Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2004
15 Pages, Grade: 2,5
2. Importance of religion
2.1 Religion in every day school-life
2.2 Religion as a subject
3. Teaching Religion as a subject
4. Different approaches to teaching religion
Religion in Public Schools
Religion in public schools is one of the most discussed issues in daily school life. The problem is that state and church are seperatet and noone is allowed in interfering in the authority of the other part. This essay deals with “Religion in Public Schools”. The differences between Germany and the United States should be compared and the different aspects will be described with the ulterior motive of religious freedom in both nations.
In the first part the importance of religion will be pointed out, in addition the aspect “religion in every day school life” and futhermore the topic of religion as a subject will be discussed. This part is in regard to the whole essay the more thoretical section. The second part shows the practical paragraph of teaching religion as a subject, different approaches to teaching religion and the difficulties with different religious beliefs of students. The settlement is a summary where the main points are being combined with my own ideas and thougths.
Religion in Public Schools 2
In Germany, religion is an important subject in every day life and in school life. In the German Basic Constitutional Law, which is based on the Ten Commandments from the Christian religion, the importance of religion is shown. For example the religious freedom is implieded in both important and famous documents. Apart from that, church and state are seperated and have not any influence on each other.
In Germany the religious freedom was not a normal liberty in the history. While Friedrich II. der Große (1740-86) was king of Preußen he arranged the law of Religious liberty for every inhabitant in Preußen. This law belongs to the famous reforms of Friedrich II. Der Große. Later in the days of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945 [suicide]) and his dictator-ship the German “Reich” attempted the „NS-Kirchpolitik“, but the Catholic church with the pope Pius XI., who held against this. It was planned that Germany would get a uniform church, but this plan could not be realized. Altogether, the Religious Freedom was restricted, in particular for minorities, for example the Judaism.
Furthermore, the belief in God is a basis of our living together, which shows values and standards for every person. Especially for young children the belief in something or someone is very important because it helps strengthen the characters and growing up into a positive future. In religion groups, for example
Religion in Public Schools 3
the acolyte groups, they have much fun in meetings where they can live their believe. This sticking together in such groups is very important for children for becoming a well-balanced person with good support.
“Religious freedom is perhaps the most precious of all American liberties – calles by many our “first freedom.””, says William J. Clinton in his memorandum on Religious Expression in the Public Schools in 1995. In the United States the basic constitutional law are based on the religious persecution of the european settlers´ native countries. In America they searched for a space of freedom and the nation´s founders knew that this would be very important for a new democratic country. Apart from the role of the history of the United States, church and state are seperated. “…founders also recognized the need for a space of freedom between government and the people – that the government must not be permitted to coerce the conscience of any individual or group.” This quotation describes the early understanding for the need of religion and religious freedom.
 vgl. Kinder, Hermann / Hilgemann, Werner (1998): dtv-Atlas. Weltgeschichte. Band 1. Von den Anfängen bis zur Französischen Revolution. München: dtv. S. 287.
 vgl. Kinder, Hermann / Hilgemann, Werner (1998): dtv-Atlas. Weltgeschichte. Band 2. Von der Französischen Revolution bis zur Gegenwart. München: dtv. S. 471f.
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