public schools + religion = not during school hours

Two of my children came home from school this week waving color flyers for a Baptist celebrity’s revival. I glanced at the papers and put them aside. The event has been heavily advertised on television, on billboards and at churches. I don’t care what kind of flyers are distributed through the schools. Okay, I would not like to see anything that it is illegal for students to do advertised to students. Otherwise, I am fine with the karate classes, sports teams, vacation bible school and big church event flyers that are sent home each week. When my children told me that they were taken out of classes to watch a skateboarder and a stunt biker while hearing about the great event they should attend to win prizes, I was NOT amused. I sat on it for a day as my husband always requests when I get myself worked up about something and I am still unhappy.

I don’t care what religious or secular events occur in the school building before or after school hours. There should be ZERO religious or advertising events during school hours. No matter what their personal beliefs are, I truly believe that school administrators are capable of understanding when they are crossing the line. They CHOSE to cross the line this time. This was marketing for a specific religious event and nothing more. Schools are locked and monitored buildings. Parents can’t just show up and hang out in the classroom. Anything or anyone that is a distraction is not allowed in the building. Teachers complain endlessly about the lack of time they have to teach because of standardized testing. If we have so much free time that we can subject our children to infomercials, why don’t we spend that time on something that pertains to education? The children need a well deserved break from academics? The school has its’ own music, art and athletic programs. Showcase those.

This program will be defended on the grounds that anyone who is opposed to it is an atheist or criminal. No. I am opposed on the grounds of separation of church and state. I am opposed because it is a poor use of the precious school hours. I am opposed because this is marketing and not education. The only schools that should advertise this during classes are the PRIVATE, church-based schools. I attended one of these schools. This kind of event was a regular occurrence at my old school. I am not against the event, I am angry that my public school system used cloudy judgment.

10 thoughts on “public schools + religion = not during school hours

  1. But Clown Day is OK? You’re opposed to pamphlets inviting kids to a religious event being handed out, but OK with the entire day spent with clowns – which is marketing too, to get them to pester their folks into taking them to the circus. Odd priorities you got going on there, sugar, especially since you say you’re all about animals rights and all. Or is that only cute cuddly animals that you would have as a pet in your house, but not the elephants and tiger that the circuses abuse every day? Yeah, some real odd priorities and values there.

  2. I am not your sugar. Clown day is part of a theme unit that works in every subject. Watching a skateboarder has nothing to do with anything.

  3. The schools should not be used to promote or market anything at all. It is not a question of “separation of church and state”, which, BTW is not in the Constitution at all, but more that the government schools are there to teach academics to children, not to provide marketing opportunities for anyone – including the circus. I do find it odd, though, that people get all outraged when Christian groups want to present something at the schools, but when it is some other sort of indoctrination – like Al Gore’s movie, or Muslims sharing their traditions to include having the children pray on the ground in the Muslim fashion, no one seems to have much of a problem.

  4. I hear so often that there is not enough time. It is very discouraging to hear when the kids come home and say it was movie day. If they have time to watch a movie because it is the day before a break, they have time to have special speakers that enhance their learning. That said, I am not sure that a religious event qualifies. I am a Christian, but don’t believe promoting the Graham Festival at a school is correct UNLESS it was general content information on a broad subject. I don’t know exactly what was said at Carter, but it was called “character counts” program. Character issues are key in the schools were cheating and stealing are commonplace. But if the assembly at public school was to promote attendance at a religious conference it is wrong in my opinion. However, Cathy, I can’t agree with you on the grounds that the constitution separates church and state. The document was not written as it is commony interpreted today. Same for the right to bear arms — that was about the state’s rights for a militia, not an individuals for protection. But i guess this is why we have a supreme court.

  5. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    By consistently having only ONE specific religion allowed to have infomercials at schools, the schools are endorsing it. If they are not having programs from every religion, they shouldn’t have any. I am in favor of the none approach. My children attend church for their spiritual education. They learn spirituality at home.

    The environment is not a religion. Mr. Gore’s movie was only shown to one of my children. They also showed a movie which expressed opposite opinions.

  6. The problem is that the schools abridge the constitutional right of students to freely assemble, which carries with it the implied right not to assemble. If our kids could just walk out on this blatant exploitation without comment whenever they liked, they could protect themselves. But in a public school, that isn’t allowed. So the school is enjoined not to victimize the children in their care. If even one kid takes offense, they will have a lawsuit here which just won’t quit. The legal precedents are all there. The U S Supreme Court has ruled that this is illegal. Go collect your money. Try for the annual school budget and shut that sucker down!

  7. Perhaps the school should invite Professor Edward O. Wilson to lecture at an assembly. As of 2007, he was the Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. I have paid good money to attend one of his lectures, and he is excellent. Professor Wilson has won the Pulitzer prize twice, in 1979 and 1991. The latter book was on the subject of ants. Professor Wilson is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. Thus he is not a religious figure.

  8. And you entirely miss the founding fathers original intentions…

    Separataion of church and state is designed to prevent the governement from taking over any one religion. Not to keep religion out of everything in our lives.

    It’s been misunderstood and misappropriated by the courts.

  9. Separation of Church and State has not been “misappropriated” it was clearly designed to make it so that the State could not show preferential treatment (or “take on”) one particular religion.

    A Public School is a representative of the State, and therefor cannot “take sides” or endorse. This is not clouded, except by those that wish to cloud it to justify their positions.

    An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary. You may or may not agree with the conclusions, and that is your right. But it has no bearing on the discussion, other than right wing nuts trying to find something to whine about.

    This “game” whether it be “revivals” or renaming Creationism to something else does not mask the intent that there are those that are trying to make a religious “standard.” Funny how these same people complain when some other religion is given any sort of equal time.

    These items are not gray area. They are not “misappropriated” just because you want different. They are the laws. And they should be bound by them.

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