Separation of Church and State is how it Should Be

Ben Soehl, Reporter

Religion and public schooling. These topics together often spark a serious debate on local and federal levels in an attempt to define where the border of religious education within schools should be.
I believe that with a few very loose changes, the border is practically right where it should be.
To start, we should take a look at the history of religion in public schools. According to the first section of the first amendment of the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.
Let’s break this quote down to understand what and where the contention comes from. The law sets up two separate rulings on religion, that a law cannot be made to respect (give special treatment too) a religious institution, and that laws cannot be made to prevent certain peoples from practicing a certain religion.
It doesn’t take much to imagine how these rules can come into conflict with one another: the inability to stop a private citizen from practicing leeds to government officials, or government sponsored ideas intentionally or unintentionally creating an influence to practice a certain religion.
Public schools like D.C. Everest as government institutions of sort must follow the first amendment to the letter, and because of this the school cannot give special treatment to one religion. But even within this school there are questions that almost always come up when talking about this very topic.
The Pledge of Allegiance is one of these common topics, within the Pledge there is the wording “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The problematic situation within the Pledge of Allegiance is the mention of a god that is implied to exist within an official government sponsored pledge.
However, many views about the Pledge differ between teachers. Global Studies teacher Mr. Micheal Soehl stated that he believes that the fact we say the pledge at all is ridiculous, and he says that it reminds him of the hypocrisy of a nation with “Chirstian principles” that uses nuclear weapons.
His friend and fellow Social Studies teacher Mr. Chistopher Hansen had quite the opposite opinion, as he stated that he had no problem with the pledge, and that it reminded him why he likes this country.
I’m more inclined to agree with Mr. Soehl on this front; however. I see that the pledge in of itself does minimal influence to what kids actually believe. So, I decided to instead focus on how religion is actually taught in schools, and where teachers draw the line.
Mr. Hansen stated that religion is a massive part of history, and that he focuses a whole unit on it in his Sports and History class, focusing on the relation of it to sports and athletes.
Mr. Soehl stated something in line with Mr. Hansen’s thoughts, for he states directly that “Religion is a huge part of history, and the human experience over the past 2 million years.” He believes it has a place as part of history in his Global Studies class.
AP United States History teacher Mr. Brad Seeley also expressed similar opinions to his fellow teachers when he said that “Religion is presented not preached” before stating that he wants kids to understand the history and roots of religions.
Overall, I’m inclined to agree with the Social Studies teachers. Religion should be taught in the context of how it affected topics like science and history, and not as a set of beliefs that one should adhere to.