America’s public schools must recognize existence of God as a central factor in the educational process and teach that religion is an essential aspect of the nation’s heritage and culture.
After five years study and work the National Council of Churches’ Committee on Religion and the Public Schools so decided with certain qualifications at Chicago, July 12–15. This deliberative body of over 100 leaders, representing all the council’s constituent denominations and most other Protestant communions, has finally produced a 40-page provisional statement which will soon go to churches for official consideration. It may yet take several years before the NCC adopts such a statement as official policy.
While the statement is an improvement over previous drafts, it still leaves much to be desired by evangelical Protestant friends of the public school. It was hoped that the council, voicing the convictions of American Protestantism, would take a strong, unequivocal stand for the Christian theistic approach to education and actual instruction in Judeo-Christian moral philosophy. Instead, the Chicago conference “blew hot and cold,” first asserting and then qualifying or denying its faith.
From its beginnings the committee has failed to take a boldly Christian theistic view of its task. It seems not to be certain whether it is framing a document which is addressed to the churches or to the schools; whether it is to be a testimony of the distinctly Christian concepts of education as a basis of conversations with the public schools or a compromise which accepts the requirements of a pluralistic society as essential to such conversations.
Toward the end of this year’s conference these basic considerations came to the fore with but little time ...1
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