The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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.
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| Religion And Public Schools Do Not Mix--end Of Story. Legally, When... ||Aug 26th. at 1:30:19 am EDT|
|Tamarisk AstralDance (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 18 |
Religion and public schools do not mix--end of story. Legally, when children are attending class, they are a captive audience. They are not permitted to leave the room if a prayer they find offensive is broadcast. They cannot refuse to enter the building if they do not agree with the Tend Commandments in the lobby. By combining religion and public schools, the fundamental rights of American citizens of any age are comprimized to the highest degree. I would wager that the Religious Right would have a completely different opinion if it was the Buddhists and the Daoists and the Hindus and the Pagans demanding school prayer, school celebration of their sacred, high holy days. The Consitution has become a document to protect only the rights of those who have the loudest microphone and the biggest audience. The Constitution was not written for the loud majority. It was written for the near silent minority. It was written to ptorect those who needed the protection of the government, who needed to have their fundamental rights as citizens and as human beings protected. The non-Judeo-Christian community is the minority, though not so silent any more.
As a student who suffered her way through 12+ years of public schools and is now attending a private, Lutheran college, I appreciate fully the seperation of church and state in public schools. Now wherever I turn at Univeristy events, a prayer is said, God is asked for guidance. Now I realice how truly precious the freedom from prayer was in high school. Prayer is a beautiful thing, and it has its place--in private institutions, in the heart, in the home. As my government teacher told me last year, the Jews have long had a saying about prayer: He who prays the loudest is least often heard. Perhaps if those of "We Still Pray" listened to such words; perhaps if they understood that their zealousness is often more offensive than productive; perhaps if they trusted in their own faith and not in the need to braodcast their faith; perhaps if they read and understood the precious and dynamic document which is the US Constitution, this debate would never happen.
| Our Beliefs Shape Our Lives To A Great Extent, So I Doubt... ||Aug 26th. at 4:17:48 am EDT|
|Silverborne (Middleboro, Kentucky US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
Our beliefs shape our lives to a great extent, so I doubt religion in all its many beliefs and forms can ever truly be kept entirely out of the schools. However, posting the religious tenets of a particular creed on public property or invoking a particular god in public assemblies lends the appearance of government support of that religious faith over others.
Government-sanctioned religion is nothing new - we see the results of it daily in world news in the suppressions, 'anarchies', arrests, and killings of free-minded people who object to being told how to believe. One of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights we U.S. Americans prize highly is our freedom of worship. To deny *anyone* that freedom by forcing them to bow to the tenets of another faith is to deny it to all.
I commend the desire of our officials and educators in wanting to instill the qualities of good citizenship in our children. But there are many secular ways of achieving this goal. For us to retain our religious freedom in the U.S.A., it is vital that no religion be set above another, even in appearance.
| I Believe That We Should Be Able To Choose For Ourselves If... ||Aug 26th. at 5:13:53 am EDT|
|Tracy (picayune, Mississippi US) ||Age: 28 |
I believe that we should be able to choose for ourselves if we want to pray in school, or at a football game or not. If you want to pray, then fine. If you don't, then fine, but don't take away our right to make that choice. The same goes for who you choose to worship. I don't force my religion on anyone, I don't force anyone to choose to be baptist, or catholic, or methodist. Therefore don't tell me when I can pray.
| Preaching To The Choir Is What We're Doing Here, Folk. This Is... ||Aug 26th. at 11:35:31 am EDT|
|Lady Sine of Silver Star (Elma, New York US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
Preaching to the Choir is what we're doing here, folk. This is just emotional and intellectual masturbation. It makes us feel good to see so many other people who agree with us. Posting commentary like these is good for reassuring those of us who need it--the ones in the middle of the struggle, the ones with children to defend, the activists and the lawyers. What more of us need to do is take commentary about the "slow erosion" of our constitutional rights and the way the Religious Right would feel if it was the minority religions who were demanding our prayers be required in the schools, and post in places where the opposition will see it.
Hmm...maybe this could be a tactic we could try: when they insist they want prayers before school assemblies and sporting events, insist that ALL the religions represented by the student body be represented: sure, you can have your Christian prayer, but if you do, then the Jews, Buddhists and pagans all get to have one, too. I'm not a lawyer, but I think if everyone was represented and given equal time, it would not violate Constitutional law. And they should draw straws to see who goes first. Personally, if I was invoking Nike on my kid's sports team, I'd want to go last!
Any lawyer or legal expert out there want to comment on this? Would it be legal? It would be a way to put our paganism out in public and prove to the general public, which hasn't got a clue what we are about, that we aren't evil, and that we do want to be part of the community at large. If all they see of us is lawsuits that want to stop them from doing they think is right, they are inevitably going to see us in a negative light. Can we try something positive, instead?
| Speaking As A Sophomore In High School, As Soon As All The... ||Aug 26th. at 12:36:45 pm EDT|
|Claire (Asheville, North Carolina US) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Speaking as a sophomore in high school, as soon as all the fundamentalists are willing to allow me and my friends to conduct rituals on school property during school hours, they can pray in the same manner. The second the Witch's Rede, Three-fold law, Eight-fold path, and any other religious text requested is posted, the Ten Commandments can go up. And if judeo-christian taxpayers are willing to fund the Mother Gaia Holistic School through vouchers, my family has no problem with their tax dollars funding St. Eugene's Academy for Girls. But I don't think the Baptists who overwhelmingly populate the schools here will be willing to give my religion the same privilidges they seek.
| I Think We All Need To Re-read The Constitution, Which States "freedom... ||Aug 26th. at 2:37:38 pm EDT|
|Lady Ariadnee (Troy, Alabama US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I think we all need to re-read the constitution, which states "freedom OF religion" not freedon FROM religion.
| Religious Practices Should Be Left Out Of Schools. Schools Are Institutes Of... ||Aug 26th. at 9:23:06 pm EDT|
|Krista (Cortez, Colorado US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
Religious practices should be left out of schools. Schools are institutes of learning - they SHOULD NOT subscribe to any particular religious belief. The only thing "religous" in schools should be the study of the world's different religions.
| The Current Furor Over Religion In School Is Often Presented As A... ||Aug 26th. at 11:17:42 pm EDT|
|Pat (Columbia, South Carolina US) ||Age: 47 |
The current furor over religion in school is often presented as a freedom of religion issue. A local public school board has chosen to ignore the Supreme Court, and authorize prayer over the public address system before sporting events. The local news has featured high school students defending the school board with statements like 'no one can tell me what to believe.'
(Of course, in reality, the courts have never proposed to tell anyone what they should believe. No court ruling in the history of the US has EVER prohibited prayer in school. What IS prohibited is school supported public prayer.)
It is clear to me that the 'freedom of religion' school prayer supporters really want is the 'freedom of ONE religion'. Evidence - in a largely Protestant Christian community, the school board grants students the 'freedom' to use the public address system for prayer of the religion of their choice unless it would cause 'a disruption'. Protestant Christian prayer, of course, is not disruptive. But what about other faiths? Would Wiccan prayer disrupt? How about Buddist prayer? Jewish prayer? Roman Catholic prayer?
| The U S Was Founded By People With Strong Religious Conviction; Primarily... ||Aug 26th. at 11:37:32 pm EDT|
|Seeker (Tonopah, Nevada US) ||Age: 50 - Email |
The U S was founded by people with strong religious conviction; primarily Judeo-Christian and Deists. They believed that religion was the basis for strong morals but also believed that the state should not dictate any religious view, hence the mis-understood "separation of church and state."
Healthy religious discussion in school on an intellectual level, on a par with comparative theology, is part of education and helps teach youth basic tenets of morality and other necessities of a civil community.
I would strongly support a return to religion in school, only so long as all religions are given equal respect, including Pagan beliefs.
| I Personally Feel That The Seperation Of Church And State Should Be... ||Aug 27th. at 12:25:18 am EDT|
|Rainbow Zend (Pecos, Texas US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I personally feel that the seperation of church and state should be complete. This is just one more issue that will distract our nation's children from learning, and that should be their focus while at school. I do not believe that public shcools should be teaching ANY BELIEFS, just facts...not creationism because some people don't BELIEVE in evolution, not the 10 Commandments because many groups BELIEVE in them, not anything that is part of a belief system just because it is widely accepted.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS can and should teach reading, spelling, grammer, math, science, history, geography, music, art, physical education, and so on.
PARENTS should teach morals, ethics and beliefs. Parents who are adamant about these things being taught at school have the option to enroll their children in private schools, and can choose schools with curriculums in agreement with their personal beliefs. They also have the option to home school their children, if they are able to do so adequately. I personally know a 17-year-old young man who is home schooled, also brilliant and open-minded.
| I Am A 17 Year Old Wiccan Currently Attending High School. The... ||Aug 27th. at 12:47:26 am EDT|
|Raven Moon (Belle Mead, New Jersey US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I am a 17 year old Wiccan currently attending high school. The only time I was ever told to pray in school was during my kindergarden years at a christian school. I think it should be kept that way. There are simply too many religious denominations out there to not offend someone by enforcing prayer in school (be it to God, the Goddess, etc.) I feel that unless a person is attending a school of religious affiliation (i.e. a Catholic school, etc.) religion in school shouldn't mix. It may be true that students dont' leave their religion at the school's front door, but who is the school to impose religious beliefs on anyone (especially the atheists or agnostics).
I feel I carry the Goddess and God with me everywhere I go. However, I do not indicate to people that I feel such things, not on a daily basis anyway. And no Jewish, Catholic, Methodist (etc.) friend of mine has ever indicated to me that I am wrong or that I shouldn't feel that way. Even though, we all carry our religions around with us (for they make up part of who we are) we don't impose them (usually) on anyone else. Schools shouldn't either. I know I'd be pretty miffed if I was made to bow my head and pray every day to someone announcing another religion's prayer. I can barely take saying the Pledge of Alligence.
| If People Want To Pray In Their Free Time, Fine, They Can... ||Aug 27th. at 8:25:03 am EDT|
|Artemis Moonshadow (Kfar Saba, Israel) ||Age: 15 |
If people want to pray in their free time, fine, they can do whatever they want. But making other people who are probably not as religious or not of the same religion is disrespectful. People should pray on their own or in a group of people who share the belief. You shouldn't make people pray if they don't want to. I say you want to pray to God, fine, Allah, great, Vishnu, fine by me, just don't force me to pray to something I don't agree with. That's my opinion.
May the Gods Bless.
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