rant on religious education in public schools

November 15, 2006

Let’s talk about school shall we?

I understand that there are a lot of people in some hoity toity office somewhere in either the state capital or DC who are clicking fingernails on hard wood as they pour over school budgets, trying to decide what stays and what goes. I also realize there is a secret council of people somewhere who decide what the curriculi for each school and grade will be. And I realize that both of these groups are easily swayed with opinions and facts and initiatives that are supposed to “help our children in learning.”

 However, I don’t care who you are, what you do for a living, or how you raise your children. If your schools offer a bible class, they are violating a principle (not a law to be sure) that has been held in high esteem and trampled on simultaneously for about 200 years. That’s right, church and state, blah blah.

If your school offers this class as an elective, chances are, according to a survey in Christian Century, the class is being taught in a sectarian manner. This means it either has a Baptist or something bent. Likewise, this class probably isn’t teaching the bible as a work of literature, but as a textbook that offers hard facts. Also not cool.

When I was in high school, the psychology teacher taught a comparative religions class. Fun fact: she actually covered other religions than Christianity. Another fun fact: she spent half the semester on sectarian Christianity.

Believe it or not, there are people in the world who aren’t Christian. Ghastly, I know. I don’t want to bash all my lovely friends out there who are Christian, because that has nothing to do with thier character, just their actions. I do want to offend the people who think its okay to have some sort of parochial-style religion education in a public school setting. My tax dollars aren’t going to fund your child’s spiritual journey. They are not going to procure their place in the kingdom of heaven. They are spent so your child can calculate the angle of ascent of an airplane and tell me that Thomas Jefferson walked to the White House every morning.

Exception: Though religion plays a very important part in the history of this country and of this world, its doctrines should not be taught in an instructional manner, only informational. However, when it comes to music, religion plays a supreme role. For a very long time, there was almost nothing secular about music, and this should be taught to understanding and respect, because it has played so large a role in how our world operates in that sphere.

Fun fact: Christian Century conducted a survey that asked people about their preferrences. More people said they liked a good night’s sleep more than to going to church. Appalling! Also, they reported that more people like to read the bible than like to read novels. Appalling, but with less sarcasm! I’m sure they were doing research on only their subscribers, which, I suppose it good marketing because it is research that caters to their audience. However, I don’t think the numbers they used made sense, and thus, are probably not a good representation of accurate research. Otherwise, bookstores would be a lot smaller.



  1. I would actually be interested in a class on the Bible as literature, but I never had time in my relentless pursuit of my major to take such a class.

    I am in 100% agreement with you about this issue, by the way. Church is church. State is state. It’s been determined, over and over again, that public school is STATE. ‘Nuff said.

    Just as an aside…there’s a furniture store in my hometown whose delivery trucks offend me – and I’m not easily offended. On the side of the truck, in BIG, BOLD letters, is stated the stores hours, Monday through Saturday. That’s all well and good, but then, in BIG, BOLD, RED letters, it says “CLOSED SUNDAY. SEE YOU IN CHURCH!!” I will never frequent their store as a result of this message – the implication, not only to me, but also to all my other non-Christian friends, is terribly off-putting. I’m not going to reward them with my business.

  2. “Amen,” he said ironically.

    There is a man in my town who has signs on the sides of his truck. One says “Hell is no joke.” The other reads the scripture to which the first refers. Its awful off-putting.

  3. Here’s me being the devil’s advocate. I believe, even though this is just me just rambling with no concrete evidence (too lazy to look up links) that there is nothing really saying that there is a separation between church and state. I mean, it’s not explicit in any our countries documents except in some letters from Thomas Jefferson.

    That’s the grating thing, that this concrete does have that puritanical foundation that has influenced our culture in all these minute ways that non-Christians do have to work through.

  4. Or was it the other way around? Man, I can keep history straight.

    Here’s this looks promising: http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/history_of_the_separation_of_chu.htm

  5. Awesome Post!

    Third Rake webcomic

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