Paper #4 - Jake Henderson 11-15-07 Jefferies Eng101 A...

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Jake Henderson 11-15-07 Jefferies Eng101 A belief on the proper relationship between religion and government has been constantly battled throughout history and is still a very controversial issue today. Depending on the region and the type of school, organized prayer and religious activities may be required, permitted, or proscribed. Families of very different backgrounds come together in schools, often bringing very different values and religious beliefs. Schools also play the role of shaping the social values of the children who attend them. “Although some parents object to any religious observance in the classroom, others feel that excluding religious activities and observances creates a “godless” atmosphere that has contributed to the moral decline of the citizenry” (Jurinski 1). Some believe that because of the political and “legal doctrine” of Separation of Church and State, prayer and religion should be proscribed from schools. In Stephen Feldman’s Please Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State , the book opens with a letter to an experimental school in Oklahoma stating that religious holidays should not be celebrated in the school. A decorated Christmas tree had been displayed in the school the previous year. The parents that wrote the letter were Jewish and did not want their daughter to be put in a “dilemma” because she did not conform to the celebratory practices of the majority religion. The principal held a committee meeting with the PTA and decided to display a “holiday tree” instead of a Christmas tree. In this instance the parents felt that the “Separation of Church and State” concept should be enforced to insure their child a neutral learning atmosphere. James Jurinski’s
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Paper #4 - Jake Henderson 11-15-07 Jefferies Eng101 A...

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