Mission and Purpose
This web site is designed to assist teachers of middle grades and
secondary level history and social science programs in their handling of
religion as curricular subject matter. The hope is to facilitate instructional
endeavors that will, regarding religion, nourish in students a demeanor and
civic understanding that is conducive to public civility and religious pluralism.
Appropriately conducted, public education about religion can be helpful to
our achieving a nation where citizens of diverse worldviews can live their
lives side-by-side in harmony. Inappropriately conducted studies about
religion, however, not only will fail to achieve these worthwhile ends, but run
counter to them.
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism
A Civic Mandate for Teachers
Public schools exist to serve all U.S. youth and to
equip them as future citizens. The citizenry rightly
expects that academic study about religion in public
schools will be fully in accord with our nation’s civic
promise to its diverse citizenry.
It is important that youngsters understand that religious liberty is not only for
them and for those who think or believe like them, but also for fellow citizens
who have different understandings. Within civil law, everyone has religious
freedom. It must be guarded even — perhaps especially — for those whose
thinking and traditions are unconventional or unfamiliar. We look to our
schools to foster in students an attitude that is respectful of a citizen’s right to
liberty of conscience.
Specifically, a teacher who is teaching about religion can use site material
1. Encourage students toward open-minded and objective consideration of
the diverse worldviews they may study in history, and the varied forms of
“different believing” that they may encounter in their own life and times.
Note: This educational undertaking is an inclusive one, in that it
incorporates the nonreligious worldview along with the spectrum of
religious world views. (For elaboration, see the site's Rationale)
2. Help students to appreciate those aspects of our American heritage that
safeguard individual freedom of conscience.
Support and Personnel
This site is supported by OABITAR, (Objectivity, Accuracy, and Balance In
Teaching About Religion), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. One distinct
aim of OABITAR is to seek the addition of nonreligion to public school
curricula which include instruction about religion, for the purposes of
achieving objectivity, accuracy, and balance. The overarching goal is one of
promoting academic integrity and a constitutionally sound position of
religious neutrality apropos to public education in the United States.
The website was developed and is maintained by Instructional Systems,
Sacramento, California. This company’s prior curriculum project for
OABITAR resulted in the supplemental instructional module for grades 6-12,
Different Drummers: Nonconforming Thinkers in History.)
Curriculum consultants for and leading developers of this website are Dr.
Paul Geisert and Dr. Mynga Futrell. Drs. Geisert and Futrell have been
classroom teachers and teacher educators, and they most recently authored
the college textbook, Teachers, Computers, and Curriculum: Using
Microcomputers in the Classroom, 3rd Ed. [published by Allyn and Bacon,
2000], and the module of supplemental instructional materials, Different
Drummers: Nonconforming Thinkers in History [published by Trafford
The website’s religion consultant is Dr. Gerald A. Larue, Emeritus Professor
of Biblical History and Archaeology and an Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Professor.
Larue is the author of many books, among them the text, Freethought
Across the Centuries: Toward a New Age of Enlightenment [published by
the Humanist Press, 1996].