Religion: Look, Dad, I'm Leaving

The motto of an old-fashioned Sunday-school teacher, recalls A. V. Washburn of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, was: "You sit still while I instill." The modern version might be: "In God we trust that you'll adjust." Sunday schools still struggle, with varying success, to form religious people in a doggedly secular world, but the setting and philosophy are changing fast.

In many Protestant churches, even the name has changed; extension into weeknights makes "church school" a more accurate term. The oldtime room in the church basement has been replaced, in many cases, by...

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