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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,392,887  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 122

Lurker/Post Ratio: 268 to 1

Question of the Week: 3 - 8/20/2000

Church and State, Religion in School... What is YOUR View?

Church and State, Religion in School... What is YOUR View?

 Reponses:   There are 122 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

I Think They Should Be Keep Completely Seperate. There Is No Need... Aug 20th. at 11:57:26 pm EDT

Ema (Nathalia, South Australia AU) Age: 14 - Email

I think they should be keep completely seperate. There is no need for religion in schools.

I Live Up In Canada And Go To A Catholic High School... Aug 21st. at 12:17:06 am EDT

Autumn Rain (OrlŽans, Ontario CA) Age: 15 - Email

I live up in Canada and go to a catholic high school. I would go to a public one but my parents would rather I didn't. At first my teachers didn't have a problem with my wearing a pentagram some even talked to me about it but they didn't mind at all. I had even brought a "wiccan Book" because I didn't have time to go to my locker) to a class and when the teacher saw it he said that it was a "every interesting subject" and said it without being sarcastic. but then we got a new vice principle and things changed. I think that since I do go to a catholic high school I should ably to there rules of not wearing a pentagram because it is a catholic high school. I still were one but it's not very noticeable. I don't on the other hand being told that I'm a freak and I'm going to hell for worshiping the devil. If they simply ask me to remove it I would gladly do it. It is after all a catholic high school.

If I were going to a public high school I believed that if they band the pentagram they should also band crosses and the six pointed Jewish star. They shouldn't have prayers though nice thoughts of they day are nice as long as it doesn't contain words of prayer to the Christian god. Or they could simply allow pentagrams. Why should "mainstream religions" get more respect? Be allowed to express them selves as they please. we should all be treated the same no matter your race religion and so on. So my point in all of my rambling either allow all religions in schools and give them all the same respect or keep them completely separate (for public schools any way's)

If America Is Going To Harp On About How Wonderful And Diverse... Aug 21st. at 12:30:37 am EDT

Zoe Vixen (San Francisco, California US) Age: 21 - Email

If America is going to harp on about how wonderful and diverse and FREE it is, and other religious paraphanalia is allowed on school property, than pentagrams should be allowed as well. All or none. Anything else is nothing more than simple discrimination. If the roles were reversed, how would christians feel about having their symbols regarded in such an adolescent manner? Or perhaps, considering this discussion revolves around our places of learning, the topic should be more concerned with the UNDERSTANDING of the pentagram. It speaks volumes about a group of people when instead of choosing to educate themselves about a subject before condemning it, they choose to blindly hate. Talk about sheep. We don't live in a democracy. We live in a hypocracy!

I Think In School, Everybody Should Be Allowed Their Religious Symbols, Or... Aug 21st. at 12:46:37 am EDT

Mita Sanura (Auckland, New Zealand) Age: 12 - Email

I think in school, everybody should be allowed their religious symbols, or no one should. I go to a school that dosn't allow any, and that is fine. Religion and school don't need to mix. However, if a school will allow religious symbols, that is fine too, you can show your religion if you want. But they should allow all, not just the religions they find acceptable. Not permmiting some symbols, whatever religion, is discrimination.

Religion Has No Place In Public School. If I Wanted My Child... Aug 21st. at 2:20:33 am EDT

Silver (Austin, Texas US) Age: 28 - Email

Religion has no place in public school. If I wanted my child instructed in religion -- ANY religion -- at school, I would send him to parochial school.

Merry Meet, I Personally Only Wear A Crystal, Which Symbolizes Being A... Aug 21st. at 2:58:16 am EDT

Alantis (Earth, Nevada US) Age: 18 - Email

Merry meet, I personally only wear a crystal, which symbolizes being a witch to me, outside my doors because I know that anything else would deem me as a freak. Sure it is unfair that pagan children are not allowed to wear there relgious symbols and I'm not sure we should just lay down and take it but if you go after schools for telling children that they can't wear pentagrams perhaps you should also get the wiccan rede or the 13 principles of belief posted beside the 10 comendments.

Being a witch is a very personal thing, at least to me, so perhaps instead of placeing our children on the front line we could help them find a personal symbol that stands for witch for them and we can pick our battle else where. Besides, unbeknowst to most 13 year olds, you can be a witch and never have worn a pentagram in your life.

Blessed is the journey

Considering The Fact We Have Students Graduating High School That Read At... Aug 21st. at 2:58:41 am EDT

Brandy (Lehigh Acres, Florida US) Age: 24 - Email

Considering the fact we have students graduating high school that read at a third grade level or lower, the last thing teachers and administrators need to worry about is if little Johny has said his prayers. Its pointless to post the ten commandments if the kids can't read and comprehend them .
I remember being in the 8th grade, labeled "satanist" because I wore pentacles and I listened to a certain type of music. Teachers, students and even the school resource officer threatened and harassed me. The resource officer made a point to make me aware of the fact he kept his gun loaded. I would walk by him in the hall and he would put his hand on his gun holster, to intimidate me. I wasn't a trouble maker, but apparently I was a threat. One teacher teacher told me to go to the bathroom while the class took yearbook pictures, because I wasn't the type of student they wanted representing the school. The reason why i'm mentioning this is because students of minority religions deal with this all the time. Once a label is placed on you its hard to remove it, especially when nobody is willing hear your side of the story.

Putting christian prayer in school and posting the ten commandments is a slap in the face to every parent who has made a conscious decision to raise their child in a religion that isn't mainstream.

Religion should be taught by parents , not by overwhelmed, underpaid and unfortunately for some under-skilled public school teachers.

I Don't Necessarily Feel That Posting The Ten Commandments Is A Bad... Aug 21st. at 3:05:05 am EDT

Neptun (Palm Springs , California US) Age: 25 - Email

I don't necessarily feel that posting the ten commandments is a bad thing. The commandments themselves are not negative in any way, although if they place any other reference to christianity by it, ie. " the ten commandments of jesus christ" to me it would be unacceptable. Yes I would much rather they place the "rede" on the wall instead, but just placing the commandments themselves on the wall would be ok. Now as far as the issue with the Pentacle being worn at school, yes it should be allowed in moderation, what I mean by that is there should be a size restriction. Lets face it if I were in school and I showed up with a five inch diameter pentacle that could be alil distracting.

If Students Wish To Express Their Religious Selves In School, Let Them... Aug 21st. at 5:53:53 am EDT

Adelandaya BirchGrove (DeKalb, Illinois US) Age: 27 - Email

If students wish to express their religious selves in school, let them, as long as they are not disturbing the primary function of a school (teaching children) or forcing their religious beliefs on others. E.g., praying out loud during a math test is inappropriate, as is shouting at others for not being of your particular religious belief.

Teaching about how religion has influenced our country, e.g., in a history class is acceptable. Teaching comparative religion is acceptable in a suitable class.

That's all that should be permitted. Unfortunately, that isn't the way things work out in real life...which is why the ACLU and other civil liberties groups exist.

I Have No Question In My Mind That Freedom Of Religion Must... Aug 21st. at 7:51:23 am EDT

Patricia Telesco (Western, New York US) Age: 40 - Email

I have no question in my mind that freedom of religion must apply to all faiths if it's to have any meaning. It must also mean freedom FROM religion for those who choose not to follow a religious system. IMHO religion is a private matter, not to be mingled with government or school, other than perhaps an equitable examinatino of world beliefs as part of social studies classes.

There is no reason a person cannot pray silently wherever they are -- why does this need to be legislated? To me such laws represent a further intrusion into the private sector slowly taking away our sense of home as a sanctuary.

Similarly, the posting of the 10 commandments won't change our children's unrest anymoreso than posting the wiccan redes or charge of the goddess! That idea is what I call a "comfort action" -- it says "see we did something" but it serves no viable purpose. What will change that is letting them know they're important, they have a voice, and they have a CHOICE in what they're future will be. We need to empower our children at home, not depend on the schools for that.

This is a long winded way of saying our forefathers had an intimate understanding of what happens when church and state don't stay separate. Let's learn from history; not repeat it.

I Think If It Is The Rule Of The School For Religion... Aug 21st. at 8:03:57 am EDT

Mystic Angel (Mount Gambier, South Australia AU) Age: 14 - Email

I think if it is the rule of the school for religion to be left out of grounds, that is fine on the condition it means all religions. I personally dont have a problem with religous symbols being worn in schools if it doesnt affect the learning of the students.

Some parents may argue that a Pentacle is affecting the learning of their child as is colouring your hair blue it may be a distraction and to that I say dont look.

As far as I know most schools in Australia don't have a problem with religous sybols but since I have home schooled since I've started wearing a Pentacle I wouldnt know.


Religion In Schools - Yes Or No? I'm Afraid I Have To Answer... Aug 21st. at 10:21:31 am EDT

Bell of Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Manitoba CA) Age: 50 - Email

Religion in schools - yes or no?

I'm afraid I have to answer, yes, it's essential, and, no, absolutely not.

To get a straight answer, it is necessary to divide the question a second time. A "religion" as the word is normally understood (Christian, Hindu, Wiccan) is a limiting definition. Most people feel a choice of a religion is like choosing a nation or a favourite hockey team - you cannot have dual citizenship, you cannot cheer for both. This view is inaccurate.

Functionally, a religion is a set of techniques, a toolbox of tools, used to bring the adherent into contact with the divine. That's all. This is why "all paths are valid". Depending on the seeker's unique needs, different tools are necessary. If I am hard of hearing, it will do me no good to buy glasses. The Church of the Divine Lens will do me no good - I need the Fellowship of the Small Voice.

The goal of all true religious practice is the same - contact with the divine. If a "religion" - a set of practices or tools - is misused, it will not achieve its purpose. Sometimes this is done purposefully, with religious forms being used as tools of social control. Cults and such. More often, I think, the tools are misused because the people using them cannot see what they are doing. Sort of like doing auto repairs on an invisible car. Or doing ceremonial "car repairs", with beautiful hand motions and a noble liturgy, when there's no car there at all.

Children soak up the stuff around them like little sponges. The presence of overt religious teaching in a school cannot be discounted or neutralized. Like it or not, they will pick up the intricacies of the ambient religious practice, just like they pick up everything else.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think children benefit from a scaffolding of practice with which they can approach the sacred. But if the ambient religious practice is carried out in the absence of the sacred - if they have the scaffolding but no building - then the practice is a dead practice and a hindrance to the seeker.

What is needed in schools is teachers who love, who care, and if possible, who know the sacred. If such people are in place, their knowingness will flow out through anything they teach, and the scaffolding, the brand names, the team uniform of a given religion is simply not pertinent. I had a number of teachers who had this quality. One loved paleontology, another taught Spanish and history, a third taught trigonometry. None of them ever talked about religion. But they had that moonlight glow of knowingness, and I fed on it.

And there's the problem. How to get and keep such people to teach our children? There must be ways to do it, but so far as I can see, it mostly happens by accident. Such people know where they should be, and get in and stay in the job, often in spite of overwork and stressful conditions.

I have to say, overt religion in schools - no. In our mosaic culture it is too easy for the home team approach to take over, smothering the sacred. But oh, how I wish we could increase those teachers, systems, and approaches which are conducive to knowing the divine. They are priceless.

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