Editorial on Teaching about Religion: "Faith, Fear and Public Schools"

March 17, 2002

Source: The Denver Post

On March 17, 2002, The Denver Post featured the editorial "Faith, Fear and Public Schools" by Lori Colvin-Hobbs, a parent and business director at The Odyssey School in Denver, CO where middle school students are engaged in an Asian Studies program, which includes studying Asian religions. "For many families, both Christian and non-Christian, this learning expedition was an exciting opportunity for their students... But some Christian families in our school community saw the Asian studies curriculum as a threat - crossing the line for what is appropriate in a public school setting... While aware of our school's founding principle - that diversity and inclusivity increase richness of ideas, creative power, problem-solving ability, and acceptance of others - these parents do not want their children placed in a position of questioning or doubting their faith... Therein, I think, is the fundamental provocation of this debate: the fear of exposing children to ideas - ideas that could jeopardize their faith... On the other side of the issue are those of us, including some Christians, who believe the study and comparison of cultural beliefs and values and the asking of thoughtful questions about our differences empowers students as individuals and strengthens their contributions to our diverse world community.