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April 13th, 2013
02:38 PM ET

My Take: Nothing wrong with Nazi assignment

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) – School officials in Albany, New York, are racing to control the damage after a teacher at Albany High School gave students a persuasive writing assignment that challenged them to defend the proposition that “Jews are evil.”

After studying Nazi propaganda and rhetoric, sophomores in three English classes were instructed to imagine that their teacher was “a member of the government in Nazi Germany” and to prove that that they were “loyal to the Nazis.”

But this unidentified teacher is now caught up in a propaganda swirl of his or her own.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Culture wars • Education • Holocaust • Judaism • New York • Prejudice • United States

Dinesh D’Souza resigns as Christian college chief in face of questions about marriage
Dinesh D'Souza on CNN last month.
October 18th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Dinesh D’Souza resigns as Christian college chief in face of questions about marriage

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Conservative writer and activist Dinesh D’Souza, who attracted wide attention with his recent anti-Obama film “2016: Obama’s America,” resigned Thursday as president of a Christian college in New York after questions were raised about his marriage.

D’Souza had led The King’s College, a small but prestigious evangelical school in Manhattan, for the past two years.

His departure appeared to be set in motion by an article on the website of the evangelical magazine World that accused D’Souza, who is married, of sharing a hotel room with a woman whom he allegedly referred to as his “fiancé” at a Christian conference.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Education • Leaders

Faces of discrimination
October 13th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Shining light on Emory school's past anti-Semitism prompts healing – and, for one man, questions

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) – Sixteen years after Susan Shulman Tessel lost her father, she sat on a Southern college campus Wednesday night and couldn't stop thinking about him. Surrounded by hundreds in a packed ballroom, she cried because he was missing. He should have been there with her and her mother. He deserved to be.

The late Irving Shulman was the only Jewish man to enter Emory University’s School of Dentistry in 1948. That was the same year someone else came to the school: the newly appointed dean, John E. Buhler.

After one academic year, Shulman flunked out. Buhler stayed on for 13 years, leading what some Jewish students would refer to as a “reign of terror.” Between 1948 and 1961, when Buhler left, 65% of Jewish students either failed out or were forced to repeat up to two years of coursework in the four-year program. FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Discrimination • Education • Judaism • Prejudice

Emory University owns up to dental school’s anti-Semitic history and offers regrets
From 1948 to 1961, research and newly shared personal stories revealed anti-Jewish bias at the Emory School of Dentistry.
October 10th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Emory University owns up to dental school’s anti-Semitic history and offers regrets

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Nearly 60 years after he was told he wasn’t good enough to be a dentist, retired orthodontist Art Burns is about to get the apology he deserves.

Burns, of Jacksonville, Florida, is one of many Jewish men who were dubbed failures by the now-defunct Emory School of Dentistry in Atlanta between 1948 and 1961. Though the university never admitted discrimination by the school’s then-dean and faculty, research by the Anti-Defamation League showed that 65% of the Jewish students at that time either flunked out or were forced to repeat coursework up to a year of it in order to stay.

“I was kicked out in 1953,” said Burns, who at 80 can still quote from the letter he received with the news: “Our staff is concerned that you don’t have the manual skills.”

FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Discrimination • Education • Judaism

Catholic Archdiocese of Washington rebukes Georgetown on Sebelius speech
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' invitation to speak at Georgetown has drawn the ire of a Catholic group.
May 15th, 2012
07:39 PM ET

Catholic Archdiocese of Washington rebukes Georgetown on Sebelius speech

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The Archdiocese of Washington, the Catholic Church’s authority in the nation’s capital, is rebuking another Catholic icon, Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic college in the United States.

The conflict is over the university’s Public Policy Institute’s invitation to Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, to be its 2012 award ceremony speaker this weekend. The decision drew immediate ire from Catholic groups who see Sebelius, a Catholic, as someone who is using her office to violate religious liberty.

In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Washington called the decision unfortunate and even charged that the Public Policy Institute was supporting a “radical redefining of ministry.”

“Given the dramatic impact this mandate will have on Georgetown and all Catholic institutions, it is understandable that Catholics across the country would find shocking the choice of Secretary Sebelius, the architect of the mandate, to receive such special recognition at a Catholic university,” reads the statement. “It is also understandable that Catholics would view this as a challenge to the bishops.”

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • DC • Education • Health • Politics

New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests
"Dinosaur" is among the words New York CIty is looking to ban from tests, apparently over concerns it could bother creationists.
March 28th, 2012
07:19 PM ET

New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests

By Brian Vitagliano, CNN

New York (CNN) – Divorce. Dinosaurs, Birthdays. Religion. Halloween. Christmas. Television. These are a few of the 50-plus words and references the New York City Department of Education is hoping to ban from the city’s standardized tests.

The banned word list was made public – and attracted considerable criticism – when the city’s education department recently released this year’s "request for proposal" The request for proposal is sent to test publishers around the country trying to get the job of revamping math and English tests for the City of New York.

The Department of Education's says that avoiding sensitive words on tests is nothing new, and that New York City is not the only locale to do so. California avoids the use of the word "weed" on tests and Florida avoids the phrases that use "Hurricane" or "Wildfires," according to a statement by the New York City Department of Education.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Education

My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class
Science teachers must make their subject relevant to students' lives by tackling religion and ethics, argues Arri Eisen.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.

Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.

At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.

Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Education • Opinion

Want cheaper tuition? Find religion
Davis College, a christian school, cut tuition by up to 22% for the current school year.
November 28th, 2011
10:50 AM ET

Want cheaper tuition? Find religion

By Blake Ellis, CNNMoney

New York (CNNMoney) – With church membership dwindling and more families struggling to afford the cost of college, many private religiously-affiliated colleges and universities are slashing tuition and offering incentives to attract new students - and to stay afloat.

Read the full story on how Christian colleges offer tuition discounts
- davidmichaels18

Filed under: Christianity • Economy • Education

Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools
A survey listing the nation's most religious colleges revealed some surprises.
August 19th, 2011
11:53 AM ET

Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – Bennington College students recently learned that their Vermont school had received an honor that some might consider dubious: They attend the least religious college in America, according to an annual educational survey.

Bennington’s selection was part of an intriguing national survey listing the Top 5 colleges in the U.S. for most and least religious students.

The survey is part of a larger study conducted by the Princeton Review, a Massachusetts-based educational services company, for its new book, “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 edition.”

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Education

Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures
August 11th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Study: More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN

People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study.

After analyzing data from a large national survey, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel found that people actually tend to become more religious - by some definitions, at least - as they further their education.

“It all falls down to what you consider to be religious,” said Schwadel, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “If it’s simply attending religious services, then no. Highly educated people are not less religious; in fact, they’re more religious.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Education • Polls

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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