MIAMI BEACH — For multiple and complex reasons, professors in American college and university social science departments are much less religious than the population, sociologist Christian Smith explained Monday.
Religious people are both less likely to become social scientists and religious social scientists are more likely to be kept out of academia, he said at the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Faith Angle Forum in response to a question from The Christian Post.
Smith, William R. Kenan Jr. professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, was delivering a talk called "Why Social Scientists (and Some Journalists) Don't 'Get' Religion." (Audio of the full conference is available on the EPPC website.) more >>
A Pennsylvania parent upset that his child was being exposed to religion through the Star of David necklace being worn by a teacher filed a complaint but learned that the school board supported the teacher's freedom.
"They are there to learn about education, not to learn about religious points of view," Ernest Perce, the man responsible for the complaint, told ABC 27 news. "If a child is subjected to a teacher where a symbol of Judaism is allowed to skirt the law, I believe that a Muslim should be allowed to cover her head as well as a Christian to cover her head like the Bible commands."
Perce was once the state director of the Pennsylvania chapter of American Atheists and led a protest against politicians supporting a resolution calling 2012 the "Year of the Bible." Even though he received a great deal of blowback for a billboard featuring a person in a yoke, with the words: "Slaves, obey your masters. Colossians 3:22," Perce was determined to stand firm. more >>
Events sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, which takes place on Saturday, include the release of the organization's new documentary and Saddleback Church co-founder Kay Warren sharing her testimony, both available during webcasts.
"International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day can change your life," says AFSP. "It's the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope."
For many loss survivors, attending a Survivor Day event is the first time they realize they are not alone, say organizers. "Just hearing the stories—from people at all stages of healing—can be helpful," AFSP states. "The gathering also provides participants with a chance to share their own stories with those who understand firsthand the challenges of living in the aftermath of a suicide loss." more >>
About 120 international Christian students attending a Bible college in Ohio could possibly face deportation after their school was recently denied recertification with the U.S. immigration exchange student program.
Although President Barack Obama plans to announce Thursday night an immigration overhaul that could allow nearly 5 million illegal immigrants to remain in the country, the 120 foreign Christian students at Marietta Bible College are in a bind after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to issue the school recertification into the the agency's Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
In doing so, the school's international students must either find a new school to transfer to or they will face deportation starting in February 2015. Additionally, the college may no longer accept international students. more >>
A planned abortion debate at Oxford University organized by a pro-life group was shut down this week following intimidation by members of the Student Union's Women's Campaign group. A barrister has accused the college of caving into "criminal intimidation" and not respecting free speech rights.
"We only expected to have the same rights of expression as any other Oxford student society, and we're disappointed that scare tactics proved successful," the Oxford Students for Life group said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Our society exists to defend the rights of the most vulnerable, including the unborn, elderly, and disabled. We think it is essential that Oxford University allows an open debate on these issues. We're confident that most Oxford students would prefer free speech to censorship, and we look forward to continuing this hugely important conversation." more >>
Within education circles, like much of society, equality has become a buzzword. When exploring options for their children, parents today are likely to hear administrators and experts discuss issues like minority engagement rates, shrinking achievement gaps and classroom parity. But beyond the packaging, what does educational equality truly mean, and are we accomplishing it within our classrooms?
There is no denying that education reforms over the past several decades have helped create greater opportunity for students of every race, religion and gender. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found more women enrolling in college than men, particularly among Hispanics and Blacks. And over the past 30 years graduation rates among African American and Latino high school students have outpaced the national average, and they continue to grow.
Yet, at the same time, more and more students of color find themselves disenfranchised from the system entirely. Nearly one-third of African American students don't finish high school. One in three attends a "drop-out factory," a high school in which less than 60 percent of students graduate on time. Internationally, America ranks near the bottom in terms of minority enrollment in higher education, and only slightly more than half of Hispanic students that start college obtain a bachelor's degree in six years. more >>