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Lesson Plans


RE: Teachers CAN pray--AT SCHOOL AND ANYWHERE ELSE; THEY JUST CAN'T REQUIRE PARTICIPATION BY THE STUDENTS...


From: Lawrence A. Parker (occti)
Date: Mon Aug 21 2000 - 11:35:16 PDT

  • Next message: Dennis Freeman: "Re: Curious about kiln firings and discipline"

    (C'mon, Judy, I wouldn't be me if I didn't comment! '>) You did mention my
    "interesting ideas on Religion" after all!)

    > Someone posted a long list of things that teachers are supposed
    > to do....it ended with a statement that we are to do all of
    > these things, but we are not allowed to pray.

    Yes, Judy, in point of fact teachers and everyone else is allowed to pray; I
    believe that it's one of the guarantees in the Constitution. What *is not*
    allowed is for a PUBLIC school, or teacher (as representative of the
    school), to require of the students or teachers participation in **ANY**
    formal religious practices. So far as I interpret the law (and I may differ
    from the extremists in the ACLU, but that's ok), any teacher or student may
    observe and practice their religious beliefs so long as they don't interfere
    with the functioning of the school's operations.

    > “In God We Trust”

    Note that this phrase does NOT delimit what or whose God. Although the
    writers were mostly mainline Christian, and I think we're safe in making an
    enlightened interpretation, I think we're safe in saying that the "Force" or
    the "Tao" is just as acceptable. If not, then our Constitution DOES imply a
    "State Religion".

    > “One nation UNDER GOD, with liberty and justice for all”

    Ditto.

    > It is time our schools “put hope for the future back in the youth of our
    > children” (Bush has said this is a job for the churches and
    > synagogues)

    (please don't tell me you're for Bush, Judy :>( !)

    If Bush is saying that only the churches and synagogues are responsible for
    providing hope for our children, then his thinking is narrow indeed and
    absolves the government for any involvement in this process. Yet, in
    deciding fiscal and educational policies which affect employment
    opportunities, the federal and state governments are in the best position to
    provide hope. But what hope is there for children minimally educated so
    that they have no better job opportunity than working at a McDonalds? Or
    drug dealing, or theft, because they can't fill out an application, or don't
    have a home telephone number to give? And, yes, I'm well aware that I'm
    grossly simplifying a complex situation.

    > All children go to school,

    Generally true. All children are *required* to go to school. How many
    actually do, or attend regularly, or continue all the way to graduation is
    the (failing) reality.

    > not all children go to church.

    True. Their and their parents choice. Although many who do not are just as
    (and I've met many who are more so...) spiritual as those who do.

    > Not all children are getting this “hope” from their home life.

    True enough!

    > Children need to believe “In GOD we trust.”

    Ah, if this were only a guaranteed fixer. But it assumes so much which some
    people are not willing to accept carte blanche. How about if we teach them
    to trust in themselves and in others, and then educate them so that that
    trust is well founded, deserved and earned?

    > It is not the job of the school to teach which religion to
    > choose, but to believe as even science believes that there probably is a
    > God.

    Oops! Slipped a cog there. Whereas it is true that scientists, as human
    individuals like the rest of us, fall into one of three classes (theists,
    atheists, and agnostics), and the theists into a multitude of sects, and so
    it is true that some scientists believe that there is probably a god (some
    even believe that there is (!), although they have no proof to support that
    belief). However, Science, as a field of knowledge and as a discipline,
    makes no statement regarding the existence of a or any god. Being
    "supernatural," such concepts are outside of the purview of Science. But no
    Scientific investigations have ever run across any indisputable evidence
    that implies or proves the existence of any god. Likewise, there has never
    been any proof that one (or more) *don't* exist. Fact of the matter is that
    we (collectively with Science) know nothing one way or the other. Which is
    why we talk about "belief" rather than "knowledge" when we speak of gods.

    > It is up to the individual and the family to choose the religion.
    > We need to teach respect for all world religions.

    Both true.

    > Religion was very much a part of both Republican and Democrat conventions.

    This is not a statement of proof, only support which begs the question. And
    it was not the only thing wrong with both conventions!

    > My ancestors came to this country for Freedom of religion—not freedom from
    > religion. God has given man the choice of religion. All cultures
    > have their
    > own way of worshipping God. The more we understand what those beliefs are,
    > the better able we are able to understand the people.

    No arguments here, except to say that the history in America of keeping
    religion out of schools has been largely a product of those people and
    factions who want to put religion into the schools in spite of what our
    Constitution says. In other words, people wouldn't be so vehement about
    keeping it out if others weren't so vehement about putting it in there in
    the first place.

    > We need to pray for education today. We need to pray for the future of the
    > children. We need to pray that people who are in education only for the
    > money -- get out of education.

    Agreed, except that, being a Humanist, I would prefer to substitute "make
    decisions and take actions to ensure" for "pray for." Even God only helps
    those who help themselves, and if you don't get your butt out there and do
    something positive, no amount of praying will make any difference. God is
    not going to issue mandates or funds to our school boards, teachers,
    students or parents.

    > Education is not just a “business.” For me, it is not “Just a job.”

    I know; I'm glad, and that's why we're friends regardless of our other
    beliefs - because we agree to and believe in the same principles, no matter
    their source or derivation.

    > We need to try to make a difference for children
    > who feel that no one really cares about them.
    > We need more people to go into education because they feel they can make
    > a difference.
    > We need educators who are willing to go the extra mile for a child.
    > We need educators who do not only think of themselves,
    > but also think of the best interests of the child.
    > We need schools that develop a sense of community and work together.
    > “It takes a village to raise a child” (this is from an African Proverb).

    Amen. You can have my vote any day, Judy!

    > Let us pray for the children who do not hear the words of hope on Sunday
    > mornings.

    Or at home, or in school, or in the news, or on the street.

    > I know all of you feel you can make a difference!

    There is an excellent new book out entitled, "Seven Life Lessons of Chaos"
    by Briggs and Peat. One of the chapters is on the "Power of the Powerless".
    This is best illustrated in the famous "Butterfly" example, and reflects the
    fact that even a small change in a chaotic system has the potential to
    change the pattern of the whole. The point is, we all *do* make a
    difference, some positively, some negatively. The choice is up to each one
    of us, and then to effect the people in our lives.

    > P.S. Here is a list member, Lawrence Parker,

    Thank you for the visual-byte, Judy. Your $5 will be in the mail soon.
    '>))

    Now I have to go talk with Holly who took your advice!

    Ta,
    Lar

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