorated since it was taken out will start to improves. Jeynes first goal is to put the Bible back
in school as literature which, data from nationwide surveys show that both students of faith and
those with no faith both respond positively to the Bible as literature curriculum. This is a first
step to bringing religion back as a whole. Jeynes is an education expert, and the data that he
collected came straight from the federal government, so there is not much room for bias.
A book called Getting Religion Right in Public Schools, written by Charles C. Haynes,

Commented [AP7]: Okay, what does as a whole mean.


Also, this seems like a fairly reasonable approach to
incorporate Christianity into a curriculum without making
the curriculum Christian. Having that said, would this
literature class be optional or an elective? Also is a literature
class the same as having religion in schools (to presumable
help stymie the problems youve mentioned above)?

talks about the importance of religion in shaping events in the world. He claims that religious
ignorance is at the center of most major conflicts that happen in the world today, and the best
way to combat this is by schools taking religion seriously, and, to promote religious freedom as
a fundamental, inalienable right for every person. Haynes claims that a majority of hate crimes
today, motivated by anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, come from people being intolerable of
religion. Because this is a book that Haynes writes concerning a topic that he thinks needs to be
changed, there is a great potential for bias. Haynes does do a good job in citing his sources, and
not just spewing out facts that come from his own head.
In an article called Religion in Public-School Education, published by The Biblical

Commented [AP8]: This language is perhaps too obscure


or too casual for this discussion. Mostly it is unclear. What
does it mean to spew facts as opposed to presenting facts?
Use clear language.

World, the author writes that the foundations of religion are built on, reverence, trust,
obedience, faithfulness, industry, sincerity, honesty, truthfulness, righteousness, justice, purity,
honor, kindness, sympathy, helpfulness, health, and happiness. Are these really qualities that we
do not want being taught to the future generations of America? There is not a class that a public
school student can take that would teach any of these things, so it is left to their home or church
to teach them. That is something that does not always happen. Because this article was written by
a biblical organization there is bias in it. Although the qualities of religion that they write about

Commented [AP9]: So i question who your ideal


audience is here. If you are preaching to the choir, so to
speak, I suppose bias wouldnt really be a concern for you.
But if you imagine your audience as a group who might not
be all on board with this idea, perhaps you should
reconsider some of the sources youve chosen here, since
you have mentioned bias a number of times. This seems to
be a rhetorical problem.

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are true, in the Bible, Jesus preaches these to his disciples, and other religions such as Judaism
teach these same principles.
This question is very arguable because both sides have very strong points that can be
made. On one side teachers can be forcing students to practice the religion that they do, but on
the other religion teaches young students principles to being a better person. Each source agreed
in the fact that religion should be put back into schools for the betterment of society. The
perspectives of the sources do not change mine because each source agreed with the point that I
was trying to make. If religion is put back in public schools, America will be able to get back on
the right track because students will be taught how to be better disciplined and better people.
Ryan,
I like the topic that youve chosen, and you clearly have an interest in the disussion. I have two
primary concers so far. 1) There are a lot of really unclear undefined terms that youve used. It is
important to define your terms and set clear perameters around which your discussion takes
place. 2) The credibilty of some of these sources, by your own admission, are suspect. Think
critically about your sources. This is especially true because you mention problems caused by a
lack of religion in schools without a) defining what lack of religion means and b) evidence to
support this partiular claim. These are heavy rhetorical concerns that you need to reslove in the
comming papers. Again, really interesting stuff here, and there should be lots of writing out
there on the topic, but make sure you can cite credible research moving forward.

Commented [AP10]: Unclear langage.