For many of us, going to church is a part of the Sunday routine. We hear a sermon, sing a few hymns, pray, and worship. We may reflect on a challenging message from the Gospels. Perhaps we satiate our longing for spirituality or just maybe we are wondering when the sermon will be over so we can catch the end of the football game. For some of us it is essential to who we are. For others, we go because our loved ones or friends go. Still others don't really even know why we go—it's just part of what we do.
Keeping a Sunday routine can be especially challenging during life's transitions: starting a new job, moving to a new community, getting married. Perhaps no transition is more challenging for religious practice than adjusting to university life or living on your own. According to a study by Jennifer Keup and Ellen Bara Stolzenberg, 83 percent of college freshman report attending church frequently at the beginning of the year but only 57 percent continued to do so by the end of their freshman year. Responsibilities and demands become much greater as time goes on, and finding the time to get everything done, while balancing other priorities, becomes a challenge. We often find ourselves choosing between homework and friends, extracurricular activities and family, church and work. Many times we give church the short end of the stick as other pressing needs demand our attention. There are many reasons, however, why this may not be in our best interest.
From a faith perspective, God holds the place of primacy in our lives. We should not place other gods before Him—not money or grades, friends or prestige. But faith aside, weekly church attendance has many practical benefits. Just take educational attainment as an example. more >>
Common Core harms children and will not alleviate poverty because it fails to understand how children learn, a Tuesday report jointly issued by Alliance for Childhood and Defending the Early Years claims.
While the Common Core State Standards Initiative expects kindergartners to learn to read, studies have shown that the ability to read in kindergarten does not predict success in later grades, the report states. Additionally, the focus on reading takes time away from methods that have proven successful — namely, play-based and experiential learning.
The report was authored by three early childhood education experts: Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita at Lesley University, Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, director of DEY, and Joan Almon, co-founder of Alliance for Childhood. more >>
Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued that an Oklahoma bill that would protect school districts with Bible courses from legal action attempts to place a "loophole" in the law that would let public schools teach that the Bible is true.
Americans United expressed its opposition to Senate Bill 48 due to their concern that it would allow for Bible courses that advocate Christianity. Writing for the Americans United blog "Wall of Separation" on Wednesday, Sarah Jones argued that SB 48 was also unnecessary given current law.
Duke University has come under fire for making the decision air the Muslim call to prayer on Friday, beginning this week; Rev. Franklin Graham has come out against the school's decision.
"This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke's mission," Christy Lohr Sapp, Duke Chapel's associate dean for religious life, said in a statement to Duke Today. "It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation."
The Muslim call to prayer, known as the adhan will air for three minutes at a "moderately amplified" level to announce the call to prayer, and an English translation will follow. The service will take place in the chapel basement every Friday at 1:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will perform the chant, which will be released from the chapel's bell tower. more >>
A California school district is investigating one of its high school teachers after receiving a complaint that "Bible cookies" were being distributed in class and students were encouraged to lookup Bible versus and attend an after-school Bible club.
After being contacted by one of the school's students who complained about the teacher's actions, Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the Manteca Unified District regarding New Vision High School teacher John Alameda, stating that his actions are a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
"We understand that Alameda not only sponsors the [Bible] club but also shares his Christian beliefs during school hours and frequently encourages his students to attend the club's meetings," Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director at Americans United and one of the signees of the letter,said in the complaint to Manteca Unified District Superintendent Jason Messer and New Vision Principal Sonya Arellano. more >>
A Virginia school district has decided to scrap a policy that allowed it to interrogate Christian homeschool teenagers and their parents about their religious beliefs.
Last November Douglas Pruiett and his wife received a letter from Goochland County Public Schools about updated procedures to the district's requests for religious exemptions for homeschool students.
Under the updated rules, once a child turns 14-years-old, the district requires that homeschool parents reapply for a religious exemption to public education. more >>