Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
blike

How far should the US take separation of Church and State?

Recommended Posts

If the pledge were mandatory, I would agree, but since it is voluntary, it looks more to me like an infringement of freedom to exercise, or of freedom of speech.

The habit, if you perfer, of reciting the oath is the issue. When it's said, its not really an option for childern to assert the right not to recite.

 

I'm afraid it's special pleading to say it's an infringment of freedom. For instance, we don't have an option swear alligence to Darth Vader at the start of a school year. I know what you mean, but it's not a valid argument.

 

I think it a little premature to say that the government has made a decision to remove anything[/b'] in this case.

The Department of Education has stipulated it's rules. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) program brought in many amendments to the way religion is handled in school i.e. section 9524, which holds this statement : -

 

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment requires public school officials to be neutral in their treatment of religion' date=' showing neither favoritism toward nor hostility against religious expression such as prayer. Accordingly, the First Amendment forbids religious activity that is sponsored by the government but protects religious activity that is initiated by private individuals, and the line between government-sponsored and privately initiated religious expression is vital to a proper understanding of the First Amendment's scope. As the Court has explained in several cases, "there is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect."

 

From : -

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/religionandschools/index.html

[/quote']

 

Moreover, the introduction of the NCLB is a serious effort to bring US state schools in line with the worldwide standards of education. The US has been improving it's school system to give students an education that is at least on a par with other western nations, and part of that involves adopting the principles on the forefront of education. If only for the sake of giving children the education they deserve, the restrictions on religion can and must be upheld.

 

You don't need to agree with it, you just need to trust that the Government is acting in the best way possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The habit, if you perfer, of reciting the oath is the issue. When it's said, its not really an option for childern to assert the right not to recite.

 

If it is the pledge of allegience that you object to, then again, it is a voluntary act. No student can be forced to recite it, not can a teacher be forced to lead it. To assert that a student cannot participate in something that is voluntary--absent any illegalities thereof--clearly attempts to restrict the rights of those students. It would make as much sense to restrict students from having photos taken for a yearbook on the basis that Amish children are opposed to having their pictures taken.

 

I'm afraid it's special pleading to say it's an infringment of freedom. For instance, we don't have an option swear alligence to Darth Vader at the start of a school year. I know what you mean, but it's not a valid argument.

 

Oh, I think that one could say "Darth Vader" in place of "under God", if he wished. Who would stop them, and under what penality? :D

 

The Department of Education has stipulated it's rules. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) program brought in many amendments to the way religion is handled in school i.e. section 9524, which holds this statement

 

But there is nothing in that rule that specifically forbids the referrence to God in the pledge. Yes, it says that the school will not teach religion, but it is still an open question as to whether or not the "under God" language constitutes a violation of this rule.

 

The courts will decide the issue in due process of time..... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks. That's an interesting link.

 

My favorite argument was Religious Egocentrism. You see some of that in this thread in the assumption that the "Under God" part of pledge encompasses everyone therefore should be acceptable' date=' conveniently overlooking the fact that it may be annoying or even offensive to atheists and agnostics among others.

 

Obviously, the feelings of these nonbelievers deserve to discounted.[/quote']

 

I guess the point is that these things can be taken to an extreme. What if a quaker moves next door and finds the communities' use of electricity and cars offensive and annoying, even potentially dangerous? If people complain about everything, real causes get lost in the noise and sometimes backfire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, I think you may have Quakers confused with Amish. I have known many Quakers who use electricity. Also I think the private sphere differs from the public sphere and the law acknowledges this. If an Amish person moved next door (an unlikely circumstance given the Amish rules about shunning the outside world) that person could choose to use electricity or not.

 

It is sort of like this: You can smoke in your own home but you are not allowed to smoke in the nonsmoking section of public restaurants.

 

Also, we are dealing with a specific class of people (children) in an involuntary circumstance. The law requires them to go to a school of some sort. Most parents cannot enjoy the luxury of educating their children at home and most cannot afford private education.

 

Don't mistake my POV on this as an explicit endorsement of Michael Newdow's methods. I disapprove of people who use their children merely for political purposes, but I think his cause is a valid one.

 

I cannot remember who in this thread said that Christianity is the majority and used this to justify keeping the word God with its Judeo-Christian baggage in the pledge, but I think if most of you care to examine which is the fastest growing religion in this country you will come up with two contenders: Islam and the Latterday Saints.

 

Consider if the future majority decided that the word Allah should replace God. Would anyone here have problems with that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Consider if the future majority decided that the word Allah should replace God. Would anyone here have problems with that.

 

Christians would, just as Muslims potentially do now with the word God. And then non-religious people like myself have a problem no matter what is said as long as it refers to a particular religion's diety (ies). Is it that much trouble just to not say God any more? Is such reference that important to Christians that it simply cannot be taken out? It bothered me becasue I felt that I was being forced to pledge acknowledge a god I didn't believe in. Even if it was voluntary, you risk getting in potential trouble with a teacher who might think everyone has to stand for it, and you risk being singled out by other students for being an outcast. So in a way, it is mandatory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.... conveniently overlooking the fact that it may be annoying or even offensive to atheists and agnostics among others.

 

Obviously' date=' the feelings of these nonbelievers deserve to discounted.[/quote']

 

how true that is. :mad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Christians would, just as Muslims potentially do now with the word God. And then non-religious people like myself have a problem no matter what is said as long as it refers to a particular religion's diety (ies). Is it that much trouble just to not say God any more? Is such reference that important to Christians that it simply cannot be taken out? It bothered me becasue I felt that I was being forced to pledge acknowledge a god I didn't believe in. Even if it was voluntary, you risk getting in potential trouble with a teacher who might think everyone has to stand for it, and you risk being singled out by other students for being an outcast. So in a way, it is[/b'] mandatory.

 

There is no justification in telling a religious person that they are disallowed from acknowledging God just because an athiest or someone who calls God by another name is within earshot.

 

If you read your own post, and try to view it from the perspective of a religious person, you might see that.

 

How is it an act of reaching out to people of all faiths and all philosophies, to tell some of them that they cannot acknowledge their concept of a supreme being in a voluntary recitation of a pledge of allegience that is voluntary in the first place?

 

I thought that schools were a place to explore ideas. A place to become aware of the great variety of differing points of view. How can those things be accomplished if one of the first things we tell our children is that the word "God" is taboo? :confused:

 

Edited to add:

 

Especially in a school where we talk to them about fellatio and cunnilingus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If it is the pledge of allegience that you object to, then again, it is a voluntary act. No student can be forced to recite it, not can a teacher be forced to lead it.

Sorry, what I was referring to was the generic peer presure in society and schools to conform. Peer pressure is rather well documented, that's what I was alluding to when I said its not really an option for childern to assert the right not to recite.

 

To assert that a student cannot participate in something that is voluntary--absent any illegalities thereof--clearly attempts to restrict the rights of those students.

Children do not have enough of a sense of individuality to assess what they are doing and not doing. The idea that a child has a concept of what rights it is afforded is a rather weak one. The pledge is not given is schools with an 'opt out' clause, nor is opting out a socially acceptable thing to do. I hope that clarifys my point somewhat.

 

It would make as much sense to restrict students from having photos taken for a yearbook on the basis that Amish children are opposed to having their pictures taken.

No, you see that your doing here is presenting a false premise. I understand what you mean though. How about comparing it to the French system, where they have removed all references to religion (crucifix, turbans, prayer beads, muslim headscarves etc). That would infinge personal rights protected by the constitution.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3619988.stm

 

The French Govenment wanted to ban Islamic headscarves, but found they had to ban every external reference to a religion. It's a risk that the issue could snowball in America as it did in France (but it probably won't)

 

Oh, I think that one could[/b'] say "Darth Vader" in place of "under God", if he wished. Who would stop them, and under what penality? :D

Perhaps thats the solution, allow people to insert whatever word they like in that part of the pledge. Seems fair to me, after all God doesn't need the publicity :P

 

But there is nothing in that rule that specifically forbids the referrence to God in the pledge. Yes, it says that the school will not teach religion, but it is still an open question as to whether or not the "under God" language constitutes a violation of this rule.

 

Well, yes and no. The quote I posted sets the mood, rather than being a technical guide to school systems. But of course, it was deemed unconstitutional by the high court.

 

Just to save you some time, heres a link to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige's views on the matter, which is the same as your opinion : -

http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2002/06/06272002.html

 

The courts will decide the issue in due process of time..... :)

 

Yes, I'm sure they will. It's fun to watch the fighting in the meantime :D

 

I thought that schools were a place to explore ideas. A place to become aware of the great variety of differing points of view. How can those things be accomplished if one of the first things we tell our children is that the word "God" is taboo? :confused:

It's not taboo, it just in context. Like references to Thor and Odin are kept with the confines of lessons that involve the Norse Pantheon. It makes sense to me, anyhow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is no justification in telling a religious person that they are disallowed from acknowledging God just because an athiest or someone who calls God by another name is within earshot.

 

I never said that a student can't talk about their god or religion in school. I mean that schools are ideally under control of a secular government (remember the constitution?). Pledging allegiance, under the Judeo-Christian god, and having school activities stop and requiring students to stand and do this is unconstitutional and violates civil rights. Although many don't admit it, atheists are entitled to the same civil rights as anyone else.

 

How is it an act of reaching out to people of all faiths and all philosophies, to tell some of them that they cannot acknowledge their concept of a supreme being in a voluntary recitation of a pledge of allegience that is voluntary in the first place?

 

This statement doesn't make a lot of sense. Perhaps a format or grammatical error? Again, for like the bajillionth time, if it is voluntary, then why do some schools recite it over the loudspeakers? Why does it take place before all class activities begin? If an atheist child refused to stand I can concieve of a teacher say "oh thats silly, be a good boy, place you hand on your heart and stand". For the last time "god" denotes the Judeo-Christian god, leaving all others in the dust. It is not "reaching out to all faiths and philosophies" as you put it. Read my posts again.

 

I thought that schools were a place to explore ideas. A place to become aware of the great variety of differing points of view. How can those things be accomplished if one of the first things we tell our children is that the word "God" is taboo? :confused:

 

*Sigh* I never said that schools weren't places to learn and explore ideas. Read my posts supporting the objective teaching of world religions. Requiring students to basically acknowledge a particular religions god, and stating that this country of supposed plurality and freedom in a state (read: secular) owned school is wrong. It is a form of right-wing indoctrination if anything. Did you know the word "God" was absent from the pledge of allegiance until 1954, during McCarthy's reign of terror? (Google this fact, its true)

 

Especially in a school where we talk to them about fellatio and cunnilingus.

 

??? Saying these words and not the slangs for them is necessary for educating responsible teens about healthy sexual relationships. its not like they are curse words or something. Are you saying that sex education in a world of sexual liberation and sexually transmitted diseases is bad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, what I was referring to was the generic peer presure in society and schools to conform. Peer pressure is rather well documented, that's what I was alluding to when I said its not really an option for childern to assert the right not to recite.

 

Oh, I think you underestimate kid's ability to resist peer pressure. Resistence to peer pressure is why all of our kids don't get into the same kind of trouble.

 

Children do not have enough of a sense of individuality to assess what they are doing and not doing. The idea that a child has a concept of what rights it is afforded is a rather weak one. The pledge is not given is schools with an 'opt out' clause, nor is opting out a socially acceptable thing to do. I hope that clarifys my point somewhat.

 

If kids didn't have enough sense of individuality to opt out of something like what we are discussing, then I would say that what they need is more experience in exercising that right, not to be protected from the necessity of using their judgement.

 

No, you see that your doing here is presenting a false premise. I understand what you mean though. How about comparing it to the French system, where they have removed all references to religion (crucifix, turbans, prayer beads, muslim headscarves etc). That would infinge personal rights protected by the constitution.

 

The French Govenment wanted to ban Islamic headscarves, but found they had to ban every external reference to a religion. It's a risk that the issue could snowball in America as it did in France (but it probably won't)

 

Which is precisely why it would be a mistake to yeild to this misconception that the "G" word is somehow going to cause our kids some sort of harm.

 

Perhaps thats the solution, allow people to insert whatever word they like in that part of the pledge. Seems fair to me, after all God doesn't need the publicity

:P

 

They can! There is no school rule, nor can there be a rule that says that kids cannot substitute any phrase they want to instead of "under God."

 

They cannot even compelled to say any part of the pledge in the first place. Kids know better than to get into a car with a stranger, why wouldn't they know that they can say no to the pledge, or to "under God" if that is their desire?

 

 

 

It's not taboo, it just in context. Like references to Thor and Odin are kept with the confines of lessons that involve the Norse Pantheon. It makes sense to me, anyhow.

 

But the context is not a requirement. That is the whole point. Kids need to learn that if anyone suggests something to them that they think is wrong, they do not have to comply. It is called using their judgement. That is why we have schools in the first place. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I never said that a student can't talk about their god or religion in school. I mean that schools are ideally under control of a secular government (remember the constitution?). Pledging allegiance, under the Judeo-Christian god, and having school activities stop and requiring [/b']students to stand and do this is unconstitutional and violates civil rights. Although many don't admit it, atheists are entitled to the same civil rights as anyone else.

 

Again, no student is required to recite the pledge. And an athiest does not have to say "under God."

 

 

This statement doesn't make a lot of sense. Perhaps a format or grammatical error? Again, for like the bajillionth time, if it is voluntary, then why do some schools recite it over the loudspeakers? Why does it take place before all class activities begin? If an atheist child refused to stand I can concieve of a teacher say "oh thats silly, be a good boy, place you hand on your heart and stand". For the last time "god" denotes the Judeo-Christian god, leaving all others in the dust. It is not "reaching out to all faiths and philosophies" as you put it. Read my posts again.

 

Are you saying that the pledge is coerced from the students? If that is the case, then bring suit to have that stopped. You would probably win that one.

 

 

*Sigh* I never said that schools weren't places to learn and explore ideas. Read my posts supporting the objective teaching of world religions. Requiring students to basically acknowledge a particular religions god, and stating that this country of supposed plurality and freedom in a state (read: secular) owned school is wrong. It is a form of right-wing indoctrination if anything. Did you know the word "God" was absent from the pledge of allegiance until 1954, during McCarthy's reign of terror? (Google this fact, its true)

 

Any student who knows God by another name can insert any name he wishes. Any student who does not know God, can say nothing. Ant student who doesn't believe in pledges (as is the case with many Christians) can refuse to take the pledge. What could be more fair? :confused:

 

 

??? Saying these words and not the slangs for them is necessary for educating responsible teens about healthy sexual relationships. its not like they are curse words or something. Are you saying that sex education in a world of sexual liberation and sexually transmitted diseases is bad?

 

No, not at all. I am saying that certainly there are a lot of parents who don't believe in the schools teaching sex education to their kids. Probably more that there are who are offended by "God", so why are their sensibilities so much less important than an athiests?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Edited to add:

 

Especially in a school where we talk to them about fellatio and cunnilingus.

 

I think we're discussing different schools, and younger groups of students, for the pledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The students technically don't have to say "God", but I think you underestimate peer pressure. Anyone who is different is usually ostracized by other students. Is it that hard to just stop saying "god"? Really, people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh' date=' I think you underestimate kid's ability to resist peer pressure. Resistence to peer pressure is why [b']all[/b] of our kids don't get into the same kind of trouble.

 

But some invariably do succumb, and that's what matters. Will you at least acknowledge that the Constitution is supposed to protect everyone's rights?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think we're discussing different schools, and younger groups of students, for the pledge.

 

I don't care if they are in kindergarden. The learning process begins whenever something occures that requires judgement.

 

If these kids were as helpless as you make them out to be, they wouldn't have their shoes on the right feet. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The students technically don't have to say "God", but I think you [/b'] underestimate peer pressure. Anyone who is different is usually ostracized by other students. Is it that hard to just stop saying "god"? Really, people.

 

I think that is baloney! I went to school with Amish kids, black kids and Italian kids, some of whom could hardly speak english. They all had their own problems, and they all learned to cope with them. Believe me, "God" or the utterance of his name, was the least of their worries. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But some invariably do succumb, and that's what matters. Will you at least acknowledge that the Constitution is supposed to protect everyone's[/i'] rights?

 

Of course, and I think that it does that rather nicely, thank you.

 

But so far, it has not been established that a voluntary pledge of allegience, notwithstanding the referrence to "God" is in any way unconstitutional. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that is baloney! I went to school with Amish kids, black kids and Italian kids, some of whom could hardly speak english. They all had their own problems, and they all learned to cope with them. Believe me, "God" or the utterance of his name, was the least[/b'] of their worries. :D

 

You obviously went to a school were racial and doctrinal plurality was the norm. What about schools with little radical diversity? Wouldn't the uniform majority look down upon, and ostracize anyone who is different? What is it gonna take to make you realize that peer pressure occurs and is a powerful force with children and teenagers? It was for me.

 

PS Amish kids? So I assume you were homeschooled with them in Pennslyvania? (Or maybe I don't know Amish people's culture)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But so far, it has not been established that a voluntary pledge of allegience, notwithstanding the referrence to "God" is in any way unconstitutional. :rolleyes:

 

A "voluntary" pledge of allegiance to a country is fine. When you pledge allegiance to one religion's diety in a secular school, that is ideally unconstitutional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You obviously went to a school were racial and doctrinal plurality was the norm. What about schools with little radical diversity? Wouldn't the uniform majority look down upon' date=' and ostracize anyone who is different? What is it gonna take to make you realize that peer pressure occurs and is a powerful force with children and teenagers? It was for me.

 

PS Amish kids? So I assume you were homeschooled with them in Pennslyvania? (Or maybe I don't know Amish people's culture)[/quote']

 

Amish people live all over the USA and many of them go to public schools. This was in the 40s and in SW Michigan.

 

About the peer pressure: If a child is protected from peer pressure, how will he be properly prepared for life? Life is full of people trying to get others to do things some good, some bad. If we value the education of our kids, we should expose our kids to peer pressure, especially pressure as harmless as this is and not shelter them from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any student who knows God by another name can insert any name he wishes. Any student who does not know God, can say nothing. Ant student who doesn't believe in pledges (as is the case with many Christians) can refuse to take the pledge. What could be more fair? :confused:

 

why should a student be required to even make that choice? Why can't we make everyone happy and simply omit the word "god"? Is it that important for christians to have it said when it can potentially cause trouble? What I have a problem with is the fact that the actual pledge contains the word "god", and it is said in schools en mass, regardless of the fact that students can omit the word, or not say the pledge. Why does "god" even have to be there in the first place?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A "voluntary" pledge of allegiance to a country is fine. When you pledge allegiance to one religion's diety in a secular school, that[/i'] is ideally unconstitutional.

 

If it is voluntary, how could it violate the Constitution? :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
About the peer pressure: If a child is protected from peer pressure, how will he be properly prepared for life? Life is full of people trying to get others to do things some good, some bad. If we value the education of our kids, we should expose our kids to peer pressure, especially pressure as harmless as this is and not shelter them from it.

 

It is not "harmless" peer pressure. I am not saying shelter your children from it. There are many ways for them to experience it in school, believe me. It's simply not right to make citing a religion's god a daily event in school, voluntary or not. Before you were saying that peer pressure either didn't exist, or had little impact, and that it is easily resisted. Now you are saying that it is good. Its' my turn to make a confused face :confused:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
why should a student be required to even make that choice? Why can't we make everyone happy and simply omit the word "god"? Is it that important for christians to have it said when it can potentially cause trouble? What I have a problem with is the fact that the actual pledge contains the word "god", and it is said in schools en mass, regardless of the fact that students can omit the word, or not say the pledge. Why does "god" even have to be there in the first place?

 

One might ask why should a person who wishes to say "under God" be prevented from doing so? If there is trouble over it, why is that the fault of the religious person? Why is it the the religious person must be the one to make the sacrifice, and not the Athiest?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If it is voluntary, how could it violate the Constitution? :rolleyes:

 

notice the quotation marks when I wrote "voluntary".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.