Monday, April 15, 2013

God IS Allowed in Schools

Recently I have been seeing a lot about how “God isn't allowed in school.” Unfortunately, the people that post or say things like that mean for it to say that school violence wouldn't happen if God was “allowed”. There are a few problems with that mindset, and I don't think the people who say it realize the inherent contradiction.
Um, what?
First of all, religion is absolutely allowed in schools, as long as it is kept as an individual experience or shared by those who already possess the same faith, such as a group of students forming a religious club. Both employees and students are allowed to carry religious documents (such as the bible), wear religious paraphernalia (such as crosses), and pray at any time to any deity. Private schools are allowed to be fully religious institutions if they choose to do so. What is NOT allowed is for government funded employees to proselytize to impressionable children, using tax funded space and materials. That is a basic necessity to maintain the separation of church and state.
Why is that separation important? In and of itself it is defying a basic freedom: the right to decide for oneself what to believe. Beyond that it has many more repercussions; if one religion were endorsed by the government we would all have to follow the tenets of it, regardless of whether or not it was our own religion. Think for a moment about all the things you have heard about others doing, for their religion, that you would never even consider. Would you give up electricity?
Usually the people arguing for this are Christian, and it never occurs to them that the “government religion” might not turn out to be Christianity... but I guarantee that if any other religion were taught in public schools they would be outraged, and rightfully so – because it would directly conflict with the personal choice of faith, a choice the government guarantees to all people. NO religion should be taught or endorsed over any other, when taxes from people of all beliefs are funding the program. Therefore it is contradictory to say, simultaneously, that you want religion in school and that you believe in religious freedom.
I also want to address the idea that people “not allowing God in school” would have any effect. Isn't God supposed to be all powerful? Since when did non-believers have any effect on what God can and cannot do? And if God will support and protect those who believe in him, and who pray for forgiveness for their “sins”, isn't he failing his promise to them by letting non-believers “keep him out”? That doesn't seem like an all-powerful and all-benevolent deity to me. No. If there is a God, he chose not to intervene for reasons of his own. Tragedies happen in places where god is “allowed”, all the time; in fact, it happens far more in other places than it does in schools. Doesn't that speak against their whole premise?
Anyway, the point is that a government sponsored institution cannot include anything religious because it will always be a belief not shared by some of the public that same government represents. We are all guaranteed our freedom to believe what we want to believe, regardless of whether or not it is what the majority believe.

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