USA Keep Religion Out of Public School

Josiah

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In my parish is a older lady who has a CONSTANT rant: All our woes as a society are because the government has removed religion from public schools. I'm nice (of course) and I've said my piece (I'm rarely silent,lol) but I very much disagree.


THIS I think IS acceptable:

+ Acknowledging religion in our society. Silly to not call that December break "Christmas Break." Silly to forbid Christmas carols in public schools. Silly to pretend that the students in Calc class are not praying as the tests are being passed out. Religion IS a part of our culture (well, in many places in the USA). Yeah, if you live in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, Judaism is a big part of the culture too and it should not be evaded and circumvented. In Spain, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter are BIG, BIG celebrations in public schools - I'm fairly okay with that. If we lived in Kuwait, I would want my son to know about Islam since that's the culture in which we live.... as long as that education is purely academic.

+ Academic study of religion is good and IMO is permissible. Truth is, much of western history has religion as a BIG part of it. Much of English literature has religion as a BIG part of it. Just as one living in Iran NEEDS to know something of Islam and the Koran, so any living in America NEEDS to know something of Christianity and the Bible - simply as education (not evangelism). I know there are public high schools where English classes do study the Bible and where History classes include lessons on doctrinal teachings of denominations. And I think this is fine, even advisable. As long as its done academically.

+ A time of SILENT prayer. But not some state prescribed prayer written by the People's Republic of California. But silent prayer will happen anyway.... it happens every time a test is passed out.



THIS is what I think is NOT acceptable:

+ Teaching a religion. What this does is make Governor Brown and Nancy Polosi the Pope of American Religion. What would the Board of Education in the People's Republic of California make as the Religion curriculum? Mr Rogers is the State Saint (Karl Marx also being a Saint). Abortion is a Sacrament. Same Gender Marriage is what God loves. When we hand over religion to the state, you'll get the state's religion. Yeah, Catholics might like the public schools to teach Catholicism but obviously that's not going to happen, the same libs who run our country would impose THEIR philosophy and morality on our kids - in the name of RELIGION and GOD.

+ Changing what God commanded. God said, "PARENTS, bring up your children in the Lord." Parents rejecting that and insisting, "NANCY POLOSI bring up our children in the State." This is what happened in Communist China and Communist Romania. Do Christians really want that here?



I want to teach my children - without the imposition of the secular State (whose business this is NOT). My wife and I will teach him conservative/confessional Lutheranism because that's the faith of our family..... we will bring him to Sunday School and Worship at our LCMS church. IF I want all his education to be in that milieu, I can enroll him in a Lutheran school (we happen to have a couple around - although both would be considerable drives). I'd be okay with him in a Catholic School. Or homeschool him. Or simply supplement the secular school with the true faith. This is a parental responsibility, not a secular state power.



Lots of Christians disagree with me on this, I realize.....



A blessed Lenten season to all...



- Josiah
 

tango

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I think for the most part I agree with you. The very people who don't seem to have a problem with Christian prayers being imposed upon non-Christian students would most likely be the first up in arms if, say, Muslim prayers were imposed upon their children.

I think children should be taught what major religions believe. I don't see how it hurts anybody to understand at least the basics of the belief systems of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc. I realise that raises the issue of what counts as a "major religion" but it can be the kind of thing that evolves with a community. If an area has a lot of Scientologists maybe schools would teach the basics of what they believe. It's inevitable that parents who follow one religion will raise their children in that same religion, but knowing what other faiths believe doesn't seem like it would be a bad thing. If nothing else it might address things like the silliness spouted by some that suggests that all Muslims are bloodthirsty and waiting to kill us all.

The main problem with prayer is the matter of organised prayer, which endlessly comes back to a conflict between the majority and minority groups. At present in most parts of the country it's probably safe to say that the majority of people who wish to pray will pray to the God of the Christian faith, while smaller groups will seek to pray to Allah, Vishnu, Ganesh, Krishna etc. And it doesn't seem appropriate to expect students who wish to pray to one deity to be forced to submit to prayers to a different deity - this comes back to the basic concept that if I wouldn't want something forced on me then I have no right to force it on someone else.

Where festivals like Christmas are concerned things can get a little trickier. Chances are most people will commemorate Christmas, even if they do it without any reference to Christ. But the reality is there are other festivals around the same time and the assumption that everyone is going to use their "holiday time" to celebrate Christmas isn't necessarily correct. It is silly to endlessly change language in case someone might find the mention of something offensive - I think someone being offended by the greeting "happy Christmas" displays a lot more about themselves than about the greeting if they are truly unable to take the comment in the spirit it was intended. That said I really don't see how it harms anyone to say "happy holidays" in a more generic sense, especially when dealing with people who may or may not commemorate Christmas. Most of us don't take it upon ourselves to assume which way someone voted so why take it upon ourselves to assume what, if any, faith someone else has?

I think the biggest issue where removing God from schools is concerned is not so much the explicit concept of God so much as the concept of absolute morality. I see little value in expecting children to stand in line and recite a prayer they don't mean to a God they don't even believe exists, but do see huge value in making sure children understand that there are concepts of absolute right and wrong. Things that are fundamentally down to personal morality need to be left to the parents but things that are fundamental to the fabric of society need to be taught by parents and by schools. To take a fairly simple example, whether sex outside of marriage is acceptable is a matter of personal morality but making sure that our partner, of whatever gender and persuasion, consents to sex is a matter of absolute right and wrong.

The trouble with the kind of moral relativism that seems to be ever-more popular is that in the absence of an absolute right and wrong there are no behavior patterns that can be considered unacceptable. If your concept of right and wrong is considered no more and no less valid than mine, I immediately lose any right to tell you that, for instance, going into a school and shooting at the children is wrong. In the absence of a definitive, objective concept of right and wrong even tyrants like Hitler and Stalin are defendable because all we need to say is that their moral code differed from ours and their views are no less valid than our own.

At a more basic level I think a major problem is that children are being raised with little to no concept of consequences and, if anything, are rewarded for defiance. The parent in the shopping complex pleading with their child to be quiet, then finally offering a treat in exchange for silence, may (and probably does) mean well but the little darling will soon learn that if they make a fuss for long enough they get a treat. If kids don't study for an exam and flunk it but still get to try again, and again, and again, until they scrape a pass it's hard to see how they learn anything other than that they don't face any hard and fast deadlines. If children are protected from the consequences of their actions why are we surprised if they grow up not understanding that actions have consequences?

Even reading Scripture through totally secular eyes there's a lot of wisdom in there. At the most basic level the 10 Commandments set out a framework for a basic society and the OT histories of how Israel alternated between following God and rebelling against God and the consequences that followed show that when God says something he means it. Then into the NT we can see the example of Jesus and the underlying message "you matter to someone" and the letters of Paul giving the kind of guidance "not like that, like this". Encouragement, correction, exhortation, rebuke, all necessary parts of growing and maturing. Our current society looks like some people are endlessly encouraged with no correction while others are endlessly corrected with no encouragement.
 

Krissy Cakes

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They keep God out of school and look what happens.
 

NewCreation435

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There are ways to introduce and talk about God without being dogmatic and putting it in the curriculum. I remember when our speech class in high school wanted us to examine a dialogue and talk about it. I was a junior in high school at the time. This was around 1984. I chose dialogue between David and Jonathan in the Old Testament and read it to the other students in class. They allowed it because it was dialogue like the teacher asked us to find.
 

psalms 91

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Here is the thing, in the past cultures came here and were absorbed into America and now it seems that they come hee and we have to accept their ways. I for one have had it with all the PC junk, it is a part of what is slowly destroying us
 

tango

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Here is the thing, in the past cultures came here and were absorbed into America and now it seems that they come hee and we have to accept their ways. I for one have had it with all the PC junk, it is a part of what is slowly destroying us

A little bit of respect both ways works really well. If people come here from nations that practise other religions there's really no need to demand that their children bow down to our God. At the same time we shouldn't allow them to demand that we bow down to their God, or that we refrain from bowing down to our own God in their presence.

It can't be that hard to balance "when in Rome" with "live and let live".
 

psalms 91

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A little bit of respect both ways works really well. If people come here from nations that practise other religions there's really no need to demand that their children bow down to our God. At the same time we shouldn't allow them to demand that we bow down to their God, or that we refrain from bowing down to our own God in their presence.

It can't be that hard to balance "when in Rome" with "live and let live".
I agree but yet it seems a constant battle
 

tango

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I agree but yet it seems a constant battle

I remember back in my university days when the policy was simple - the university would make reasonable attempts to ensure no student was disadvantaged due to any specific requirements they may have, be they dietary, religious, whatever. At the same time they stressed it must be clearly understood that no student had any right to exceptional treatment on such grounds.

Nowadays it seems there are all sorts of groups who are basically saying life is unfair to them and so they deserve special treatment.
 

Josiah

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The issue here is religious curriculum and observances in public schools (I was thinking K-12)
 

tango

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I'm not sure that it's going to make a whole lot of difference whether or not children understand what different groups believe, especially in a day and age that refuses to acknowledge any one belief as being inherently better or worse than another.

While I think provision should be made for students who have a faith to express the faith I'm not convinced that forcing students to go through the motions of "hands together, eyes, closed, head bowed" and praying to a deity they don't even believe exists is helpful, especially when prayers are very formulaic and frequently don't change from one month to the next.

A key issue arises when dealing with tiny minorities. If you've got a school of 700 students and one is a practising Muslim, what provision should be made for them? It doesn't seem unreasonable for them to not attend Christian worship but at what point does provision become special treatment? It's entirely reasonable that all the students should be taught the basics of what Islam believes (which would apply in any school regardless of whether any Muslims attended), but the question of what that one Muslim student could reasonably expect is a potential issue.
 

Virgil the Socialist

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Things that are fundamentally down to personal morality need to be left to the parents but things that are fundamental to the fabric of society need to be taught by parents and by schools. To take a fairly simple example, whether sex outside of marriage is acceptable is a matter of personal morality but making sure that our partner, of whatever gender and persuasion, consents to sex is a matter of absolute right and wrong.
That's a great example. And I think the vast majority of teachers, school administrators, and parent would agree and it would be rare to find a person launch a moral defense of Hitler or Stalin to use your other example. And you might call the error of murder and rape "absolute morality" or whatever while I would call it rationally-derived common sense that harming, violating, or exploiting people is wrong. But you say potato, I say potato.

But then next you go on to bash moral relativism, which is ironic since what you just described is moral relativism. Most moral decisions a young person faces are not about rape or murder. It's about the mundane stuff that you relativistically categorized as "personal morality."





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Virgil the Socialist

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They keep God out of school and look what happens.
How is God kept out of schools? What do you wish that Christian students could do that they are prevented from doing?

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Virgil the Socialist

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Here is the thing, in the past cultures came here and were absorbed into America and now it seems that they come hee and we have to accept their ways. I for one have had it with all the PC junk, it is a part of what is slowly destroying us
What ways have you had to accept? I found it fascinating how easy it was for you to steer the conversation away from religion and toward right wing tropes about immigrants and PC culture. It's a good example of how meaningless political rhetoric can infect other areas of discourse.

As far as your point, America's religious views have been very diverse for hundreds of years. Even among Christians. The early European immigrants came from a continent that had over a century of killing and warfare between Christian sects. Our imperative to keep the government out of religion is a matter practicality in maintaining a civil society, not due to some need to be charitable to immigrants (although that's fine too).

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psalms 91

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What ways have you had to accept? I found it fascinating how easy it was for you to steer the conversation away from religion and toward right wing tropes about immigrants and PC culture. It's a good example of how meaningless political rhetoric can infect other areas of discourse.

As far as your point, America's religious views have been very diverse for hundreds of years. Even among Christians. The early European immigrants came from a continent that had over a century of killing and warfare between Christian sects. Our imperative to keep the government out of religion is a matter practicality in maintaining a civil society, not due to some need to be charitable to immigrants (although that's fine too).

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First of all I am a Democrat and many of my views are considered liberal while some are more conservative. Second, I am not against immigration, however I am against of them not being absorbed into the new country rather than trying to bring the old one with them. Third, I am old enough to remembr prayer in scholols, discipline in schools and at home, a respect for authority, etc. I do not blame any one thing for what America has become but rather a lot of thigs when added to gether have made this country poorer in terms of way of life. Religion up until 30 years or so ago had a place in every aspect of our lives and our government, changing that has not made us better when in fact it has made us worse
 

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That's a great example. And I think the vast majority of teachers, school administrators, and parent would agree and it would be rare to find a person launch a moral defense of Hitler or Stalin to use your other example. And you might call the error of murder and rape "absolute morality" or whatever while I would call it rationally-derived common sense that harming, violating, or exploiting people is wrong. But you say potato, I say potato.

But then next you go on to bash moral relativism, which is ironic since what you just described is moral relativism. Most moral decisions a young person faces are not about rape or murder. It's about the mundane stuff that you relativistically categorized as "personal morality."

There's quite a big difference between issues that affect only consenting others and issues that affect unconsenting others.

If two or more people give informed consent to have sex in private it's nobody else's business - it is purely a matter of personal morality. If one or more people impose their will and force an unconsenting party to have sex that now introduces the concept of a violated party, in which case it's time for the law to step in.

There's arguably something of a complication where adultery is concerned - if someone consents to sex with someone other than their spouse then the betrayed spouse will most likely have something to say about it but, aside from possibly divorce proceedings, it's not a matter for the law.

As far as teenagers are concerned the two are very different, even if the average teenager isn't going to be getting involved in murder and rape. What the average teenager does isn't relevant to the concepts at hand here.

There will inevitably be variations in personal morality and as far as possible these must be accepted. The problem comes when relativism goes too far and we end up with no absolutes because in those scenarios there is no reason not to harm others for personal gain. You might call it basic common sense that physically attacking another to steal their money is a bad thing to do but in the absence of an objective morality who are you to impose your views on anyone else?

That leads into the question of where we draw the line between allowing personal morality (or, if you will, moral relativism) and requiring adherence to a centrally defined code that has legal consequences for violating it. An obvious line to draw is the line between the act that involves only consenting others and the act that involves unwilling and unconsenting others.
 

tango

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First of all I am a Democrat and many of my views are considered liberal while some are more conservative. Second, I am not against immigration, however I am against of them not being absorbed into the new country rather than trying to bring the old one with them. Third, I am old enough to remembr prayer in scholols, discipline in schools and at home, a respect for authority, etc. I do not blame any one thing for what America has become but rather a lot of thigs when added to gether have made this country poorer in terms of way of life. Religion up until 30 years or so ago had a place in every aspect of our lives and our government, changing that has not made us better when in fact it has made us worse

Bet you never thought you'd get called right wing :)
 

Virgil the Socialist

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First of all I am a Democrat and many of my views are considered liberal while some are more conservative. Second, I am not against immigration, however I am against of them not being absorbed into the new country rather than trying to bring the old one with them. Third, I am old enough to remembr prayer in scholols, discipline in schools and at home, a respect for authority, etc. I do not blame any one thing for what America has become but rather a lot of thigs when added to gether have made this country poorer in terms of way of life. Religion up until 30 years or so ago had a place in every aspect of our lives and our government, changing that has not made us better when in fact it has made us worse
I see you mostly replied in defense of yourself, which means you felt attacked. My apologies. I was intending to comment on the populist rhetoric you were using and why I think it's inaccurate when applied to this topic.

As far as what you just said, I think there are a lot wonderful things about the youth today. They have their problems just as every generation does, few of which are their fault alone. But be careful of romanticising the past. Nostalgia is seldom accurate.

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Virgil the Socialist

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There's quite a big difference between issues that affect only consenting others and issues that affect unconsenting others.

If two or more people give informed consent to have sex in private it's nobody else's business - it is purely a matter of personal morality. If one or more people impose their will and force an unconsenting party to have sex that now introduces the concept of a violated party, in which case it's time for the law to step in.
Well amen. I'm glad we can agree on this. That wasn't always the case. Christians have long argued that certain everyday choices like music preferences, masturbation, etc are wrong because they are part of the unchanging moral fabric of the universe imposed by a god.

There will inevitably be variations in personal morality and as far as possible these must be accepted. The problem comes when relativism goes too far and we end up with no absolutes because in those scenarios there is no reason not to harm others for personal gain.
Ah who decides what things are wrong due to personal values and what things are wrong because of an absolute moral code?

in the absence of an objective morality who are you to impose your views on anyone else?
Well that's easy. Since there is no objective morality, we can see how this has actually occurred through history. Communities decide what's in their best interest--the kinds of behaviors that are dangerous to the group's survival and well-being and those that promote their survival and well-being.

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psalms 91

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I see you mostly replied in defense of yourself, which means you felt attacked. My apologies. I was intending to comment on the populist rhetoric you were using and why I think it's inaccurate when applied to this topic.

As far as what you just said, I think there are a lot wonderful things about the youth today. They have their problems just as every generation does, few of which are their fault alone. But be careful of romanticising the past. Nostalgia is seldom accurate.

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True, that we tend to only remember the good but I do remember being in high school and never once ran into or heard drugs mentioned, abortion was never considered or talked about,prayer was in the schools and kids as a rule were much more respectful. I do not agree with this push to do away with religion in every aspect of public life thuws my comment about being PC. That is a term I really do hate and with religion in mind I dont like the direction this country took.
 

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True, that we tend to only remember the good but I do remember being in high school and never once ran into or heard drugs mentioned, abortion was never considered or talked about,prayer was in the schools and kids as a rule were much more respectful. I do not agree with this push to do away with religion in every aspect of public life thuws my comment about being PC. That is a term I really do hate and with religion in mind I dont like the direction this country took.
I think that you're assuming that removing mandated school prayer caused cultural changes rather than the other way around. Of course abortion, drugs, rampant sexual abuse of minors, domestic violence were all part of the first half of the 20th century but were taboo.

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