Teaching Religion In Public Schools: One Calif. City Does It Right

Sep 19, 2014

By Sarah Jones


In Modesto, Calif., public school students are learning about religion in class – but it’s probably not what you think. The geography and world religion course, which is required for all high school students, is described as an objective overview of the world’s belief systems, and according to a recent article in the Modesto Bee, it succeeds in doing just that.

Sherry McIntyre, the course instructor, told the Bee, “This is a very special class. We’re very careful in teaching it. We’ve never had a complaint or a lawsuit.” McIntyre emphasized that the curriculum is a comprehensive look at the world’s religions, and includes non-theism in instruction.

“We’re not talking about agreement. We’re talking about honoring the right,” she said. “We are not a cookie-cutter-looking room in here; neither is the state, neither is the world.”

She also teaches the First Amendment and includes information about the life of Roger Williams, one of the colonial era’s greatest advocates for religious liberty.

14 comments on “Teaching Religion In Public Schools: One Calif. City Does It Right

  • Wouldn’t it be great if this were a compulsory subject! Using my powers of prophesy I can foresee the schools objecting to its implementation….and it would not be those heathen, secular state schools.

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  • Exposure to a world of religions and an even handed education about such would be far more welcome than the extreme method so commonly being peddled zealots who care more about being seen as right as opposed to exposing students to a broader understanding of religion itself.

    I believe classes like this would be a good start to have a dialogue on the subject without it becoming a powderkeg. Kudos to everyone responsible for putting this together.

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  • 5
    peter salole says:

    This truly is wonderful. Yet that this is NEWS, one can’t help but chuckle at the status of religion . It is after all nothing more than simple education about the world…Is that not what school is for 🙂

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  • Matt G Sep 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Teach world religions in an objective, scholarly manner? Why do you hate Christianity?

    What makes Christianity any different to other religions?

    (Apart from some people claiming their sect/ denomination of it is THEIR religion, in the same way others can claim Shinto, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism etc. as their own?)

    Surely a balanced understanding of the world’s religions is a more comprehensive view than indoctrination in one!

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  • This could only happen in California. There’s no way the schools on the east coast would let you lump Christianity in with all those “false religions”.

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  • Daniel, Originally being from South Carolina, I can personally, and with utmost confidence, state this… Hell most certainly will freeze over before SC allows something like this in its schools.

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  • Perhaps they could make it available on-line. Then other schools could access it during regular classes, or after, or just offer the link to students who might want to “take the course” on their own time. Already I am imaging a distance learning group who would offer a credit……

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