chapter  5
36 Pages

Religious Domain: Freedom of/From Religion

I did not originally intend to conduct in-depth explorations of how graduating seniors came of age in the religious domain. I included a few interview questions about the role of organized churches in community life but otherwise had not identified religion as a main area of inquiry or even feasible in a study involving public schools. Federal courts have effectively purged public schools of explicit religious curricula and practices.14 Despite the ban, traces of religion do remain, as it is difficult to cover material in social studies, literature, and other subject areas without some familiarity with Judeo-Christianity. There also are occasional disputes over curricular material, school holidays, and other matters with religious overtones or that rub against religious beliefs. But although there are vestiges of religion in schools and lingering debates, I did not think it would be possible to collect much data on how religious cultural processes unfolded in the particular schools I had chosen for my research.