Does God Really Need to Go to School?
A discussion on the division between church and state over the role of the American government in the religious convictions of its people, and vice versa.
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The following paper examines the way in which the American government mandates that children will attend school, that there will be teachers, and there will be education. This paper asserts that if the latter is mandatory, then the government must decide what religious value or training will be mandatory. The debate explores how on the one side many have suggested that no religion be instituted, whereas on the other side just as many say that no religion is the same thing as preaching the religion of atheism or agnosticism. The writer examines how many Christians want a more exclusively Christian environment, while many atheists or agnostics want to decrease the level of religious power invested in school systems. Both sides have problems with their issues, and may be extremists in theory, in actions, and in rhetoric. This paper suggests a solution to this everlasting debate.
“As the American government has progressed from a withdrawn state where it controlled little more than a militia and trade treaties to being an authoritarian structure which oversees everything from highway speeds to public education, the basis for change in its relationship to religion was firmly sown. A government which does not regulate public schools, or zoning laws, has in every field a very different role from one which does, but this is particularly important in the role of religious and ethical convictions. The difference between being tax-exempt and not tax-exempt is tremendous. The difference between having a building license or not changes the entire scope of a ministry. Perhaps most important, though, is the increased need for the government to determine what schools will teach about religion, if they teach anything at all”