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 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.
| Religion Has No Place In Public Schools In Respects To It Being... ||Aug 23rd. at 11:12:47 am EDT|
|Tinnekke Bebout (South Bend, Indiana US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Religion has no place in public schools in respects to it being either endorsed or condemned in any manner by the schools themselves. Learning about religion in the context of contributions to literature, music and history is just fine as many things have been created or done for reasons of religion. However, teaching religious beliefs in anything other than a comparative cultural sense in such classes as social studies is the purview of parents. Those who want the Ten Commandments posted in schools and similar items are in effect saying that they wish the state in the function of the schools to act in loco parentis for them and the rest of society. Schools are not parental substitutes, nor should they expected to be such. Schools are places for learning and growth. If people want their children taught a religious values system as part of their day to day schooling then they should send their children to private religious schools or homeschool them.
As far as students' personal religious expression goes, I believe that should be allowed in small, personal, unobtrusive ways such as the wearing of religious jewelry and silent prayers done voluntarily when or if a student chooses. No student should be permitted to force hir religious views onto any other students whether through open proselytizing in class or through obtrusive religious expressions of other forms.
| For The Record I Consider Myself A Christian Witch, So My Opinion... ||Aug 23rd. at 11:02:27 am EDT|
|Rhea (Springfield, Missouri US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
For the record I consider myself a Christian Witch, so my opinion might be quit different than others.
Don't you think that if you wanted to expand on the words "Harm None" it could be be done much as the Ten Commandments are? Don't kill (It seems our children REALLY need to be reminded of this lately!) Don't steal, etc...To me, the Ten Commandments isn't forcing Christianity on anyone--but rather reminding us of human morality.
John 3:16 is not being put on the wall- but a code of moral ethics. And most pagans would except those words if it was not from the Bible.
Our children are KILLING each other in school!! It's our job to teach them other ways to deal with problems (it takes a whole village to raise a child) I think a good start is having a reminder of what is right and what is wrong; rather it be the Ten Commandments or Harm None written in big bold letters on the wall.
| My Thoughts On The Religon In School Are Simply This, What Is... ||Aug 23rd. at 9:42:38 am EDT|
|Eldritch (Woodbridge, Virginia US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
My thoughts on the religon in school are simply this, what is done for one, must be done for all.
If, for example, a high school chooses to allow a Christian bible study group to use the library for regular meetings, then similar provisions should be put into place for say, a pagan circle group.
Of course, this type of thinking is HIGHLY idealistic, but, hope springs eternal.
| Seems To Me This Whole Religion In School Thing Has Zip To... ||Aug 23rd. at 2:29:12 am EDT|
|Fionn Mac Lir (Plymouth, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
Seems to me this whole religion in school thing has zip to do with religion, when you get right down to it. It's all about indoctrination... and the rank hypocrisy of the "I want my religion in the classroom" (IWMRITC)crowd would be hilarious if it weren't so obnoxious.
Isn't there a passage in the Christian's holy writ about not bawling your prayers up in the front row, letting all and sundry know how pious and holy one is? Something about talking directly to their Father, and skipping the sideshow? Seems the IWMRITC crew missed that one. Hypocrisy.
If someone wants their kids to start the day with a prayer, do it at home. But you see, these jeeters want someone ELSE'S kid to be starting the day with a prayer. Yet these same people get apoplectic at the idea of government interference in 'the family'. Depends on whose ox is gored. Hypocrisy.
This whole school voucher is freakin' scary! Do a web search on Christian Reconstructionism and scope out some of those people. When you see why vouchers are so popular with that crowd, and why, you might consider why so many folks on the religious right are in such a hurry to dismantle the public school system. There are hard core fundamentalists planning for twenty, thirty, fifty years from now; they want to be able to indoctrinate present day school children in their own philosophies (hopelessly twisted ones, IMO) in order to take political control a generation from now. I'm no conspiracy freak, ladies and gents; this is what they themselves say they are aiming for.
Bottom line on my view is...come on, fellow Pagans, register, and vote! Cause if a certain scion of a former President gains office with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and shifts the balance of power in the Supreme Court, a generation from now our children, if Pagan, may have their lives in danger. No foolin'. American history shows little evidence of tolerance over the last two hundred years - ask the Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Mormons, Catholics, Jews, et cetera, et cetera; the support we see for it nowadays might be just a temporary blip on the screen.
Vote. Make your opinion count.
| I Think That There Is An Important Distinction Between Morality And Religion... ||Aug 23rd. at 12:32:22 am EDT|
|Nelli (Carmel Valley, California US) ||Age: 23 |
I think that there is an important distinction between morality and religion - or at least there should be. One can be a moral person without being a religious person. Proponents of posting the ten commandments in our public schools would have us believe that it is to teach children morality. Fine - let them post a list of moral - but non religious - items. Don't kill, don't steal, treat all beings with respect, do unto others as you would have done to you... seems pretty obvious to me. Unfortunately, those who are trying to push their commandments on everyone do so because they seem to believe that not only are they they only ones in the universe, but that there is no other right way to think. Keeping religion out of school is tricky, becasue it's already wangled it's way in in so many ways. Recited the pledge of allegiance lately? And how do you teach about certain historical events without touching on religion? and what about literature? Should "A Wrinkle in Time" be banned from schools because it contains references to christianity, and quotes christian prayers? I believe that is should be the job of every educator to do his or her utmost to give children a balanced and well rounded view of literature containing various religious references, historical events featuring various world religions, and art inspired by different cultures/religious movements. Religion is part of humanity - some have said that it is religion alone that sets us apart from other animals, that allowed culture and "civilization" to develop. Perhaps we should have a required religious studies class, with a very strict curriculum, which equally discusses all current major religions, and as many minor ones as there is time for. But no one would go for that. Really, I believe that it is both the responsibility and the *right* of every parent to teach their children about religion; schools should remain as secular as possible. If we are to continue providing every child with quality education, we cannot allow the waters to be muddied by anyone's religion. Morals are public; religion is personal. Teach kids that hurting is bad, that respect is good. Leave the religion to the parents.
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