There is a special place in Hell for those trying to destroy the separation of church and state.
It’s kind of like:
Hey! Let’s turn this country into a Christian version of Iran!
If only my child’s school was more like a terrorist training camp!
Seriously, what the heck is wrong with you? Torquemada and Osama Bin Laden are not role models of 21st Century education.
But okay. In a way I get it. You’re a Christian fundamentalist, and you’re afraid secular education will turn your child against your faith.
Well, Number One, if your beliefs are so weak that just hearing an alternative will destroy them, then maybe they deserve to be destroyed. And, Number Two, that’s what religious schools are for! Reach into your pocket and pay for your little choirboy or choirgirl to be educated in the church basement. But I’m not using my tax dollars to help indoctrinate your child in whatever medieval mumbo jumbo you believe in.
You think the world was created in six days? You think the sun orbits around the Earth? You think the Earth is flat!? FINE! I’m not going to pay so your kids grow up just as ignorant!
Mixing religion with our public school curriculum is not a good thing.
When my kids take science, I want them to learn things based on empiricism and the scientific method – not whatever “truth” is enshrined in a holy book written before the germ theory of disease. The answer to a question about whooping cough isn’t “God did it.”
The same goes for literature. I want my child to read a wide variety of texts from various points of view, written by people of various faiths, from a multitude of cultures, genders and world views – not just a pantheon of iron age tribal chiefs and a smattering of cloistered feudal monks! I want my child to think about what she’s read and come to her own conclusions – not have “the truth” handed down to her from on high.
And when it comes to social studies, I want my child to understand history and government without the biases of the right wing taught as if they were the only logical ways to organize a society. I want my child to be a good citizen with a working knowledge of how government functions complete with a catalogue of the errors of past centuries. I don’t want my child molded to think a certain way and only that way so that she’ll vote a certain way and only that way.
Oh, and math? That’s just for boys.
It’s ironic that the advocates of school vouchers often couch their arguments in the language of liberty and choice when they’re really advocating for the elimination of those very things.
This isn’t about school choice. It’s about eliminating my child’s right to free thought. It’s about society pumping out a generation of religious zealot clones to feed the polling places of one political party so that they’ll vote against their own interests and keep the rich and powerful gobbling up 99% of the wealth.
But shouldn’t kids be allowed to talk about religion in school?
Sure. And they can and do right now in public school.
There is nothing to stop children from discussing their views about God and religion in school. They can even pray. No one will discriminate against them for it. That’s their right.
The only prohibition is against a religious discussion or prayer conduced by a teacher. When my students bring up God during a class discussion – and it happens – I let them talk. If they ask my views, I politely decline. I might say that some people believe this or some people believe that. But I never say what I believe.
Why would you want anything different? Do you really want teachers forcing their faith (or lack of faith) on your children? I suppose if you choose exactly the kind of school with teachers who think exactly like you, then this doesn’t matter. But isn’t it better to let kids figure out their own theologies perhaps with help from you, their parents?
When it comes to facts, an education professional is just what the doctor ordered. When it comes to opinions – and faith is the ultimate opinion – children should be free to think for themselves. If you want a religious leader to lend his or her normativity, that’s up to you. But don’t step on other parents who have different worldviews, cultures, faiths.
And please don’t give me this crap that the words “separation of church and state” don’t appear in the Constitution. Neither do the words “self-protection” appear in the Second Amendment, but you still cling to your guns on the excuse that they keep you and your family safe.
The separation of church and state is a long-standing interpretation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It has been upheld time and again. You may call yourself a “conservative” for going against it, but actually you’re the very definition of a radical. It is I who is being conservative in defending it.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
The same can be said of those with torches and pitchforks gathered around the separation of church and state. They seek no freedom other than the freedom to discriminate against those unlike themselves.
They are our racists, sexists and xenophobes. They are those prejudiced against anyone who thinks thoughts unsanctioned by their clergy. They seek to pour cement over the social structure and keep it in place with ignorance.
We must fight them to our last breath because if they win… God help us!