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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: 23,433,816  

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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 Really Honestly Do Not Have A Difficulty With The Voucher System... Aug 22nd. at 2:32:28 pm EDT

Catherine M. Wagner (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) Age: 31

I really honestly do not have a difficulty with the voucher system -IF (and ONLY IF) it is administrated fairly. If a religious group chooses not to start its own school, that is not enough reason to disagree with the system. However, if the system is written in such a way that only one religions schools are covered by it, then yes, I would disagree firmly.

As for the separation, if there is a growing number of people who would like to see religion taught in schools - again, my only insistence is either ALL or NONE. If you are going to teach the precepts of one religion, you must teach (in a fair and open-minded manner) the precepts of ALL religions. If you are not willing to do so, or are not capable of doing so, then you must teach none.

I'm A British Hedgewitch, Who Like Most British People Went To A... Aug 22nd. at 3:29:25 pm EDT

Jenny Kiernan (Shropshire, England UK) Age: 24

I'm a British Hedgewitch, who like most British people went to a comprhensive school. As Britain is still officially a Christian country morning prayers and hymns in assembly were carried out every day.
I would try to avoid these as I have never been a Christian, though the rules were that unless you were of a recognised non-Christian faith (such as Hindu or Muslim) you still had to sit through the prayers.
Most kids followed the prayers blindly, but only a very small minority paid very much attention. For myself I feel that pushing religion on children in this way is a waste of educators' time, especially in a country where church attendances are falling and most adults may consider themselves Christian, but only go to Church once a year at most.

However, schools in this country have learnt over the years to be tolerant of other faiths and some incorporate their prayers into morning prayers as well.

I Am A Student At My Local Highschool. I Would Like To... Aug 22nd. at 6:35:29 pm EDT

Kathleen (Windsor, Ontario CA) Age: 17 - Email

I am a student at my local highschool. I would like to share with you an experience while at my elementary school when I was younger. Every morning after the bell rang, we would all stand up for the national anthem (I live in Canada). After the anthem, we would sit down and stay quiet for the next few mintues. During this time, we would have different readings. Usually a quote or thought for the day. Sometimes they mentioned God or Lord but for the most part, they were not religious in nature. Then, they would wish us happy holidays if it was that time.

But they didn't only focus on Christian Holidays, they might say, "You may notice that some of your classmates are missing today, that's because all our Jewish Friends here are at home celebrated Rosh Hashana with their families." or "Happy Chinese New Year! Wish a happy day to all our Chinese friends." or even. "Well, this is our last day for the winter holidays, Happy Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice!" It was wonderful. Our teachers would let us teach the class about any holidays we may be celebrating at home. I taught my class about Hanuka as we celebrate it at home because my Dad is Jewish.

Now that I am in High School. Mornings are boring. We stand for O Canada, sit down and listen to the announcements for the day. What meetings are today, whats for sale in the Cafeteria today and what teacher is having a birthday today. Fun but not like in elementary school.

I enjoyed learning about different religions and cultures in school. There were no kids in my neighbourhood so without school, I would never have met other children. At school, I met other children who came from China, Japan, Algeria, Egypt, Spain, France, Brazil, Guatemala and Australia. I learned about Kwanzaa, Columbas day, Cinco de Mayo and more. I taught Hanukah, Passover, Christmas and more.

If you haven't got my drift here yet, I believe religion does belong in schools, to a degree. I do not believe that the 10 Commandments belong in schools. If you follow them, you should know them, and therefore don't need them posted. If they post the 10 commandments, they should post the Wiccan Rede and the rules the Muslims follow. If they want to say "Jesus Loves You", then they need to also say, "The Goddess is Alive, " and "I Made it to Nirvana." I taught other about the religion and culture I was raised in, but they taught me about theirs. Noone every told another that they were stupid for believing differently. We enjoyed hearing about why they thought something or why they believed another. Sure, Religion can be in School, but ALL Religions.

As for Church and State, or in my case, Church and Province (LOL), they don't really mix. I don't believe I can make a proper statement on Church and State at the age of 17, but I have contributed what I think about religion in School.

Much To The Dismay Of The Far Christial Right, The Founders Of... Aug 22nd. at 7:57:15 pm EDT

Mary Wilson (Cartersville, Georgia US) Age: 35 - Email

Much to the dismay of the far Christial right, the founders of this country were not necessarily Christians, they were Deists. Even Pagans can be considered Deists, the belief in a diety (or in many cases dieties). But you would never hear the far right admit to this fact. I've a feeling if the founders of this country were to see what one very active group was doing, they would be flabbergasted. I can see ole Ben with his jaw on the floor. They founded a country based on freedom, certain freedoms they did not have in their ancenstral homelands, including the freedom to choose their own religion. Even the puritains came to this country to have freedom to practice their own religion.

The constitution provides for the separation of church and state. Who are we to undo what works in a civic secular society. If it keeps up at the direction we are going, then I fear this country will become the very thing our founders escaped from.

What's Wrong With A Few Moments Of Quiet? Whether It Be For... Aug 22nd. at 8:04:44 pm EDT

Kendra Neece (Detroit, Michigan US) Age: 26 - Email

What's wrong with a few moments of quiet?

Whether it be for prayer , meditation, gathering yourself, or which ever you choose to do in your religion.I don't mean that they need to have someone to guide them and put down rules of what you should do in your moment of silence, but these few moments can mean alot to someone who needs it.School and other students can be very distracting, those few minutes can help students and teachers alike to gather your senses at the begining of a very long nerve wracking day.

First Thought: State Should Not Be Involved In Religion In Any Way... Aug 22nd. at 8:27:38 pm EDT

Barbara Brown (Goodyear, Arizona US) Age: 53 - Email

First thought: State should not be involved in religion in any way, shape or form.

Second thought: School/Education should not be involved in Religion in any way, shape or form.

Third thought: Each child will bring their own beliefs to school. This should remain private.

If Pentacles are banned, Crosses should be banned. If the Wiccan Rede is not allowed, the Ten Commandments should be banned.

All I am saying is Equality means everyone not just select groups of people. Apparently, many of our elected and selected officials tend to forget this important fact that Freedom means freedom for all, not just for the current majority. The State should always remain separate from school, from religion and
our private lives.

I Still Attend High School. I Do Deal With The Oppressing Of... Aug 22nd. at 10:44:51 pm EDT

Vivica Windswept (Keaau, Hawaii US) Age: 16 - Email

I still attend High School. I do deal with the oppressing of pagan religions like many teenagers. I dont find it so bad here, in Hawaii, where i live now. I lived in California and didnt notice it at the time, but its not easy being pagan in school. Prayer in school is wrong. This is all purely my view. As a Wiccan, i dont feel comfortable bowing my head and praying to Jesus. Its false. Im proud of my beliefs and quietly submitting to that kind of torture is hard and belittles myself. Even if I just smile and dont pray, Im still singled out from the rest and feel awkward. The 10 commandments in school is wrong as well. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." What kind of message does that send? The reason they wanted to put it up in the first place so that as the children see it over the years, mabie it will get imprinted into their brains so we dont have another Colombine. How will my fellow pagan friends feel, if they grow up and see that in the classrooms, in a place where we are supposed to be in happy learning enviroments? I think that religon should stay out of the schools. I also feel that if that sweet Christian can wear her cross, why cant I wear my favorite pentagram shirt? If religious symbols are alowed, all should be allowed. Every religion should be respected. Why is this called "The land of the free" if the constitutional rights arent enforced, like freedom of religion?

I Think That There Is An Important Distinction Between Morality And Religion... Aug 23rd. at 12:32:22 am EDT

Nelli (Carmel Valley, California US) Age: 23

I think that there is an important distinction between morality and religion - or at least there should be. One can be a moral person without being a religious person. Proponents of posting the ten commandments in our public schools would have us believe that it is to teach children morality. Fine - let them post a list of moral - but non religious - items. Don't kill, don't steal, treat all beings with respect, do unto others as you would have done to you... seems pretty obvious to me. Unfortunately, those who are trying to push their commandments on everyone do so because they seem to believe that not only are they they only ones in the universe, but that there is no other right way to think. Keeping religion out of school is tricky, becasue it's already wangled it's way in in so many ways. Recited the pledge of allegiance lately? And how do you teach about certain historical events without touching on religion? and what about literature? Should "A Wrinkle in Time" be banned from schools because it contains references to christianity, and quotes christian prayers? I believe that is should be the job of every educator to do his or her utmost to give children a balanced and well rounded view of literature containing various religious references, historical events featuring various world religions, and art inspired by different cultures/religious movements. Religion is part of humanity - some have said that it is religion alone that sets us apart from other animals, that allowed culture and "civilization" to develop. Perhaps we should have a required religious studies class, with a very strict curriculum, which equally discusses all current major religions, and as many minor ones as there is time for. But no one would go for that. Really, I believe that it is both the responsibility and the *right* of every parent to teach their children about religion; schools should remain as secular as possible. If we are to continue providing every child with quality education, we cannot allow the waters to be muddied by anyone's religion. Morals are public; religion is personal. Teach kids that hurting is bad, that respect is good. Leave the religion to the parents.

Seems To Me This Whole Religion In School Thing Has Zip To... Aug 23rd. at 2:29:12 am EDT

Fionn Mac Lir (Plymouth, New Hampshire US) Age: 44 - Email

Seems to me this whole religion in school thing has zip to do with religion, when you get right down to it. It's all about indoctrination... and the rank hypocrisy of the "I want my religion in the classroom" (IWMRITC)crowd would be hilarious if it weren't so obnoxious.

Isn't there a passage in the Christian's holy writ about not bawling your prayers up in the front row, letting all and sundry know how pious and holy one is? Something about talking directly to their Father, and skipping the sideshow? Seems the IWMRITC crew missed that one. Hypocrisy.

If someone wants their kids to start the day with a prayer, do it at home. But you see, these jeeters want someone ELSE'S kid to be starting the day with a prayer. Yet these same people get apoplectic at the idea of government interference in 'the family'. Depends on whose ox is gored. Hypocrisy.

This whole school voucher is freakin' scary! Do a web search on Christian Reconstructionism and scope out some of those people. When you see why vouchers are so popular with that crowd, and why, you might consider why so many folks on the religious right are in such a hurry to dismantle the public school system. There are hard core fundamentalists planning for twenty, thirty, fifty years from now; they want to be able to indoctrinate present day school children in their own philosophies (hopelessly twisted ones, IMO) in order to take political control a generation from now. I'm no conspiracy freak, ladies and gents; this is what they themselves say they are aiming for.

Bottom line on my view is...come on, fellow Pagans, register, and vote! Cause if a certain scion of a former President gains office with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and shifts the balance of power in the Supreme Court, a generation from now our children, if Pagan, may have their lives in danger. No foolin'. American history shows little evidence of tolerance over the last two hundred years - ask the Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Mormons, Catholics, Jews, et cetera, et cetera; the support we see for it nowadays might be just a temporary blip on the screen.

Vote. Make your opinion count.

My Thoughts On The Religon In School Are Simply This, What Is... Aug 23rd. at 9:42:38 am EDT

Eldritch (Woodbridge, Virginia US) Age: 32 - Email

My thoughts on the religon in school are simply this, what is done for one, must be done for all.
If, for example, a high school chooses to allow a Christian bible study group to use the library for regular meetings, then similar provisions should be put into place for say, a pagan circle group.

Of course, this type of thinking is HIGHLY idealistic, but, hope springs eternal.

For The Record I Consider Myself A Christian Witch, So My Opinion... Aug 23rd. at 11:02:27 am EDT

Rhea (Springfield, Missouri US) Age: 30 - Email

For the record I consider myself a Christian Witch, so my opinion might be quit different than others.
Don't you think that if you wanted to expand on the words "Harm None" it could be be done much as the Ten Commandments are? Don't kill (It seems our children REALLY need to be reminded of this lately!) Don't steal, etc...To me, the Ten Commandments isn't forcing Christianity on anyone--but rather reminding us of human morality.
John 3:16 is not being put on the wall- but a code of moral ethics. And most pagans would except those words if it was not from the Bible.
Our children are KILLING each other in school!! It's our job to teach them other ways to deal with problems (it takes a whole village to raise a child) I think a good start is having a reminder of what is right and what is wrong; rather it be the Ten Commandments or Harm None written in big bold letters on the wall.


Religion Has No Place In Public Schools In Respects To It Being... Aug 23rd. at 11:12:47 am EDT

Tinnekke Bebout (South Bend, Indiana US) Age: 33 - Email

Religion has no place in public schools in respects to it being either endorsed or condemned in any manner by the schools themselves. Learning about religion in the context of contributions to literature, music and history is just fine as many things have been created or done for reasons of religion. However, teaching religious beliefs in anything other than a comparative cultural sense in such classes as social studies is the purview of parents. Those who want the Ten Commandments posted in schools and similar items are in effect saying that they wish the state in the function of the schools to act in loco parentis for them and the rest of society. Schools are not parental substitutes, nor should they expected to be such. Schools are places for learning and growth. If people want their children taught a religious values system as part of their day to day schooling then they should send their children to private religious schools or homeschool them.

As far as students' personal religious expression goes, I believe that should be allowed in small, personal, unobtrusive ways such as the wearing of religious jewelry and silent prayers done voluntarily when or if a student chooses. No student should be permitted to force hir religious views onto any other students whether through open proselytizing in class or through obtrusive religious expressions of other forms.

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