- Reason Awakes -

Educational Content and the Separation of Church and State

 

Inevitably, public subsidies or publicly provided education puts the state in the position of deciding what will be taught in schools.  This has resulted in a number of controversies, particularly about the teaching of evolution and "intelligent design" and about the presence of prayer in public schools. Legally, most of these issues raise questions related to the separation of church and state embedded in first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Intelligent Design and Evolution


We do not believe that there is a defensible alternative theory to the theory of evolution.


We oppose legislation at the local, state, or federal level that bans the teaching of the theory of evolution or requires the teaching of “intelligent design.”  At the same time, we believe that teachers are entitled to state their own views in the classroom, as long as they identify them as such.


Prayer in Schools


We believe in freedom of and from religion. We believe that publicly funded or provided education should be free from efforts to coerce any kind of religious participation from the students or their teachers. 


On the Separation of Church and State


We believe that, despite some of the atrocities carried out in the name of religion, religion can be a source of comfort and good in society.  However, we also believe that one of the reasons why religious belief flourishes in the U.S. relative to most of the rest of the developed world is because of, and not in spite of, the separation of church and state. We believe that when individuals arrive at their religious, spiritual, or ethical views without coercion from the state, they embrace those beliefs more intensely.


From a governmental point of view, America is, and we believe should remain, a secular state. Those who believe that religion should play a more prominent role in life are free to use all the powers at their command, other than the inherently coercive power of the state, to promote their views.

 

 

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