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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: 12,921,097  

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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 

I've Always Been Strongly In Favor Of The Seperation Of Church And... Aug 21st. at 7:49:14 pm EDT

Fiona (Durham, North Carolina US) Age: 31

I've always been strongly in favor of the seperation of church and state, particularly as it relates to the school system. Even as a high school student, I didn't have any clearly defined religious beliefs, but I would have felt uncomfortable being forced to pray in school. It's my feeling that no religions should be allowed in school unless all possible religions are equally represented....which would be a logistical nightmare for the school board. One thing that many people seem to overlook, however, is that religion is still in the classroom, at least last I heard, since almost all schools have the class recite the pledge of allegiance at least once a day which states that ours is One Nation, Under God (although at least it doesn't specify which God). And while we're talking about the murky division of church and state, what about the "In God We Trust" bit that's printed on all of our money. It's these little things that opened the doors for the bigger issues and just shows that while good intentioned with regards to seperation of church and state, our forefathers were perhaps not as careful as they should have been in applying it themselves. If you think about it though, at the time, their only real concerns were different types of Christianity. Enough on that, though. As to the voucher issue. My boss is a Catholic and pays the tuition to send her son to Catholic School because she does want him to have a religious education and I respect that. I also understand, therefore, her frustration at paying taxes for a public school system that she's not utilizing, AND tuition for her son's school. I don't know if vouchers are the answer, but I can understand the sentiments involved...for parents who choose to use private schools or to home well as for people who don't have any children at all.

If The Schools Are Allowed To Post The Christian Ten Commandments, Then... Aug 21st. at 7:15:58 pm EDT

lilith (dayton, Ohio US) Age: 34 - Email

If the schools are allowed to post the christian Ten Commandments, then they should also post other religions rules or concepts.

Personal, I do believe that we all have the right to believe and practice whatever religion that we want as long as we do not trend or degrade any other religion..... I can not foresee that could be done effectively in a school enviorment.

I Don't See Why Schools Can't Simply Post Some Non-religious Ethical Guidelines... Aug 21st. at 6:53:39 pm EDT

Siobhan (Tucson, Arizona US) Age: 26 - Email

I don't see why schools can't simply post some non-religious ethical guidelines like don't kill don't steal be nice to people, etc, which is basically the 10 commandments without "thou shall have no gods before me", which really is the problem commandment when you think about it. If you simply post some secular ethics that people from all religions can abide by ( I personally don't have anything against the golden rule myself) then kids could have some guidance (although whether posting things like that in school will really change their behavior is doubtful)without getting any particular religion shoved down their throat. I personally have not experienced any religious discrimination, however my best friend was treated very badly when we went to Catholic elementary and Jr high school because she was not Catholic, at the time I was Catholic by default, even if I didn't believe in the Catholic doctrine since about 4th grade, my family, who had attended and taught at that school for 3 generations was and that was all that mattered. I am at University now, now and it is much freer here (as was high school when I went, it seems very different now, its amazing how much difference 8 years makes!), however i bought a tee shirt with the school seal on it and guess what is right in the middle of it? yup, a cross. I haven't decided yet what I am going to do about it tho.

Religion Should Not Be Allowed In School, Except As A Display Of... Aug 21st. at 6:47:15 pm EDT

Tasha (Arlington, Texas US) Age: 20 - Email

Religion should not be allowed in school, except as a display of personal beliefs (such as jewelry, or clothing). I don't want my son going to a school that has the 10 commandments desplayed, unless the Wiccan Rede and all of the other world religions teachings are up there next to it. Schools are a place for learning, not the place for religious debates. There was a reason the founders of our country kept the church away from the state and schools, and we need to keep it that way.

Personally, I Believe That It Should Not Be Posted. In America There... Aug 21st. at 4:09:07 pm EDT

Morganna (Birmingham, Alabama US) Age: 29 - Email

Personally, I believe that it should not be posted. In America there are far to many religious beliefs for simply one to posted any where on school grounds. If the 10 commandments do go up, then would it not be reasonable for all sacred texts to be added to the wall. My question is would the Christians be allowing of this?

Hmmm... The Seperation Between Church And State. One Of The Biggest Questions... Aug 21st. at 3:56:18 pm EDT

Amber (Toronto, Ontario CA) Age: 18 - Email

Hmmm... the seperation between church and state. One of the biggest questions around right now I think. Some people want the church in the school and others fight to keep it out. Which is the right choice? Or are they simply a matter of points of view?

I, as a teen witch who is going into her last year of highschool this fall, have found myself thinking about this topic a great deal. I like to keep up on whats going on around me in the pagan community as well as all news. We have heard more lately about children being told to remove their pentacles at school because some think that the pentacle is a 'gang related symbol' Know, all good little witches know that this isn't true and lots of others do as well, but unfortunately there are still those people out there that do not understand that. Either because they are genuinely unknowing or simply dont want to accept the fact.

It is our right, in fact, all peoples right, to wear religious symbols on them. Do we have a right to harrass others about them, to condemn others about them? No. But wear them we can.

This is one reason why, in my humble opinion, we should keep the church in the church and school as an open place where we learn all points of view. After all, that is what school is all about. Teaching children all the facts from all views so that they can maturely come to their own conclussions based on information around them. Teaching children to reach past what is simply taught and to really learn something.

Canada is a culturally rich country and there really isn't any one religion around here. Plus, no one religion is any more 'correct' then any others.

Christianity is good for Christians. But it isn't right for everyone and to single out or support one religion over another is not right. It can create animosity between groups and cause more problems then is solves. Everyone, every student, every teacher should feel comfortable and safe about who they are in school and should never fear being discovered as 'different' then the 'majority'.

Ok, maybe I am ranting a little. I cant always help it. But I have seen what a non seperation of school and religion can do and it isn't always pretty.

So, in closing, if you haven't already got this ;o} Im all for keeping school and religion in their respective distances and keeping the peace between all. I know that it is possible for all religions to get along. My personal group of friends is very diverse: Christians, Roman Catholics, Sikhs (sp), Muslims, Athiests, What I call Logic Thinkers (dont really have a 'religion', doesn't believe or disbelieve in god, just likes everything to make sense),

Wiccan, and 'Other' :o} And we have the most interesting religious debates. Talking and discussing openly and without judgement. We are accepting of eachother and I thank my lucky stars that I found them.


Here In Indiana, The Ten Commandments Issue Is A Hot Potato That... Aug 21st. at 3:34:08 pm EDT

Morrigan (Indianapolis, Indiana US) Age: 32 - Email

Here in Indiana, the Ten Commandments issue is a hot potato that is about to explode. The mounting has already been set up on the state house lawn, waiting patiently for the Bedford limestone 'monument' to be placed upon it. To make it acceptable, they have included the state constitution on the backside, as if this move will make everything palatable for all. Such 'sugar-coating' hasn't gone unnoticed. The Indiana chapter of the ACLU has been watching the whole event with microscopic eyes. No one, from politician to common joe, is saying very much, but I fear it is merely the calm before the storm. Indianapolis Public Schools are being quiet, doing the only thing that can be feasibly done: they have decided to hold off on posting anything up, electing instead to sit back and watch the fireworks as they unfurl. IPS can't afford to fight in court due to a severe lack of budget, so they are just sitting back and waiting to see which side prevails in the matter. Personally, I really don't want it up. BUT, should it come to pass that it does, then it should be amended that if ONE religious ideology is represented, then ALL ideologies should have EQUAL time. That includes Juidism, Islamic, Paganism, Hindu and every other religious faction out there. But in my opinion they are putting up the wrong memorial: The first and largest one to be set up should be a large statue of the almighty dollar, since that is what it really boils down to in the end...

As A Wiccan Stepmother Of 3 Elementary School-age Children, I Believe If... Aug 21st. at 3:16:06 pm EDT

Diane Schoales (Warner Robins, Georgia US) Age: 19 - Email

As a Wiccan stepmother of 3 elementary school-age children, I believe if any religion is going to be displayed in schools, that ALL religions should have equality in that right. In my stepchildren's school district, pentacles are considered "gang paraphernalia" and are not allowed to be worn under any circumstances, yet at the same time, the Cross and the Star of David are allowed to be displayed openly. I do not understand why the school board has put the label of "gang paraphernalia" on a religious symbol, as there is, to my knowledge, no gang activity in this town. My stepdaughter is studying Wicca and wants to show openly that she is proud of our faith and beliefs, yet she is afraid that she may well get kicked out of school. Her father and I have explained that many people do not understand and that they are very close-minded, yet she cries because she does not understand why. It upset us that we are supposedly living in a free country with freedom of religion, and yet we are forced to suppress our beliefs. We are not sure what to do to have religious equality in this area. It saddens me that we as pagans have to face such adversity in a free country. My opinion is that if any religion is going to be "advertised" in schools, that all should be represented equally and fairly. That would be the only way I would allow ANY religion in schools.

School Is No Place For Evangelists. Although I Have No Problem With... Aug 21st. at 2:15:58 pm EDT

Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) Age: 24 - Email

School is no place for evangelists. Although I have no problem with people doing their own religious thing at a school, or even a class that teaches a broad overview of the world's religions, trying to hold one religion over another and teach that it is the one right one is out of the question.

"Thou shalt have no other God before me." What does this say? There is one true religion and no one should believe another. If the Ten Commandments are put into schools, the atmosphere will become one of adversity. Learning will take a back seat for students who are not in the majority.

I believe that the Ten Commandments should not be posted on school walls or shown openly to students, save in a proper classroom setting, where the Talmud, Quran, and any and all other religious writings are shown to have equal footing with Christianity. The same should be true with any other religious teachings.

Merry Meet. As A 14 Year Old, Being Subject Of Racism By... Aug 21st. at 1:56:31 pm EDT

Sarah Larivee (New Milford, Connecticut US) Age: 14 - Email

Merry meet. As a 14 year old, being subject of racism by my peers and teachers due to the religion that I choose to study, I think that the posting of the Ten Commandments is a poor idea. It would be an un-wise decision to make that idea become reality. I believe it is a way for the major religions who believe and live off of the Ten Commandments to try to hammer their ideas and beliefs into our heads, and trying to make us think that their way is, in fact, the right way. These commandments are coming from religions that believe that inter-racial marriages are wrong, and that homosexual marriages are sins, and will lead you to Hell. It's a horrid thing to think that something that the Major Religions were built on, would decorate the walls of our schools. Schools try to teach us to be fair, to learn, and to be aware of the differences among peers and their families. Sometimes I feel ashamed that I was baptised by such a crude path that thinks these things.

An example of this racism that happened in my school of a small town in Connecticut: My art teacher had assigned a project of a self-portrait to the entire class. She stated that it did not have to look entirely like ourselves, but it could look like our spiritual side or how we wanted to look, but it couldn't be changed too dramatically. So, I decided not to change anything but a few face features and the background. The background was black, white and gray, mixing together colors, symbolizing that I am not racist at all, whatsoever. Then, I painted the Goddess symbol {Maiden, Mother, Crone} on the top of my head. A pentacle was tied onto a string and was dangling from my neck. I handed in my assignment and the teacher grabbed me by my arm, yelled at me, saying that my painting was "in-appropriate" and that she "didn't accept negative things, such as satanism, in her classroom". So, I took the situation to the main office, who said that her idea was somewhat right, but that I shouldn't have a Swastika on there. I had nothing of the sort! (A lot of my best friends are Jewish. It was a ridiculous thing.) I explained to them that the shape that they were "concerned about" was a Pentagram, and that it was a symbol of the Earth and Her Elements. They didn't believe me and assumed I was making up stories. See what these Major Religions can put into peoples' heads?

During my journey I've come to find that Wicca is the only religion that makes sense to me. The concepts and the rituals and the reasons of celebration, I believe are all worth the effort and time that it would take to do such things. I do not think that schools have the right, or even right to have CONCERN about taking these thoughts away from me. I don't think that schools or parents can handle the thought that "young people" can make these religious decisions on our own, and I think they're trying to steer us away from making "wrong decisions". We *have* the RIGHT to make these decisions for ourselves and to learn what we want to learn. I think that if a child wants to bring a bible to school, then they should be able to. I think that if a child wants to bring their Book of Shadows or their Mirror Book to school, to read to themselves (some feel comforted if they have them with them always - I have friends like this.), then they should be able to. I am not against any other religion, at an extent to cross out their Ten Commandments. I just think it is wrong subjecting people that are not of those beliefs to the Ten Commandments because people worked so hard to perhaps forget their old, even forced-upon paths, and to create new lives for themselves. Our schools have lost their morals and their intelligence lately. The Ten Commandments will not bring them back.

*Blessed be*

Education Is -- Or Ought To Be -- An Enlightening Experience. It Should Open... Aug 21st. at 11:40:13 am EDT

J. P. DeMeritt (League City, Texas US) Age: 43 - Email

Education is -- or ought to be -- an enlightening experience. It should open minds to the incredible diversity of the world around us and help us understand how truly wonderful the universe is. As such, I feel we should relish the opportunity to bring religion into schools -- as long as it's done in the right context. The problem appears to be that some people think religion is like math: there's only one right answer to the problem!

The right context for religion in schools is one that neither favors nor denegrates any religion. The right context is one that both acknowledges difference and encourages students to explore difference. The right context is one that recognizes that parents and the churches/synagogues/mosques/temples/ covens, or whatevers that people go to worship are the proper authorities for promoting and reinforcing faith -- and that school teachers should not also be the arbiters of spiritual matters! As such, I believe students should be taught about ALL religions. If parents and other religious authorities are doing their parts and LIVING their faiths, their children will not be swayed by others' religions; but they MAY find that, in all their differences, they have enough in common to live together peacefully! And that may be the most enlightening aspect of education we can hope for!

As A Libertarian, I Believe That The School Should Deal With Teaching... Aug 21st. at 11:32:51 am EDT

Ed Broneske (Roseville, California US) Age: 34 - Email

As a Libertarian, I believe that the school should deal with teaching Reading, Writing, Math, History and Science. There are no place in the duties of public schools for religious training, which I believe are the duties of parents, and churches. My defination of church is any group joined together for the purpose of spiritual growth.

I think that a class can teach about the various religions in a comparative religion format as long as it is done objectively and with equal access to all faiths both majority and minority.

I don't agree with a school or any other government agency posting the 10 commandments, or for taxpayers to pay for any posting of any religious document regardless of the religion.

I believe that if a teacher wants to keep a religious book on their desk to read during their free time that's ok. I also think that the teacher should be allowed to be open about their faith (except during class time), but should not have the right to try to convert the students. For example a wiccan teacher should be allowed to wear a pentacle, and a christian should be allowed to wear a cross. They should be able to talk about their faith if the the student asks them, but they should keep in mind that a child's spiritual nurturing is the parent's responsibility and not the teachers, and they should do it in as objective of a way as possible. I don't think that a teacher should give a student a religious book, but can recommend a book for a student to read if they aquire it on their own.

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