Textbook case

Public schools have been a primary battleground between the despisers and defenders of religion. The forces of secularity have pounded steadily forward on the prayer front, pushing into a tiny meditative corner those who want schools to reflect and teach spiritual, and even specifically Christian, values. They have succeeded in their aggressive tactics because it is genuinely debatable whether sponsoring prayer in a classroom or at an athletic event constitutes coercive support for (if not an establishment of) religion. The battle becomes considerably subtler, though, when religion is advocated not as a way of life but as something to be studied as an integral part of American culture, and is made part of a high school curriculum.


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