The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Opinion: Faith Forward

Optional extra-curricular religious clubs are both Constitutional and constructive.
Extra-curricular+religious+clubs+can+have+an+educational+purpose+while+also+providing+spiritual+nourishment+for+inclined+students.
Ruby Morris
Extra-curricular religious clubs can have an educational purpose while also providing spiritual nourishment for inclined students.

It’s a well known fact that the American public school system distances itself from religion as much as possible, with the Constitution itself prohibiting most forms of spiritual expression in schools. This measure was taken to prevent indoctrination or unwanted religious influence in public forums where students instead should focus on unbiased and fact-based education.  However, some students still may wish to pursue opportunities that capitalize on religious beliefs rather than suppress them.  

These situations may present a moral dilemma for school administrators.  Should religious groups be authorized to function at the risk of controversy? Or should students be denied the right to participate in organized religious expression in order to maintain distance between church and state?

Hosting optional religious extracurriculars in schools can lead to immense benefits for students.  Most public schools do not offer religious courses, so some students may lack fundamental knowledge about their own religion or the religions of others. Clubs based on some form of spiritual philosophy can bridge that gap.

For example, most Americans have some basic understanding of the Bible, yet they lack a deeper understanding of Christianity’s meaning. Christianity is currently the largest religion in America, but the general public’s understanding of it is flawed and limited as Biblical authenticity rarely finds itself infused in modern churches. 

As for Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, public knowledge is even smaller. 

While learning about religion should be a personal decision and not enforced indoctrination, opportunities should still be provided as an option to students who wish to deepen their understanding.

Additionally, religious clubs can allow students to connect with others of similar beliefs. As spiritual worship is an increasingly unpopular practice in America, public schools that allow faith-based extracurriculars offer safe and welcoming environments for students to grow in a like-minded community.

However, the social benefits of extra-curricular religious clubs are contingent on variety.  Excluding certain ideas and creeds may only lead to a totalitarian reign of single mindedness.  Forcing anyone into a certain way of thought directly undermines the core principles of most popular religions today. Exclusionary religious zeal can prove dangerous for schools, as a divided student body creates a hazardous learning and social environment.

In fact, multiple religious clubs in our schools can benefit more than just their individual members.  Such organizations can perform service projects that support their religion’s commands while also benefiting the local community.  Social events that showcase music, culture, and history can also emerge as invitations for curious students.

Currently, NASH has a variety of religious opportunities for students, including the Jewish Culture Club, Muslim Student Association, and the newly formed Gathering Hope Christian club.  By recognizing the benefits of creating multiple environments for students to express their beliefs in an open environment, schools can provide students with a stronger sense of belonging.

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Editors’ note: The author is the president of Gathering Hope at NASH. All opinions expressed on The Uproar are a reflection solely of the beliefs of the bylined author and not the journalism program at NASH.  We continue to welcome school-appropriate comments and guest articles.

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About the Contributor
Brady Crow, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Brady Crow is a senior for the 2023-2024 school year.  He's a Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Uproar this year and is excited for the opportunity to write and read many fascinating articles.  When not writing for the Uproar, Brady enjoys working at his church, going to the gym, and taking care of his pet lizard.

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