Friday, October 5, 2007

Religious Messages in Public Schools

An article on Alternet, The Religious Right's New Tactics for Invading Public Schools mentions several ways, and several instances, where the religious right has tried to use the public school system to recruit children into their fundamentalist mythologies.

They spoke of valedictorians who have used graduation ceremonies as opportunities to deliver a religious message, and Texas' new "Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act" which says that schools must give students the freedom to inject religious messages into any student-lead school event.

Of course, the religious right is dominated by hypocrites who will only find these methods acceptable to the degree that they are being used to deliver Christian messages. Let somebody use these opportunities to deliver a non-Christian message, and let the howling begin.

It would be interesting, I think, for a valedictorian to introduce into his speech a claim that goes something like this:

There is no God, and the universe is indifferent to our survival as individuals and as a species. How well we live, and even whether we live at all, depends on our ability to understand and predict the real world. More importantly, because no God exists to protect us and answer our prayers, we must depend on each other. If we waste time and effort waiting for some sky daddy to save and protect us, we might not even notice the lost opportunity to save and protect ourselves. So, I encourage you, each day, to make this a better world for yourself and for those around you.

Of course, large numbers of the religious right will protest. However, they will also be exposed as the hypocrites that they are in doing so. And that, itself, may pay in dividends.

I would then like to hear this person say afterward, "I recognize that people come to a graduation ceremony to celebrate their child's celebration, and not to be preached at by people who have beliefs other than their own. I recognize that this is important. Hopefully, because of what I did today, other people will better recognize that as well, and will quit trying to interject their beliefs into these types of ceremonies."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I support the prayer you included. We are all given the right to believe as we choose and if you believe that there in no God then thats awesome. You have just taken advantage of your Constitutional rights. Just as some one who believes their is a God practices thier Constitutional rights when they say a prayer acknowledges a God. We live in America the most religious diverse nation in the world. It is time for us as Americans to start embracing each other for our believes. We need to learn to celebrate that we have the freedom to choose our believes. If a person was told they could not express that they did not believe in God,they would be very upset and feel as thought their rights had been violated. When a person is told they cannot pray and pratice thier religion the too feel as though they have had their rights violated and the should.