Speaker backs integration model to keep God in schools
Riverside, Calif. (February 18, 2016) – Students benefit when public schools permit religion to be discussed in the classroom, according to Eric Buehrer, director of Gateways to Better Education (GBE), who spoke at California Baptist University Feb. 17.
Buehrer spoke about the diversity of issues pertaining to teaching religion in the public sector at the Faith, Freedom Public Schools seminar sponsored by the Dr. Bonnie G. Metcalf College of Education. GBE, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991, aims to inform public schools of the important contribution the Bible and Christianity have made to the world.
He said public school districts usually have one of three viewpoints on addressing religion in the classroom. The first is the "separation" view that tries to shield or censor students from any form of religious speech in the classrooms.
Additionally, there is the "evangelization" opinion that states it is illegal to worship, pray, or talk about one's personal religion in the classroom. The third option is the "integration" model, which seeks to explore the academic appreciation for the impact that religion has had on education.
Buehrer believes in the "integration" model stating there are legitimate reasons why Christianity should still be an aspect of the public school classroom.
"It's reasonable that American schools teach American students about American culture, because American culture is deeply immersed in the Judeo-Christian worldview," Buehrer said. For instance, Buehrer noted when students study the religious persecution of the pilgrims they need to be able to have in-depth conversations on religious issues.
Ultimately, education is better for children when schools keep God in the classroom, Buehrer said.
Allison Mori, a liberal arts sophomore, appreciated the insights Buehrer shared about the public education system.
"This lecture was extremely helpful to my future career. I have attended private school my whole life," said Allison Mori, a liberal arts sophomore. "Tonight I learned about how Christianity is viewed in a public school setting, and how I can be the best light for Christ that I can be while teaching."