1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Religion in the Public School - What's Over the Line?

As a substitute teacher I often find myself giving "micro-lessons". on a topic. Recently I was in a Civics class and they were just beginning a unit on the Bill of Rights. "First things first," thought I. Placing things firmly in the hypothetical, I said, "Let us begin this lesson in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Brothers and Sisters...."

What's wrong with this picture? I asked. "You can't do that," they said. "Right, so where's MY freedom of religion?" A good discussion ensued from there. Rights, responsibilities, teaching versus indoctrinating, the teacher as representative of the State. In short, a glorious can of worms.

This moment led me to go back and re-read this document: A Teacher's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools which has strange bedfellows ranging from the National Education Association to the National Association of Evangelicals. Well worth a read whether one is religiously inclined or not.

Functionally, the above cartoon may be applied to religion in the public schools in an Orwellian way:


Which would be to not have a grasp of the Court's rulings on the 1st Amendment, religion and the public schools. Sadly, religion does get ignored because it can be contentious, so better ignorance than a hassle, right? Er,...

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