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a journal of analysis and comment advancing public understanding of religion and education
(more on the Journal)

Fall 2003, Vol. 30 No. 2

Editor’s Preface

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Supreme Court rulings in Abington v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett that changed the relationship of church and state in education organizations in the United States. We asked editorial board member and legal scholar Charles Russo to open this issue with a forty year retrospective on religion and public schools. In this article he reviews major court cases and their impact, noting trends that continue to emerge in interpretation and practice. He concludes by speculating on possible future challenges that could come before the Court.

In the second article, Timothy Bagwell responds to Robert Nash’s piece from our spring 2003 issue where Nash argued that religiously plural conversations on campuses should also invite atheists to the table. Mr. Bagwell takes up Professor’s Nash’s challenge and discusses spirituality in public higher education from the perspective of a "spiritually-engaged atheist." His interspersing personal narrative throughout his article—particularly the segment from his Viet Nam experience—contributes powerfully to this piece.

Doug Magnuson and his colleagues take us to a different part of the religion and education landscape with their study of discernment in the religious education of young people. The research they report comes out of a Lilly Endowment Project on Vocation, Work, and Youth Development aimed at better understanding the processes by which young people make vocational and moral choices in the milieu of contemporary culture.

Texas was one of the last states to grant legal protection for families who educated at home. The "Austin TEA Party" of 1986 was a significant moment in the formative years of the home schooling movement there. Ryan McIlhenny analyzes this controversy as it unfolded into the mid-1990s.

The concluding article in this fall issue reports a study by Cliff Mayes and colleagues on the sense of spiritual calling among students in teacher education programs in selected religious and public universities. The authors join a few (and increasing number) of voices calling for more attention to spirituality in the preparation of educators.

The cover art for this issue is a piece called Job and the Snake by Mary Nash of Vienna, Virginia. It was part of the art exhibit, A Question of Faith, at the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, October 2001.

M. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education
Fall 2003