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Gore Says Teaching Religion in Public Schools ‘Formula For Disaster’

Former Vice President Al Gore says the government doesn’t have any business teaching religion in public schools.

“It can sound appealing to say the government ought to instruct our children on how to believe in God, but once you open that door, then you’re on a slippery slope toward an official state religion, and that has been a formula for disaster throughout history,” Gore said in an Internet video posted Feb. 12 at a Faith in Public Life blog. “The United States of America represents something different and special, and we need to keep it that way.”

The clip, recorded Dec. 4, appeared originally on Current.com, companion Web site to Current TV, a pioneer peer-to-peer news and information network started in 2005 by Gore and Current CEO Joel Hyatt.

Battles about the intersection of science and faith are being waged across the nation over proposals to balance teaching of evolution with alternative theories like “intelligent design” and using Bible curriculum in public schools.

Gore, a featured speaker at the recent New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta, said religious instruction has no place in public schools.

“I think that it is wrong for the government to try to play any kind of official role in deciding what religious instruction should be provided to the people of this country, especially school children,” he said. “I just think that the separation of the power of government from the effort to guide people’s spiritual journeys is a bedrock principle, and history teaches that when you allow the combination of government power with spiritual and religious leadership, it is a recipe for trouble.”

“One of the things that led to the greatness of the United States of America is freedom of religion,” Gore said. “And freedom of religion very clearly means, if you’re going to keep freedom of religion, means keeping the government out of religion.”

Gore, a former U.S. senator best know of late for winning the Nobel Peace Prize and his Oscar-winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is the chairman of Current TV. He is also chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm dedicated to a new approach of “sustainable investing,” which takes into account social, economic, environmental and ethical factors to determine the value of a business. He is a member of the board of directors of Apple and a senior adviser to Google. He is also a visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University and chairs the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit organization designed to help solve the climate crisis.

Gore started Current TV with Hyatt, founder of Hyatt Legal Plans, the country’s largest provider of employer-sponsored group legal services now owned by MetLife, Aug. 1, 2005. It is the only 24/7 cable and satellite television network using programming submitted by viewers.

With the launch of Current.com last October, it became the first fully integrated online and television network helping users to determine news and information that is relevant to them.

Roughly one third of Current’s on-air content is submitted via short-form, non-fiction video “pods,” typically 2-10 minute segments modeled after the iPod media-consumption trend.

Current is now viewed in more than 51 million households in the United States and United Kingdom through distribution partners Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish Network, Sky and Virgin Media Cable.

Current Media, the parent company of Current TV, recently announced it would begin selling shares of stock to the public, hoping to raise $100 million on Wall Street.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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