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

Spring 2003, Vol. 30 No. 1

Editor's Preface

Religious America increasingly opens its arms to diverse faith traditions, inviting all to the table in the spirit of mutual understanding—all except atheistscontends Robert Nash in our lead article in this issue. This is one, albeit small, group whose voice has not been tolerated in discussions about the big questions and what we think to be true. Atheists are more variegated than supposed, he argues, and could have much to contribute if allowed.

As issues of religion and spirituality gain greater profile on public university campuses, scholars and practitioners are giving greater attention to teaching about such things. In our second article, Carney Strange and Judy Rogers propose an approach to this and reflect upon the nuances of the topic and task. Christy Moran takes up this topic as well, but from the perspective of the "hidden educators" of higher education—student affairs professionals.

Our fourth article in this issue, also set in higher education, shifts the focus from larger scale contextual issues to more personal developmental concerns and the importance of specific settings to spiritual growth. Alyssa Bryant examines the development of women’s spirituality in a progressive campus-based Catholic community.

In the last several years, an influx of immigrants from Central Europe, Africa, and Mexico presented a challenge to predominantly rural Iowa. Mark Grey and Anne Woodrick describe a public university program that they direct aimed at working with faith-based community organizations to bring these newcomers in to the common life of Iowa’s cities and small towns.

The issue of school prayer has never been off the proverbial radar screen in the forty years since that famous court case ruling it unconstitutional. In this fortieth anniversary year of that decision, we revisit this issue by way of historian Lawrence McAndrews’ review of the school prayer debate that resulted from President Ronald Reagan’s constitutional amendment initiative in the 1980s. McAndrews finds that there were ‘moral’ victories on both sides.

The cover art for this issue comes from the work of photographer Matthew Kollasch. Taken at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, it is a reminder of the continuing appeal of mainstream religion among those coming of age.

Michael D. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education
Spring 2003