Re: Explain the prayer in schools thing to me
Thanks! Now let's look at these cases:
Originally posted by justgin
* Not opening official city government meetings with prayers 'in Jesus name.'
The only problem here is opening government meetings with any prayers at all. It is more apparent that the government is endorsing a particular kind of religion when prayers to "Jesus" are made, but Christian-style prayers exclude many (but not all) non-Christian views. Not to mention the objection some Christian sects have with this practice.
* Removing Gordon Klingenschmitt from him military chaplaincy for praying in Jesus' name.
A quick Google casts some serious doubt on whether this was the reason for his dismissal. But in general, it depends on how the chaplain thing is being run. If a member of the military can personally choose to take part in sectarian services, great! I support the notion of providing options to soldiers. If, on the other hand, religious views are being pushed on this captive audience, that's crummy all around.
* UCLA not allowed a student to thank Jesus during a graduation speech.
Again, Google reveals it's not so simple. A school official was reading remarks from multiple students and wanted to say 'God' instead of 'Jesus.' Certainly if the officials are going to do one, the other should be allowed! Letting students speak for themselves or adding a disclaimer that "The views expressed are not...etc." should have dodged the issue entirely.
* A university (UC Hastings, it turns out) denying Christian groups (a group it turns out) recognition for requiring its leadership to agree to a religious creed. It was university policy that officially recognized student groups and leadership positions in them be open to all students and, from what I can tell, this was being applied fairly.
* Fourth graders told by the school that they couldn't do Bible study on their own prerogative in a Knoxville school.
OH HEY, I agree with this article for once. This is a clear violation of civil liberties, unless students are generally barred from (1) talking to each other at recess or (2) reading books during recess. Both of which would be very silly rules.
* Federal funding for the arts sometimes ends up going to artists who offend Christians, but people tip-toe around offending Muslims.
Are you for school vouchers? The argument I defend in favor of school vouchers is that the government money is not given based on having or not having certain views on religion. The same argument applies to national art grants. And, yes, the same freedom applies to art Muslims find offensive.
* A private group wants to make Quran desecration a hate crime.
I'm happy to protest the government adopting any such laws.
For the most part, it sounds like government representatives (acting in that role) are trying to be fair and neutral toward private religious rights. The graduation reader and the elementary principal were overcorrecting and not understanding the spirit of the law.
But then, there's no evidence that the people who wrote this alarmist article understand religious freedom themselves. Insisting on a Christianity-promoting government is what provokes unthinking overcorrections in the first place.
"'tis usual for men to use words for ideas, and to talk instead of thinking in their reasonings." A Treatise of Human Nature, I.II.V.