Speaking as a Religious Minority in Mormon Country

Our stories were different, and yet Ossama, Sahar, Haroon and I had a commonality in our experiences. We all were religious minorities in America. Each of us had dealt with being stereotyped or maligned because we were not Christian and because those around us knew so little about our faiths. We knew too of incidents that had affected Muslims, Jews and other religious minorities in our own communities or nearby towns. Continue reading

Faith Ed Makes National TV & Other News

Church/state battles rage on in America, and last week, author Linda K. Wertheimer spoke about religion and public schools on Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Read more Faith Ed related news in the newsletter. Continue reading

December Dilemma v. Thinking Broadly about Religion in Schools

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As I write this, K-12 schools are wrapping up classes or may have already finished them for winter breaks. In elementary schools, no doubt, many teachers have felt compelled to mention Christmas and Hanukkah in some way.

Look at the photo above, though. First-grade teacher Debbie Fagg at the Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School in Wichita, KS, is teaching about Hanukkah in early November as part of a multi-week unit on three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. She brought the menorah … Continue reading

What Can We Do When Bigotry Seems So Present?

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What can we do to help? I have been giving talks about teaching about religion and the experience of religious minorities in America for more than a year. That question came up sporadically before the election campaigning began in earnest. Now, I get the question every time.

Like I, people I meet are worried and even frightened about the growing vitriol in our country toward people of color, immigrants, Jews and Muslims. I wrote about the hope I had before the election results came … Continue reading

Reflections from a Religion Writing Conference, Plus Major Award for Faith Ed

Faith Ed wins a national religion book award and the author’s reflections on a national religion writing conference. Continue reading

Washington Post Publishes Op-Ed Stemming from Faith Ed. & Decatur Book Fest Report

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Greetings to new and old subscribers! The photo you’re seeing is me from this past weekend’s Decatur Book Festival. I’m standing in the sales tent for Eagle Eye Books of Decatur about an hour before my talk to a crowd of 200. As fun as it was to see a huge pile of my books in one place, it was even nicer to see people buying ’em after my talk.

Recap of the Decatur Book Festival: For fun, I made a … Continue reading

Exploring Islam as Flash Point in Schools, Religion Debates & Other Faith Ed News

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booksonsaleGreetings to new and old subscribers! The launch of Faith Ed. is in full swing, and I’m enjoying the ride so far.

One of my latest articles stemming from Faith Ed has drawing a huge online following and impassioned commentary over at Religionandpolitics.org. It’s called “New Clash Over Religion in Schools: Communities Face Backlash on Lessons in Islam.” I’ll let you read the article and judge for yourself. The … Continue reading

Maybe All Teens Should Study Schempp’s Long-Ago Protest

In a recent article in The Atlantic, I profile Ellery Schempp, who staged the protest that led to a landmark school prayer ruling in 1963. His case should become required reading for today’s teens. He rebelled against his school system not for himself but because of an injustice. His school, like many across the country, was blatantly violating the separation of church and state by requiring prayer every morning. Continue reading