A member of the Davis School Board believes there ought to be more morality taught in the classroom.
Ray Briscoe, a board member from Bountiful and a researcher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believes that too much about the religious views of the nation's founders and history about religious persecution has been sanitized from history books. He made the statements during the school board meeting and an interview Tuesday night.Briscoe wants the state board to review current textbooks, particularly those used in American history and use those with information about religious beliefs. He also wants teachers to feel they can talk more freely about belief systems of different religious, but would prohibit proselyting.
"I would like us to support a resolution to the State Board of Education to examine the feasibility and appropriateness of including academic instruction about religion and morality," Briscoe said.
The board voted unanimously to consider the resolution on its first reading agenda in two weeks.
"In the history of education we have had teaching of morality. Now there is a movement toward secularism," Briscoe said. "We are not teaching about morality in the classroom."
Briscoe said the religious views of Thomas Jefferson, for example, are absent from history texts. He said that the history of religious persecution of different sects, including Catholics, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, is also left out.
"My perception is that there is a movement on the national level among numerous organizations that are asking to prevail on this point of view. They want to make the discussion of morality an issue in the classroom."
Teaching about the history of religious belief and the open discussion about how people believe would lead to more tolerance in society. Islam is fast becoming the second largest religion only to Christianity in the United States, but many do not understand its beliefs, Briscoe said.
"Teachers ought to be able to openly discuss in the classroom why Johnny doesn't pledge the flag because he is a Jehovah's Witness," Briscoe said.
He also wants students to understand religious value systems that are connected to sexual morality.
Teachers should feel comfortable to have discussions in the classrooms about how different sects and groups believe. For example, in science he would like teachers to be able to say "others believe differently" after a discussion of evolution. That is not to say he supports the teaching of creationism, he said.