A mother is suing West Virginia’s school district in order to prohibit bible study courses. Her daughter is a part of a public school, which allows students to take bible study classes or participate in alternative programs. Nonetheless, the mother argues that her daughter would be forced to take the bible study class at her Mercer County elementary school or face isolation as one of the few students who don’t. The mother argues that not only will her daughter be isolated from her classmates, but from her teachers as well. A county schools official, states “that the courses are financed by a nonprofit group and that the system’s 19 elementary and middle schools provide alternative courses at the same time.”
In class we have discussed how religion is part of a social process to create and maintain human community and identity. We see this expressed in this case where the mother makes a judgment about how her daughter will be ostracized by her classmates and teachers if she does not participate in the bible courses. She sees these courses as a threat to her child’s acceptance in her school. Durkheim explains how one of the functions of religion is to keep a society together. By Durkheim’s view bible study courses are indicators of who would be considered part of the society. Also as explained in class religion helps explain the differences within a given society, helping people know who they can trust and who is a part of the other.