Religion in Today's World
It is lunchtime and co-workers bow their heads before eating. In many cubicles there are signs of the occupant's beliefs; an open Bible, a Prayer rug, and even icons of those considered holy and saintly. Out on the street there is hardly a city block where some religious icon is not visible. Residential windows have religious displays correlating to canonical seasons, and high holy days have specific displays. Asian restaurants have Shinto and Buddhist shrines, the odor of incense wafting out into the street, mingling with the smells of soy sauce and Asian vegetables.
Religion is all around us, and the role religion plays in the world colors our thoughts and actions, essentially who we are and who we become. In many large cities the only good schools are the privately owned religious schools. Religious discrimination taught from childhood spawns conflicts and religious wars.
In a large city like Philadelphia, any parent who can scrape up enough money can buy their children a quality education.
There are a couple of high quality publicly funded schools, but they are few and far between. In a Philadelphia poll conducted in 2001, parents were asked if they were satisfied with the quality of public school education, 30% said the education level was just fair, and 28% of the respondents thought that the quality of public school education was poor (Study # 6433, Philadelphia Schools). Having a religious based education for their children is the preference for the majority of Philadelphians (News release from the Commonwealth Foundation).
The first amendment under the Constitution guarantees religious freedom for all, yet a barrage of lawsuits keep coming. In April, 2004 a General Motors employee filed a suit against GM alleging that the diversity practices are discriminatory (Jones, Employee Accuses...