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Why Schools Need Religion Class, Remembering the Philadelphia Eleven, and More
July 25, 2014
Summary: two of America's most popular rellgion professors reflect on the state of religious education, and the 40th anniversary of the first female priests in the Episcopal Church.

A Case for Studying Religion July 25, 2014
This week, we bring together two of America's most thoughtful religion professors for a lively conversation on the state of religious education today. And it's not looking good--especially at the college level. Unlike in other areas of study, where students come to class with a basic knowledge, religion professors must assume their students know nothing--leaving teachers playing catch up and taking much longer to get to deeper, more complex issues.

Stephen Prothero, professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University
Jeffrey Kripal, Chair of Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University
Credit: Wiley
A New Kind of Religion Textbook July 25, 2014
"If you are not ready to be changed and challenged to your very core, put down this book and read no further...Consider yourself forewarned." So begins the newest religion textbook by Jeffrey Kripal, who hopes to remind students that religion is the most weird and wonderful subject there is. It's part of a new wave of textbooks that grapples honestly with the challenges of comparison itself.

Jeffrey Kripal, co-author of Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms

Courtesy Emily Hewitt
The First Female Priests in the Episcopal Church, Forty Years Later July 25, 2014
Imagine a church service so controversial that police officers were stationed down the street and throughout the congregation. People trained in crowd control and karate were scattered in the pews. This was July 29, 1974, when eleven women, dubbed "The Philadelphia Eleven," became the first women to be ordained as priests in the Episcopal Church. We reflect back on that day, and talk about the continuing challenges for women of faith in leadership roles.

Darlene O'Dell, author of The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven
Emily Hewitt, member of the Philadelphia Eleven

Pictured, top: Emily Hewitt, from a 1973 pamphlet arguing for women in the priesthood. Below: The Philadelphia Eleven, at their ordination ceremony at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia.