May. 8th, 2014

rowanf: (Interfaith Today)
I went to a meeting today at the Jain Center in Milpitas. I had been there for at least one other event, but today my fellow SiVIC board member, Girish Shah, gave me a tour of their amazing temple. They had marble statues carved in India with their twenty-four known Tīrthaṅkars (leaders/prophets/role models who advanced Jainism) and various other beings who in Hinduism would be considered Gods and Goddesses but have the same name in Jainism but are considered ascended people. There is so much carved marble they had to reinforce their building to hold it. Their incense is very lovely and the temple room had a wonderful welcoming energy. This is the entryway, I didn't take any pictures of the temple itself (out of respect) but do check out the header on their web page for some statues. picture )
The program was "Religious Education in Middle Schools: Challenges & Opportunities". We opened with introductions to the topic by Samir Kalra, a Director and Senior Human Rights Fellow for the Hindu-American Foundation and by Garth Pickett, the interfaith relations director for the regional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I had no idea that this was an issue, being kinda a "separation of church & state" kinda gal. But the California Education Code Section 60044(a) and Subsection (b) have the purpose "The standards enable all students to become aware and accepting of religious diversity while being allowed to remain secure in any religious beliefs they may already have." Evidently teaching *about* religions helps prevent bullying and has other positive effects. Garth talked about the World Religions curriculum in Modesto (described in this Stanford study ) and various other programs around the country where the anti-bullying effect was noted. There is a bill wending its way through the legislature (SB 1057) that wants to update the content standards on what must be taught. Guess that bill is something to which I will pay attention.

Anyway, it was very well attended and provoked lively discussion and I'm glad I went.

May 2015


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