a journal of analysis and comment
advancing public understanding of religion and education
Fall 2002, Vol. 29 No. 2
The spring 2002 Supreme Court decision supporting vouchers evoked affirmations and denouncements across the country. We open the fall issue with three pieces of varying opinion on the school voucher issue. Lane V. Sunderland brings his understanding and analysis of constitutional history to argue for support of the Court’s majority position. Next are remarks made by attorney Nicholas Miller at a panel discussion sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life held at the National Press Club on the day following the Court’s decision. Speaking from the perspective of a Seventh-Day Adventist, a religious tradition with the second largest parochial school system behind Roman Catholics, he warns that this decision may be bad not only for religious schools, but for religious liberty generally. Jan Resseger concludes this section arguing that this decision threatens to undermine public education. Ms. Resseger is the Minister for Public Education and Witness for the United Church of Christ, the only Christian denomination with a paid national staff position dedicated to issues of public education. Her office, as well as the national headquarters of the denomination, is in Cleveland, Ohio, site of the original court case that led to this decision supporting school vouchers.
The several other articles that comprise this issue reflect the eclectic interests of our contributors and editors observing life at the intersection of religion and education. Liam Corley examines the work of the ancient Taoist Chuang Tzu as a teacher for the pedagogical insights to be found there. Michael Maher studied selected Catholic seminary policies for the implicit assumptions they reflect about homosexuality. Albert Pulido’s article on a college course project on The Day of the Dead illustrates a case of the sum being greater than the parts. Mark Osler recounts an unusual collaboration of trial attorney and Baptist preachers in developing a law school course on oral advocacy. And concluding this issue is Dara Wakefield’s account of one college’s wrestling with aspirations for religious diversity while attempting to maintain its historic Christian identity.
The cover art by Paul Bonelli is a colored woodcut from 2000 entitled Delay Not the Fulfillment of a Vow to God. The credit card machine in the foreground reminds us of the extent some may go to enable or even define the fulfillment of religious commitment as an easy financial transaction. It was part of the fall 2001 art exhibit, A Question of Faith, at the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, October 2001.
Michael D. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education