10 reasons religious education belongs in school

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  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 6:52 p.m.


    The prison population in the U.S. is at an all-time high, growing faster than at any time in recent history and the U.S. has a higher percentage of its population behind bars than any non-third world country.

    Just interested in your view of those facts. Is that part of what's working? Do we have a lower crime rate and drug use because more of the criminals and drug users are in jail?

    To allow things to continue to be working well, should we build more jails so we can put even more folks behind bars and watch our crime rate and drug use continue to decline?

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    The only protection for ALL religious students and all non-religious students, and to eliminate bias, hatreds, and persecution, is to make absolutely sure that NO religion is "taught" in Public Schools. Religion cannot be taught objectively, and more that a teacher can say "two and two equals four, but you are not compelled to believe that."

  • Lilly Munster netherlands, 00
    Aug. 5, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Evidence, Facts and American History has shown that religion, when taught in Public Schools, always becomes a weapon of condemnation and oppression by the prevailing majority against ALL others. Does this author think that a Mormon, Buddhist, Catholic or Atheist student in Alabama or Georgia would NOT be told "you're a vile sinner, lost, and we have the CORRECT religion?" Unless you were raised a Mormon in Atlanta, you have no idea how absurd and simple minded this article is.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 2, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    @ ulvegaard: "This country has gone to great lengths to remove any and all religious concepts from school; including ethics, morality, personal responsibility and appreciation. I don't think that has worked out all that well in the long run."

    Crime is down. Teen pregnancy is down. Drug use is down.

    What's not working?

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Aug. 2, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    I would advocate a wide spectrum of learning and allowing students to choose which portions of that spectrum would interest them most. When learning becomes restricted to just one particular view point, it is too easy for that avenue to become contaminated or at best, slanted.

    This country has gone to great lengths to remove any and all religious concepts from school; including ethics, morality, personal responsibility and appreciation. I don't think that has worked out all that well in the long run.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 2, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    Coach Biff....
    Taking any time from public education to fill kids heads with the myths, differences and the absurdity of religion when there is such a short time to prepare them for their temporal lives it makes absolutely no sense to me what-so-ever. Just because ANY particular religion thinks it's so all fired important doesn't carry any weight either.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 11:02 p.m.

    I agree. There is nothing godly about our public schools. Parents should get their children out of them asap and home school or send to a parochial school. The general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints warned us long ago about letting atheists teach our children.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 9:40 p.m.


    Actually, those were regions with lots of religious conflict. I don't have any more problem with Muslims than with any other religion; I only know a few Muslims personally, but I find them to be much more decent than a lot of the Christians I know; which doesn't mean that all the Christians I know are bad, I just happen to know more Christians.

    Nigeria has a quite large Christian background as well as Muslim and the Christians are among those causing the tension.

    And here's where you show your own bias: "...han the no values secular humanism...". The "secular humanists" I know are far and away better than any religious person I know and they actually live their values.

    "Without some kind of morality being taught..."; you err in conflating religion and morality; they are NOT synonymous.

    "And what better philosophy than that of the monotheistic religions, ..."

    I prefer the polytheistic religions; they're not as insular.

  • UtahDemocrat Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    This article doesn't even prove what it claims to prove. The author's claim is that religion has a place in America's education system. He gives ten reasons, which can be summarized as follows:
    1. Religious kids can't tell fact from fiction.
    2. Religious kids aren't juvenile delinquents.
    3. Students in private religious schools test better than students in public schools.
    4. One psychologist said religious kids are psychologically balanced.
    5. Religion classes have reading assignments.
    6. The Journal of Humanities and Social Science published an article that concluded students who take a religion class understand religion better than students who don't.
    7. College religion majors have a lower unemployment rate than business majors.
    8. You can't do anything with bachelor of religion, so religion majors go to graduate school.
    9. Religious people are happier and businesses like happy employees.
    10. Religious kids are less depressed.

    Reviewing the above list, the only "reason" that addresses adding religion courses in public schools is #5- religion classes require reading, but most classes require reading. Every other offered rationale argues for more religious kids, not for more religion in public education. This isn't news, it's low quality propaganda.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    Life is about "learning". Excluding one facet of life or education is akin to cutting off the nose to spite your face. I don't get your point.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Religious schools are private schools so when religious schools have to take every student that applies to their school, I will be treat that point that religious schools do better than public schools with more than just a grain of salt.

    But one might be shocked that a school like Skyline probably does just as well as a school like Juan Diego but the latter is exclusive and will cost tens of thousands of dollars vs. the other in tuition before one leaves. Also, most religious schools, whether they be Juan Diego or American Heritage, are almost completely homogenous. If not religiously, also by homogenous by race, ethnicity and wealth. They can promote one religion over another and no one there complains, or if they did, they are jettisoned out of the school. Public schools can't do this, nor do I believe, should do this. Public schools in fact, I would argue, better expose students to different points of view. Yes, public schools have immense challenges, but many come from the fact they have to accept everyone and often don't have the resources that private schools have.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Teachers can teach about religion. They just can't promote one religion over another.

    For example, a geogrpahy teacher can teach the basic beliefs of Islam, Judaism and Christianity when discussing the culture of the Middle East or Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism when talking about the culture of India. Or Buddhism, Confucius, and Taoism, when talking about the culture of China and Southeast Asia.

    There are a lot of great Supreme Court cases about religion say a government teacher would talk about like Reynolds v. United States (a Mormon polygamy case) or the big one Engel v. Vitale (school prayer). There are a lot of court cases involving things like Seminary programs, saying prayers at graduation, teaching evolution etc. that are certainly interesting to talk about.

    In history you can talk about he Mormon Pioneers or the rise of the religious right and its impacts on society.

    The idea that religion can't be taught or isn't taught, again comes from a lot of people having no clue about what is going on in our schools and the curriculum. People need to get out and visit their schools...

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 1, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    "School" is about learning. Not learning about supposed "truths" but learning facts. Enjoying the freedom of expression so you can become the person you were born to be.
    Where, what and why would religion have anything to do with this in public education? Can you imagine two kids squaring off in the playground over their opinions on the true nature of God? Leave religion at Church where you can get your fill every week.

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    Aug. 1, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    I grew up in another era. In our public elementary school, we said grace over lunch. We occasionally sang religious-themed songs -- like "We Gather Together" at Thanksgiving time and carols at Christmas time. We had Christmas programs with Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. I can remember a school assembly with a performer who sang religious songs and talked about his church activity. In high school, we had an interfaith council, and its members took turns saying the morning prayer over the loudspeaker. We studied the Puritans (in a positive light) and "The Mormon Trek" as part of our American history courses. Our student body was probably 98% Catholic and Protestant. There were few LDS or Jews. If we had Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or other non-Christians in our school, we were unaware of it, and they wouldn't have protested, anyway. Atheists were unheard of in our community. My grandchildren have had zero experience with this kind of education. They are dialed in to cultural pluralism and tolerance. Their teachers have many constraints. We need to teach more about God in our homes. The old-school model probably isn't coming back anytime soon.

  • nycut New York, NY
    Aug. 1, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    I agree with @Liberal Ted, who says students should be taught multiple points of view.

    He also said:
    >Problem is, politics creeps into public schools and gives the liberal slant on most things<

    Here, I would reformulate that to: "Luckily, *education* creeps into public schools and give the liberal slant on most things.

    And by liberal, I mean the classic liberal education, in which students are taught HOW to think about the world and the the things in it, not WHAT to think about them.

    How various groups' myths and stories were important to survival, how they came to be taken as reality, and what happened when those groups collided is central to human history.

    Religion, all of it, plays a defining role in the history of the world and everything humans know and think they know about life. The very fact that religion is politicized is one of the main things to understand about religion, and the main reason no one religion should be elevated over another in school.

    It's hardly a subject matter to avoid, if the goal is education rather than indoctrination.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    "this is what people believe" is a far cry from "this is truth" which is the level of discussion most religious people want taught in schools. After all, one of the arguments in the article is that it improves behaviour; this only comes with the guilt and enabled enforcement that religion imposes when practised, not studied. In the end, I believe we're better off keeping modern religion in context of our education system among the other mythologies, such as greek, norse or roman.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 1, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Numbers 7 through 10…

    Religion teaches us that ethics is nothing more than obeying divine commands and is therefore completely arbitrary – this is the morality parents impose on toddlers, not rational adults.

    Despite this, it perpetuates the false notion that religion and morality are synonymous, when in fact religion is necessary for morality in the same way Zeus is necessary for lightening.

    The only attribute that gives any one religion validity is the number of followers (why we think people who pray to Zeus or Baal are crazy but not those who pray to Yahweh or Allah).

    All the positive benefits of religion are due to its tendency to promote community involvement, something that can be easily gained without having to believe in fictional stories and fantasy.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 1, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    And 10 reasons why religion should not be taught in schools (survey and history course are fine):

    Sectarian religion is inherently divisive (see next point).

    All religions are both true (viewed by insiders) and false (viewed by outsiders).

    Religion’s track record as a body of knowledge is abysmal.

    Religion is our infantile (bronze-age) attempt to explain the world at a time when we knew next to nothing, and teaching it today is no different than teaching astrology or alchemy.

    Religion teaches people to believe things on insufficient evidence (it promotes credulousness).

    Religion is almost entirely based on anthropomorphic projection (i.e., if triangles were sentient, God would have three sides and the Bible would be a trigonometry textbook).


  • Eagle78 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    I agree that teaching about religion is very important. Teaching religion itself has no place in schools unless it is something like the LDS seminary program.

    The idea of covering each religion equally isn't a bad one, but lets be honest here people as a whole just aren't that open and respectful of other peoples beliefs. Teaching about the LDS church in school would thrill Mormons, but when that unit ends and the class starts spending a few weeks learning Islam I think they will suddenly be less thrilled heh. We can't have parents pulling their kids out of school to avoid the lessons they want to hide from their children.

    It is probably best for everyone to just keep religion in school extremely basic.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    I find those who know the most about all the different religions, tend to not belong to a religious group.
    Not to say that they aren't spiritual, they just don't settle for one particular flock.

    I agree with Bob studying all would be great, but it isn't about comparative thinking.
    It's like Liberal Ted alludes to, it's frightening to think your child might be exposed to critical thinking and choose differently than their parents.

  • Mom of Six Northern Utah, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    I believe that teaching about faith in general can be a very beautiful thing for children. Teachers for the most part shy away from it because they are too scared of being sued in our sue happy culture.

    As long as a teacher is not preaching, but teaching religion on broad terms I think it can help us understand each other more.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    I can only imagine the irate letters to the editor, the angry op eds, and overall vitriol that would be published in this newspaper if children in the state were forced to study Islam and read from the Quran as a part of their normal school day. Had this writer been at all honest he would have made sure the headline read: Why My Religion Belongs in School.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    Well Ranch you do show prejudice in your statement. You list all countries with Islam as their religion. Truth is, Islam, when properly practiced, would likely bring about much better people than the secular mis-education being foisted upon American students today. The majority of Muslims in the world are not terrorists. With well over a billion, if they were, we'd all be lost. Most Muslims I've encountered are basically good and decent people who live a good clean life. Kind of like most Mormons I encounter. Or Jews I encounter, or Christians I encounter. Anything that could make people better than the no values secular humanism does, which is pretty much where todays secular education takes people, is a good thing for a society and country. Without some kind of morality being taught, a society will crumble under immorality. This has happened throughout history. And if you try to say the law is our morality, I can show where most all law has a religious premise to it. And what better philosophy than that of the monotheistic religions, which include Judaism, Islam, and Christianity to get that morality from.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Aug. 1, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    Studying religion, ALL religions, is an entirely different matter than proselytizing for a specific religion. Of course the editors of this "news" outlet know this. Now what are they really getting at?

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    If secular students that come from secular homes, need to understand what people of faith believe in. And if they want to interact and accept that diversity exists, students should be taught several points of view.

    The issue is what slant the teacher takes. I have agnostic teachers that took every chance to undermine religions, while claiming to celebrate all. I had many teachers that were full of hate towards anything LDS (not exactly someone that should be trying to teach about that faith).

    Maybe they should celebrate different faiths each month. Touch on several Christian faiths one month. Muslim faith another month. Jewish faith another month. Give the students a variety and understanding. Guest speakers etc.

    If you want well rounded students, you can't teach them one theory and then expect them to go in the world and understand the millions of points of view. However, you can equip them with the tools they'll need to come to their own conclusions.

    Problem is, politics creeps into public schools and gives the liberal slant on most things.

  • sunderland56 Moab, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    Was there a particular religion you had in mind? Or should we rotate among the world's top four religions (Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddism) so that a high schooler will be exposed to all four?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 1, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    I don't disagree with the conclusions in the article. The problem is--which religion will be taught? I like the LDS seminary program because students have the option of taking the class or not. I taught in a school which had both an LDS seminary program and a similar option for other students taught by the local minister. It worked out great. I wonder why other religions don't offer more programs similar to the LDS seminary program. Including the positives in the article, seminary doesn't cost the taxpayer anything and the students are in a good environment.

  • mauister Wailuku, HI
    Aug. 1, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    When I read Tom Sawyer in the fourth grade, I had no delusion that Tom Sawyer was real. I do not believe that believing that fictional characters, Greek gods or other gods, are real is a good thing. There is a lot of good in understanding lessons of mythology, but believing that mythology is real is, well, delusional.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 1, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    "Religious schools do better than public or charter schools."

    Private schools on the whole do better than public or charter schools; not just "religous schools".

    10 Reasons why religions should not be in schools (note: there is a difference between religions begin taught ABOUT and being practiced in schools):