UMW Political Science Professor Presented in Washington D.C.

Emile Lester, assistant professor of political science, has researched and written about the intersection of religion and education, along the way developing his argument that not only is teaching religion in public schools possible, it is necessary.

Through a case study of Modesto, Calif., the first school district in America to require a course in world religions, Lester works to dispel the notion that secularists and conservatives can’t work together. Instead, he argues in “Teaching about Religions: A Democratic Approach for Public Schools” that balanced world religions courses are essential for fostering tolerance among young people.

Lester discussed the book at a forum on Tuesday, November 1 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The forum, “God in the Classroom: Exploring the Place of Religion in Public Schools,” was presented by the Religious Freedom Project at the Newseum and Wesley Theological Seminary. The evening also included the Washington D.C. premiere of the documentary film “In God We Teach.”

For more information about the forum, visit

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.