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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| This Is Such A Complicated Topic, I Almost Hesitate To Respond. But... ||Aug 23rd. at 8:38:36 pm EDT|
|ShaylaB (Phoenix, Arizona US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
This is such a complicated topic, I almost hesitate to respond. But since I'm categorically incapable of not putting my two cents in, I'm going to take the plunge.
I feel the biggest problem in this argument is not whether religion belongs in school, but a general lack of respect on both sides of the issue. A lack of respect on the part of the Religious Right for those who wish to practice diverse religions or no religion at all, that is true. But also a lack of respect on the part of those who wish to ban all religion from government and school. As if you could separate the aspects of your life so neatly?
The fact is, those who are truly spiritual will practice their faith whereever they go and in whatever they do. They cannot help it. But to institutionalize a certain spiritual philosophy and back that up with government funding...uh, no.
There's a big difference, however, between tolerating religion and endorsing it. A school allowing young religious groups to meet privately on its campus is very different from a school allowing groups to actively recruit or hold public prayer meetings.
Religious tolerance in my book has to extend to *all* religions. In other words, a Pagan trashing all Christians as being closed minded and inflexible is just as wrong as a Christian trashing all Pagans for being Satanists and animal abusers. Tolerance = Respect, and it should go both ways.
| Merry Meet ! I Do Not Agree With Religion In School Religion Starts... ||Aug 23rd. at 6:59:09 pm EDT|
|Lady Scarlett (Houma, Louisiana US) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Merry Meet !
I do not agree with religion in school religion starts in the home. If they post the Ten Commandments then they will have to let me post the Tent of the Craft. If not I will fight for my rights. If I can't win I will pull my kids out of school and teach them my self.
In Love and Light
| In My Opinion I Think That Bring Religion Back Into Schools Is... ||Aug 23rd. at 6:44:36 pm EDT|
|palemoonmistres (waldorf, Maryland US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
In my opinion i think that bring religion back into schools is a bad idea. People dont want to accept what other people believe and then that leads to hate crimes. I think the only time when religion can be bought back to schools, is when human nature changes to accept all things. It is in human nature not to accept things that are different.
And then u have to look at what religion they bring into schools. I went to a private catholic school, and they force believing it on you. That kind of turned me away from religion. Kids don't what to be forced into believing something. Kids have a choice on their own.
Kids have minds and can think for their own. Let them choice what they want to believe in. Schools should not state what the kids should believe. It is, in my opinion, only another way to have control.
To me if we let schools bring in religion and they do not tolorate all religions, the we are giving them on more thing. Schools already try to state how kids should think and wear and basically is taking a child's individuality away. When I was in school, i hated it. And know i am free, to think on my own and make my own desicions.
If schools bring back religion, then they are taking away the individuality of a person.
| Religion And Politics In My Humble Opinion, Should Always Remain Seperate! No... ||Aug 23rd. at 3:12:30 pm EDT|
|Ravenwing (Lethbridge, Alberta CA) ||Age: 21 |
Religion and politics in my humble opinion, should ALWAYS remain seperate!
no one wants someone elses beliefs forced upon them. If they must have religion in schools shouldn't they take into consideration that, christianity( i'm assuming this is the only group lobbying for prayer in school, with the mention of the ten commandments and all) is NOT the only belief system out there! Kids should be able to decide for themselves what spiritual path is best suited for them.
I'm from Canada and i'm pretty sure religion is ony a big deal in private/catholic schools, but i can only speak for my town, i'm not sure how it works in th rest of the country:)
| I Think That Church And State Should Be Completely Separated When It... ||Aug 23rd. at 2:17:03 pm EDT|
|AzureMyst Jade (East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 19 |
I think that church and state should be completely separated when it comes to schools. If kids want to pray in school, and their parents want that too, they should go to a parochial school. I'm a college student, and pagan. When I have kids, they will be going to public school. My dream is to open a pagan parochial school. But that's a long way off, seeing as how i need to finish school and get my masters in ed.
| This Is A Very Easy Question Made Complicated By Personal Feelings Of... ||Aug 23rd. at 1:16:13 pm EDT|
|Shadow (St. Augustine, Florida US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
This is a very easy question made complicated by personal feelings of who's religion is right.
In america, we have the fundamental right to practice what ever religion we want. This said, The govenrment shall pass no law respecting one religion over another, with this said the solution is quite simple. If you allow one, just one you have to allow ALL!
Symbols of personal religion so long as they do not detract from the learning process, ie. T-Shirts with slogans that Jesus was a freak, are up to the individule. A pentagram, isa symbol, like the crucifix. A T-shirt that denounces or makes fun of someone elses religion is detracting from the other and the learning process.
The ten comandments are guidlines/rules for one religion to follow but not all religions. Personally, the first three to me are nothing more than a way to control personal thought.
The fourth one can be appplied to many religions.
The fifth one is debatable, some mothers and fathers do not deseerve to be honored. Should we honor an abusive parent? How about the one that split because times got hard. No, the fifth one is very debatable.
The sixth one is a very standard sociological fact of living in a civilized world.
The seventh, well define adultry. Too many definitions to suit my needs and the needs of many. If you were married once but now are divorced and decide to carry on a loving relationship with another person who was never married adultry? Some factions would say yes.
eighth and ninth are again, rules that civilized countries need to keep the perspective of safty and security.
tenth is another debatable one but not nearly as the fifth.
covet as defined by Websters ninth new collegiate dictionary (yes I know it's old), 1. to wish for enviously. 2. to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably 3. to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.
Inordinate same dictionary, Disorderly, unregulated. exceeding reasonable limits. Immoderate.
This definition of covet could be very dangerous to a married woman, but.. if you notice, it does not say, coven your neighbors husband. It specifically says wife.
This is too limiting and sexist. It also gives the sense of women being objects of sexualilty, while sometimes in appropriate places with the appropriate choosen person is appropriate for a woman, it is not in most cases. It degrades women from the sense of being, property. Much like the adultry being ok for a male to engage in sex with 30 wives, but a woman has to stay with the male and not waiver an iota.
So, what it boils down to are
Eight, nine and six. These are not ten commandments but three (hey look one of them "witch" numbers bad joke but you get my point) very sound laws.
Stealing is never right, killing can sometimes bve justified with self defence, so now we are down to 2 commandments with restrictions on one of them.
My point is that what works for one religion may not work for another, and since our govenrment can pass no law respecting one religion over another, it can allow religion into the schools should the people decide appropriate but, it CANNOT discriminate!
All or none.
| Although Not A Christian Myself, I Can Sympathize With Those Who Want... ||Aug 23rd. at 12:56:03 pm EDT|
|Richard Gant (Northern Kentucky University, Kentucky US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Although not a Christian myself, I can sympathize with those who want to put the Ten Commandments (or some other religious teaching) in schools. By and large, this is an honest attempt (by most) to help instil morality in students. However, I think that they are misguided.
Putting the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Wiccan Rede, or any other set of religious (or secular) moral teachings on a wall or on book covers is not going to fix things. If the youth of today are less moral than those of the past (a view I remain skeptical of), slogans are not going to help. Youth will not learn from slogans if they are not taught by example. Rather than try to force religion of any stripe down the throats of school children, the individuals who want religion in schools would be better served by living their religion and setting a good example for others.
Religion does not belong in school. It is a personal matter, and it belongs at home and at places of worship.
| The Idea Of The Ten Commandments Being In The Schools Is A... ||Aug 23rd. at 12:41:16 pm EDT|
|Carol Clark (Granite City, Illinois US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
The idea of the Ten Commandments being in the schools is a frightening one to me. It tells me that we are one step closer to throwing the very basis of what this country was founded on is crumbling and that the majority of its citizens are reverting to the close-minded ignorance of the 17th century and earlier. In an age when the color barriers are becoming non-existant and people can feel comfortable with falling in love with a person because of the person and not what society accepts, we are going backwards in the areas of freedom of opinion, speech and religion.
I have absolutlely no problem whatsoever with a child bowing his head insilence before he eats his lunch at school. He isn't bothering anyone, he isn't preaching or judging. He isn't asking or trying to force anyone else to do it. I honestly can't see how anyone can be offended by it.
Many children around the world are taught in the home to give thanks before a meal. For many children, it's only natural for them. Yet, many children are suspended for doing this.
To me, this is not a separation of church and state, it's telling children to be ashamed of who they are and what they believe. Pagans, regardless of what path they follow, are taught to be tolerant of ALL religions, just as our consitution states. This doesn't have to mean that we agree with the religion or accept its practices.
It is ultimately the parents'to teach their children right from wrong, morals and values and keep the lines of communication open enough the we can know what's going on in our childrens' lives. If that job is not done, it is the parents who should be held accountable when their child commits a heanous crime. It is not the schools' or the government's place to shove religion down the throats of individuals, regardless of age, who do not subscribe to that way of thinking. No we can't read our childrens' minds, but we can strive to teach them to follow at least an honest path without shoving the Bible down their throats and telling them that they will go to hell if they don't follow a specific path and not alienate them to the point that they hide from us and don't trust us. We can teachour children to make wise choices throughout their lives without being told what to teach them.
| I Think Church And State Should Be Completely Seperate. I Think Crosses... ||Aug 23rd. at 12:29:35 pm EDT|
|Mike Johnson (Canton, Ohio US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I think church and state should be completely seperate. I think crosses, pentaacles, and any other religious symbol shouldn't be allowed in schools, because they can make people with different beliefs feel uncomfortable.... but since that will never happen (A school banning crosses? Ha!) I think everyone should just keep their mouthes shut and mind their own business. ;)
| Well It Is Obvious That If The Ten Commandments Are A Public... ||Aug 23rd. at 11:39:47 am EDT|
|Amy (Syracuse, Indiana US) ||Age: 25 |
Well it is obvious that if the ten commandments are a public matter then it will be an eventual repeat of the Salem trial times. Religion should be still left at home and not pushed on students in thier school environment.
I think if they are allowed to post the ten commandments, then we should have the Wiccan Principles or Rede posted, as well as other minority religions posting thier beliefs. After all, we (America) are known as the "melting pot" of the world and no one is to be left out on the court house walls!
| Well, I Agree With Most Of What Is Being Said Here. But... ||Aug 23rd. at 11:34:22 am EDT|
|Greg Nacu (Kingston, Ontario CA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Well, I agree with most of what is being said here. But just to be devils advocate I suggest that we should think about Why certain things have been done. For Example, Why ban the wearing of Pentacles? I wear a pentacle. Sometimes it's on the outside of my shirt, sometimes it's hidden away beneath my shirt. I wear it because it is the symbol of my faith. But the sad truth is that we have a fantastic history of being evil. Were we evil... No That's not what I'm saying, but most peoples first thoughts are that we were. And all this leads up to is that Groups of distraught people who are insecure and feel a need to make trouble often choose a symbol. And unfortunatly for us, our symbol is one they have chosen. It's like the swastika, It's an ancient symbol of Good luck. But try hanging THAT from your neck in a public place! Again, I'm not suggesting that they are in the right to ban Pentacles, but there is a reason they try. Now, about what we can do about it... The only thing I can do is continue to wear my meek and unobtrusive Pentacle, Continue to be a Good neighbour and a friendly person, and hope that the negative associations of pentacles will disappear. Peace all.
| I'm A Senior In High School This Year And Have Been Stuying... ||Aug 23rd. at 11:22:27 am EDT|
|Beech (Temple, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I'm a senior in high school this year and have been stuying wicca for almost three years. I'm also on the Americans United mailing list.
I believe that while prayer should not be forced on students or the community at large there is room to provide a time when students may pray privately during school. At my middle school after the pledge of alleigance every morning we had a moment of silence. This was a time that I used to collect my thoughts and to say the serenity prayer before dealing with a bunch of 13 year olds for 7 hours. At my high school we don't have that and I miss it.
Religious education in the form of religious history is a good thing, since much of Western civilisation is based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. For my AP English class we have to read books of the Bible to get an understanding of the books we are reading. I have no objection to that. We study the religions of other cultures, Hunduism, Buddhism, Roman and Greek Gods and the evolution (?) of Chrustianity through the years in our World Civilisations class. I have no objection to that either, because it is taught as, "This is what they believe" not "this is what you must believe".
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that there should be a tolerant attitude towards religion, but that no one religion should be favored or repressed. Students have as much right to wear a pentacle as they do to wear a cross, and they shouldn't get grief about it. Religion is a private thing, I don't care what someone believes just as long as they don't try to make me believe it.
I do have an objection to school-sanctioned Christian Clubs. We have one at our school and they get their picture in the yearbook and get school funds. I doubt that if the pagan community tried to do start a club that we would get that much recognition.
I think that when policy-makers are trying to find a balance between church and school they should talk to those people whom it affects most -the students.
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