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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,961,078  

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 

It Is My Feeling That All These People Fighting For School Prayer... Aug 27th. at 2:08:01 pm EDT

Jessica Antalek (Schenectady, New York US) Age: 26 - Email

It is my feeling that all these people fighting for school prayer are just pandering to the conservatives. It certainly does the faith no good for people to use it as a bone of contention, and it significantly cheapens the value of prayer. These folks know perfectly well that their God can listen to them even if they pray silently, so they are just using the issue as a way to make themselves look better! In the Christian bible there is a passage where god (either Jesus or Jehovah, I cannot remember if it was old or new testament) says that He is not impressed with those who make a big show of their faith and who pray loudly--that those who silently pray in the privacy of their homes are just as good, if not better! Where does this leave the school prayer issue? I believe that those who feel that it is absolutely essential to pray before a football game or before a test are capable of doing so silently, in a nondisruptive way. If they do not have this skill, then it is their spiritual leaders, not the schools, who are failing them.

I do remember one biology class where a fundamentalist Christian boy objected strongly to the teacher presenting evolution as a part of the class. The teacher gave him the option of leaving the classroom, but made it clear that it was expected as part of the test. The teacher, a very staunch Catholic who went to church every Sunday and very much loved God, is someone I have respected ever since I met him, and set a fine example of a Christian who can also believe in and enjoy science. He was capable of separating education and religion--I only knew of his religion because I got to know him after graduation, visiting him and his large and wonderful family every so often. I wish all Christians could learn from him example.

I believe personal religious symbols should be permitted, proselytizing not permitted. The difference? Wearing the symbol is a form of self-protection and a reminder to oneself of ones spirituality. Many times I have been close to making a decision, then have the weight of my valknot remind me of another factor in the choice I was about to make! Proselytizing is deliberately pushing one's religion on others, and that is not what people are at school for.

These people who are trying to put religion into the schools--do they realize what they are opening the door for? It is not simply a matter of exposing one's children to the influences of other deities, but other flavors of Christianity. "But mom, Johnny Smith is a Christian and HIS FAMILY says evolution is okay!" Once religion becomes a part of school, the kind of religion that the kids are learning may not be what the proponents of school prayer were after in the first place! By then it will be too late, and we will all be screwed. Thank god for the ACLU and the other groups working to make sure everyone, including these clueless ones pushing prayer in schools, will have the religious issues entirely in the hands of the parents instead of some school official.

I Believe No One Has The Right To Push Their Religion On... Aug 27th. at 12:16:28 pm EDT

sharon (ann arbor, Michigan US) Age: 18

I believe no one has the right to push their religion on anyone else, but they also do not have the right to oppress another's religion. If a child wishes to advocate his/her religion, then who's to stop them?
On the other hand, you cannot have people going around saying one religion is right or wrong.
So, yes, religion and expressions thereof should be allowed in school, but the teaching of religion, unless it an optional class, should not be allowed.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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