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Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 14,380,151  

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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 

Personally I Could Care Less If The Person Beside Me In School... Aug 21st. at 11:28:34 am EDT

NightTiger (Chesapeake, Virginia US) Age: 15 - Email

Personally I could care less if the person beside me in school decided to make a prayer before eating, or if the little girl next to me at the football game said a prayer for her big brother in the game. The only time things start to bother me, is when the religion is forced on me. I refuse to sit in school and be forced to listen to prayers of other peoples. Prayer, even for this Wiccan, is a private matter and really no one elses buissness. I just wish the same rights that the other students of other faiths are given. If they have a christian group, well than I would at least like the right to request a pagan one. If their prayers are on the loud speaker, than why not ours? Personally I think if the schools will just let people prayer on their own, and stop forcing students to listen to their prayers, there wouldn't even be an arguement. I honestly don't care what the person next to me believes, they aren't going to sway my beliefs. And to tell you the truth, I love to learn about other religions, just in a scholoarly sense, but just don't want it shoved down my throat that I have to believe. Most of my friends and I love to have discussions on the religions and our believe systems. We also realize though that we are just going to have to agree to dissagree because we are loyal to our faith. If the schools would really just back out of the whole mess, and let the kids believe in their faiths, and NOT make it into a big deal if some kid is a Wiccan, Jew, Christian, or other faith or non-faith, I think it would all just die down and people would get used to the idea that other religions are out there. I do wish though that my history class had had more time to discuss religions (again in a purely scholoarly way) and their effects on civilization. Because truely each and every system has contributed, and I just wish more people would realize that everyone's beliefs are just slightly different, and therefore their own system.

Separation Of Church And State One Of The The Foundation Blocks On... Aug 21st. at 11:22:20 am EDT

Arielle (Skagit, Washington US) Age: 42 - Email

Separation of church and state one of the the foundation blocks on which our country is built. Right next to freedom of religion. I find it amazing that we are back to fighting about some of the very same concepts as our "founding fathers" did. Allowing religion into the public schools is beginning the destruction of the freedoms that were felt to be necessary and just for each of us. History shows us that combining church and state leads to more and more control of every facet of our lives. And more and more forcing all of us to fit a specific stereotype ordained as correct by the church in power. This sets up a forum for lack of freedom, and gives justification for it. The same groups who are loudest aout teaching their children to believe one certain way, are the same groups who are pushing religion in schools so that they can teach the cildren of other people who may not agree with "the one right way". At my daughter's high school, there are people just off campus handing out bibles. My daughter, who gives new meaning to the term evil eye, has them all trained not to even offer the bibles to her. One particularly pushy individual even tried holding a bible against her hand on the assumption that she wouldn't let it drop. Bad assumption. She even made a point of stepping on it - a little rude perhaps, but it made her point. If we allow religions in schools, will we be able to prevent that same religion from targeting our children with their missionaries? At this time I can complain to secular authorities about any adult talking to my minor children without my permission. What are my options when church and state mix??? What happens when the shild does not react in a positive way, but refuses the information??? The daughter mentioned above is lightly built, short, and wears baggy clothing. This tends to make her look younger than she is until she talks. A group of missionaries (who shall remain nameless) going door to door engaged her in a conversation without my permission or knowledge. They told her very seriously that the world was flat, on four pillars, on the backs of 4 turtles swimming in and ocean. She thought about it for a few moments and asked the if the ocean was on another flat planet, on four pillars etc., etc. They left quickly after calling her several unflattering thins she has chosen to be proud of. Why do they assume that they can talk to my minor child without my permission? They definately got what they deserved in this situation, but I could also have gone to the authorities and pressed charges, since my daughter was 13 at the time ( and looked 10 or so). If we blur the line between the government and a particular religion, then all of us who are not members of that religion will be persecuted for our beliefs and not allowed to prevent our children being forced to be part of the ruling religion.

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.

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.


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.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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