Journal of Educational Controversy

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Friday, February 17, 2012

The Contraception Controversy Again Raises the Separation of Church and State Question

Today’s news coverage over an individual’s religious liberty rights and the right of equal protection to a social benefit in a democratic community, i.e., preventive health care, once again raises the question over where the line should be drawn between church and state. In our current issue of the Journal of Educational Controversy, author John F. Covaleskie brings some deeper analysis to this larger question in his article, “Public Speech and Religion in the Public Square: Creating Citizens who can Breach the Wall.”


In the article, the author first analyzes and compares responses to the question by three different public figures -- John F. Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, and Mitt Romney -- each a member of a religious faith, and each trying to define his role as a public servant serving many faiths in our pluralistic society. Covaleskie then asks the reader to consider the many politically divisive issues in the public debate today and what the role of individual conscience should be in the formation of public policy.


Because the schools create a public for democratic life, Covaleskie is particularly concerned about the level of public discourse in the media today and what that teaches the young about democratic discourse where those who “differ with us are the enemies and must be destroyed.” How do we create democratic citizens who are able to negotiate their differences and take into account the life perspectives of their fellow citizens as they search for common ground? To read the author’s answer to this crucial question, read his article, “Public Speech and Religion in the Public Square: Creating Citizens who can Breach the Wall.”

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