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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Soap Box

I got this e-mail from a well meaning friend. It's been circulating in the ethernet for years. It's time to parse it and see if it makes the grade.

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

There is no rule that keeps a student from offering a personal prayer. Every year there is a "Meet at the Pole" event countrywide where students meet and VOLUNTARILY pray. English departments offer a course on the Bible as literature. Numerous poems with religious themes are analyzed and discussed. In World History class Ancient Judah, and life of Jesus are taught as well as the rise of early Christianity. During the Renaissance and Reformation Christianity is mentioned in great detail. It is against the establishment clause of the first ammendment for a government, school, or teacher to tell a student they must pray, or tell them to say an officially sanctioned prayer. If a student wants to express their religious beliefs and it pertains to the discussion at hand they are perfectly free to speak up. If they want to preach when I haven't called on them or it has nothing to do with the subject being taught, or if they want to pass judgement on my faith or teaching style they're out of line, and actually in violation of the commandment to honor thy Father and Mother: teachers legally act in loco parentis to their students. Faith in school is the same as it is everywhere subject to Timing, Approach and Appropriateness.
In grading this paper as a teacher I would tell the student to check their facts and get them right.
If students want to use colored hairspray or pierce themselves what does that have to do with prayer or God. It does show the author as someone who has a problem with non-conformists and expect the schools and teachers to enforce their own personal ideas of conformity. As a teacher I would grade this part down as being off topic.
I'm pretty sure that all schools, public or private, secuar or religious, outlaw students from bringing guns to school, especially after Columbine. All School libraries have copies of the Bible usually both Protestant and Catholic. Not all have Q'urans (I do hope that the accepted spelling at this time) Vedas, Talmuds or other religious writings. As a teacher I'd say this is an extreme exaggeration devoid of any truth. I'm not sure, but isn't telling the truth a Christian virtue? "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong.
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd
It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

I'm curious about the objection to a pregnant Senior Queen and unwed Daddy, would the writer rather she got an abortion? And then it's wrong to pass out contraception. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it too.
As a parent I taught my children right and wrong. How good a job I did is between God, me and them. I expected their schools to instruct the subjects they are required by law to teach, proper respect and manners that are required to function in a society. I did not want anyone else intruding into my parental responsibilties. Nor as a teacher should I pass judgement on the personal lives of my students. Jesus after all said "Judge not, lest ye be judged likewise." Notice how judgemental the writer regarding the electoral process at the school, but holding elections is a proper function of our schools in teaching them the democratic process, as well as living with the outcome of an election even if your candidate loses.
I'm not aware of any witchcraft classes in high schools, but they might be mentioned in literature or history the same as vampires and totempoles, or maybe the students dress this way on Halloween, but schools do not force or "establish" this belief on the students.
The only passage I can agree with is the statement that when chaos reign school's a mess. 80% of teaching is discipline, but I prefer to use behavior modification techniques and the school's discipline policy over preaching and trying to "save their souls."
For the last remark, didn't the writer fuss about gun control?

To quote Jesus once again, "Oh ye scribes and Pharasees, hypocrites..."

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