Last Update: 18 Mar 00
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REPLY #90 TO
(R) I have to agree with you (Reply #89 to Religion) - this writer's inference that removal of prayer from the schools has directly influenced school massacres is sorely lacking in logic and reason. Your reply shows several reasons why. I went through public school systems where there was no religious prayer in practice. Violence never escalated beyond the occasional two boys facing off after school, under the flagpole, via a fist fight to settle their personal disagreements.
(MB) I had the same experience in my high school. There were no displays of religious propaganda, no force-feeding of Jesus (or any other object of worship) and evolution was taught in science class with no accompanying or disclaiming hint of Creationism. Not only did nobody ever pull a gun, knife, cudgel or any other weapon, nobody would have even considered doing so.
(R) Once again we respond with the same question in regards to mixing church and state: if we put prayer back in school, who's prayer do we allow in?
(MB) Of course, most fundies wouldn't even consider this question since none would say that there is any form of prayer *other* than the Christian variety.
(R) It's ironic that the Christian fundamentalists who fight to have prayer put into school would be dead set against Muslim students kneeling in the direction of Mecca throughout the school day, or Zen Buddhists who would plop themselves down in the middle of the hallway to begin a three hour "Ohm" meditation.
(MB) Not to mention what their attitudes would be towards Wiccan or Satanic rituals or tribal religions requiring animal, human, or virgin sacrifices...*grin*
(R) The fundies don't seem to understand that you can't have religious freedom without having freedom for ALL religions. You can't give time to one without giving equal time to all the rest.
(MB) Exactly right -- to include the freedom *from* religion. Christians can't promote their own religion to the exclusion of all other systems of belief without first demonstrating the truth and superiority of their chosen beliefs.
(R) So imagine, if you will, our public schools where prayer time is allotted to every religion currently practiced on earth. There would be no more "school", just a bunch on kids kneeling, chanting, shaking, some even taking drugs to induce a prayer state as indicated by certain religions.
(MB) I can just imagine what would happen if peyote was legal on school grounds. I'll bet you'd see a lot of "good Christian" students suddenly converting to Native American religions...*grin*
(R) School is supposed to be a place where we teach our young the academic skills they will need to someday survive in, and hopefully be a productive member of society.
(MB) Yep. Those goals won't be achieved if real studies are shunted aside in favor of enforced religion. One can always attend a seminary if he wants religion to be the #1 thing in his life.
(R) A family's church of choice should be where their religious education and system of moral doctrine is fulfilled. The home is indeed the place where the emphasis on building moral and ethical character should take place. Parents teach first, foremost and the most lasting lessons, before priests, ministers, rabbis, or teachers, the parents' words and examples are what is going to have the most determining effect on a child's formation.
(MB) Agreed. Of course, this assumes that parents are both willing and able to provide that sort of guidance and example.
(R) On the issue of placing the Ten Commandments in school (good point, by the way, about the different versions), they still represent a particular religion. If you have them in the school you must also allow displays of religious texts from every other conceivable religion - same problem, again, as with school prayer and the teaching of religious creationism stories.
(MB) I think we should have the various religions compete with each other in open debate for supremacy. When one emerges as the clear "winner", then we can talk about having that religion forced upon the rest of us and into the schools.
(R) I've suggested that schools might sit down with their staff, PTA, Board of Ed., etc. (and perhaps with the students themselves!) to draft a unified code of ethics that can certainly be based on values their various religions support and on the legal and ethical systems our country was founded on.
(MB) Most schools already have such codes in place. As with gun laws, the solution is not more laws, it's the enforcement and education concerning the laws that are already in place. No school system permits students to carry weapons or to assault other students. This is the case no matter what the community's prevailing religious views might be.
(R) As far as anti - gun laws: I feel that's a subject better debated under a separate topic. But I do support gun control - not abolishing American's right to bear arms, but CONTROLLING firearms in our society (keeping them out of the hands of criminals and children.) I believe better laws (not more, but better) could help prevent some of the recent tragedies we've experienced.
(MB) I couldn't agree more!
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