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Should Public Schools Teach the Scriptures?
Location: Rose O’Neill Literary House
CHESTERTOWN, MD— On Tuesday, March 4, the Rose O’Neill Literary House Tea & Talk series will feature Washington College political science professors Melissa Deckman and Joseph Prud’homme. The event, “Curriculum and the Culture Wars: Debating the Bible’s Place in Public Schools,” will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Literary House, 407 Washington Avenue.
The talk will examine the role of the Bible and religion in contemporary public school curricula, particularly the growth in recent years of Bible classes as public high school electives. Deckman and Prud’homme will analyze the political success of this movement, the motivations of the political actors pursuing elective Bible courses, and whether these sorts of courses are constitutionally and normatively sound. They will also revisit the role that religion is playing in two perennial “culture war” concerns often raised by conservative Christian parents — evolution and sex education.
The topic and discussion grow out of a book by the same name, Curriculum and the Culture Wars, just released by the prestigious Peter Lang Press. Deckman and Prud’homme served as co-editors and also contributed chapters to the book, which was published as part of the Washington College Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture series.
Melissa Deckman is the Louis L. Goldstein Professor of Public Affairs and chairs the political science department at Washington College. The author or co-author of more than a dozen scholarly articles and invited book chapters, she has also written or co-written four books, including School Board Battles: The Christian Right in Local Politics, winner of the American Political Science Association’s Hubert Morken Award for the best work on religion and politics. She is also an Affiliated Scholar with the Public Religion Research Institute. Her current research focuses on the nexus between gender and religion in the Tea Party movement.
Joseph Prud’homme is associate professor of political science and director of the Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture at Washington College, which is dedicated to the objective study of religion’s influence on American and world history, as well as its contemporary role and continuing relevance in cultural and political life. He works in the areas of political philosophy, legal studies and theoretical approaches to religion in public life. Professor Prud’homme has published numerous works in these fields and recently completed the manuscript for a book titled “Religion and Politics in America from the Colonial Period to the Civil War.”