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Friday, July 25, 2014

Religion and schools: Total removal is wrong

Posted Thursday, March 4, 2010, at 9:50 AM

The American Civil Liberties Union strikes again.

The group, which I'd term one of the biggest bunches of agitators in the country, has through a court settlement forced Cheatham County (Ashland City area) schools to stop distributing Bibles during the school day and from using "the Bible or other sacred texts as authority for historical or scientific fact."

When I was growing up the Gideons came around each school year and gave small New Testaments to, it seems like, fourth- or fifth-graders. And through my primary school years we attended school-wide "chapel" programs (seems like they were on Tuesdays), even though some ended up being made up of a few inspirational words followed by old Three Stooges movies or black-and-white instructional videos from the 1940s or 1950s on how to wash your hands, etc. I never felt indoctrinated or forced to adhere to an certain belief. And each day in some classrooms started with a prayer.

I realize there are religious differences, and in a nation founded on freedom those should be respected. But should freedom "of" religion mean total freedom "from" (i.e. even hearing about) Christian beliefs in a taxpayer-funded, public institution? I don't think so, as long as it's not forced on anyone and is presented in a way in which no one feels uncomfortable or pressured.


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The court was ABSOLUTELY correct in its ruling.

If the Bible is to be taught in public schools it should be taught in the context of the mythology of world religions. Equal time would also be given to the writings of the Koran, the Hermetic Archanum, the teachings of Buddha, etc. Under no circumstances should doctrine or some interpretation of a 'moral code' be part of the instruction. Certainly, the creation narrative should not be part of a science curriculum.

-- Posted by gottago on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 10:13 AM

I totally agree with gottago. Religion does not belong in school, no matter what religion it may be. Because all it will do is cause more chaos. If you teach about the christian religion then you must also teach about all of the other religions of the world including Satanism, Voodoo, etc.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 10:32 AM

I would also have to agree with PrpleHze and gottago religion does not belong in the schools in any form.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 10:37 AM

And that is why the world is in the shape it is in now.

-- Posted by honda14 on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 10:44 AM

Even if it was determined that Christianity was the only religion represented in the school system, the next question is 'who's Christianity is featured?'

While I am a Christian, I certainly would not want my kids taught the 7 day creation nonsense, would not want them taught the brand of Christianity espoused on the blog next door, and would definitely want them taught the validity of other religions. There are too many divergent viewpoints within Christianity to try to placate everyone.

And regarding the Gideons handing out the King James Version of the Bible. Heck, no. We should be beyond King James.

-- Posted by gottago on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 10:59 AM

altho my own kids are grown and gone, the last thing i would have wanted was for the school to interfere with the values they were taught at home. as gottqago referenced, i would have been the first one to take the schools to court, were there to be any attempt to inflict upon my children the sick and twisted perversion of christianity espoused by michaelbell in his blogs. and i am sure that those who want their children taught hatred and bigotry as religion would be offended if the teachings of jesus were being taught in our schools.

i want the government to stay out of my religion.

-- Posted by lazarus on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 11:14 AM

And that is why the world is in the shape it is in now.

-- Posted by honda14 on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 10:44 AM

Really honda14? How would you feel if your child brought home The Koran instead of the Gideon Bible? If they teach and support one religion then they must do the same for all religions.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 11:29 AM

I agree with most of the previous posters before me. Leave religion out of public education. Kids should be learning about math, science, grammar, history, etc. It should be up to the parents to teach a religion (or not). I think it's pretty obvious that no one should use "the Bible or other sacred texts as authority for historical or scientific fact."

-- Posted by Chad O on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 11:31 AM

It is a sad commentary on our society today when we think there is no place for for God and Christian values and teachings in our schools. Our Nations Capital is decorated with many references to Christian beliefs. The tallest building in Washington D. C. by law is the Washington Monument. There is a copper cap on the very top that proclaims Laus Deos. Translation: Praise God. The Supreme Court has dipictions of Moses receiving the ten commandments. We were founded as a Christian Nation, notBudist or Muslim or other non Christian religions. I agree our forefathers intended for us to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I think we have gone way to far to eliminate God from every aspect of our daily lives. How simple minded to be offended by a prayer or a Bible verse? What will it take? The elimination of all references to God and Christianity to make us realize we are wrong to keep going the direction of the ACLU? God help us all, even those of you who want to destroy our Christian values.

-- Posted by chs61 on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 12:32 PM

liberal minded keyboard warriors.....I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA..FOR WHICH IT STANDS..ONE NATION..UNDER !!!!GOD!!!!...INDIVISABLE..WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. Humm a pledge said every morning in allegiance to the UNITED STATES...but wait because some future terrorists are tought hatred towards america and god because allah told them to our children can not be exposed to god..but a pledge is exposing him that you and the aclu (anti christian liberal union)say god should not be in these schools are also saying that the pledge shouldnt be said...explain that anyother way beside unamerican...you can try but its pointless....those of you above who agree with the aclu are disagreeing with our pledge everything that the U.S. has been founded on....WHY IS IT EITHER WHITES OR CHRISTIANS WHO ARE FORCED TO GIVE UP EVERYTHING TO THIS MULTICULTURALISM AND INTERGRATION CRAP WHICH HAS BROUGHT RUIN TO AMERICAN CULTURE AND VALUE..WHY IT'S TRUE NOT RACIST BUT TRUE THEY ARE.....ALL OF YOU LIBERAL MINDED SCREW UPS ABOVE ARE NO BETTER BUT THE SAME AS THE TRASH AND PIGS THAT MAKE UP THE ACLU....GROUPS AND POEPLE LIKE YOU KEEP ON DEMORALIZING...AND PREACHING THE OUST OF GOD IN AMERICA'S SCHOOLS AND COURTS YOU SHOULD ALL BE SEGREGATED FROM SOCIETY TO LIVE IN A GODLESS LIBERAL STATE WHERE NO VALUES EXIST....

-- Posted by ipledgeallegiancetotheCSA on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 1:05 PM

The "Under God" phrase was not part of the original Pledge. It was added in 1954 -- during and because of the McCarthy era.

-- Posted by MotherMayhem on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 2:01 PM

Dianatn,

I see where you are coming from.

-- Posted by honda14 on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 2:06 PM

Chs61,

Should we offer those prayers THROUGH (not to) Mary or through the saint-of-the-day? Should we pick a Bible verse that scholars and theologians debate the meaning and hve been for centuries.

Many of the founding fathers were deists and others were from for tolerant streams of Christianity that had little contact or concern with fundamentalists. It's likely the mention of'God' on top of the WM you reference refers to the Supreme Being (whatever it is taken to be), not necessarily the God of Christianity. And the God of Judaism. And the God of Islam.

-- Posted by gottago on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 3:12 PM

If everyone above is old enough to remember having prayer and the pledge recited each day at school...some people would say that "was the good ole days". I for one agree.

By the time we got to high school, if we wanted to start the day with prayer, we had to "hide" in a closet prior to the start of school.

I FIRMLY believe that students should have the right to start their day with their friends and teachers to prayer for their day and for their teachers to pass on to them the intellect that will help each student be a better person.

If the student (or parent) does not want to attend such a function, that's OK. But let the student/teacher who wish to start the day with the blessings of God give them the right to do so.

-- Posted by theharts on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 3:40 PM

Any one who thinks multicultralism and intergration ruined American culture cant be called a christian. I agree with PrpleHze, Teach your children at home. Your child might bring home the Koran when they start teaching religions. I guess the American indians thought the same thing when our ancestors came here and changed thier culture. Where was the liberty and justice for them.Any one who thinks people should be segrated for different views and call intergration crap makes me wonder what is really in their hearts.

-- Posted by lets be real on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 3:55 PM

While I agree that a public school is not the venue to TEACH a religion it is certainly a venue to teach ABOUT a religion. Religion has often been a molding force in our world. Even the absence of religion, as in China and the old USSR was an influential aspect of their development.

To teach about America's history without acknowledging the religious influence would seem analogous to taking a slice out of a pie and yet saying it is whole. To teach the development of Japan without mentioning the Shinto and Buddhist religions would be unfair to the student as well as the nation.

Christianity was the framework and moral backbone for our establishment as a country and we should be proud of it, not deny or hide it. Those same founding "fathers" may not have had Judaism, Muslim, Hindu, etc. in mind when they stated our belief in freedom of religion, but maybe it was guided by the One who many seem to want to disavow. In my opinion it was the right thing to do and I am proud that it is a part of our heritage.

Mankind has a way of twisting and bending facts, so I will not be too surprised if I one day find that most religions are actually referring to one and the same Supreme Being. One of the primary tactics of war is to "divide and conquer". What better way for evil to win out over good?

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 4:28 PM

THANK YOU,STEVE!!!

Students,like the rest of us,deserve the freedom to think,the ability to think critically and access to material to think about.

Imposing or denying information cheats the individual who is restricted in his chance to draw his own conclusions.

Plus,it speaks poorly for the people who are unwilling to let things stand or fall on their own merits.,

Rather than have schools or other authority figures have to play advocate/policemen/etc. for every ideology,let us raise children who are able (and willing) to do their own research,draw their own conclusions and live according to the beliefs they claim to hold.

Rather than have a generation with "no beliefs", false/ludicrous beliefs or second-hand,lip-service,in-name-only beliefs,let us have folks who know what they think and why.

Let them have a system of thought that can shape their actions in all aspects of their lives at all times.

This should hold true in politics,religion and every other arena.

If we have cultivated our people's ability to be rational,then we'll have less reason to indoctrinate or protect vulnerable minds from brainwashing of a secular or theistic type.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 6:28 PM

There is a vast difference in mentioning religion in wars or even how it has effected history and actually practicing the religion itself.

The culture of the United States has changed drastically over the years and that comes with many religious beliefs.

Most of you are around my age or so and if you went to school in the area you probably went to a Christian church just as I did along with the larger majority of your classmates. I didn't go to school with any Hispanics much less any Muslims but now children of all cultures attend our schools. When we had our assembly we were all of the Christian religion, it's not that way any more.

I remember the biggest problem with teaching religion in school when I was in school, was evolution. I remember my parents couldn't stand the idea of it being taught even in theory. But honestly back then I didn't know anyone who believed in evolution. Today I know many who do.

Times have changed not only of theories but our culture and even our children must learn to live in a multicultural world, like it or not. But learning to live in a multicultural world does not mean I would want my children exposed to every religion. Religion should be taught by the parents. Your Freedom of religion should not infringe on my child's right to an education.

When my child is an adult then she/he can learn about the differences in religion if they choose to do so and if they decide the Muslim religion is the best, then so be it but I do not think my child should be forced to listen to the Koran in order to attend school. So why would I believe the Muslim children should be forced to listen to a Christian prayer or sermon in order to attend school?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 7:05 PM

If the country we live in now would still have the brass our founding fathers had when they founded it and declare Christianity the national religion we would not have this discussion.

As for a certain comment on here refereed towards me, my religion as you call it is not perverse, I just don't hold nothing back, I let the chips fall where they may and my children are taught the same. The name on the wall does not matter Judeo-Christian values was what this nation was founded on and Jesus is the only way to heaven, and if that offends a Muslim, Hindu Athiest, voo doo or whatever doo that is just tough!

The ACLU NEEDS TO BE STOPPED AND STOPPED NOW ALONG WITH ALL THIS LIMP WRISTED PREACHERS AND LIBERAL JUDGES!

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 7:35 PM

I think that if we all step back and look, really look at the world, we would see what we have pushed out is the one thing we need. God. We are all so worried about what our children may learn, we do not focus on what they are learning. EVERYTHING IS OK, ACCEPT EVERYONE AND THEIR BELIEFS, DO NOT STATE WHAT YOU BELIEVE IT MAY OFFEND. It is acceptable for Muslim females to wear their head dress but you can not wear a hat with a cross on it to school. What is the difference? I do not push hatred but equality. With the act of pushing other religions the government has pushed mine aside. Now, with no moral values being taught at schools. Our children are involved in killings, porn, theft, drugs, etc. Much more than in the past. There are parents that do teach their kids but their are many that do not. Children were at least exposed to values and morals at school, Now well, just look around. What happened to manners? I teach my children manners, but now it is fine to say yeah to a teacher. I think the problem is not what may be added to school teachings but what has been taken away.

-- Posted by Easton on Fri, Mar 5, 2010, at 8:42 AM

This country pumpkin believes that it should be there for the students that want to learn more about it. Like a class for them. It was in the schools when I grew up and it didn't hurt me at all.

-- Posted by rebelrosecountrymom on Fri, Mar 5, 2010, at 9:06 AM

When my child is an adult then she/he can learn about the differences in religion if they choose to do so and if they decide the Muslim religion is the best, then so be it but I do not think my child should be forced to listen to the Koran in order to attend school. So why would I believe the Muslim children should be forced to listen to a Christian prayer or sermon in order to attend school?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 7:05 PM

Well said. I made the decision when my children were born that I was not going to force any religion on them. But when they become older, and feel drawn to a certain religion, then that is fine. It is their choice and I am not going to stop them.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Fri, Mar 5, 2010, at 9:56 AM

"If the country we live in now would still have the brass our founding fathers had when they founded it and declare Christianity the national religion we would not have this discussion."

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Mar 4, 2010, at 7:35 PM

What about all of the Native Americans whose religion was here first??? What did the Quakers and Christians do to them when they arrived here?? Just as the Christians murdered the Mayans, they totured and murdered the Native Americans who would not convert to Christianity.

There is no superior religion to another. It all depends on the mind of the believer.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Fri, Mar 5, 2010, at 10:05 AM

Matthew 10:32-33 he says, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven."

-- Posted by Disgusted on Fri, Mar 5, 2010, at 10:21 AM

Nicely said Easton.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Fri, Mar 5, 2010, at 2:03 PM

A nonconscious ideology is analogous to the water fish swim in: fish don't think of the water as wet because this environment is all they know -- it structures their experience of life itself. Water simply is. Members of privileged groups don't have to think about their environment because, for them, that environment simply is. They don't have to be concerned about others' opinions because it's safe to assume that most think like them.

-- Posted by deathtongue on Sat, Mar 6, 2010, at 11:23 AM

Exerpt from the New England Primer 1777

If this was good enough for the children of our founding fathers, what is wrong with it today?

A Wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

BEtter is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure & trouble therewith.

COme unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden and he will give you rest.

DO not the abominable thing which I hate saith the Lord.

EXcept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

FOolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

GODLINESS is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come.

HOLINESS becomes GOD's house for ever.

IT is good for me to draw near unto GOD.

KEEP thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.

LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

MANY are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth them out of them all.

NOW is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.

OUT of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

PRAY to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which sees in secret shall reward thee openly.

QUIT you like men, be strong, stand fast in the faith.

REMEMBER thy Creator in the days of thy youth.

SEest thou a man wise in his own conceit, there is more hope of a fool than of him.

TRUST in God at all times, ye people, pour out your hearts before him.

UPON the wicked, God shall rain an horrible tempest.

WO to the wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

EXHORT one another daily while it is called to day, lest any of you be hardened thro' the deceitfulness of sin.

YOUNG men ye have overcome the wicked one.

ZEal hath consumed me, because thy enemies have forgotten the word of God

-- Posted by michaelbell on Sat, Mar 6, 2010, at 6:22 PM

I grew up in New England and I don't ever remember anyone coming to distribute Bibles at my school - is that common in the South? (I'm not trying to start an arguement, I'm just curious as I've never heard of this before).

-- Posted by cfrich on Sat, Mar 6, 2010, at 9:38 PM

It's hilarious to hear our preachers moan about how the government is so corrupt and how many preachers also use the pulpit to support certain candidates (around here, mostly an ENTIRE party); and constantly fret over how large the government is and how they shouldn't make every decision. Hmm, well now they know exactly how the schools feel about religion.

Personally, I wasn't "taught" religion or any scripture at school. When I go to church on Sunday I'm not there to learn new math skills, perform scientific experiments or take spelling tests, so when I went to school Monday through Friday I was not there to be preached to.

Oh the irony from many who expect everyone to change for "our culture" yet when the same is asked of us, we fight tooth and nail to resist it. Is it not entirely hypocritical that we came to a land that wasn't ours and forced the indigenous people to accept our way of life, in return for empty promises...not much has changed.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Mar 7, 2010, at 12:02 AM

Schools were set out to be reading, writing and arithmetic. If the focus was on this instead of trying to prove a point maybe the kids and the parents in our school systems today would be better off. I am a Chrisitian and always welcome the opportunity to share my testimony. Being careful not to exclude God in our daily activites, I feel like there could be an after school time in a neutral place for anyone and everyone who wanted to be a part of sharing this time to study God's word.

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Mon, Mar 15, 2010, at 11:30 AM

I remember studying Tennessee History in junior high and what sticks out in my memory to this day is that the Bible was the first textbook in schoolhouses. Granted the public school system is NOTHING like it used to be. But one thing that does disturb me is that local muslims do not abide by school dress code standards because wearing the head dress is part of their "religion." No one says anything because they're afraid to offend the muslim religion but God forbid Christianity be brought to school!

If I have to go somewhere in public forum and any godless heathen religion is pushed on me, expect to hear me talk to you about GOD, JESUS, and the HOLY SPIRIT! Why? Because the Holy trinity is REAL! I know this because we've met. I am a Christian who, in my past have followed after other dieties that I later discovered are false because they do not exist! I've tried humanism, to buddhism to satanism and I found NO peace from any of them. But I met God, accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour of my life I found it's NOT about RELIGION but a RELATIONSHIP! There is only one way to Heaven and it is thru Jesus Christ Himself. Allah, Buddha, and others claimed enlightenment, but sorry y'all... NO DICE!

Frankly, I find the ACLU a joke because they want to support everything but Christianity. Do they think they're bigger than Jesus? I challenge them to try! As big as the Beatles were, they weren't THAT bbig despite John Lennon's statement.

-- Posted by 1ukolsir on Mon, Mar 15, 2010, at 11:41 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.