PRO: The Pious Bias

Should classes be allowed to include religious topics as a part of the curriculum in schools?

Sarah Markiewicz, Staff Writer

While one’s decision to live with or without religion is too philosophical for written editorial, having an education without religion is just as dangerous as walking into a room where everyone knows something of vital importance and you have no clue as to what it is.

There are people who take offense to any thread of religion that appears in classrooms. Sometimes there are good reasons for this, like when the student is required to recite something going against his or her belief, but when simply learning about religion, students should enjoy the opportunity to learn the perspectives of other cultures.
Students should realize that learning a subject with an open mind is very different from truly believing in it. While public school teachers bear a legal responsibility to remain unbiased about religious topics, the perception of the student is entirely based on how strong his or her beliefs are.

As someone who has attended both public and private schools, I believe that there’s a difference between preaching and teaching religion that some students and parents misunderstand. In the Christian school I attended, we went to sermons and were asked to participate in religious ceremonies. However, even in the classroom, religion was relatively objective. While I can’t speak for every public school, the teachers that come close to forcing religious views on students are few.

Exposure will occur because it’s impossible to teach a literature, history, or culture class without skimming over religion. DBHS students enrolled in AP Literature had summer homework with a section on Biblical allusions. Hopefully, these students know the importance of these allusions in literature, and if not, then chances are they shouldn’t take the class.

Christianity isn’t unique in its recurrence in school literature. A popularly assigned novel, “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok, describes the daily rituals and education of two Jewish boys, and exposes readers to both sides of Zionism, which is still controversial.

I must reiterate how important religious knowledge is when forming an opinion of other cultures. I regret paying little heed to what I was taught in middle school history classes since those were the only classes where I could learn something other than Christianity.

As news reaches us of terrorist organizations in the Middle East, it is common for us to form opinions, about a religion that many non-Muslims have barely been exposed to. There is no correct interpretation of a religious text, but a solid knowledge would give us backbone in an argument.