Book Review

Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum

Reviewed by Rene S. Townsend,
professor of Educational Leadership,
California State University at San Marcos


Public schools need a thoughtful, rational and constitutional approach to deal with religion throughout the curriculum and at holiday times. Charles C. Haynes and Warren A. Nord offer just that in Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum.

The two experts in religious studies and liberty issues describe why and how public schools have failed to take religion seriously and explain persuasively why they should and must. The authors offer valuable guidance on dealing with deeply divisive religious issues based on sound rationale within educational, civic and constitutional frameworks.

Building on this foundation, Haynes and Nord suggest approaches for incorporating religion into the subject areas of history, civics, economics, literature, the arts and science. They also address teaching classes on the Bible and world religions and the sensitive areas of moral and sex education. Extremely helpful to subject matter specialists are the suggested readings and resources at the end of each chapter.

This book will help school leaders understand the skepticism many deeply religious people feel toward public schools. Haynes and Nord's arguments and recommendations will resonate with conscientious educators who know that to be well-educated, students must understand the role of world religions.

(Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum, by Charles C. Haynes and Warren A. Nord, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va, 1998, 221 pp. with index, $18.95 softcover)