Teaching Religion in Public Schools
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One of the biggest costs of America's wars over religion is ignorance. Polls show that many Americans know little about the world's major religions, including their own. What role does the study of religion play in schools? Do the media have a responsibility to do more in-depth reporting on religion as a way to better understand the role that religious beliefs play in conflicts and foreign policy? Also, a Moscow tycoon is convicted of embezzlement, and one month on, the election crisis in Ivory Coast could mean renewed conflict in West Africa.. Sara Terry guest hosts.
Banner image of Students at Harry S. Truman Elementary School in Allentown, Pennsylvania: Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Office Max
Moscow Tycoon Convicted of Embezzlement ()
In Moscow today, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been found guilty on embezzlement charges. The former billionaire oil tycoon, who was once Russia's richest man, is already serving a prison sentence for tax fraud. The Khordokovsky trials are widely seen, both within and without Russia, as an indicator of who's controlling power behind the scenes. Clifford Levy is Moscow Bureau Chief for the New York Times.
- Clifford Levy: Moscow Bureau Chief, New York Times
The Cost of Ignorance: Teaching Religion in Public Schools ()
Public nativity scenes and debates about language dominate the culture wars this time of year but, amid the skirmishes over proper greetings and public displays of religious belief, one of the most overlooked casualties is the fact that Americans are surprisingly ignorant about the world's major religions. While America's separation of Church and State prohibits teachers in public schools from lead students in prayer, what about teaching about prayer and the world's major religions? Is there a need for comparative religious studies and critical analysis in an era when religious values play an increasing role in global conflicts? How should schools be educating children about religion?
- Andrew Rotherham: Co-founder, Bellwether Education
- Ira 'Chip' Lupu: Professor of Law, George Washington University
- Reza Aslan: Professor of Creative Writing, UC Riverside, @AslanMedia
- Richard Land: President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention, @erlcsbc
- Diane Winston: Professor of Media and Religion, USC
The Latest on the Turmoil in Ivory Coast ()
Nearly a month after the presidential run-off election in the Ivory Coast, President Laurent Gbagbo shows no sign of giving up power, even though his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, is widely perceived as the victor. The African Union, United Nations and the United States have all called for Gbagbo to step down, and West African presidents have warned they will intervene with force if he does not give up office, potentially renewing conflict in a country where civil war came to an end eight years ago. John James is BBC correspondent in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
- John James: Correspondent, BBC
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