Religion and American Education

Rethinking a National Dilemma

By Warren A. Nord

502 pp., 6 x 9, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4478-6
    Published: May 1995
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1745-9
    Published: July 2014

H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series

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Warren Nord's thoughtful book tackles an issue of great importance in contemporary America: the role of religion in our public schools and universities. According to Nord, public opinion has been excessively polarized by those religious conservatives who would restore religious purposes and practices to public education and by those secular liberals for whom religion is irrelevant to everything in the curriculum. While he maintains that public schools and universities must not promote religion, he also argues that there are powerful philosophical, political, moral, and constitutional reasons for requiring students to study religion. Indeed, only if religion is included in the curriculum will students receive a truly liberal education, one that takes seriously a variety of ways of understanding the human experience. Intended for a broad audience, Nord's comprehensive study encompasses American history, constitutional law, educational theory and practice, theology, philosophy, and ethics. It also discusses a number of current, controversial issues, including multiculturalism, moral education, creationism, academic freedom, and the voucher and school choice movements.

About the Author

Warren A. Nord is director of the Program in the Humanities and Human Values and teaches in the department of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Warren A. Nord, visit the Author Page.


“Comprehensive, balanced, and extremely readable, Warren A. Nord has written the best introduction to the vexing issue of the role of religion in public schools. It is hard to imagine a more reasonable book, yet it is also full of fresh insights and driven by a vision of fairness to some provocative conclusions.”--Teaching, Theology, and Religion

"[A] thoughtful analysis of religion's role in public education. . . . Nord persuasively argues that educators in public institutions exclude religious points of view."--Commonweal

"Nord clearly wants to engage the interested general reader, not the specialist, and his conversational writing style helps him succeed."--Christian Science Monitor

"An important achievement that should become a standard reference in years to come."--Washington Times

"This is a book and a set of proposals to be taken very seriously indeed."--Washington Post

"Nord writes about a serious public problem with clarity and fairness. For intelligent general readers who seek to understand historical, constitutional, and philosophical implications of the current cultural war over religion and public education."--Choice