Monday, January 12, 2004
Rallies for credit, like those described in PowerLine's link, are not altogether uncommon in higher education. A strike by a campus union here two years ago brought out numerous students of the Department of the 3.7 GPA to show support. And Friday in the email came an announcement for a class built around a set of ecumenical dialogues, which strikes me as coming dangerously close to the line of teaching religion in a government school. (That is not to quibble in the slightest over the dialogues -- I might attend some -- but only over this below.)
REL 400 - Dialoguing with Jews in St. Cloud - 1 credit course (Spring 2004)Again, I'm not a lawyer and I'm inclined to think the dialogues are useful. My reason for bringing this up is only over the use of a government institution to give university credit for a religious discussion. Given the pains I observed instructors here go through in discussing, for instance, the New Testament, or the fact that some even objected to the title of a course on the Old Testament, I assumed the university had decided to build a high wall between state education and religious beliefs. There is, for example, a recently-established Orthodox church in St. Cloud. Would personal contact with local Orthodox Christians -- just as rare in St. Cloud as Jews -- qualify for this credit?
This is a community-experience based introduction to Judaism and to Jewish-Christian dialogue.
Tuesdays 6-8 pm (2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/2, 3/9) at six different churches in and near St. Cloud, MN.
Speakers, panelists, participation of diverse area religions, kosher-style meal, videos on Jewish-Christian dialogue, personal contact with local Jews, child-care facilities, and much, much more.
Requirements: attendance and participation during a series of six 90-min. dialogues between Jews and other religionists in the community, especially Christians.
First and only meeting as a class:
After mutual introductions, I will introduce the course requirements and process.
Students will commit to a 500 word report with critical reflection on each dialogue.
UPDATE: Eloise at Spitbull posts this as well, but tells me that we're not unique on making this course mandatory. I relied only on the National Law Journal article; we'll let the lawyers settle this one.