Religion and Politics
November 5, 2018
Government is not the only class at St. John’s that incorporates politics into the classroom. Reverend Ned Mulligan teaches two semester-long electives for upperclassmen that dive into politics and current events.
In Religion and Politics, students become familiar with different religions and examine how faith influences voters.
Illustrations by Mia Fares.
With a slightly different objective, Justice and Equity uses hypothetical situations to decide how to make the right decision.
Both classes use a textbook, but there is ample time for the discussion of political issues and current events.
“It’s really nice because there is no finite amount of material I need to cover,” Mulligan said, “so I have the liberty of choosing how far in depth we go with each topic.”
The free-flowing form of the classes allows for open discussions, and Mulligan encourages students in both courses to bring in news clips or political topics they wish to highlight.
“The students are well informed about what’s going on in the world, so whatever’s going on politically tends to choose itself,” Mulligan said.
Last month, students watched parts of the Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearing and engaged in conversation about allegations of sexual assault. Other prominent topics examined in the classes have included abortion, gun control and LGBTQ rights.
Last school year, Mulligan’s Religion and Politics students drafted legislation for gun control.
“I told them I didn’t care about their views. I just wanted them to prove they are better than Congress and come up with something with meaning,” Mulligan said. “They were able to do it even in the context of some pretty conservative students.”
Mulligan appreciates student engagement in class and is impressed by their level of discourse.
“People are interested, people want to participate and people have good things to say,” Mulligan said. “I’m not surprised anymore to see how well they express their opinions.”