Subject: Re: Religion in Schools In article <122562@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>, perryc@wheelie.Sun.C

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Newsgroups: talk.religion.misc Subject: Re: Religion in Schools In article <122562@sun.Eng.Sun.COM>, perryc@wheelie.Sun.COM (Perry Cross) writ >In article <8185@spool.cs.wisc.edu> tookey@rocky.CS.WISC.EDU (Keith Tookey) >> >> Article omitted >> >>Since 1980 Toronto public schools have used a book of prayers and readings, >>composed by an interdenominational committee,which are drawn from a number of >>sources, including: Baha'ism, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, >>Islam, Jainism, Judaism, People of Native Ancestry, Secular Humanism, Sikhism, >>and Zoroasterianism. >> >I think this is an excellent idea! One of the problems with america is its >bsession with Christianity, a blanket statement, to be sure, but I think >easily supportable. There are many good tenets, but its overall brutality > > Samuel ordered Saul, in a war, to kill not only every man, woman > and child of the enemy, but also the sheep and cattle. > >is unacceptable. I guess we can hope for the future |-). I don't think that this is a good idea at all, because in the clamor to appease all opinions with respect to religion, they have omitted one: none of the above. There is the general notion that people are guaranteed freedom of religion and conscience, in the First Amendment in the US and section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada. Implicit in this is the freedom *from* religion, that one person may not be coerced into, nor forced to support anyone else's beliefs, and that the state may not do this on anyone's or any group's behalf. People who adhere to a religion must note that freedom *from* religion actually protects their own beliefs; a Roman Catholic will not be obliged to bow toward Mecca, a Baptist will not have to say a Mormon prayer. For the state to show preference not just of any particular religion, but of the idea of religion itself, is therefore a violation of the rights of those who do not accept religious beliefs at all. This does not in any way prevent any person from privately expressing any belief or say any prayer they wish, only that they may not force others to participate in, or make special accomodations for these practices. I agree with Perry that Christianity is the primary religious influence in North America, but that the fact that *all* citizens are guaranteed equal protection and benefit under the law necessarily implies that religion must be a purely private matter. The news article beginning this thread touched a sore spot which even many religious people realize. The resulting theological mish-mash which results from attempting to give credence to all religions really doesn't do any of them justice, except perhaps to the Ba'hais. Many of the more consistent religious folks realize that a diluted and trivialized version of their faith may actually cause more harm than good to their religion. Other people seem to be willing to accept any insult to their faiths as long as they are able to keep their symbols and rituals in the government. The debate isn't over which religion schools should prefer, but whether or not they should be teaching religious doctrine at all. I think that they should not. If a person desires to practice a religion, they should do it on their own time, on their own property, and at their own expense.

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