About Us

Mission and Purpose

This web site is designed to assist teachers of middle grades and
secondary level history and social science programs in their handling of
religion as curricular subject matter. The hope is to facilitate instructional
endeavors that will, regarding religion, nourish in students a demeanor and
civic understanding that is conducive to public civility and religious pluralism.

Appropriately conducted, public education about religion can be helpful to
our achieving a nation where citizens of diverse worldviews can live their
lives side-by-side in harmony. Inappropriately conducted studies about
religion, however, not only will fail to achieve these worthwhile ends, but run
counter to them.
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism

A Civic Mandate for Teachers

Public schools exist to serve all U.S. youth and to
equip them as future citizens. The citizenry rightly
expects that academic study about religion in public
schools will be
fully in accord with our nation’s civic
promise to its diverse citizenry.


It is important that youngsters understand that religious liberty is not only for
them and for those who think or believe like them, but also for fellow citizens
who have different understandings. Within civil law, everyone has religious
freedom. It must be guarded even — perhaps especially — for those whose
thinking and traditions are unconventional or unfamiliar. We look to our
schools to foster in students an attitude that is respectful of a citizen’s right to
liberty of conscience.

Specifically, a teacher who is teaching about religion can use site material
to better:

1. Encourage students toward open-minded and objective consideration of
the diverse worldviews they may study in history, and the varied forms of
“different believing” that they may encounter in their own life and times.

Note: This educational undertaking is an inclusive one, in that it
incorporates the nonreligious worldview along with the spectrum of
religious world views. (For elaboration, see the site's Rationale)

2. Help students to appreciate those aspects of our American heritage that
safeguard individual freedom of conscience.

Support and Personnel

This site originated as an idea of OABITAR, (Objectivity, Accuracy, and Balance
In Teaching About Religion). The non-profit 501(c)(3) organization was seeking
the addition of nonreligion to public school curricula which include
instruction about religion, for the purposes of achieving objectivity,
accuracy, and balance. The overarching goal is one of promoting academic
integrity and a constitutionally sound position of religious neutrality apropos
to public education in the United States.

The website was developed and is maintained by Instructional Systems,
Sacramento, California. This company’s prior curriculum project for
OABITAR resulted in the supplemental instructional module for grades 6-12,

Different Drummers: Nonconforming Thinkers in History

Lead curriculum developer for the project was Mynga Futrell, Ph.D., with
additional consultation by Paul Geisert, Ph.D. of Instructional Systems.
Drs. Futrell and Geisert have been classroom teachers and teacher educators,
and have coauthored college textbooks.

The website’s religion consultant was Dr. Gerald A. Larue, Emeritus Professor
of Biblical History and Archaeology at the University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, California. Professor. Larue is the author of many books, among
them the text, Freethought Across the Centuries: Toward a New Age of