Race, Religion, and Methods of Moral Education

Jane McCamant, University of Chicago

In the mid-1960s, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago commissioned a series of religion textbooks for use in the city’s parochial schools, intended specifically to take into account the conclusions of Vatican II. When the books were published and began to be used, there was a wave of parent protests, accusing the Archdiocese of pushing a radical agenda through the books’ portrayal of many Civil Rights activists as Christ-like. This paper takes as a case study these textbooks and the controversy surrounding them to consider broader theoretical questions about what is “religious” about religiously-affiliated education. In this case, parents and school leaders had different ideas about what it was that made a Catholic school Catholic, and where to draw the lines between religious education and social studies, moral development and indoctrination. The paper is presented in relation to ongoing debates about the role of religion in the public sphere in plural societies.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 114. Religion and Culture