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Three-day Parley on Religion and Public Schools Opens in Indiana

A rabbi told a gathering of lay and clerical educational leaders here today that, in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on prayers, Bible reading and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools, some system must be worked out whereby school children will learn “about religion as an aspect of truth in Western civilization. “

The proposal was voiced by Rabbi Arthur Gilbert, staff consultant on religious freedom and public affairs for the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He was the opening speaker at a three-day Institute on Religion and the Public Schools convened here today by the NCCJ at Purdue University. Co-sponsoring the institute were the Purdue department of education, the Graduate School of Education at the University of Chicago and the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Those attending include school board members and school system superintendents in addition to other secular and religious leaders in the educational field.

“Even if the Supreme Court had not forbidden prayer exercises in public education,” said Rabbi Gilbert, “religious leaders would have insisted that the public school reconsider the way religion was handled. Either the public school will have to arrange a curriculum that will enable children to know about religion as an aspect of truth in Western civilization, or, by some arrangement as shared time or release time, it will have to allow an increasing number of children to obtain an intensified religious instruction at their church school within the public school day.”