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a journal of analysis and comment advancing public understanding of religion and education
(more on the Journal)

Winter 2008
Vol. 35 No. 1

Editorís Preface

Teaching about religion, whether in the PK-12 schools or colleges and universities, has been a consistent flashpoint since the Court decisions of the early 60s. Three of our articles in this issue take on this topic from differing perspectives. In the lead article, Mark Chancey analyzes the work of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools in attempting to promulgate its approach in the nation’s public schools. One year ago, in the Winter 2007 issue, Professor Chancey, touched on this organization in his article on a number of ‘Bible bills’ going through legislatures recently. This issue’s article goes into greater depth regarding the work and philosophy of the NCBCPS.

Professor Emile Lester provides an account of a curricular innovation in Modesto, California regarding a required 9th grade World Religions course in its public schools. It is a story of community and interfaith collaboration with instructive findings for others wishing to attempt such change.

The third article on this theme is contributed by Professor David Sander in his piece on teaching religious studies. Working from the founders of the religious studies discipline, he asks two questions: Is it possible that scholarly methods may violate the nature of the subject matter of religion? and do methods of teaching religious studies perpetuate, or help resolve, an educational paralysis? Sander argues that founding scholars in religious studies “left some important dimensions of the modern pedagogical dilemma relatively unaddressed” (p. 80).

Christy Moran, James Garrison, and David Shirkey look at the issue of campus discipline at religiously-affiliated colleges and universities. While much has been studied and written about this issue in public institutions, little has been done in the private arena. Since more than half of our colleges and universities have religious affiliation, it is of interest how this issue has come to be handled in light of the philosophical evolution of approaches to this issue over the last 150 years.

Elizabeth Goodine rounds out this winter issue with an account of a post-Katrina course called “Religious Responses to Katrina.” Situated in New Orleans and involving interviews with victims and rescue workers, this course evolved into more than initially expected. This is a rich story with implications for faith-related service learning.

The cover art for this issue is The Intruder by Brad Covington . It was part of the October 2001 exhibit, A Question of Faith, at the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art.

Michael D. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education
Winter 2008