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Furthering national values through religion in public school education: Comparing the United States, Australia and South Africa
Changing support, rejection or indifference to religion has shaped the relationship between government and religion in the United States, Australia and South Africa. The place of religion as moulder of national values in education has been determined by judicial interpretation in the United States, by legislature in Australia and by legislation, administration and constitutional interpretation in South Africa. These countries have faced the challenges of whether and how to permit the propagation of religious values into public education. Having a more accommodationist interpretation, Australia has well nigh furthered Christian values at public schools, which would not be allowed under the United States Constitution. South Africa has evolved its own legislative, judicial and administrative approach to addressing religion at schools from a perspective of impartiality, while aspiring to urge learners to achieve higher levels of moral judgment. The three approaches imply fundamental constitutional, political and judicial differences that allow little commonality. The varied legal mechanisms used by the three countries namely reflect differing historical and legal developments.
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