California Educator

December / January 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 75

ow did Christianity help shape the foundation and development of the early United States?" asks David Fulton, a social studies teacher at Green Valley Middle School in Fairfield. "Americans felt it was their God-given right to have independence," replies eighth-grader Parisa Samadi, cit- ing a sentence in the Declaration of Independence that the "Creator" grants Americans inalienable rights. The Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association (F-SU TA) member is discussing the "Great Awaken- ing," which was a series of emotional religious revivals across the American colonies in the late 1730s and 1740s. Religion has been a driving force throughout American history, says Fulton. He notes that women demanding equal rights have used the argument that all people are equal in God's eyes, and that religion continues to influ- ence U.S. history. For many years his school always put up a Christmas tree, but several years ago staff decided not to, to honor the separation of church and state. "I don't have any problem with that," says Fulton. "We have Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews, and I can see why the district doesn't want to appear to endorse one religion over the other." His students may not have a Christmas party at school, but they enjoy learning about the major religions of the world and are extremely inquisitive, he comments. "Religion has inf luenced how we behave and what we value, and I couldn't imagine teaching history without including it." Teaching About Religion Educators grapple with important — and sensitive — topic By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman Students Ayesha Mohammed, left, and Alani McEachnie with U.S. government class teacher Rob Bonifacio, at the Public Safety Academy in Fairfield. H 51 D E C E M B E R 2 017 / J A N U A R Y 2 018 Teaching & Learning

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - December / January 2017