A popular controversy that has continued for years and is still going on today is the practice of religion should be allowed in schools or not. Many people don’t show the interest in religious groups and yet those who are religious don’t show interest in the ones who aren't religious. This has been a problem since the early 1960's when the court decided that church should be separate from the state and schools. Many religious activists have fought against this decision over the years but it seems that those who don’t show any interest in religion cause more restrictions against religious people. People with religious beliefs should be able to go to a Minister or a person of religious authority to get guidance, rather than only being able to talk to their peers, if they have an issue that's religious based, in the school.
Although many could see that this could cause hate crimes to arise in the school districts. Just like the problem that occurs between Black and White people, people will see that because they worship someone different or practice something different than them people will decide to get rid of them. We saw this type of thing during World War II and after World War II the segregation of Blacks and Whites. There is, however, a positive side to having religion in schools. By having religion in schools those who do not participate in a religion would understand what those who does practice a religion believe and why they believe what they believe. And it is a learning experience for those who do practice a religion to learn about other religions. Yes students already do learn some they don’t get to see first hand what that religion does. Religion in schools doesn't mean we are going to force those who don't practice any religion to read the Bible, pray, and talk to Ministers or people of religious authority, but that they let those who do practice a religion to feel safe to, at any time of the day, read the Bible and pray with a minister or religious authority in the school. That way everyone can be free to express themselves the way they are and express themselves through what they believe.
Another problem is that not all of us have the same religion. The Religious Tolerance Organization found that "there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into 270 large religious groups"(Robinson 1). That is a lot of religions to take care of, but there is a solution. Even though there are 270 large religious groups it is not likely that a school will a have at least one student representing each and every one of these religions, therefore that makes this problem a little simpler. In the United States there are, according to the 2002 census "Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10%"("World Fact" wink . This creates a smaller diversity of only five major religious groups with a bunch of small religions added in. Most people are either Protestant or Roman Catholic; and most of the people are either of associated with a church that has the same beliefs as either Protestant or Roman Catholic, meaning that a school could use by letting any minister come into a school for a certain time each day for those who need his/her help. Only the reverends of the religions, that at least one of the students believe, could come in for the sole purpose of guidance for the followers of that religion.
A big controversy between religious and non-religious people is the teaching of evolution and creationism. Those who are religious don't want to learn about evolution because it is against their beliefs. Some religions may believe in evolution but the people who follow Christianity generally believe in creationism. Then there are the non-religious who don't have any initial beliefs and follow the way of the scientists which is evolution. These people are not open to listening to creationism, and this offends them. But what they don't realize is that they are offending those who are religious. See, as a religious person my self, when we have to sit through classes about evolution and things like the Big Bang Theory it offends us that non-religious people won’t listen to the theory of creationism. If we have to listen to all scientists have to say about evolution and how the earth is like 13.8 billion years old, then scientists and non-religious people should at least listen to what we have to say. I mean it's the least non-religious people could do for those who are religious.
This country was founded on the belief of God. Settlers came over here to be free and worship God in their own way without anyone telling them exactly what to believe. Later the Bill of Rights was written. As many know the first amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...etc."("Bill of Rights" wink . This simply means, as stated by the court in the Everson vs. Board of Education case, "Neither the state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbelief, for church attendance or nonattendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa."("1st amendment meaning" wink . The first amendment establishes that the government is not to secretly help church organizations or make people pay taxes toward the church organizations. This would not matter if we were to bring religious authorities into the school to create a source of guidance to the religious children in the school systems. Religious authorities are not in the business of "spreading the word of God" for the money but to ensure that people find the way to Heaven, the afterlife, or whatever their goal is in life for his/her religion. These religious authorities would be willing to take time out of their day to guide the youth in the way of his/her religion.
Another thing that has been brought up is the words “under God” in the pledge of Allegiance. This change was made on June 14 (Flag Day), 1954. This was approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Eisenhower said, “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."(Sterner). This completed the Pledge we now know today:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.
These words are not to offend those who don’t practice a religion or believe in God but refers to the beliefs and origins of our country.
One thing some can’t understand is why the military is allowed to have a priest but schools aren’t (McIntosh 66). Both the military and the schools are part of the government and yet public schools can not have a minister or religious authority to guide the students. Even in the wars there are chaplains. People complain about allowing reverends and religious authorities to be engaged inside the military but not inside the school systems. People who are working for the government can freely talk to a chaplain of minister without any problem. Then there are the students who go to public schools, who don’t even work for the government, who aren’t allowed to talk to a religious authority inside the school, on school property. These things are offending to those who practice religions.
People with religious beliefs should be able to go to a minister or a person of religious authority to get guidance in the school. By doing this people can learn about other religions, study with a religious authority legally on school premises, and let others know about religious beliefs. Not letting these things happen in the school offends those of religion and takes away our freedoms. From these points I would hope that the government will understand why religious people should be allowed to have spiritual guidance while in the school.
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