FSCC Religious Studies
The academic study of religion fosters critical understanding of religious traditions, issues, questions, and values. The field of religious studies emerged in the wake of the 1963 Supreme Court decision in Abingdon v. Schempp, when the Court's ruling distinguished between devotional practice in public schools and the academic study of religion. The study of the Bible or of religion was consistent with the First Amendment if such study was "presented objectively as part of a secular program of education." Consequently, the academic study of religion is to foster students' understanding of religious traditions in the context of free inquiry, rather than to advocate for specific traditions in a devotional or theological mode. Courses also examine the dynamic relationship between religion and other social, economic, and political institutions.