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: Nov. 17, 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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| If The School Board Would Take A Good Look At The Melting... ||Sep 2nd. at 9:02:11 am EDT|
|Cellina Rhiannon (Madison, Virginia US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
If the School Board would take a good look at the melting pot of diverse backgrounds in which most school districts are situated, I hope that they would see the need to be flexible and changeable in making allowances for all religious paths. Right now, there is no balance and to achieve it they need to look into receiving CORRECT info about the religious path, as much as we need to be willing to step out of the closet and procure this info. Fear stems from what is not understood and it is up to us to educate the masses about our Pagan part in this. I think about this with sadness as the child who is supposedly reaping benefits from posted Commandments is sitting next to another child who is forbidden to wear a pentacle to school. This type of contradictive one-sidedness is where we need to start. If they honor Christianity, and enforce prayer in school, than only half of their job is done. The U.S. so far has taken such an ineffectual approach at discovering a fair and equal way of honoring all religions. The schools are there to EDUCATE, so why should this be so difficult for them? We need to be involved as leaders of our communities and reach out and speak out. It is time we are heard, it is time they were reminded of First Amendment Rights, it is time to let them know we are everywhere!
| Last Spring We Had A Court Battle Over Whether The Lords Prayer... ||Sep 2nd. at 1:32:08 am EDT|
|catlady (Sasdkatoon, Saskatchewan CA) ||Age: 50 - Email |
Last spring we had a court battle over whether the Lords Prayer should be allowed in the public schools. Bottom line? It was banned. Now our school board is juggling a hot potatoe because it can't decide if it should instruct its teachers to not conduct that particular prayer in the classroom. Instead, they are opting to require that every day a different "prayer" be said in accordance with the religions of the students in the classroom. The question then is, "What 'prayer' would a teacher initiate for a pagan child?
The reason for the ban was to get prayer completely out of the schools, instead, the school board has chosen to try a different tactic for the same result. What a shame. Children shouldn't be forced to pray at all, never mind to whatever god someone else in the classroom believes in.
| My Thought Is That Religion Should Be Kept Out Of Public Schools... ||Sep 1st. at 12:33:40 am EDT|
|Trisha D (Detroit, Michigan US) ||Age: 34 |
My thought is that religion should be kept out of public schools. Certain things are passible because they are flexable. Meaning ; Say the Pledge of alliegence. If you cringe at the WORD God., replace it . Christmas or other holidays that are typically celebrated in school are typically generic. Explain to your child your point of view (parents have to take responsibility regardless of faith)If you find it too offensive remove the child for the day.
Private schools are another matter. You CHOSE whether or not to put your child in that atmoshere.
Our children are there to be educated about "wordly" subjects. At young ages , difference become too big and overshadow any educational progress that they should be making.
The state should have total "hands off" policy where religion is concerned. In this of all countries that should be understood. Did'nt many of our ancestors come here in the beginning because they thought that they would be able to practice freely the faith of their choice?
| There Is An Old Saying, "your Right To Swing Your Fist Ends... ||Aug 31st. at 2:30:15 am EDT|
|Lisa / ChaosMoth (Mountain View, California US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
There is an old saying, "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." Yes, if I were a high school student (I currently attend college) I should be allowed to pray. Heck, come to think of it, I should be allowed to cast spells in class, too -- since when inspiration hits, I've been known to improvise visualizations, silently and with minimal movement, using jewelry and local items for props. But all of this can be done silently and without bothering others. I don't buy the 'disruptive clothing' idea. Who's making -you- look at -my- dress? People should be allowed to write, think, dress, learn, and manipulate energies in any way they choose AS LONG AS they do not violate the rights of others to do the very same. So I could muck around with crystals to help clear my head in the middle of Geometry class, presuming that it wouldn't interfere with my ability to listen (I have a problem with our public education system, and spent most of my abortively force-fed years reading books under the desk -- which is why I'm in college now, majoring in psychology, instead of languishing away in yet another "memorize this and write it down tomorrow" session. So take my words with a grain of salt when it comes to such iffy features of high school such as 'learning'. I'm assuming here that the high schools in question are better at teaching than the one I suffered.) But I couldn't exert my will toward making the teacher fall in love with me. Or burst out praying. People should not be allowed to do these things in front of the class either.
Outrageous magickal questions aside, this is a noise pollution issue, and a control issue. Come lunch hour, I could hug a tree and commune with the Goddess. But whilst trapped in that stuffy little classroom, my prayers should be silent. As should those of any Christian students. And assemblies and public events only give voice to one. It may be late at night, and my mind is a little overstretched today (as must be apparent to you by now) but I'm suddenly struck with an amusing visual. Imagine the Great Rite being performed on a podium. Prayer is sacred, yes, but keep it to yourself and your dearest!
| I Have Attended Both Private (roman Catholic) And Public Schools. In The... ||Aug 30th. at 10:04:09 pm EDT|
|MoonDancer (North Hollywood, California US) ||Age: 32 |
I have attended both private (Roman Catholic) and public schools. In the private high school I attended, we had daily prayers over the loudspeaker and mandatory attendance at the occasional school masses. I never thought it was correct or fair to force the non-Catholic students to attend these events. (About 10 students per high school grade level were non-Catholic). To the school's credit, we were also required to take a semester-long class in comparitive religions, and during that semester were required to attend a service of a faith that was not our own.
I have mixed feelings about schools teaching about religions at all. In some instances, a "comparitive religions class" may be some students' only exposure to other faiths (other than through their own faith system, if they subscribe to one). So such a class COULD be enlightening and dispell misinformation. However, I would find it hard to teach about other faiths (or even my own) in an impartial manner. I figure that if such a class ever was available in a public school, attendance would end up being optional (like how parents can hold their children out of the sex education classes).
As far as the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance, people should know that the "under God" phrase was added basically because of the "Red Scare" -- our Pledge apparently is quite similar to the Russians' pledge, and the phrase was added (in my opinion) to make sure we were "godly" folk and not "godless Russians". (No offense intended to any Russians, I am trying to capture the ideas prevalent in the 50's). (Segue: we also used to salute the flag, but that too was dropped because it was reminiscent of the Third Reich salute.)
| Sorry, I'm A Bit Late On This One But.... As A Child... ||Aug 30th. at 7:44:20 pm EDT|
|Michele Frykas (Winnipeg, Manitoba CA) ||Age: 27 |
Sorry, I'm a bit late on this one but....
As a child in school, I remember saying the Lord's Prayer right after 'O Canada' and before 'God Save the Queen'. At the time, I was a practicing Catholic, and very naive, so it didn't even occur to me that there was a problem. I even remember our grade 3 school teacher reading the Bible to us.
As I grew up in the public school system, things changed. The prayer issue was left up to the school principal. The only maditory thing was the playing of the national anthem and of God Save the Queen. (Both songs mention the word God, as far as I could tell, that was never really an issue).
The best solution I came accross was in High School. The pricipal there recognized that there were Jews, Muslims, etc in the school and instead had a "moment of silence". Thus, if you felt like praying you could, in whatever words you wish, or for the truly non-spiritual....reflect upon last nights hockey game.
I have no problems bringing religion or prayer into the public schools as long as ALL religions are allowed, honoured and educated. Public education should reflect the needs and composition of the students. If the schools choose to include religion, it should present it in an educational manner, not presented as a biased, inclusive mind-set. We are developing minds, not dictating beliefs!!!
| I Think That Religion Should Not Be Forced Upon Anyone At School... ||Aug 29th. at 9:39:55 pm EDT|
|SilverPanther (Rockville, Maryland US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
I think that religion should not be forced upon anyone at school, but I also think it would be nice to have opportunities for everyone to practice their own religion. There should be a moment of silence everyday (before tests especially), so people could pray, meditate, etc. When studying world religions, they should also include Wicca, that way the number of people thinking it is evil shall go down. Pentacles should never be banned (or otherwise let the crosses be banned as well), and saying the Pledge of Allegiance should be optional. At my middle school we were forced to say it, and even though I was not Wiccan back then, I still did not feel it was right. As for the Ten Commandments, I have nothing against them being posted as long as they omit the obviously Christian ones (such as dont worship other gods, because that is just rude, and forces christianity on people. everything else is just moral.) and they ought to post the Threefold Law and the Wiccan Rede as well, not only for balance, but also to eliminate prejudice. I also think that, since there are Christian and Jewish schools, there should be Wiccan schools too.....because sometimes I just wish I could go to a school where my religion is practiced and where I am accepted for who I am.
| Religion And School. I Am Going To College In The Uk, Read... ||Aug 28th. at 6:17:53 pm EDT|
|pelates (cambridge) ||Age: 17 - Email |
religion and school. i am going to college in the uk, REad as high school and in juniour high as you would call it they taught us about all religions, and being tolerent. They even taught us about wicca, to an extent. religion in school is good, so long as it is all religions, and the teachers are not biased.
| Religion In School Is Only As Good As The People Who Allow... ||Aug 27th. at 8:19:54 pm EDT|
|Rae (Auburn, Washington US) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Religion in school is only as good as the people who allow it. If one religion is propped up on a pedistal, other people with different religions feel left out or excluded.. a minority. I believe people have their Goddess given right to practice their religion whereever they choose, as long as it doesnt hurt anyone else. Preaching is a bit of a fine line for me... but if someone wants to learn, tell them about it. Hate should not be in schools... discrimination should not be in schools. Prayer, as long as it is private and non intrusive, doesnt seem like it could hurt anything.
| I Live In Lancaster County, Pa. The Christians Here, All Of Them... ||Aug 27th. at 6:14:54 pm EDT|
|Gillian Romain (lancaster, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 49 - Email |
I live in Lancaster county, PA. The christians here, all of them, not just Mennonite and Amish, are extremely narrow-minded. One woman who thought I was catholic told me I would go to hell because of my religion! The majority of people here also vote Republican, not because of the person running, but because of the religious views of the evangelists who support that party. If I must look at crosses and WWJD shirts, keyholders etc., there isn't any reason my religion can't be visible. I recently lost a work assignment because someone reported me for putting a spell on her and causing bad things to happen. Of course I didn't and hadn't even had any trouble with the person. The comment I made was that witches aren't evil. That was enough for her, not to mention that I corrected her in front of someone. The problem is, that without legislation to force most humans to treat one another fairly, we will immediately revert to past behaviors. It is why there are laws about religious freedom, who can drink out of which water fountain, and who may marry whom. We must be as visible as we feel we can safely be, and hope that the religious zealots do not take over our government as they did 300 years ago when our ancestors came here looking for religious freedom. Perhaps some day we will find it - if we can teach our children to embrace diversity, rather than fear it. We must teach our children our religion ourselves and let them, and us, teach others by our behavior toward one another. Meanwhile, no religion belongs in school. Not until the christians are willing to teach about the bloody crusades where you believed their way or were killed, or the truth about the Salem Witch hunts. Maybe then we will have some balance.
| I Grew Up In Newfoundland, Canada, Where Much Of The Educational System... ||Aug 27th. at 5:59:50 pm EDT|
|Scotia (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 25 |
I grew up in Newfoundland, Canada, where much of the educational system was denominationally segregated. That changed less than a decade ago when the people of our province voted Yes! for a non-denominational school system. This vote amalgamated the schools, kicked out the religious aspect and provided ALL school-age children the opportunity to attend any school in their district.
No one can argue with this. To persist in keeping religion as a school educator is both educationally and morally detrimental. All children deserve the same education and all children deserve the freedom to explore / practice their own spirituality. It seems to me that denominated schools tend to forget why schools exist. It is not an institution built to promote and perpetuate religious propaganda - it is a system designed to inform, to educate and to encourage.
Religion is a very personal matter. It is something an individual explores internally, with family, with their religious guides and with friends. It is not an experience taught in textbooks or recited before Homeroom class.
| I Will Do My Best To State This Short And Sweet. Religion... ||Aug 27th. at 3:01:47 pm EDT|
|Silverowl (Marble Falls, Texas US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I will do my best to state this short and sweet. Religion of the the people is something that should be free from the control of the state, and it is. Not once Have I not been able to pray anywhere. The state should simply not give preferance to any religion.
Where we to allow teaching of any religion in schools, Even if it were all religions known... were there a whole class related to religions of the world, The teaching would not and cannot be unbiased. This is impossible, for our faiths are such strong factors in our lives. Even an Athiests belief. Anyone who thinks that such a huge part of the community that choses to guide our children could possibly teach without something of themselves coming out to children is foolish. So What it comes down to is that the schools are not some enitity of the state solely... they are the communities that surrond it. Perhapes the problem is that the community does not gather together to interact with each other, and are astounded by the interaction of the community in these children.
This battle, if that is what it is, should be taken out of the schools. The public are waging arguements through their children. Enough already! Everyone should grow up and seek out some unity in the communities.
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