White Papers

What Is "Religion"?—Well, It's Hard to "Say Exactly"

Gerald A. Larue, Emeritus Professor of Biblical History and Archaeology,
explores how to define religion. What
does the word "religion" mean, and
what is religion and what is nonreligion?

Religion in the Social Studies Curriculum

ERIC Digest by C.F. Risinger on religion in the public school, importance,
instructional strategies, civic education, and references.

Separation of Church and State: A Most Important Decision

Professor Gerald Larue presents the history surrounding the founding of our
nation and the development of the concept of the separation of church and

A Thorny Path to Tread: Teaching About Religion

Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr reason that schools would be better to
hang back on their teaching about religion unless they can do it
right (with
safeguards for objectivity and balance, and without bias).

Pluralism and Education

ERIC Digest by Joan T. England on pluralism education, its meaning and

Teaching Controversial Issues

ERIC Digest by Kay K. Cook on controversial issues and the concerns for
policy makers.

Valuing Diversity

ERIC Digest by Joe Wittmer on Valuing Diversity in the Schools: The
Counselor's Role

Believers should remember "soul liberty," respect rights of

Charles Haynes, the First Amendment Center's senior scholar, in his column
"Inside the First Amendment" reminds Americans that the amendment
protects the liberty of conscience (religious liberty) of
everyone — people of
varied faiths and people who profess no religious faith.

Untying a Terminology Tangle: Secular vs. Nonreligious

This essay by Geisert and Futrell looks in depth at two words (secular,
nonreligious) that in the school context are not interchangeable. Public
educators have to be precise on terminology because the laws are
attempting to protect youngsters' individual civil liberties, most particularly
their freedom of conscience.

Acknowledging Religious Diversity and Nonbelief: Toward Impartial
Classroom Teaching about Religion

This 21-page booklet provides rationale for why educators should
contemplate a full spectrum of worldviews (religious and nonreligious) when
teaching about religion. It offers information on societal biases, guidelines
for teaching impartially, suggestions for gaining comfort with nonbelief,
bibliographic resources, and so on.

Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism