Author Topic: The best thing your child can do to fit in the public school system is convert  (Read 330 times)

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Offline Hatter23

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At least in Louisiana

https://www.aclu.org/blog/religion-belief/if-you-want-fit-public-school-just-become-christian


Like many people I have encountered who were raised in a Christian environment, I was indifferent to what I felt were minor infractions of the law that protects the separation of church and state. What's the big deal if teachers promote God in public schools? I didn't see any danger in official prayer during graduation or a football game, or in a science teacher mentioning her religious beliefs when discussing evolution. These were things that had happened when I was in school, and my experience was just fine. Even after I stopped being an active Christian, I didn't understand how any of this could be considered discrimination, as some people claimed. Didn't the Bible teach us to obey rules, and wouldn't that be a positive lesson for our children? Of course, I didn't realize the hypocrisy of breaking the law in order to teach children to obey rules.

But then, when my stepson, who has been raised a Buddhist, enrolled in the sixth grade at our local school, Negreet High, it became personal, and I could no longer turn a blind eye to the very real harms that occur when school officials violate the separation of church and state.

My stepson started at Negreet in the same class as one of my children. By the end of the first week of school, he was having serious stomach issues and anxiety. We couldn't figure out why. In the mornings, my wife would pull over on the side of the road as they approached school so he could throw up. At first, we thought he was sick and we let him stay home. Soon it became apparent that this was not a cold, but something much worse. Our children informed us that their teacher had been chastising and bullying my stepson for his Buddhist beliefs.

On a science test, their teacher had included a fill-in-the-blank question: "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" When my stepson didn't know the answer ("Lord"), she belittled him in front of the entire class. When he wrote in "Lord Buddha" on another exam, she marked it wrong. As she was returning that exam to students, one student proclaimed aloud that "people are stupid if they think God is not real." In response, my stepson's teacher agreed, telling the class, "Yes! That is right! I had a student miss that on his test." The entire class broke out in laughter at my stepson.

The same teacher also told our children that the Bible is "100 percent true," that the Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago, and that evolution is "impossible" and a "stupid theory made up by stupid people who don't want to believe in God." She's also told the class that Buddhism is "stupid."

We were shocked, but we quickly learned from our children that these types of activities were not unusual. School officials were repeatedly imposing their religious beliefs on students in myriad ways. For example:

    When we went to the school to meet with the principal, we saw a large picture of Jesus over the school's main doors, a Bible verse on the school's electronic marquee, and numerous religious posters and pictures on the walls. Religious images and messages are displayed throughout the school, in fact.
    We learned from our children that official prayers, typically led by the principal or teachers, are routinely incorporated into class and school events like assemblies, and sporting events. The school even requires students to attend "See You at the Pole" each year, where they must take part in prayer and worship.
    We discovered that school officials were distributing religious literature to students. For example, one of our other son's teachers passed out copies of a book from the "Truth For Youth" program, a revivalist ministry. The book included the entire New Testament of the Bible as well as cartoons that denounce evolution and trumpet the evils of birth control, premarital sex, rock music, alcohol, pornography, homosexuality, sorcery, and witchcraft.

We assumed that the Superintendent was not aware of all the unlawful activities at Negreet and would want to know about them so she could rectify the situation, but we could not have been more wrong. She was dismissive and told us that we live in the "Bible Belt" and that this is just how things are. She added that, because she was not offended by the fact that "the lady who cuts [her] toenails has a statue of Buddha," we should not be upset by the blatant proselytizing at Negreet or the bullying and harassment of our son and the degradation of his Buddhist faith.

My wife and I were floored. I tried to point out that the "Bible Belt" was not a separate country and that we were still entitled to religious liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution. She would have none of it, however. She asked whether my stepson had to be raised as a Buddhist and even suggested that he "change" his faith to better fit in. To add insult to injury, the next day, the Superintendent sent a letter to Negreet's principal, which he read to students over the intercom. The letter thanked Negreet's teachers and principal for maintaining their religious values and influence in the school.

The only recourse offered by the Superintendent was to transfer our son to another school in the school district where, she claimed, there were "more Asians." Hoping to stop the bullying, we agreed to do so, but it turns out that these unconstitutional practices go beyond just Negreet. Even at the new school, school officials regularly promote Christianity, and we are fearful that our son will eventually be targeted again because of his Buddhist beliefs.

We don't begrudge others their right to their Christian faith. But that's why the separation of church and state is so important: It gives us all the breathing room and freedom to believe what we want to believe and to practice those beliefs without undue influence or interference by the government. Forcing your beliefs on another is not freedom; it is oppression.

And when official religious practices are this rampant and pervasive, like they are in Sabine Parish public schools, it is tantamount to religious discrimination. It excludes children and families of minority faiths and beliefs and creates a hostile environment for them. It undermines everyone's religious freedom. I see that now.

Scott Lane is a plaintiff in the ACLU's case Lane v. Sabine Parish School Board. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two parents, Scott, his wife Sharon Lane, and three of their children, including their son, C.C., who is a Buddhist of Thai descent.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline jaimehlers

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Unfortunately, the only solution when you have that level of an egregious violation of Constitutional requirements in a public school is to sue the school district in order to force them to abide by the law.

Offline nogodsforme

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Change your faith to better fit in? That made me see red.

I remember the same kind of crap in public school as a JW kid. I was not the right kind of Christian, didn't say the pledge, celebrate the holidays, etc. I still don't mind the fact that Catholic and Jewish traditions were shown respect. I just wish they could have left out the part where some religions-- or no religion-- got disrespected.

Fact: you don't get to hammer your religion into people who don't believe in a public school. You just don't. I hope that school district has a lot of extra cash lying around for the attorney fees.

I just sent my ACLU dues in yesterday.  8)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Traveler

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Holy crap! It is terrifying that this kind of thing can happen in a land that is supposedly about freedom. Its also exceedingly terrifying that adult educators can be so callous and cruel to the children they are supposed to be leading.  >:(
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Offline Aaron123

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Oh wow, that's unbelievable!   >:(

I can only hope the ACLU wins this case by a landslide.
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Offline screwtape

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To add insult to injury, the next day, the Superintendent sent a letter to Negreet's principal, which he read to students over the intercom.

I'm pretty sure I'd have ended up jailed on assault charges over this.
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Offline Hatter23

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Oh wow, that's unbelievable!   >:(

I can only hope the ACLU wins this case by a landslide.

They likely will, but what is sad, it is even more likely that nothing will change after said victory.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Nam

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I don't know the school system y'all went through but god/religion was never brought up, at least not to my recollection. I mean, in high school I remember some students would get together before the first bell rang and prayed but most people (religious or not) considered them weird and freaks, and stayed away from them. But the "freaks" only were permitted to do it before the first bell, and outside in front.

I never got these "questions", nor do I know anyone who has.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

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Offline nogodsforme

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In small rural towns with insular communities, this is probably scarily common. Everyone goes to the same or similar churches, watches the same tv shows, listens to the same news. Places where the workplaces have Christian prayer breakfasts or religious retreats, and everyone who works there is expected to participate. Hey, it's a private workplace, you don't like it, you don't have to work there, right? Or if you really need the job, you might just fake belief and keep your real thoughts to yourself.[1]

Since these places don't want to teach real science or offer any reason for science-minded kids to want to stick around, they end up having to import medical personnel from places like India. (Why the need for doctors? Why don't they just let god decide if they are meant to live or die?)

So there will be a few Sikh, Muslim or Hindu families in town. In school these kids are way outnumbered by the fundies. And since we are talking rural USA here, probably also outgunned. :o
 1. Like a totalitarian state, there is no way to tell who really believes the stuff versus who is just going along with the program. Funny how there is no supernatural difference that can be discerned, either.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Betelnut

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I grew up in the Bible Belt and went to public schools and never encountered such things!  This is horrible!

The ACLU should win but sometimes even blatant violations such as these get by.

Offline Nam

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I grew up in the Bible Belt and went to public schools and never encountered such things!  This is horrible!

Me, too. Of course I went to a high school of over 6,000[1] and gangs and race wars, and the weekly bomb threat was the biggest worries.

-Nam
 1. not the biggest high school in the district, and we did have two campuses; technically three but one was a two story building on the main campus and was designated only for Freshman
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey