Faith leaders sound off on role of church in public education
October 2nd, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Faith leaders sound off on role of church in public education

By Tomeka Jones, CNN

(CNN) - Dozens of faith leaders from across the country recently gathered to attend The Stand Up Education Policy Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk education reform. The daylong conference was hosted by education organzations StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee and Stand Up, led by her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The purpose of the event was a call for action for clergy to take part in the national movement to transform public education.

CNN spoke with some prominent religious leaders in the African-American community to find out their views on the role faith institutions should play in public education.

Rev. DeForest Soaries, Jr., a senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, laid out what he believes are three roles of the church in education.

"One is programs. Some churches have their own schools that would be on the programmatic level, after school programs and literacy programs. The second is political dealings with the various political forces that impact and control public schools: Making sure people run for school board, making sure people vote for school board, and monitor what's happening. And, the third is policy: Advocating for policies that enhance the likelihood of success."

According to Rev. Soaries, who was featured in CNN’s "Black in America: Almighty Debt", not every church will engage in all three roles but there’s a common theme for each religious institution and that is “to do something.”

Bishop Charles Blake, presiding bishop and pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, said “I think churches should become acquainted [with] the schools that are in their community.”

He believes a church should recruit its congregation to volunteer at educational facilities while at the same time evaluate the overall health and well-being of schools.

“I think that if churches work holistically into the lives of the people in the community, then the community will produce better children more capable and able to excel educationally,” said Blake.

Rev. Renita Weems, ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal church and vice president of academic affairs at American Baptist College in Nashville, said educational forums are essential to the church, which can make a bigger impact in addressing issues in the African-American community.

“We still get the largest number of black people gathering every week so that becomes an easy way to disseminate information. Television is wonderful, radio is wonderful but when a pastor is able to stand in front and mobilize his or her congregation there's no comparison.”

Charlie Stallworth, pastor of East Tabernacle Baptist Church and a Connecticut state representative, feels churches and schools should come together as one.

“The basis of Christianity or even that of the black church, or any religion that is concerned about humanity. There is no dichotomy between spirituality and education, or liberation,” said Stallworth.

What are your thoughts? Should faith-based institutions play a role in public education? Share your opinion in our Comments section below.

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Filed under: education • Policy • Practice • Religion
soundoff (475 Responses)
  1. deserthermit

    Science is hard ,huh?

    October 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  2. Greyhound37

    I'm so glad faith leaders want to be involved in education. Accepting their tax dollars will go a long way toward helping to fund public schools.

    October 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • deserthermit

      Yes it's high time churches payed their fair share of taxes.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  3. Kevin W.

    The church should have NO role in public education, and this from a devout Christian. Public education is a government enterprise, and as such organized religion, or religion of any kind for that matter, has no business getting involved in it...

    October 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • deserthermit

      Separation ! Is that clear? Separation of church and state. We are no longer bronze age goat hearders. Keep it in your church. I don't care what you do there. Not around my kids.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  4. Mike

    Yes, hello, consitution here, ever heard of the first amendment?

    Want to know what Education + church look like? Look at every muslim nation in the middle east. I assure you, if the church starts having an active role in education we as people will renter the dark ages.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  5. Mikeg

    The True irony is, many of those demanding that their religion have a place in public schools, are the relgious heairs of those who demanded that strictly secular public schools be created in the first place. Free universal public education in this country was not brought about for any noble or high-minded reason, but because of rank racism. The know-nothings and other anti-immigrant bigots were deeply upset at the Catholic tradition of free or low cost parochial schooling open to all. Believing it was some sort of plot by the Pope to brainwash thier kids, the largely Protestant, Know-nothings demanded the creation of public, tax-supported schools where religious instruction was forbidden, as a way to try to undercut the Chools

    October 3, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • dragonfire77

      When it comes to belief in God, Religion is absolutely the right place to go. When it comes to particle physics, and historical analysis of the earth, solar system, and universe, religion needs to know it's place. The tree with the magical fruit is not going to provide enlightenment on this. To quote Dr House "You can tell me you have all the faith in god you want, but when it comes to crossing the street, I know you look both ways"

      October 3, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • franklyfedup

      As a born and raised catholic, I would never sent my children to a catholic school. They attended ccd class and are free to decide on their religious choice or not as adults. I had one lady state that she sent her children to catholic school because they had pictures of god in the school. The pictures she referred to showed God? a blue eyed, blonde hair, and look like Todd Hunter. Talk about needing an education.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  6. mmajor

    As long as there are the religious right wing fanatics, there will always be those that want only their views forced upon the population. There is no place in government (public schools) for religion. Religion is based on faith (a puff of empty air) and is ruled by fear of hell and rewards of heaven (fiction).

    October 3, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Steve D

      So when you tell me that it's "wrong" to deny marriage to gays, based on no foundation other than your own sentiments, that, too, is a puff of empty air, right? Animals have rights? What's the basis for that? Food (even internet access) is a right? Prove it. Isn't it ironic that people bash religious believers for having unfounded beliefs and then posit beliefs of their own that are completely solipsistic assertions of personal opinion?

      October 3, 2012 at 10:03 am |
      • Ben R

        Don't begin to compare allowing basic human rights to all Americans with violating the 1st Amendment because your god says its ok. Your argument is a shoddy list of straw men that have nothing to do with the article or the comment you're addressing. Being gay shouldn't deny a human their rights, and your bigotry doesn't change the fact that gay marriage has nothing to do with you.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:50 am |
      • nojinx

        But we base our values on real things and propose real solutions. We form our opinions based on our lives and feelings, not on imaginary things that others cannot know or experience.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • rizzo

        Food is most certainly a right. It's hard to 'pursue happiness' if you're malnourished.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • snowboarder

        humans rights are both given and taken away by society, if there were such a thing as god given rights they would be universal. it is plainly obvious that this is not the case.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  7. Vic

    On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

    October 3, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Vic

      "Favoured Races" . This book screams r a c i sm

      October 3, 2012 at 8:56 am |
      • DaveInOrlando

        Well, seeing as how it was published in 1859, are you really that surprised? What we see today as an author's personal defect doesn't refute the reality of what he observed.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:07 am |
      • Vic

        He may have observed it what is called Micro Evolution or a variation within the same species. Finch with different sized beaks. But never observed Macro Evolution, the changing from one species to another. That is theory. Both the religious and the non-religious have to have faith in their theories of what and how things accured. I consider myself religious and I love science. Yes the two can co-exist.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:21 am |
      • Amniculi

        By "Favoured Races" Darwin doesn't mean ethnics. He is talking about biological differences within a species that allow for better survival. For the time he lived Darwin was very un-racist.

        "It may be doubted whether any character can be named, which is distinctive of a race and is constant . . . they graduate into each other, and . . . it is hardly possible to discover clear, distinctive characters between them . . . As it is improbable that the numerous, and unimportant, points of resemblance, between the several races of man, in bodily structure and mental faculties (I do not here refer to similar customs) should all have been independently acquired, they must have been inherited from progenitors who had these same characters." — The Descent of Man (1871)

        What he is saying here is that physical appearance (i.e. skin color) means nothing in the human species and that all humans have the same ancestors. That doesn't sound very racist to me.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:29 am |
      • doughnuts

        Your claim that macro-evolution has never been observed is laughably false.
        Stop relying on "Answers in Genesis" for such easily falsifiable arguments.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:58 am |
      • Vic

        doughnuts – Please provide scientific proof, observable proof that macro evolution has occured.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Sean

        Vic, you do realize that a scientific theory is not a guess, right? Just because the word theory has one possible meaning that implies an assumption doesn't mean that is the meaning used in science. In scientific inquiry, a theory is the highest level of certainty that can be asserted based on current information. It is a collection of evidences and proof and explanations that cannot be refuted given the current body of knowledge around that topic.

        As for so called "macro" evolution, you apparently don't understand how evolution works. Evolution does not say that one day a dog will give birth to a cat. Evolution is simply defined as change over time, and it is a proven and demonstrable truth. The "macro" vs "micro" evolution ignorance that people spout is based on a misunderstanding of the way evolution works. I suggest you put down your self-contradicting bronze age goat herder manual and at least try to educate yourself. Look up "ring species". Investigate the genetic record which proves humans and the great apes share a common genetic ancestor (in fact, humans are still technically considered apes).

        Faith means belief without evidence. Religion is about faith, because the religious don't want to know the truth. Your statement that "both the religious and the non-religious have to have faith in their theories of what and how things accured [sic]" is misleading. If you meant to imply that believers and scientists both require faith, then you are wrong. Science is based on truth and evidence, something that is not required or wanted in faith. Any scientist who doesn't have personal experience with some theory or scientific finding can independently re-create the findings themselves, because science is based on tangible, verifiable, repeatable experiments and observations. That isn't faith, that is proof.

        Further, you state "I consider myself religious and I love science. Yes the two can co-exist". Certainly they can co-exist, but that doesn't mean that religion and science have any impact on each other. Religion (and faith) has no basis in truth, and religious doctrine is irrelevant to scientific inquiry.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
      • Austin

        Macroevolution? Here you go:

        October 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
      • deserthermit

        Races favored by natural selection,not by people. It's not speaking of bigotry.

        October 5, 2012 at 12:08 am |
      • shootmyownfood

        Please do a bit of research on Darwin, and don't ascribe the sentiments that prevailed in his time to our own. Darwin did not want to publish "Origins" but felt he needed to do so to decry racism and in support of abolition. In fact, all the members of Darwin's family were abolitionists, and Darwin's personal experience with a person of color convinced him of the equality of all men. He also was one of the first to publicly assert that all men, regardless of color or origin, were the same species. Please base your comments on knowledge and research, not assumptions and opinion.

        October 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Vic

      Amniculi – Thank you for the update. The Descent of Man, I have not looked at yet. Just being the devils advocate on some debatable issues such as evolution into new species from another. Can either of us prove it is correct or incorrect. I would have to say no to both. Until one day it is completely observable, creationism and evolution will always be a theory. Of course both camps have faith in their theories.

      Just to be fair also, both books The Bible and Darwins first book gave different societies justification in promoting racism. it is how you interpret the writings.

      Thats what it is so much easier at times for both camps to agree to disagree.

      Side note: hope my spelling isnt that bad LOL

      October 3, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • Gerard

        Vic, I appreciate your effort. Faith in religion and faith in scientific theory are not equivalent. Science, as Imre Lakatos and many others observed, allows for falsification. It demands falsification. There are no perennial truths in science. There is truth until it's overturned by new discoveries. Then the canon shifts accordingly. If I'm not mistaken, this is not the manner of religious faith, at least not explicitly. Obviously there has been some evolution or else we'd be living in a vastly different society.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:11 am |
      • not really

        Except the "theory of creationism" has absolutely no supporting evidence. They only reason this hypothesis exists is because people want to believe their religious creation myths are true. But in all the years we've studied our origins, the evidence has always come up to show creationism is wrong, and gets wronger with each new discovery we uncover.

        However the theory of evolution has been shown to be true again and again. With each fossil we find or DNA sequence we unravel, it fits in perfectly with the theories predictions and solidifies it further as truth.

        A theory is simply a model of how things work. It can be completely incorrect or it can be completely true depending on what the evidence says. And all the evidence points to evolution by means of natural selection.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • snowboarder

        vic – creationism is not a theory. it is not supported by a single solitary bit of evidence. it is purely religious mythology.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  8. WMesser58


    October 3, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • TM

      Isn't that what a priest eats for breakfast?

      Sorry, old joke.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:05 am |
      • WMesser58

        @TM old is still funny it's just not funny when these clowns have a slow news day daily and need to stir up this kind of non-arguement. It's a non-issue religion should stay in the FICTION section of the comics and teach children things in school that apply like readin, writin and arithmathic which, seems to be dropping off for inane crap like this.

        October 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  9. snowboarder

    everyone welcomes community involvement in public schools as long as the churches don't use this as an excuse to proselytize.

    October 3, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Tom, Ton, the Other One

      And you know they will.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:32 am |
      • Amniculi

        They always do. It's like a compulsion disorder, they can't help themselves. I recommend lobotomy.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  10. bananaspy

    Why are we so intent on progressing backwards? Theists, you need to keep your religion in your pants. Some of us are fine with reality as it is and don't feel the need to add Santa Claus to it to make it legit.

    October 3, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • deserthermit

      I miss Santa .

      October 5, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  11. crabman

    just what the public needs another know it all -- the church-any church needs to stop pushing their views around -- churchs love to suck the last penny out of peoples pockets and then tell you its for the good of the church - keep these clowns out of the public school system --P S when the ALL MIGHTY shows up maybe i'll change my mind

    October 3, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Rodroderick

      If atheists would stop attacking the churches right to exist, it's people's right to freely worship as they see fit, then we wouldn't need to have such conferences. Live and let live.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • snowboarder

        rod – you're just making stuff up. in no way do atheists attack the rights of churches to exist or the ability of believers to worship. your statement is simplay a plain lie.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:27 am |
      • Rodroderick

        really snowboarder? Then explain why my first grader was told her and her friends are not allowed to prey at lunch time...

        October 3, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • Rodroderick

        pray that is...

        October 3, 2012 at 8:34 am |
      • snowboarder

        rod – i am certain that they were not prohibited from praying, as such a decree is impossible to enforce or even witness.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:36 am |
      • Tom, Ton, the Other One

        Snow is correct.
        What Rod is referring to is the Christian perspective that if the world isn’t awash in Christendom then they are being persecuted. I’m sorry you feel like a victim Rod.. but giving people complete healthcare and equal rights is not taking away your right to exist.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:36 am |
      • BU2B

        Rod, the real question should be how can someone as young as a first grader know anything about god? Of course it's because you have been brainwashing your child since birth.

        It's this type of child indoctrination that is the problem. If people didn't start brainwashing their children so young, nobody would beLIEve in all of the BS. Expose your religion to your children early to get them accustomed to it. Would they believe in the crap if you waited to expose them to it until they have more life experience, say around 15?

        This is why children believe in Santa as well. The only difference between Santa and God is we eventually admit that Santa is a fake when they figure it out, but we keep up the God lie even when they start to have enough life experience to question it.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:57 am |
      • joe800

        Rodroderik- no one is stopping you from taking your child to your church every day if it's that important to you. Why does the the praying need to take place at lunch? Should we stop 5 times a day to let some other religious kids pray?.. How about we make your kids cover their heads?...and I dont think you misspelled 'prey' earlier...I think i it was the truth finding its way out....

        October 3, 2012 at 9:03 am |
      • sam stone

        Well, Rod, who is attacking church's right to exist?

        October 3, 2012 at 9:15 am |
      • Amniculi

        "no one is stopping you from taking your child to your church every day if it's that important to you"

        In a perfect world they would be. Religion is child abuse. If you want to believe in imaginary friends when you're an adult, whatever. It's your life. However, everyone should be allowed to make informed, ADULT decisions, not brainwashed in their youth.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:34 am |
      • dragonfire77

        No one's attacking a church's right to exist. (except Christians saying that mosques shouldn't be allowed to exist, there's a lot of irony there) What we're saying is churches have no right and no role to play in the education of our children with respect to science, math, and history (outside of your own religion's history, that is)

        You stick to teaching about talking snakes, and fruit of knowledge from magical trees, and leave the quantum mechanics and particle physics to us, m'kay?

        October 3, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • nojinx

        I think Rod confuses attacking the beliefs with attacking the believer.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • sam stone

        Rodroderick doesn't support his verbal diarrhea. He just posts and runs like a coward.

        October 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  12. rkilmer

    Simple answer. Keep your religious beliefs in your home and your church. Don't use the public schools to promote illogical dogma of religion.

    October 3, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Rodroderick

      what's really sad is it's ok for Muslim's in this country to worship however, and when ever they want, but for a Christian child to get in trouble at school for praying at lunch? Really???

      October 3, 2012 at 8:28 am |
      • Tom, Ton, the Other One

        Now you’re just being a hypocrite.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:38 am |
      • BU2B

        How does a child know if they are Christian, Muslim, Atheist, etc? Oh yeah, it's because you told them what they are.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:00 am |
      • sam stone

        No apostrophe in "Muslims", Roddy boy

        October 3, 2012 at 9:18 am |
      • texan

        The only instances I have ever heard of where children are supposedly told they cannot pray in school is when they are attempting to do it loudly. Most schools I know of do not prevent silent or even quiet prayer it is only when it is so loud as to disturb others. This argument is old and usually untrue (at least incomplete) and I live in the bible belt so I see it quite often

        October 3, 2012 at 9:34 am |
      • Amniculi

        No child is going to be told in a public school that they can't pray at lunch. That would be against the law.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:36 am |
      • doughnuts

        Rod, stop lying.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:59 am |
      • dragonfire77

        And if Muslims were trying to shut down science classes in favor of teaching 'young earth' hypothesis, then we'd be all over them, too.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:29 am |
      • nojinx

        No, not really. No state in the US prevents students from praying at lunchtime.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:40 am |
      • franklyfedup

        As a student teacher in the early 60s, I saw the effects of prayer in public school. It was the practice at the school to have a different passage read from the bible by a student each day. Most of the boys would pick something short to get it over with or they would be absent that day. One day a girl ask to bring her own bible to read a passage because she did not agree with the bible version that the school had selected. The principal,superintendent, and some school board members had a quick meeting. Their decision was that the students no longer had to read from the bible. They decided that the teacher had to do the readings. I did not follow the bible version the district decided was the official book to be used. As a student teacher and guest of the district, I read from their version but it was only words. As teacher with 40 years in a public school, I never saw a student, teacher, or anyone denied the right to pray. One teacher organized a prayer group that met before school . No one objected to this group. A local catholic school began accepting (recruiting athletes) students regardless of their religious beliefs. The only requirement was the the non catholics attend a religious class two days a week. I wonder if this class was taught to cover all religious beliefs?

        October 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Rodroderick

      ...and what about your "Evolution" monkey boy? Science alone assume's (and a lot of reputable scientist's would stand behind evolution) but yet it's forced down children's throat. Remember the NINE planets in our solar system???? Oh yeah, guess science was wrong there as well.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:30 am |
      • snowboarder

        rod – evolution is the only explanation of species development with any evidence whatsoever, which is mountainous. all others are simply religious mythology.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • Rodroderick

        yet it hasn't been "Proven" – it only a belief. Take evolution out of schools, and maybe i'd be more tolerant of the attack on religion as well.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:36 am |
      • snowboarder

        rod – essentially nothing in the distant past can be "proven" to a level that would satisfy the religious zealots. evolution is the "only" explanation for the development of species that has any evidence at all.

        since we have established that all religions are man made and therefore discarded, what other suggestion would you make?

        October 3, 2012 at 8:39 am |
      • snowboarder

        rod – and of course your pluto reference is just plain stupid. there are no less celestial bodies in orbit around the sun, it is simply a matter of classification. contrary to what you may think, pluto is still out there.

        the fantastic part about science is that when new information is understood it is able to adapt and continue, unlike religion.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • BU2B

        Rod, evolution is a scientific theory, hence it is taught in science class. Your religion is not based on any scientific facts, thus it is not taught in science class. Why is this so difficult to understand?
        Oh, and yes they used to say 9 planets. But it's not that Pluto went away, the Astronomers just decided that Pluto doesn't fit the definition of a planet, so they removed the planet classification from it. Probably due to the strange orbit that Pluto has, or the fact that Pluto's moon is almost as massive as Pluto is.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:48 am |
      • zboy

        Saying evolution is a "just a theory" is just plain ignorant. A scientific theory doesn't aspire to be a law or anything, theory is as high up the chain that something in that classification can go. A law states something that happens, a theory attempts to explain it. Think about this: all it would take to disprove evolution, beyond a shadow of a doubt, would be ONE fossil found in a place that, according to evolution, couldn't have existed yet. that's ALL IT WOULD TAKE, and yet evolution has passed this test time after time.

        As to your conjecture about Pluto? Science changes it's views based on observation, whereas belief is the denial of observation in order to preserve faith. Yes, astronomers were wrong about the classification on Pluto, but give me ONE example that proves, whether empirically or logically, that there is a all powerful creator who has ANY interest whatsoever in the human race, and I'll be embarrassed, but change my mind. That's the beauty of it, I can change my mind.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:19 am |
      • sam stone

        Gee, Roddy, you sure have an issue putting apostrophes where they do not belong. Perhaps if you had paid attention in English class you would know how to write.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:20 am |
      • dragonfire77

        Rod, When you start learning to use the word 'theory' correctly...then you can talk evolution with us. till then just go read something other than the bible for a change...

        October 3, 2012 at 10:10 am |
      • nojinx

        Rod, did you miss out on science education?

        October 3, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Bryan

      For most of us, the stuff in our head that's important to us eventually comes out our mouth. Restricted speech is actually attempted thought control. Your request to keep religious beliefs in home and church is in spirit contrary to the first admendment, if you mean it as a request, and in actuality against the first admendment if you attempt to enforce it thru government.

      Oddly enough, you don't seem to be insisting that people who belive as you also keep quiet in public. Summary of your position is that those who believe as you can speak up anywhere, those who don't need to keep quiet in public.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  13. Arvoasitis

    Somewhere between only the Bible in the schools and no Bible in the schools is the golden mean. Of course, if the Bible were to be taught separate from a program of indoctrination, who do you think would howl the loudest?

    October 3, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • snowboarder

      arvo – so you want to exclude any religion but your own. hypocrite much?

      this country has never been one h0m0geneous religion and was never meant to be.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • dragonfire77

      I have no problem with the Bible being taught in school. In a religion class. Same with the Q'ruan (or however you spell it) or the Bahgavad Gita, or any other religious text. Just keep it in a religion class, and keep it out of civics, science, and math courses.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • shootmyownfood

        You rock. Comparative religion classes could be helpful in so many ways.

        October 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  14. saggyroy

    They (religions) are encroaching more and more into the public sector when they should be separated from it. They need to be taxed.

    October 3, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  15. mmi16

    The US was founded on the separation of Church and State. With public schools – maintain the separation.

    Theocracies are FAILURE!

    October 3, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  16. Evelyn Connaway

    Education from schools is to teach children to read, write, learn to understand what they read, so that as they grow and
    encounter the many different things in the world they will be able to make the best decisions for how they want to live their lives. From the Bible we have the first laws for man to live by – The Ten Commandments. Parents and the church of their choice should have taught these rules to children, which teaches them the right rules to follow, how to behave and how to treat other people and all the things that are against God's laws. They should have already learned their belief in God as our creator and Jesus Christ as our savior. This should follow them the rest of their life. As they grow and look for more meaning in the word of God – with the education they have received they will be able to search for
    all things in the Bible, without someone telling them what to believe, as in the days of old. If you belief in God, he follows you wherever you go and is always with you. Religion does not belong in schools – only in your home and your church. Children do not need to be brainwashed by individual church doctrines – which are man made rules. Once you are grown and have an inquiring mind and an insatiable curiosity about life and religion, then study the history of religion – but never force it on a young child who hasn't learned the true meaning of words. They were or should have been told the laws of God – which most of us never forget, but don't always follow. Teach them to learn, but never tell them what to believe. Human beings cannot be put in a box – they have a freewill and will learn as the grow. Keep religion where it belongs – in the church and out of schools and government – your belief is a private thing between you and your God and no one else.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • texan

      So you are saying that there were no laws at all for the thousands of years of human civilization prior to your bible being written? Not everyone is a Christian nor do they want to be. You are the type I would not want anywhere near schools as you appear to want to convert everyone to your belief system. I do not oppose churches helping schools so long as they are not using this assistande to evangelize

      October 3, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • snowboarder

      evelyn – civil society existed long before the invention of your religion. your argument holds no veracity.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • RavingLinguist

      Evelyn, as someone who isn't a fan of organized religion (or religion at all), I applaud you. Ignore those who are attacking you – it is so refreshing to see someone who is firm in beliefs who also believes that religion is a private topic. I 100% support your right to pray, worship, and celebrate all that you believe in, and teach your children (and only your children) the same. And it is wonderful to know that people like you exist – people who are secure in their beliefs, and not intimidated by a (proclaimed) secular government.

      That being said, I think it's obvious that I agree – churches should be able to do what they want, so long as they don't enter the taxpayers' domain. What you do at home in terms of religious education (or lack thereof) is your business.


      October 3, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • snowboarder

        rav – i am not sure why you would applaud someone for being dogmatic in their beliefs. that is certainly not a virtue.

        of course, i also support their rights to practice their religion and teach their children.

        October 3, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • doughnuts

      Sorry, Evelyn, but even the code of Hammurabi predated the Ten Commandments 3.0 (there were two other prior sets that Moses schlepped down the mountain) by about 1000 years.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • not really

      So, if the Bible is the absolute authority on morality, and the Bible encourages slavery. That means its ok to have slaves right?

      October 3, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • sam stone

      "Children do not need to be brainwashed by individual church doctrines – which are man made rules"

      Like man wrote, translated and edited the bible, which was in itself taken from earlier man made mythology?

      October 4, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • shootmyownfood

      It appears that children should only be taught YOUR religion. I prefer that my children are taught the tenets of Buddhism, and will do so at my own convenience. I never intend to teach them Christian tenets, and you should not demand that I should.

      October 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  17. Lee Oates

    The Church's role? To stay as far away from children as possible. No child should be programed to believe in Fairytales.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:05 am |
  18. john

    I have no problem personally if a church wants to help out a community and it's after school programs. I have a problem when they start requiring all children attending regardless of belief to pray to their god, or they try and pull them into their belief system. If they want to make it work they have to have no mention of their beliefs. Thats the only way it will work otherwise they are just making excuses to pull more people into the congregation and shifting the focus from the childrens well being in school to making sure they agree with your idiological position.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      "I have no problem personally if a church wants to help out a community and it's after school programs. I have a problem when they start requiring all children attending regardless of belief to pray to their god, or they try and pull them into their belief system. If they want to make it work they have to have no mention of their beliefs. Thats the only way it will work otherwise they are just making excuses to pull more people into the congregation and shifting the focus from the childrens well being in school to making sure they agree with your idiological position."

      Of course John, this is the entire problem with an religious organization getting involved in public education, the fact that they do not have the ability, usually because of their doctrine, to remain neutral. The Wall of Separation clause in the First Amendment restricts religious teaching in public places because of the rights of all to their own religous beliefs. By forcing Muslim children to go to or listen to Christian teachings, we are not following our own laws, laws that were set up to ensure that one religion over another would never happen.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  19. cassandra

    wow just wow if creationism was taught in MY school i would boycot

    October 3, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      IF creation science were taught in your school and it were a public school, I would have my organization the Freedom From Religion Foundation, file a lawsuit against the school to stop it. Separation of church and state is paramount to keeping our educational system strong and secular.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • saggyroy

      Here's are the newly added classes coming to a school near you:
      Talking Snakes of the American Southwest
      Flat Earth Theory
      Bats: Birds of the Night
      Animal Husbandry: How to pick out a sacrificial bull.

      October 3, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  20. joe800

    posts appear to be censored

    October 3, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • dragonfire77

      They're all moderated. Keep the profanity out, don't make threats, keep the name calling to a minimum, avoid racial or derogatory slurs, and you'll be fine.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  21. BillyD1953

    The church has no role to play at all in public education. This is a secular nation ruled by secular laws! Which religion would be chosen to be injected into our educational system? Christian? Satanic? Jewish? Muslim? Hindu? Atheist? Agnostic? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Other? Hasn't religion done enough damage to education already? Religion is not education, it's indoctrination. It's dogma, not enlightenment; fiction, not fact.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • tim h

      Atheism is not a religion.
      Atheism is the lack of belief in a god. No belief in god, jesus, allah, buddha, santa claus, the tooth fairy.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  22. realbuckyball

    The three roles of churches in public education :
    Stay the fvck out. If people want to take part, as individuals, fine. This is a secular country.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  23. Gadflie

    Atheism's lack of purpose? Really? Is your only purpose to worship? Me, I have a life filled with purpose. I feel sorry for yous are limited to something you got out of an old book.
    Lack of morals? Again, it's odd that someone who gets their "morals" from a book full of moral contradictions thinks that they can criticize mine but, well, pretending that we don't have morals is just that, pretending.
    Lack of order in the universe? I hate to break it to you but obviously my universe is just as ordered as yours is. After all, it is the same universe.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  24. jmkelly766

    Why is it okay for atheists to have so many strong opinions about how schools and government and anything else they feel is important, but they argue that Christians shouldn't have a say? So many of these internet opinion boards are full of angry atheists. It doesn't appear that atheism is a very happy way to live. I feel sorry for anyone who believes in atheism's lack of purpose, morals, order in the universe, etc. How empty that must be. No wonder you are so angry.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      It is FINE for Christians to have a say in government and society in general, what they can not do is attempt to INFUSE their religious beliefs into the workings. This goes directly against the idea that we live in a nation where religion and the practice of it, is ensured for all. If a Christian wants to teach his or her ideology in a public school, then so can the Muslims or the Hindu, or NONE may do so at all, thus ensuring that NO child is unduly influenced.

      By the way, not all atheists are angry, some of us are quite happy and if you met us, quite personable.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      "Why is it okay for atheists to have so many strong opinions about how schools and government and anything else they feel is important, but they argue that Christians shouldn't have a say? So many of these internet opinion boards are full of angry atheists. It doesn't appear that atheism is a very happy way to live. I feel sorry for anyone who believes in atheism's lack of purpose, morals, order in the universe, etc. How empty that must be. No wonder you are so angry."

      jmkelley766, Why do you assume that all atheists lack purpose, morals, or do not see or believe in order in the universe? The fact is that most Atheists have a very strong moral sense, which doesn't happen to have to come from some religious ideology; certainly most Atheists have a purpose in life, we love, we work, we go to town functions, we attend our kids' plays and sporting events; and unlike a lot of religious people, Atheists actually understand the order of the universe quite a bit more. We accept that science and reason are stronger than magic and ideology.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      If you and I were to meet, and you did not ask me about my faith, you would probably never know I was an Atheist at all. We don't normally wear it on our sleeves, like the faithful do, and we usually operate in public very well. If you were to meet me, chances are you would like me, want to be my friend, and we could have a beer or sit and have a wonderful discussion about politics, sports, science, even religion, and not do so with any animosity at all.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Bazoing

      Atheists do not necessarily lack morals. As to the anger, they include a lot of people who were driven from God's house by judgmental, gossiping, manipulators interested in using religion for emotional or material gain. Look around you before criticizing. To the atheists, I say do not blame the creepy predators, who swarm to places of worship, on God.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
      • thecollegeadmissionsguru

        I do not blame someone or something that does not exist, and that is the simple tenent of Atheism. We do not have any leaders, we don't have a central "belief" and if you asked ten atheists about atheism, you would get ten different answers.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Gadflie

      Bazoing, we blame nothing on God. That would be like blaming something on the Easter Bunny.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Scholar

      Students of the history of philosophy and religion know that morality was present before organized religion and that organized religions embodied moral behavior in their created gods. Were churches far more focused on community service than buying ornate robes and trying to extend their power under laws, they would gain more respect in the community.

      When the clergy of these organized religions turn out to be immoral and predatory of children, we have a logical and moral right to question the motives and morals of these church leaders. If they were to believe in living humble and giving lives and demonstrated their lack of interest in riches and wealth, perhaps they would gain in stature and be able to demonstrate their moral leadership better.

      Instead of praying in quiet and private ways as taught by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, these so-called pious people parade their piety in public and erect giant 50 foot tall statues as public displays of their so-called deep piety, thus making of themselves the hypocrites described by Jesus in Matthew 6:6.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • dragonfire77

      I have no problem with Christianity being taught in a class on religion. Keep religion out of the science classroom, the math classroom, and the code of conduct. Students should not be required to pray to any god in a school. You want kids to learn about talking snakes and suicidal pigs that obey telepathic commands? go to church. Want to learn about neutrinos, nuclear fusion and trigonometry? go to school.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  25. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    The "Role" of RELIGION and the CHURCH in public education is to STAY THE HE LL OUT OF IT! The wall of separation is pretty clear there.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  26. allenwoll

    What is the role ? : NONE, absolutely NONE ! ! !

    October 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  27. 21k

    all you need to know about science according to religion:
    1. god made it;
    2. god did it;
    3. god works in strange ways.

    October 2, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Irony

      Public schools teach that animals and plants are NOT required reproduce according to their kind, which has NEVER been observed before. This is "science"?

      The Bible teaches that animals reproduce according to their kind, which happens EVERY SINGLE TIME. Proven every time a couple has a baby and a dog has puppies. Let us know when a bacteria reproduces into something living that is not a bacteria.

      October 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
      • Gadflie

        Er, kind isn't exactly a scientific description. Other than that, I'm impressed with the obvious almost total ignorance of evolution. Here's a hint, what you pretend that science says, it doesn't actually say.

        October 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
      • pat carr

        don't even try to justify the bible. in genesis, man is made of mud and woman from man's rib. Light is made before the sun. Just don't even open that can of worms

        October 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
      • thecollegeadmissionsguru

        That is one of the weirdest comments I have read on here in a LONG TIME. Evolution occurs all the time, and no, a Monkey will never become a Man, but the evolution of man's ancestor that was monkeylike, has evolved over millions of years. The problem with the bible and people like you, is that you think according to a microvolutionary mindset, where as evolution occurs on a MACRO scale. Sheesh.

        October 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
      • thecollegeadmissionsguru

        A donkey and a horse make.. wait for it... a MULE.. not a horse nor a donkey, certainly NOT their KIND, as you claim.

        October 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
      • Bazoing

        Are you certain you have the correct focus here? What about kindness and fairness? Christ spent most of His time on those, not evolution, not at all like what you are focusing on. And if a Kodiak bear which lives in Alaska gives birth to a white cub, that is a bear, after its own kind. If the white hears become a separate species called polar bears which do better on the white ice cap, that is evolution. You need to look at the world around you. God made it.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • Scholar

        Scientific studies recently found that bacteria do, in fact, create other things than bacteria.
        Beware of ignorance and the super bugs of viruses that combine with bacteria.
        You have more cells in your body than you may know of. Look up the term commensals to gain a little insight into what is living inside of you in your gut, without which you could not survive long.
        Don't eat of mad cows or those prions will give you brain rot.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:32 am |
      • thecollegeadmissionsguru

        Baz, are you sure Jesus taught only love and that stuff? I think he actually says somewhere that he did not come in peace but to cause an uprising against the Romans. Beating plowshares into swords, or something like that..

        October 3, 2012 at 12:50 am |
      • dragonfire77

        Your concept of 'theory' and 'science' is abysmal. Learn what a theory really is, and learn what 'observation' really means. We've found many examples of the 'bridge' species that you refer to. btw, wanna see a modern dinosaur? You know, something that evolved into something else? Look out your's pecking away at the bird seed.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • not really

        You can breed horses and donkeys together to makes mules.

        Not everyone reproduces to its own kind. The important thing is that it has compatible genetic information.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • dragonfire77

      I'm fighting that battle right now with my gf's kid. He went to a private catholic school, and is failing the entrance exams to public high school, because the answer to all his science questions is 'god made it that way'.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  28. none

    It's only role in public education is as an example of how mental delusions spread through populations.

    October 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  29. WachetAuf

    The comparative history, sociology, psychology, science, economics, anthropology, mythology and mysticism of all religion must be taught in all schools to everyone. All Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Hindi, Mormons, and all other smaller religious sects must participate in and provide financial support for the studies. Prayer should be returned to all schools to be offered by all religions for everyone, everyday. Only then will religion be unmasked and exposed, both the good and the bad.

    October 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  30. Mr Muffinopolis

    Church should be taught in the same theme as zeus, apollo, and other ancient fairy tales.

    October 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Polydued

      It's called a History of Religion course. Many private schools have them, schools that are generally outperforming the public options.

      October 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
      • Matt

        And yet for all that out performance of public schools they're students are going to be just as undereducated and under prepared for college, life, and the real world as every other child in America. Our educational system is abysmal and we're asking "what's church's role in education?" Easy, there is none.

        October 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  31. Stella

    Churches have Sunday school where they can teach whatever they want, they have no business meddling with the pubic schools.

    October 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  32. person

    Whatever delusions they cook up in their brains.

    October 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  33. Arvoasitis

    Our Western educational systems had a glorious foundation about 2,500 years ago with the Pythagoreans, a community of scholars, both male and female, who believed that education was a learning process in which the role of the educator was to serve as guide. They considered philosophy (they coined the root word), science and religion in their search for to understand nature, the universe and its marvellous harmonies. (When Pythagoras was asked what time was, he is said to have replied that it was the soul of the universe.) A little more than a century later, the educational process took a disastrous turn with Plato, who had the misfortune to live amidst nearly a perfect storm of catastrophes: a civil war that annihilated the youth of Athens, a horrific plague, and the collapse of Athenian democracy. One of the most important influences was studying at a school in Egypt that had been founded by the exiled prophet Jeremiah and which survived to Plato's day, still indoctrinating its pessimism. Plato accepted the cosmology taught there and it became his guiding belief. In short, he took the material world to be a shadow or imperfect copy of a reality that existed only in an abstract world of concepts. (The poet, Robert Frost paraphrased Plato: "The woman you have is an imperfect copy of some woman in heaven or in someone else's bed.) Unfortunately, our educational system is the collateral damage of the catastrophes of Plato's day.

    October 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  34. tony

    It should be the same role that the church leaders would like the Taliban to have.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Jeroki

      Thank you for pointing that out. There should be a separation of all church and state, no exceptions.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  35. Bootyfunk

    "Bishop Charles Blake, presiding bishop and pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, said “I think churches should become acquainted [with] the schools that are in their community.”"

    how else can they recruit new mindless zombie cult members? and then they can teach that the world is 6k years old and that dinosaurs never really existed - they were magically zapped into the ground by god to test us. wow, christianity is wonderful - if you cut out your frontal lobe.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Polydued

      Not every church teaches that. In fact, the catholic church's official stance has always been, no conflict on evolution. It's really hard to make accurate sweeping statements about billions.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
      • Blowback Bob

        Oh, it's not that hard to point out that all of you are delusional and that this can be proven at any time.

        October 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
      • Polydued

        Dude, now you're just sounding bitter.

        October 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
      • manbearpig

        What's the Catholic Church's official stance on rap1ing children?

        October 3, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  36. Polydued

    There's nothing wrong with a church encouraging parents to become involved with their local schools. They are not teaching lessons, they're assisting teachers in delivering the schools lessons.

    There are athiest saying that because someone was inspired to volunteer at their school by a church, that they should not assist their school or be active parents. Even though the school clearly needs help if its accepting volunteers and active parenting can make a very positive impact on a child's education. Atheist who feel that church goers should not be volunteering at schools could easily resolve this matter by volunteering at the schools themselves, filling the slots with God free volunteers. I doubt there would be much of a difference since the lesson plan would remain the same regardless of which volunteer was there

    October 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      prayer in school and teaching creationism harms children. religion needs to stay out of our school. we all know where the chuches are. and be honest - they are always trying to recruit, and that's part of why they're at schools. education and religion mix like oil and water.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
      • Polydued

        They arent implementing school prayer or changing the curriculum, that can't be done by volunteers or a PTO. They are doing the same sort of volunteering any decent parent does for their school. It's within their rights to do so as well as yours.

        October 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
      • Blowback Bob

        It is only, and ONLY, the parents or legal guardians of the children who have the legal right to be involved in the children's education.
        Religious organizations have no legal basis from which to act here. They are not wanted, not needed, and have nothing but schizophrenic propaganda to add to the situation.
        We don't need schizophrenics trying to run a school or interfering with our educational systems.

        October 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • Polydued

        What church members do you think these guys are talking to primarily? There are parents in the church. They are the ones with the primary interest in this, and will be the most likely volunteers. And as I've stated, volunteering at your school helps their education, the Christians can't just hijack the school and force everyone to pray and read Genesis by volunteering for PTO or school activity. Nice language loading.

        October 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
      • Shane

        I agree that those things need to stay out of school, but this article did not mention that once.

        It was about utilizing the church to get parents more involved in the school and their education, which is something that really is needed.

        I completely oppose the church having a say in what is taught in school, but the church is a great way to get the parents involved.

        October 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
      • CosmicC

        If a church is willing to impress upon its members the importance of an education, that is a good thing. If they try to press an agenda in terms of what is taught, it's a bad thing. Before you jump in and assume that these churches are pushing an agenda keep in mind that Americans United for Separation of Church and State is primarily headed by a group of clergy who believe that their religious freedom requires a complete, two way separation. Not every religion is Fundamentalist.

        October 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • snowboarder

      Encouraging communities to be active in their children's education is great as long as they don't use it as an excuse to proselytize.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  37. Mostafa

    As an ex-public school teacher who dealt with the so-called "ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS" or "CORRECTIONS" I attest to the fact that the whole system calls for a thorough revision: The secular as well as the religious!

    In short, the global village needs an inclusion approach ... of which justice and equity are as universal as the air we all breathe....

    October 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  38. Archyle

    Living in crime infested overpopulated disease ridden urban jungles with poisonous air, no self reliance at all, and apalling unemployment, education and homelessness.... and we in the south are the backwards culture who praise self reliance, family and faith as paramount.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Blowback Bob

      You are considered "backwards" in the South because of your crashing ignorance and unwillingness to follow the law.
      You say you "praise self reliance, family and faith as paramount." but let me point out that you should be following the law and respecting the law, otherwise you are just another dumb Southern hick who thinks his church should be in charge of all government services so you can make sure poor people starve, deny them healthcare and deny them jobs, force them to follow your religion and your personal ideas of what a "family" means.
      Just another dumb religious hick from the South. Huh. And you want us to listen to you.... why?

      October 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • DaveInOrlando

      Let's see... just yesterday I read an article about a fourteen year old Florida girl who choked her newborn son to death – after somehow having kept her pregnancy secret from her willfully ignorant mother for nine months. Family, Southern-style!

      October 3, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • sam stone

      The southern states eat up more government money per capita than the northern ones do. The southern states have the highest rates of poverty and single parent households and the lowest rates of education. What is it you want to celebrate about that?

      October 3, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • sam stone

      Also, have the highest rates of obesity. Praise jeebus and pass the ribs

      October 3, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  39. Archyle

    And all you pseudo intellectuals talking about how religion doesn't have anything to do with education should not neglect the history of education. Its foundations are in religion, and its that foundation you take for granted everday. Furthermore, classically educated children are about the smartest and most prepared for life out of any group.

    If we look at private schools, many have religious components to thier criteria, and overwhelmingly outperform the pagan public school education of this country, which has been ruined over the past two generations. We used to be a beacon of light in a world of darkness when it came to education. Now that the neo-libs have had thier way, we are second rate with no hope of a future for our children.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • mk

      Kids who are well-educated have one thing behind them–parents who care. It has nothing to do with religion. Private school kids tend to do well in school because they have parents who care enough to pay for their education. They have parents who volunteer because there is not enough money to pay someone to do the work. Kids whose parents are involved and show respect for education tend to produce kids who value education. My kids go to a nationally recognized public high school and are excelling. Did I mention that we are atheists?

      October 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      religion has promoted literacy, true. but religion has stifled learning more than helped. how many people were jailed because they used science to come up with an answer that differed from religion's answers? how many books have been banned and even burned by the church? give me a break, YOU need to read your histories.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  40. Archyle

    The government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exersize therof.

    Thats part of the first amendment to the consitution and the only part that deals with religious freedom. How can you extrapolate from that there should be no spiritual or religious influence on any kind in any matter of government?

    You cannot.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      how can you not? try reading that again, very, very slowly.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Katie

      Governments can't tell religions what they should or shouldn't be doing, and they can't pick a religion for any citizen. Religions should remember that while they have this fundamental freedom from government, it doesn't mean they should ignore standards government sets for PUBLIC education and they have NO SAY over government rules.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Katie

        In other words, if religions want to indoctrinate children according to their belief system, they shouldn't think the government will sanction their biases.

        October 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Blowback Bob

      Archyle, imagine that I have a loaded shotgun pointed at your head. Now listen carefully, as these menu options have not changed in over 230 years:
      The Constltution is legally the SUPREME LAW of the Land. It says so and we all agree to follow it as citizens who obey the law. We live under the rule of law in this country. We do not live under your religious fantasy-laws based on some myopic interpretation of your religious texts.
      As the Supreme Law, it supercedes all other laws here, especially religious ones.
      In prohibiting Congress from making any laws that have anything to do with any religion, the First Amendment prohibits any religion-based or religion-focused laws of any sort. Congress is expressly forbidden to allow any encroachment upon any government function by any religion whatsoever. To allow encroachment, they would have to do so in legislation, which is expressly forbidden by the SUPREME LAW of the land.
      You appear to think that your "freedom of expression" includes being allowed to violate the rights of others, otherwise you would not say such idiotic things.
      This is no different than a case where religion-based murder is the problem. Murder is illegal in our nation's laws and it has absolutely nothing to do with any words to be found in the Bible. But I don't expect you to understand anything since you are so clueless and dense. I expect you to froth at the mouth and say that you have the freedom to invade any classroom so you can hand out Bibles to the children.
      If this had been a real shotgun, your head would be splattered across the landscape. I could have used a longer post, but I am sick of idiots like you who don't understand what the rule of law is and what it means.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • not really

      Read the first part "Government shall make NO law RESPECTING an establishment of religion..."

      October 3, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  41. DOUG

    CHURCH INTERVENING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS? Schools don't intervene in Church activities. I don't swim in the church toilet. So I don't want them peeing in my pool.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • lulzor

      They were going to just pee in your toilet until they heard you liked swimming in them.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  42. Archyle

    what is the role of religion in education? I am not sure, but undoubtedly people will make all types of remarks about it. The truth is Government has no business in education, as we can see from what they have done with it over the past two generations.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • jboHDrider

      What a pants load. An educated populace is the single most important thing that a country can have. Do away with the education system and quickly turn into a third world country. EVERY industrialized nation pays taxes to educate it's youth and only an idiot would advocate any differently .

      October 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
      • MadGOPer

        Make sure you vote against any GOPer who mentions private schools and/or vouchers. Their plans would destroy public education and only guarantee an education to those who can pay and/or those who follow their religious extremism..

        October 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  43. Gold Finger

    Religion is a subject in education. It has no business telling other areas of education how to function. The day we let religious leaders run education is the day we are back to the Spanish Inquisition and the Dark Ages.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Archyle

      The government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exersize therof. Please clear up for me how that equals that religion can not be part of anything in the government?

      October 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • jboHDrider

        Are you really that stupid? The government can't make any law that allows any religon special treatment. Therefore they can't make a law allowing religion to be active in our government. It's really that simple.

        October 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • DaveInOrlando

        It's pretty clear for those of us with sufficient reading comprehension. If you're troubled by that sentence, why not do a bit of research? Just go to Wikipedia and search for "Separation of church and state in the United States". The Founding Fathers were pretty clear in their intentions (made evident by letters, speeches, and other bits of evidence). Additionally, for well over 200 years, the courts have supported those intentions and established a body of precedents which further clarify the position.

        Look at it this way... I'm going to assume you're a Christian based on your ignorance. Would you like it if the government started passing laws that favored, say Hinduism? No. You'd scream bloody murder (which is pretty much the typical Christian response to anything, really). You don't want the government pushing Hinduism onto you; likewise, other citizens don't want Christianity pushed onto them. Any such law would be struck down in the courts.

        Public education – that is, education run by the government – is subject to these laws. End of story.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      no law respecting religion = no law promoting religion

      keep religion and gov't separate!

      October 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  44. nojinx

    Community involvement in schools is great. The church is not needed, as schools and school districts generally have programs for volunteer help.

    Why add a middle-man? We haven't needed it before.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Scott

      So you're going to deny the Black clergy their Freedom of Speech? The article states that a number of Black clergymen are involved with this movement.


      October 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • Gold Finger

        Freedom of speech does not mean open access to the classroom. They can preach in their forums all they want, but they need to stay out of the classroom.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • nojinx

        No. I, and the rest of the country, will ask that they practice their freedom of speech under the confines of the law.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
      • mk

        Why would you point out specifically that it was a black clergy? Is this relevant somehow?

        October 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  45. the fox

    David.....You found god on Rte.290?

    October 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • David

      Hwy 290 and Senate Ave in Jersey Village (northwest Houston), Texas

      And I didn't find Him; He found me.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  46. JD

    Some religions have good lessons to teach about social behavior but some don’t. All in all this is a bad idea. Non factual faith ideals are not what schooling is all about – it IS about factual knowledge – PROVEN – KNOWN- factual information. Evolution IS fact based. Weather evolution is guided by “ GOD” or not is a faith based decision each person has to decide for themselves.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Laughing Skeptic

      Religious people desperately cling this belief as they do to the rest of their faith despite the ridiculously enormous evidence to the contrary. Religions do not advance morality, they are reactionary and generally one step behind the ethical advancement of society. Pick your topic, slavery, women’s rights, etc. the churches have been the glue tying societies to their past. For the most extreme example, look at where religious faith is the strongest - Afghanistan. Those people are 2000 years behind the rest of us. They still live like the Jews did 0 A.D. If you want a barometer of where a society is ethically, look to their religion. Religion is not a leader in society, it is a slightly trailing indicator on average.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  47. David

    All, it's been fun, but I have a volunteer thing I do on Tuesdays – so I have to go.

    I apologize for offending anyone – sometimes I get carried away and say insensitive things. My true wish for EVERYONE posting and/or simply reading here today is that God would bless you abundantly – you, your family, your household, and your lives. May He reveal Jesus to each of you who have not met Him yet, and for my brothers and sisters who do know Him, may He give you boldness and humility to share the Truth of Jesus with everyone you meet – and to love them as best you can.

    In His power and love,


    October 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • craig

      well said.

      October 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Blowback Bob

      Go die in a fire you idiot.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • DaveInOrlando

      Humility: "the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing..." It would be nice if more religious folks understood what that word meant.

      October 3, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • shootmyownfood

      And may the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy bless you with their presence and sparkly dust.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  48. Craig

    Simple none

    October 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  49. John Black Hills SD

    "Ignorance" is what every church wants in abundance. My children will never be polluted by global religions who've out lived their reason for existence. Mother nature is more real than the biblical characters whose purpose was to frighten people whose ignorance paid for the zealots wealth. The church can teach you a lesson on extortion, and they are pro's at the crime.

    October 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  50. Flappy

    I think this is a great idea. We can finally add flat earth theory back into the curriculum and have the children make dioramas of Noah riding a dinosaur onto the ark.

    Science be damned. Nothing useful ever came out of science. The internet is full of magic

    October 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • David

      Actually there are passages in the Bible that indicate the world is round – I don't know where the flat earth stuff came from – probably some religious zealouts – but not in the Bible. As for the account of the Flood and the Ark, there are many ancient cultures who have a story of a great flood. And can you prove that a guy named Noah DIDN"T build such a vessel and put some animals in it? Or are you just jumping to the conclusion that it impossible because it seems implausible?

      October 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • Observant Historian

        Some guy named Noah might have built a boat to ride out a local flood, and might have put some animals on it, but that's not what the Bible claims. The Bible story of Noah and the Flood IS impossible. Not only is it biologically impossible (there is plenty of good scientific information to explain this on the Internet); there were any number of civilizations in existence at the time of the Flood (based on Christian calculations of when it happened) that were not wiped out by it and have no record of any such thing happening, including the Egyptians. In a general sense, whether there is some historical events mentioned in the Bible that are independently corroborated is meaningless. Historical novels cite real events – that doesn't confirm any of the claims of the story, any more than the fact that a man named Jesus existed and was crucified means that all the claims of his divinity or resurrection are anything but part of the story. The resurrection of Jesus is NOT historically corroborated – the arguments claiming this say that it's is so because it's written in the Bible, reasoning that since someone wrote about it, they must have witnessed it – therefore, it must be true. None of this says there is no God....just that the Bible is of doubtful authenticity. The problem is, some people can't separate dogma from belief.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • nojinx

        Given how many times the flood myth of Noah appear in mythology both before and after the OT, it may be based on truth. The name "Noah" is likely just the one that the OT used, as the other myths (Gilgamesh is the best example) don't use the same name. Actually, the flood story in the Koran might, I don't know.

        Of course, the fact that dozens of our religious texts have actual historical facts in them does nothing for their overall veracity.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
      • David

        Observant – the Bible also asserts that God spoke the universe into existence, creating it out of nothing. Obviously your limited understanding of 'science' (since it automatically and with prejudice excludes even the possibility of the Creator) 'proves' that this is not possible either. So what. Your 'science' has yet to explain Creation, either - all you have are a bunch of theories and mathematical models that struggle to explain it. But, in no way can any of you actually test and repeat your theories. So much for the scientific method in proving / disproving things such as these. Science certainly has its useful purpose – but, please don't be so narrow-minded to think that everything can be explained by its precepts. How can the inferior tools of the created (matter, energy, etc.) began to prove and understand the superior realms of the spiritual world. It is before and superior to the material world. And you, for the present time, are confined to the latter.

        But some day, your spirit will be freed from its material limitations – and then you will see. I only hope it's not too late for you.

        So, may God bless you and open your eyes.

        October 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
      • mk

        I thought you had to go volunteer, David?

        October 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
      • markpkessinger


        Science doesn't "automatically" exclude anything. It excludes that which cannot be tested, repeated or falsified, because that is the basis of scientific evidence. The existence of an invisible "creator" can neither be tested, with such tests bearing repeatable, predictable results, nor can it be falsified (i.e., you can't prove a creator does not exist). That is scientific method; if you depart from it, you're not talking science at all, but rather mythology.

        October 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • not really

        Its not just implausible, Its impossible. There is no way you could fit 'two of every animal' onto a boat. Simple as that. Do you know how many different animals there are on this planet? And you are going to tell me that some 100+ year old guy back in the bronze age gathered them together with enough food to survive for 40 days?

        We couldn't even put two of every animal on a modern day aircraft carrier.... at the very least, the story is grossly exaggerated.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  51. kaligaclark

    churches should have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with education! They can teach what they want in the churches, but when kids are in school they should learn what is based on FACT NOT FICTION!!!

    October 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • David

      It is a verifiable, historical fact that a man named Jesus lived about 2,000 years ago and was crucified by the authorities as a criminal. This FACT was reported by Roman historian Josephus – not a religious guy. There were a lot of other eye-witnesses who also testified that this same Jesus rose from the dead 3 days later. Some of them wrote their encounter down in letters that have been passed down and preserved to this day. This is a FACT – if you're going to be a serious scientist, you should at least peform a serious study of whether or not these eyewitness accounts are reliable – or not. But, please don't just parrot the opinion of countless others - do the work yourself and come to your own conclusion - honestly.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • snowboarder

        josephus had no first hand knowledge of that supposed fact. he simply reported something that he had been told.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • snowboarder

        there are no letters from actual observers of the mythical ressurrection.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • David

        Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for starters. Check it out.

        Grace – gotta go.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • Av

        All myth is based on some truth, but not all truths are correctly portrayed. The oldest records of Jesus from the old world were written long after the purported death. Jesus himself and his story is not entirely an original theme either. Mithra, Horus, and Sri Krishna also have practically the exact same story of life, sacrifice and resurrection that predate the Jesus figure.

        When people speak of the flood, and how it relates to the entire world, chances are they are refering to "the world as we know it" instead of "the entire planet earth." The same amount of water on the planet now was here back then, and there is not enough water on Earth to flood every land mass. You're best option for the "flood" as told is locally-devastating floods or the Great Deluge several thousand years back.

        The Bible as it is today is heavily mistranslated anyhow. If current imprints are wrong about an Apple in the Garden (as it never did specify what fruit it was in the original text), then it is likely that if the imprints are wrong about one small detail, then the rest of it has flaws that are entirely unacceptable. It was almost 2,000 years ago that a Bible began taking shape after the translations from the Torah into Greek. At this time, the most powerful civilization in the Western World was Rome, and thus applying it to the modern day seems quite absurd, particularly when taking into account most of the Founding Fathers were not Christian at all and are widely noted as having said very anti-Christian statements and in some cases, very anti-religious statements when it came to politics.

        October 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • snowboarder

        David – the gospels were all written decades after the mythical event. All but one are embellished copies of the others. None likely written by an eyewitness.

        October 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
      • YoozYerBrain

        Not sure where you get your info, but Josephus as a source of proof for the existence of jebus is not accepted by scholars because 1) there is no corroborating evidence anywhere else. and 2) too many problems with "josephus" historically speaking. Leaving your desire to reference a single source as proof, the main thing is the total lack of mention of this yshwa thing in all contemporary archaeology, social writings, temple writings (odd dontcha think?), government writings, geographically-proximate literary writings, pottery, newspapers, tv, TP....ya'll gettin the dang picher maynerd? Then there are the basic historical lies, I'll just use one- there never was a census taken (that was the reason jebulon the nazarene supposedly went to Bethlehem etc), but there are too many lies to even consider listing them here. Suffice it to say, anyway, that religion is anti-democratic and un-American and we should all fight it tooth and nail since the USA is the greatest gift to humanity in history, not the raving delusions of the priest(per Ver ts) and their evil so called religion of love.

        October 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
      • sam stone

        David: Do you think that capitalizing "fact" make it any less absurd?

        October 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  52. DC

    Uhm, that's what Sunday School is for...

    October 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  53. nojinx

    No, we are not a theocracy.

    More importantly, why? What would be the purpose of faith-based groups getting involved? What would Scientology bring to the table? The Judeo/Christian/Muslim faiths? Doaists? Hindus? Buddhists?

    What exactly are these groups bringing to the table that is not already available?

    October 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • snowboarder

      civic minded community groups, regardless of religious association, would be a benefit.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • Amniculi

        As long as they keep their religion to themselves.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • nojinx

        But we already have those. Schools create their own civic minded groups, the PTA being the most obvious.

        What I am asking is what do they bring that the schools do not already have available?

        October 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • snowboarder

        jinx – in urban or minority schools there is not an abundance of community support.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
      • nojinx

        snowboarder: I agree. But the question isn't what do the schools lack, but what do the churches offer that the schools lack.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  54. snowboarder

    community involvement in education is a great idea so long as the church doesn't use it as an excuse to proselytize.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  55. Saboth

    This could be a force for good, if all they did was use volunteer resources to help with Math, reading skills, etc. However, the skeptic in me says this will be used to combat "worldliness" or to attempt to convert kids to religion, perhaps push creationism, political views, etc.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  56. sybaris

    Religion requires ignorance to perpetuate in order to ensure its existence.

    Churches taking an active role in primary and secondary education is mutually exclusive by the very nature of religion.

    Should they persist in this effort then the participants should forfeit their tax exempt status.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • David

      Your ignorance regarding the true role of the true Church is astounding!

      October 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Ah yes. The "true church", aka "no true Scotsman" fallacy:

        October 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • Cleen lepper

        He said the true role, not the public view of it.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • Flappy

        And which church might the "true" church be?

        October 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • David

        Flappy – the True Church are all of those born-again followers of Jesus Christ. Some of them gather regularly in buildings with some kind of 'Church' name attached to it, some of them gather in their homes. Some of them work in mission fields in Africa, China, and many other countries where the poor and disadvantaged are left in poverty by the unbelieving, uncaring world. They are the people who do not love their lives so much as to turn a blind and deaf eye to their neighbors' deepest needs and who try, even in their weakness, to help them meet the only Savior who can give them Eternal Life – not only in the next life, but even here and now, today.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • sybaris

        and David, if you need a religionor to worship god(s) to get you to be benevolent then you have larger issues.

        Regardless, religionists do not corner the market on do gooder activities, they just like to shove it in everyone's face and elevate themselves on the backs of the less fortunate. You illustrate it perfectly.

        October 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
      • sam stone

        Ah....the "true church".....

        October 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  57. Alex

    Organized religion – the embodiment of the blind arrogance of mankind

    October 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • David

      The fear of God – the BEGINNING of Wisdom.

      October 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Why would I worship something I should fear? Makes no sense to me.

        “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

        Ahh...makes sense now. Religion IS the root of much of the suffering in the world.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Horus

        David, please reference in my original post where I stated I would exclude a christian from speaking about a science related topic. I simply advocate that religious ideology be taught in their respective inst.itutions. There is nothing hypocritical in what I posted. And I think your claim of "many" christian biologists is more like "what you want to believe"....though I suppose it would depend upon your definition of "many. I suspect the "majority" are not shackled to a man-made religion like christianity. There's a difference in belief in something, and belief in human conjecture.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • David


        Except that in my case (and in every true follower of Jesus) it is not Conjecture – it is actual Experience. I was an agnostic for 41 years before, similar to Paul, Jesus met me on the road. In my case it wasn't from Jerusalem to Damascus, but from Houston to Jersey Village, and I didn't see a blinding Light, but I heard a 'still small voice' that spoke to my heart. After meeting Jesus, I was turned around from being agnostic, to actually knowing and experiencing Jesus, Himself. It was only AFTER that encounter that I began reading and finally understanding the Bible. All true followers of Jesus (not talking about mere church-goers here) can relate having an actual Experience with Him. If you would just open your mind and actually investigate what I am saying, you will find that you cannot disprove it - and, God willing, you might just find your Savior and your God at the end of your search. The choice is yours - and everyone's.

        Grace and Peace to you – I hope you are found by the One who loves you enough to give Himself for you.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • David

        Amniculi – because when you see Him – you WILL fear – plain and simple. We all will fall to our knees at the awesomeness of His glory and power. The Bible is full of accounts of humans encountering angels – and all of them expressed fear at the beginning of the encounter. How much more then would humans be in awe – and yes, fear! – of the One who created the angels! The great thing about God, however is this - after we see Him, the next thing He says is – do not be afraid.

        He loves us and wants us to turn back to Him. But until we fear Him (either through personal encounter – or through reflecting on just what He can do for - or to - us) we will continue to waste our lives arguing endlessly on blog sites.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • nojinx

        The fear of gods is the beginning of indoctrination. Wisdom starts when those fears are shed, or rejected initially.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • snowboarder

        david – i am absolutely certain that you "think" you know.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • nojinx


        Were you an agnostic atheist, or an agnostic theist? If the latter, what was you particular theism?

        Do you ever worry that you may have deluded yourself? Out of the desire for it to be true, I mean.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • Horus

        David, ok so your response to my asking you to validate your previous post is some babble about hearing voices? Let me give you some anecdotal experience from the other side. I refused to teach my children that there is some imaginary being in the sky watching them all the time – for many, many reasons. When my daughter was in 2nd grade, reading on a 6th grade level, she had to read to "parent volunteers". I get a call from a lady in our neighborhood who apparently volunteers, you do her civic duty. She was very concerned because when she told my daughter "god was always watching" my daughter told her she didn't believe in gods. Imagine the shock when I told her "neither do I". I also informed the school that this woman had best never even approach my daughter. That's why I'm against faith-based initiatives in public schools. Believers cannot separate themselves from their faith – thus they cannot be objective and have no place in the public education arena.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • David

        nojinx – I really wasn't 'looking for God' at all – I was looking to make more money in my computer programming business. But He found me – not the other way around.

        No, I have no fear of delusions – in the 16 years since that encounter on Hwy 290 – He has proven Himself to me over and over and over.

        But, this is exactly what Jesus Himself said – "If anyone choose to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own". (John 7:17) and, "The work that God requires is this: to believe in the One (Jesus) He sent" (John 6:29)

        Don't just believe me – try to find some other true followers of Jesus (they number in the thousands and thousands) and just ask one of them.

        As for the other question – I was a theistic agnostic - I couldn't bring myself to believe that the world has no purpose and came into being all by itself. But, I figured you could never know much about 'god' – so I labelled myself agnostic.

        But, that was before I met Him personally.


        Grace to you.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • David

        snowboarder – actually, I know that I know.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • snowboarder

        david – my point exactly. you are certain that you know.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
      • David

        Horus – what if you're wrong? What if, at the end of this life, you find out that there truly is a God – and that He is the God revealed in the Bible. Will you be proud of teaching your children to follow you into that destiny?

        I hope and pray that your children will find the Truth from someone who knows it. If not from you, then from one of my brothers or sisters in Christ.

        For their own sakes and for the glory of God.

        He *does* love them – even more than you do.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • nojinx

        Thanks for your response. I guess the next question I have is: Given the infinite number of possible paradigms for our universe, what specific aspects of your supernatural experience indicated it was specific to Judeo/Christian/Muslim tradition? Also, what do you think of those who have had similar experience to you but associate it with another paradigm or supernatural belief?

        What if you reach the ultimate end and you were wrong? What if one of the other infinite possibilities is actually true? You seem to have fallen into the fallacy of Pascal's Wager.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • sam stone

        David: Do you spend a lot of time on your knees? Jeebus will be very happy that you have practiced a lot by the time you get to him.

        October 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  58. OOO

    This article says absolutely nothing about what they would ACTUALLY do.

    October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  59. Horus

    Teach relgious ideology at church. You want a religious based education, send your kid to a religious based school. Keep religion out of government, including public education – which is a government operated service.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      One Nation, Under God....

      October 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • snowboarder

        why do some people insist on pretending that this country has ever been a h0m0geneous religious country?

        October 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Horus

        "under God" was added in 1954, 62 years after it was written, and 170+ years after the establishment of the United States. The change was done by a sympathetic administration (Eisenhower) under pressure from evangelicals. The change was a slap in the face to the intention of the framers of this great nation.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
      • illusive

        Actually that "Under God" bit and "In god we trust" was a late add in to the money and pledge...the founding fathers were (for the most part) Diest, do your research before you blabber.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • JC

        Who's God? Yours? Mine?

        October 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
      • LivinginVA

        Added in the 1950s.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • Saboth

        We used to believe the earth was flat and the universe revolved around our planet. We got over those beliefs too.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • Alex

        "one nation Under God" is misquote of Abe Lincoln. Lincoln indeed had a sentence where "nation" and "under god" were next to each other but "under god" was not an attribute of the "nation". In Lincoln's English, "under god" meant just "god willing" or "hopefully" and it was related to the part of sentence that followed, not the "nation".

        October 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • KT

        DustyOne, your obvious ignorance of the genesis of that quote beautifully illustrates why bible-brain-washing should not be a part of America's public education system.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • David

      So I assume that you would also stand against Richard Dawkins speaking at universities in Southern California (as he is scheduled to do soon).

      October 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • Horus

        No, because Dawkins is a Biologist who's assertions are founded in evidence-based research. If he were lecturing to grade school students who had no choice but to attend, AND his lecture was not about science then yes I suppose I would be against that. I love how you throw out the most popular "angry atheist" that Hitchens is gone. I prefer folks like Neil Degrasse Tyson anyway.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • David

        sounds blatantly hypocritical to me – that you would allow and atheist to speak, but would censure a Christian (and there are many who are biologists).

        October 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • Nick

        A christian biologist? Now that's an oxymoron

        October 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
      • nojinx

        If the Christian wants to speak about biology, that is fine. If the atheist wants to talk about gods, that is not fine.

        Who they are is not relevant. The relevance is that they don't bring the church into the state (or, in this case, the schools).

        October 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • Observant Historian

        There are loads of Christian biologists. They reject creationism for the non-science that it is, and have had to reconcile the mythology of Genesis with the scientific FACT of evolution. There are a handful of "scientists" who promote creationism, but they also openly adhere to the fundamentalist belief that the Bible is infallible and that where science and the Bible disagree, they will always side with the Bible. This means that they assume a conclusion and need to manipulate the facts to fit. That is not the scientific method, and they lose all credibility as scientists when they do so.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  60. mk

    Why in the world would inserting religious people into the schools make for better students? Claiming that religious people are more competent in producing better students makes no sense. This is nothing but a ploy to insert their beliefs into the minds of our kids.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Amniculi

      As an atheist, I have no problem with a religious people volunteering at schools. That is commendable. The one caveat would be that they keep their religion and religious views to themselves.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
      • mk

        Religious people already do volunteer in public schools. Any volunteer may or may not be part of a religion. Does it matter? This article is making it sound like religious volunteers would have more of an impact JUST BECAUSE they are religious.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
      • Amniculi

        They're allowed to have their opinions too, lol. Doesn't mean they're right.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  61. Scott

    You know, for all of the out gassing the religion haters spew they sure are a VERY small number in the U.S.. According to the U. S. Census Bureau as of 2008 (the latest survey) there are only 1,612,000 adults in the U. S. that profess to be atheists. This is out of a total adult population of 228,182,000. That's just a mere 0.71%! Now, take into account that the nubmer of religion haters is going to be a subset of the total number of atheists and you see that the religion haters generat a lot more hot air than their actual weight would suggest 🙂


    October 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • snowboarder

      scott – it is odd as i read these comments that i see very few "religion haters", just a segment of the population which require that our government does not infringe on the rights of parents to make their own choices regarding religion for their children.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • OutPastPluto

      > According to the U. S. Census Bureau as of 2008 (the latest survey) there are only 1,612,000 adults in the U. S. that profess to be atheists.

      You don't have to be an atheist to have severe intellectual differences with someone over religion.

      You don't have to be an atheist to be offended by your neighbor's views on doctrine or their attempts to impose those views on you by hijacking local or federal government. Your priest/pastor/rabbi might even complain about such things and fools that don't understand why this country has a notion of separation of church and state.

      There's plenty of hate to go around even without trying to single out atheists.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • hello?

      Your numbers are totally wrong Scott. I dont know where you get your data but it is flat out wrong. Furthermore if you take it a step or two further and ask people if they believe heaven or hell exists your "believers" become a minority number. If you ask a religous person if they absolutely believe EVERYTHING they are taught in church an overwhelming majority say NO. You can prove anything with statistics but if I were you I would at least get your numbers right. Because 1.6 million profess to be athiests how many dont? How many that profess to follow a religion dont ever attend? How many refused to answer the question? Stop while you are behind thanks

      October 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • Scott

        The data came from the U. S. Census Bureau's web site. Search for 12s0075.


        October 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • hello?

        Answer my questions? How many athiests responded "no religion" or unafilliated? How many responded "Pagan" how many responded 'muslim" etc.....answer my question. If we let one religion in to our schools we have to let all of them in. I dont hate your beliefs I hate your trying to push them on my kid. I dont want you, your religion, or any other religion taught to my kids at school. In fact I want my kids to be taught to question anyone including me on such a subject until they can find their own path. If your faith is sooo strong and your diety is sooo powerful and right my kid will find him/her/it just the same right? or don't you have any faith?

        October 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • Flappy

        I looked up the cited reference. 15 percent no religion specified. Since Other is listed as a separate category that means 15 percent have to be agnostic or athiest who don't want to go on the record probably because they fear persecution.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
      • Scott

        I have no idea as to how many atheist are liars hello?.


        October 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Amniculi

      You are full of it. The US Census Bureau is prohibited by law from collecting religious data.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Furthermore, census is taken every ten years, with the latest data being collected in 2010.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Diz

      Have you taken into account the studies of religiosity and intelligence?? There are quite a few that correlate belief and a lower intelligence.. Maybe there are so few atheists because the population of geniuses is also low. SCIENCE should be taught in school, not myths. (with the exception of religious based schools that are not government funded)

      October 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Horus

      Scott, of course the number of believers is higher. The term ignorant masses exists for a reason. Perhaps a census based on know, like the majority of real scientists who don't believe in man-made religions. If you polled how many 6yr olds believe in Santa you'd probably get an overwhelming majority with the wrong answer too......

      October 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      You don't have to be a religious hater to oppose getting religion invoved in public schools. I know ministers that oppose it.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • rdeleys

      Scott, that's complete nonsense. Your numbers are way off.

      October 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • bigot

      LOL correlating "religious haters" with atheists might be the dumbest thing I have seen from a christian.

      October 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
      • old golfer

        I don't hate the religious types, but I am a Deist. What I do hate is the constant selling, claiming their way is the only way and in general making pests out of themselves.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • JC

      There are athiests (non-believers) and then there are agnostists (who aren't sure), and then there are those who have left religion. I know for a fact that the Catholic church continues to count every single person ever baptized in the church as a member of the church, and yet I personally know many former Catholics who are now either atheists or agnostics. As a former Catholic, I contacted the Catholic church to ask that my name be removed from their rolls, to be "excommunicated" you might say from the church. Can't be done. I consider myself agnostic now, not sure whether there is a God, but only to the extent I'm not sure there isn't an Easter Bunny. Present me some evidence and I might change my mind. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people just like me in this country. And the numbers are rising every day. Religion will be relegated to the fringes of society within my lifetime. I am sure of it. And it can't happen too soon.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • nojinx

      I did not see the point of that comment. Were you making a judgement based on the population of atheists? What are you trying to say?

      October 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  62. hello?

    And it is a wise man who says follow me and believe what I believe without question for you will suffer if you don't some horrible punishment? A wise man says believe in what you cannot see, taste, hear or fathom? A wise man says if you ask a question he cannot answer to just "have faith"......right? are laughable.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  63. a slozomby

    the church plays the same role in education it always has. it tries to squash it and replace it with a 2000 yr old book.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Scott

      So how do you explain the hard core scientific research that comes out of Notre Dame?


      October 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • Amniculi

        There are exceptions to every rule.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • bigot

        "So how do you explain the hard core scientific research that comes out of Notre Dame?"

        In order to be taken seriously, universities must teach serious subject matter. Without real subject matter, that school would be considered a seminary.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  64. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    In public education the church has no role.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • karek40

      That very position lead to the 1960 no prayer in school ruling. Look how far our morals have progressed since that ruling. 47 million babies aborted/murdered.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • Amniculi

        I would like to see proof of the correlation between the removal of prayer from schools and the abortion rate. Do you have such proof or are you just blowing smoke?

        October 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • snowboarder

        karek – of course your assertion of "no prayer in school" is a false one. there is no rule against any individual praying in school.

        what the ruling did was require that the government not infringe on the religious rights of families to make their own choices.

        also, your assertion that praying in school is somehow related to an increase in abortion is simply comical.

        i postulate that when women realized that they had worth greater than as just a mother and a wife, forceing the development of children on dispasionate third parties, is the real problem.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
      • nojinx

        Correlation is not causation.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
      • Scabbycakes

        It appears you assume that abortion is a bad thing. Since Roe vs. Wade, crime has dropped dramatically (

        The idea of aborting a fetus is always unpleasant, but there is evidence to suggest that the freedom to perform abortions is beneficial for society.

        October 3, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  65. Dan

    I believe every church has a responsibility to encourage education. The importance and value of a good quality education should be the one area where we all agree no matter your faith religion. We should all encourage the nation's children to do their very best in school. We should volunteer our time, talent, and treasure to help boost literacy rates and math skills of our students.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  66. guest

    for all of you proposing that religion should be included in the schools rather than 'excluded", let me remind you that you should be careful what you wish for. to be fair, all religious beliefs must then be included. so your children will be exposed to various religions that do not believe that Jesus is the son of G-d, they will also be taught the Koran, the Hindu and Buddist texts, polygamous religions, Santeria, Voodoo, etc. of course, then there will be no time to teach reading, writing math, science, history, language, art, music, sports,etc. we will fall even further behind the rest of the world in academic achievement, and your children might like a religion that differs from your own. that is why religion is taught at home and in houses of worship, not in school.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  67. Rufus T. Firefly

    To the Christians who see themselves as suffering persecution by the First Amendment: Remember, the same laws that keep you from evangelizing to children in public schools, keep your children safe from being converted to another religion in public schools.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Neal

      Unless that religion is "secularism" (or something similar). I'm not convinced that there is a "religiously neutral" viewpoint and would rather see different viewpoints taught while acknowledging the point of view that they come from rather than pretending that there is some perspective neutral approach.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Neutrality, in this case, is not a point of view, it is a state of being. Nobody is telling anybody what to think. They're not even saying children can't pray if they so wish. All they're saying is that public schools and school officials cannot force, sponsor or promote prayer or any religious views.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  68. Greg

    It was funny when I was about 9 yrs old watching my older brother and younger sister walk up to the alter in our baptist church and "give their lives over to the lord" and "turn themselves over to Jesus" because Jusus died for their sisns. They had no clue what they were doing and only did it because they were brain washed to think it was the thing to do. Children do not have the brain development to differentiate using logic because that part of the development hasnt happened at a young age. With that said, children need to be free of religious influence in public schools. As others have said, teach them in church if they attend one but that's all.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • David

      You had no clue that the Spirit was talking to their spirit, did you.

      As Jesus said, "do not hinder the little children from coming to Me. For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these".

      Maybe you could learn something from these children?

      October 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • Mike

        You are brainwashed. You aren't human. You don't question. You have no curiosity. You have no soul.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
      • David

        not brainwashed – just 'born again'.

        Thank You, Father in Heaven!

        October 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • nojinx


        How would you tell? How could you know if something you experience but cannot experience in the rest of the world is not delusion? Do you trust yourself enough to not let your desires override your senses and rationality?

        October 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • Nick


        Who was it that was whispering to them? I'd be willing to put money on the fact that their mother was whipsering in their ears that she was going to beat them sensless if they didn't cooperate.

        On another note, that voice that whipsered to your heart on your drive to Jersey, that was probably gas.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • David

      God calls our hearts – and if we respond – our heads will follow.

      "Without Faith it is impossible to please God. For those who come to Him must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him."

      October 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • SoonToBeDad

        I am scared for you David. I've met "Born Agains" and their complete lack of questioning is terrifying. It's what leads to Branchd Flaming Davidions, and Jonestown...If you believe without questioning then you are naught but cattle. But not even cattle voluntarily jump off a cliff. Religion OF ANY KIND has no place in a school, and even if it was, how many of your precious snowflakes would then chose a religion that you do not agree with.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • hello?

      Children and evidently not a few adults can be scared in to doing anything and most are just people pleasers just going along with things because it is what they have been told is right without any questions. It is the child that questions and refuses to just blindly follow a priest or a parent to partake in these rituals who may in your words be "guided by spirit". David you should quit these blogs while you are behind you make no sense and quoting your nonsense from the bible doesnt give you any more credibility in an intelligent discussion unless you back it up with reason.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • David

        Ah yes, 'Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

        For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength".

        (1st Corinthians 1:22)

        Dear 'hello' – while your heart may be hardened, perhaps there are others are *do* have ears to hear that may be blessed. So, please don't try to censure me – I will not keep quiet about what God Himself revealed to my heart - after 41 years of being an agnostic.

        Seeing *is* believing!

        October 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Yes? And what did God sound like when he revealed this "truth" to you? What was His voice like?

        October 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  69. Scott

    WOW! The resident religion haters are having a field day today. Two, yes count them TWO religion stories on CNN for them to spew their vitriol. The truly hypocritical (and pathetic) thing about the religion haters is that they accuse religions (primarily Christianity) of spewing hatred towards other. Yet the religion hater crew is just as, if not more guilty, with the venom that they spit at religion (again, primarily at Christianity). Ah well, that is why I now spell hypocrite, l-i-b-e-r-a-l. 😉


    October 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Lol, nice attempt to hide your hate and vitriol behind a winky face. Also, I know more than a couple conservative atheists. We are not defined by our political views, only our lack of belief in a deity.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • Scott

        I'm sure their are some conservative religion haters. However, the vast majority that I've ran into are libs.


        October 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • David

        Scott is right about that.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • Amniculi

        There is no hypocrite as foul as a religious hypocrite. It is ironic that atheists, as a rule, know more about religions than adherents. Generalize however you want, but I'll take my bias over yours any day.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • David

      It's amazing how tolerant they all are – until they run into someone with a different opinion than theirs.


      Blessings to you Scott.

      And dare I say it: "The Peace of Christ Jesus be with you and your household!"


      October 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • hello?

      Why are folks constantly comparing secularism to a religion? It clearly is not a religion nor is it anti religion it takes a middle path that only allows the major 4-5 religions overall ideology be introduced.
      Why are folks saying conservatives are pro religion and liberals are religion haters.

      I know lots and lots of true conservatives that are atheists and or dont care what anyone believes. I also know lots and lots of liberals who attend mostly Catholic and Luthern churches nearly every Sunday.

      When did we start becoming soooo ignorant in our comments?

      October 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • Tom, Ton, the Other One

        Because they are idiots. It's kind of thier thing...

        October 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • JRS


      Your comments on this post have been far more "vitriol" than those of any other person. If you were to actually ask atheists why they do not want religion taught in the schools you would find a plethora of reasons that are not "it is a religion and religion is bad." Foremost would probably be the fact that the First Amendment says there should be no favoritism to any religion. If you want to waste school time with the teaching of ever single god and goddess that is worshipped in the world... I have no response to that. Yet I realize that to ask any of the supposedly terrible atheists would be confronting a belief that is different than your own, so why would you do that? (Oh that's right... Hypocritical. Suppose you are a liberal then?)

      And to your other comment above, it really does not matter what the percentage of people are. Firstly, your stats are irrelevant because this is not an argument about atheism vs. religion. Secondly, your stats do not take into account those who profess to have no religion or in other words, align themselves to no church, if you were to include those numbers the percentage would go up quite significantly. People often have a hard time calling themselves an atheist because then they are constantly attacked by people like you and gross stereotypes are placed on them. Thirdly, even if only that 1.6 million people did not believe in a deity it is vehemently wrong to shove them into the back burners and say "Well you are a minority, so obviously your beliefs and opinions have no clout." I do not care how many people there are. 1.6 million is a lot of people, and if you really feel alright with discriminating against 1.6 million people, then you have shown how vile of a person you are and I, along with (I would hope) many others, want nothing to do with you.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • D VA

        Cheers to that JRS!

        October 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • not really

      I don't see any hate here. I see some name-calling and ridicule. But there is no hate. Imagine if you were talking to a person who still believed in the tooh fairy... you don't hate them, but you can't help but making fun of them. Its the same with talking with people who believe in a god.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • SoonToBeDad

      Really? You mean the Christians that are creating a religious war with Islam instead of the terrorists? The Christians that portray all others as believing in fairy tales and mosters? The same christians who have commited how many attrocities against little boys, the Crusades, the Pope? Maybe the Christians are being attacked because of Karma and people realizing that most of that has no place in today's society of KNOWLEDGE.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  70. hello?

    First I would like to say, Churches can already establish their own schools and educate kids they way there parents want for a fee. I don't want ANY church or religion represented at my kids school, school board or district level including council members. If folks think they should be represented then I want an equal number of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, etc.....represented as well. Separation of church and state has always been a good idea, lets not go backwards.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • David

      Then you will be happy when only atheists work in your kids schools.

      Keep standing up for nothing and your kids will fall for anything.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • snowboarder

        david – that is a fallacy. there is no reason members of a community can not work together while respecting each other right to a religiously unbiased education. it is as simple as that.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • David

        ok – then you will have 'closet' people of faith in schools, who dare not open their mouths. Oh yeah, that will be great!

        October 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • Rufus T. Firefly

        David, don't be silly. The only alternative to evangelizing to children at school is not atheism. That black and white mentality is what makes the promoters of religion in school so disconcerting.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • Tom, Ton, the Other One

        David is doing a great job of reinforcing the religious stereotype.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • snowboarder

        david – citizens should be able to feel secure in the knowledge that when they send their children to a government school that the government is not underminding their religious choices.

        exluding religion from school is the only way.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • rdeleys

        And just how did you reach that stellar conclusion?? Public schools are just that - public! And every student should feel welcome there. That can only be achieved when education is secular. In this country where there is a church on every corner, if you feel the need the inculcate your children with religious beliefs, you have plenty of opportunity to do so outside of the school system.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • SoonToBeDad

        I don't care about the religion of the people who work in schools. I would imagine that there would be at least 30 different religions/branches of religions present at any school with a decent population. I DGAF who they believe in as long as they believe in teaching my children facts and what they need to know to succeed in THIS life. What someone believes in is not the question here. The fact that they leave it at the door when they are going to teach my child is the issue, and they do not have MY permission to teach my child anything about religion. That's not what my tax dollars are for. I love religions, they are like rocks, pretty to look at and examine. I take what I like from each one and make my own little menagerie(sp?) that fits for what I believe and how I think life should be lived, but I don't go pushing that on other people because I don't have the right to do that.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • TheTruth

      I think you misunderstand what the Founding Fathers meant by separation of church and state:
      "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” The US Congress 1782
      “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” George Washington
      “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” John Quincy Adams
      "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." – Thomas Jefferson

      October 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • not really

        I think you misunderstand. While some of the founding fathers expressed their personal belief in a god, it was not their desire to see it written into law. This country was built to escape religious persecution for many... a religion that was empowered by government. The founding fathers, aside from their personal beliefs, understood the danger present when you mix religion with power. You need only to look to the Middle East to see how a theocracy runs. Its not good.

        The separation of church and state allows people to worship freely or to not worship at all. Its their choice. And thats the way it should be.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Jane

      I think all of you have missed the point of this article. There has been much written about the failure of parental involvement in the public schools. I welcome the idea of any and all churches encouraging parents to take a part in their children's education. There are teachers of all faiths in the public schools, the students are from different religions. So, what's the big deal of having some of the parents involved by volunteering, as in the PTA. My husband's Rotary Club has practically become the volunteer parent for a school with almost no parental involvement. The club's members volunteer for book drives, holiday celebrations and teacher appreciation day, tutoring,etc. They show the children that someone is there for them, is interested in their lives and encourage them to study the subjects they are being taught by their teachers.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  71. Kevin

    Let me put this into perspective for some of you. Generally speaking, there are 2 types of Satan worship: 1) the anti-Christian crap mostly invented in Hollywood and celebrated by immature losers; 2) A legitimate religion that pre-dates Christianity by almost 1000 years.
    My child has a friend who is firmly a part of the 2nd group of Satanists along with his family. Do you want them to be active in your school and influence what your child learns?

    October 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • David

      Of course not! We should only allow the Truth to be taught – which is found in the Bible.

      (oh let the hateful comments flow!)

      October 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
      • grist

        You are the one with the hateful comment. You think your god and the book it allegedly wrote is better than all the other thousands of gods.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Kevin

        Let me point out that your Bible says disrespectful children should be stoned to death.
        Are you actually planning to teach that as 'truth' in public schools?

        October 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • snowboarder

        the truth. lol

        October 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • rdeleys

        It's thanks to smug, intolerant people like you that I have developed an intense dislike for Christians. Whatever it is that you have - and it sounds like you are suffering from some medieval disease - I don't want my kids catching it.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
      • not really

        Yes but what about the Muslims who profess that what they believe is TRUTH? Who are we to believe? You, a devout Christian... or them, a devout Muslim? I'm certain even the Satanists truly believe they know TRUTH. Who is to say who is correct?

        Because science says you are all foolishly believing in fairy tales.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • hello?

      I find that your statement about your neighbors Satanic worship to be fairly hard to believe the way you have laid it out. Possibly a cult of Pan worshipers, Loki or Greenman worshipers (old religions Christians know nothing about) switched to worship Satan who really wasnt' represented as a figure in Christianity until 800 yrs ago and then only gained recognition during the refromations around AD 1550 less than 500yrs ago. My point is Satan and the concept of him as we understand him today didnt exist 1000 yrs ago. I find the need to defend Christianity at every level the way some of these folks do to be quite paranoid. American needs another church like I need a hole in my head. My kid needs another F-d up opinion of how the world was created or what "He" should see as Divine to be invasive in to MY HOME and MY FAMILY. Stay OUT of our schools Stay out of our politics. Spend more time praying and fixing your own life instead of messing with mine.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Kevin

        You said, "Satan who really wasnt' represented as a figure in Christianity until 800 yrs ago".

        Um, Really? Satan was in the Old Testament. Heard of it much? The serpent in the Garden of Eden and all?

        He was worshipped as a diety in a time where even the lesser Greek Gods had thier own temples. Please read up on history before trying to teach others what YOU beleive is the 'truth'.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • hello?

        You dont have a clue what you are talking about Kevin, the old testement does have a serpent which is a snake, a symbol for something not so good yes.....a keeper of souls in hell? NO.....a fallen angel......NO the ancients believed in Hades....a very satanic like figure but ALL souls went to Hades and only hero's and gods went to is you my good man that does not read clearly your history. I stand by my original statement.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • Kevin

        Not all religions believed Gods lived on Olympus or the Greek Heroes. I didn't say he was the equivalent of Hades. Nor did I say anything about being a ruler in Hell. That's your belief.
        I was just pointing out that polytheism was the norm of the day.
        Satan is a very powerful figure in the Torah and he had worshipers long before the late great JC was born.
        Their religion is just as legitimate as yours in my opinion.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • rdeleys

      Kevin, that's possibly the most idiotic thing I've seen today.

      October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • Kevin

        Then you need to read more.
        I made my point. You want religion in school ONLY IF it is your religion.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  72. David

    As I read all of the God-hating quotes here, I was reminded what the prophet Hosea wrote:

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
    Because you have rejected knowledge,
    I also will reject you from being priest for Me;

    Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.

    Hosea 4:6

    God weeps over you folks who hate Him. So do I.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Woody Stemms

      Cry Me A River!

      October 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • snowboarder

      i hadn't read any "god hating" comments.

      i had read many comments suggesting that religious teaching does not belong in the government run schools, but is a private matter for families.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Zebula

      Don't be so presumptuous.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • David

        Don't be so arrogant.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Amniculi

      It's hard to hate something that doesn't exist. 😀

      October 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
      • TheTruth

        The fool says in his heart, "There is no God".

        October 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • TheSchmaltz

        "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God"."

        The fool thinks his heart can speak or think.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Yes, because quoting scripture at me is going to change my mind. The true fool. is the one who believes with no evidence.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  73. KT

    Don't pray in my school, I won't think in your church.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Mike

      The Worlds church is in the hearts of men... Technically no matter where you think your thinking in the church.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Amniculi

        October 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • dhung

      That's too bad, because then you'd fail the critical thinking classes I teach at my church...

      October 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • hello?

        I am not an atheist, still I find the idea of critical thinking being taught at a church to be interesting. My church would have such a class but it is not one of the top 8 religions of the world either. Generally critical thinking and religious studies only teach you to ask the questions they want you to ask, not the questions they dont want you to ask.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Lol, if churches taught true critical thinking they would soon run out of people to teach.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
      • KT

        To quote the great George Carlin, "... Catholics, which I was until I reached the age of reason..."

        October 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • David

      Only the ignorant think that having Faith precludes Thinking - God Himself has said:

      "Come now, let us REASON together," says the Lord.
      "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
      though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

      If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;
      but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword."

      For the mouth of the Lord has spoken

      Isaiah 1:18-20 (NIV)

      Try reading some C.S. Lewis, or Ravi Zacharias if you think that having faith is for the feeble-minded.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • Doubt It

        God said that? Did you hear him? Nobody did. If somebody said they did, its up to whoever he/she told to believe it or not. It's all hearsay.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • KT

        Where did I suggest religion is for the feeble minded? Hmm? Yep, no where.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • SoonToBeDad

        Funny, that quote sounds like blackmail...Didn't we make blackmail a crime? Just sayin. Funny that your religion that is based on the principal of blackmail in a country that was "based" on christian ideals made blackmail a crime..interesting. Please, take that into schools and teach it to our kids. It did wonders for the previous generation.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Zebula

      Love it! Now here come the Je sus freaks....

      October 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  74. Linda Shinn

    I was glad to see that most of the postings here, are opposed to church members being envolved in the schools, unless they can agree to not talk about or teach their beliefs to the children.
    All too many religous people, because they are convinced that their beliefs are a "good thing", and would help to make the school children be better people, feel that not only would it be a "good thing" for them to teach the children their beliefs, but, often they feel that it is their obligation to teach those beliefs, and many will say that, they, "are told in the Bible to tell others".But, schools are not the place for them to do that. Many people have their own beliefs, that they may teach their children, and although the religeous people would be outraged if someone were to teach their own children, beliefs that did not match their own, somehow, those same people, often seem to be unable to grasp, that the other people, whose children they want to teach their beliefs to, feel the same way about what they want to teach their children. I do not go around teaching anyone what I believe, or talking to other people's children about it, because I know that that would not be right. But, unfortunately, many people seem unable to accept that they should not.
    I suspect that when you believe that doing so, would be a very good thing, then it is hard to not do so..

    October 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • dhung

      "I do not go around teaching anyone what I believe..." Yes you do, because YOU JUST DID by writing your comment. And my children may be exposed to your teaching, as well. Here's the solution: I don't mind one bit, and neither should you when I write this comment teaching YOU what I believe. I don't mind one bit that my children will be taught by secularists. What I mind very much is the illogical idea that public schools should give secularists free voice but other worldviews must be muzzled - as if secularism were a neutral worldview. It is not, because no worldview is neutral. The correct model for public education in a pluralistic society is to allow EVERYONE to speak EQUALLY and let the students decide for themselves. You are free to disagree with that, but you must realize that you are making a religious argument when you do so, and you must also realize that there is nothing wrong with that. Go to the polls, every one of us, and may the best ideas win.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • snowboarder

        dhung – there is no possiblity of pluralism in public schools.

        you can stop pretending secularism is a religion, regardless of how much you wish it were true.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
      • dhung

        @Snowboarder: I have not wished, I have argued - in brief here and in detail a bit further down. Would you like to supply an argument as well?

        October 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
      • gavin

        Well said!

        October 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • snowboarder

        dhung – i read your assertion, which is without merit. there is no possibility of religious pluralism in education, because in no way does religion lend itself to pluralism. it is an imaginary line of division.

        secular is as neutral of religious influence as is possible in a society of religious denominations.

        humanism is a universal minimum for rights based on society, which continually evolves, like all else.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • hello?

        Religion is NOT a world view, it is a personal view of your spiritual beliefs. Secularism at its best includes all religions being introduced without putting one above another and NOT going too deep. Secularism is NOT Religion it is a methodology for teaching.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • dhung

        @snowboarder: First, you are using the term "pluralism" differently from my usage. The term "pluralistic society" is nothing more than a description of the bare fact that many worldviews are present in our society. But let's take your statement at face value anyway: "In no way does religion lend itself to pluralism." This argument is almost circular, in that you are assuming a close analogue of what I have been arguing against: that secularism represents some kind of minimal common ground, and every other religion is basically secularism plus some other nonsense. On the contrary, this discussion requires us to agree that "religion" is really another word for "metaphysics" or "worldview," a set of axioms about how reality works - axioms like, "the universe is real, not an illusion." That is a rigorously unprovable truth, and anyone who believes that the universe is real (i.e. secularists and Christians but not certain Hindus) must take it as an a priori starting point. So if some brand of secularism states that "rights [are] based on society, which continually evolves," that is an ethical axiom that is in complete contradiction to the Christian axiom that rights are based on innate dignity and worth. Which of those notions is neutral? Neither of them. QED. To the extent that secularism answers any religious, i.e. metaphysical, questions, to that same extent is secularism a religion. Notice I am complimenting and elevating secularism by calling it a full-fledged worldview, a complete axiom system, but that necessarily places it in contradiction with any other axiom system.

        Two corollaries: first, you state that secularism provides a minimal set of rights. How so? Take secularism as a full-fledged axiom system. With that starting point, is there a single moral consequent that can be derived? I will be enlightened if you can provide one. Rather, I would argue that secularism *per se* does not have moral consequents; you cannot derive values from secular axioms. All values - including freedom, fairness, and not-imposing-my-view-on-others, are imported from some other worldview.

        Second corollary: Christianity, in contrast, values the dignity of all humans regardless of their beliefs (and yes, individual Christians FAIL at that, but that's separate), and provides an objective duty to behave civilly in a pluralistic context. All people are equal, not all ideas. Therefore, give everyone a voice, and let the best ideas win. That is the First Amendment, and that is why the Christian majority (49 out of 55 founding fathers) enshrined that notion into our highest law.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • snowboarder

        hung – that is a whole bunch of philosphical mumbo jumbo just for you to suggest that you should be able to attempt to influence the religion of other peoples children in government sponsored education.

        the founders of this country knew that it was not a country with a h0m0genous religious population and they had no intention that the government attempt to impose religious views on the citizens. thankfully, they also imposed checks to protect the minority from the will of the majority.

        your assertions about the virtues of christianity are just laughable. the citizens of this counrty are constantly defending themselves against the oppression of religious intrusion into secular society, attempting to curtail the rights of those they disagree with. so don't uninate on my leg and tell me its raining.

        religion is dogmatic and divisive. even suggesting an equal view to all religious views in public education is laughable.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
      • dhung

        @snowboarder: It's unfortunate that you continue to reply to arguments with non-arguments. When I argue in brief, you call it an assertion. When I provide detail, you call it "philosophical mumbo-jumbo." This is not rational discourse, it is ad hominem hand-waving. I asked you many reasonable questions about your position, which you have ignored. Ironically, I have heard the phrase "philosophical mumbo-jumbo" far more often from ignorant Christians who cannot understand sophisticated atheist arguments than I have from atheists refusing to engage in a bit of critical analysis. If you think my argument is incorrect, then PLEASE show us. If I'm wrong, I sincerely hope you will change my mind. However, you don't seem to be interested in the possibility of changing your own mind. Sounds quite dogmatic and divisive.

        My argument stands unless someone would like to point out the actual error in my actual reasoning.

        As for this red herring: "your assertions about the virtues of christianity are just laughable. the citizens of this counrty are constantly defending themselves against the oppression of religious intrusion into secular society, attempting to curtail the rights of those they disagree with." To call something laughable is not an argument. First, the virtues of Christianity are whatever is taught by its founder. So if you claim that the virtues that I mentioned are not part of Christianity, then you will have to cite the TEXT and not the actions of individual Christians or even churches. If those churches are doing something incorrect according to their OWN founder, then they can be stopped, hmm? But more to the point, the religious citizens of this country are also constantly defending themselves against the oppression of secularism into society, attempting to curtail the rights of those that they disagree with. Sorry, it cuts both ways. Do you know why? Because no worldview is neutral. In a recapitulation of what I have already said many times: secularists such as yourself have a deeply-held concept of what is good for society; Christians have another. EVERY nontrivial law is going to be an "intrusion" of one worldview onto another, and in this country, we adjudicate these differences via the ballot box and the soap box. You seem to have incredible confidence in the idea that we could all just get along if we agreed to keep "religious ideas" out of public life, and my whole point is that I judge this to be impossible. Only secularism considers this to be possible, so you are in fact imposing that idea on me and my children. The difference between us seems to be that I would welcome you to persuade my children, in school, that you are right. And I welcome you to persuade voters that you are right. Because maybe you are. It seems reasonable to ask for the same courtesy to be extended to me.

        You may think that this is a nefarious ploy to get the "religious majority" into schools in order to brainwash students. You can think what you like, but you assume too much. I live in New England, where "religious" folks are outnumbered 2:1 according to Gallup. Fortunately, as you rightly point out, the Const:tution protects us from a tyranny of the majority.

        Incidentally, this whole discussion seems to support my position that secularism and Christianity ARE IN FACT too different for this mythical "neutral ground" to exist. We are arguing over some pretty basic axioms here. Which one of us is being neutral?

        October 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  75. Nick Gonzalez

    Our Founding Fathers, saw what Religion was doing to many European countries. In their infinite wisdom they decided to make our country Secular. Hooray for the Establishment clause!

    October 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • dhung

      Indeed, but I'm sure you don't like it when people quote you out of context, so here's the REST OF IT: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Justice David Souter writes in BoE vs. Grumet, "government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion." Yet, irreligion is clearly preferred in public schools, wouldn't you say? We have a de facto establishment of secularism, despite clear language prohibiting this. Good for you if you're a secularist, just don't pretend that this was the intention of the founding fathers: 49 out of 55 were publicly-registered Christians who, despite being the religious majority, chose to guarantee freedom of thought for all Americans, via the Establishment Clause and its inseparable twin, the Free Exercise Clause.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • snowboarder

        dhung – your points are entirely invalid. guaranteeing a religiously neutral education for children when provided by the government is exactly what the founders had in mind. that neutrality allows parents to exercise their prerogative about the religious upbringing of their children. that really is as simple as it gets.

        why are you trying to force your religion on other peoples children?

        October 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • dhung

        @Snowboarder: Force my religion? It seems pretty clear that I am arguing for an equal voice for all ideas, as opposed to the imposition of secularism as the only approved voice in public schools and in the public square. And this leads again to my arguments that secularism is not neutral, which you have still not responded to except with assertions.

        Furthermore, I shall supply a controversial quote of the founding father Benjamin Rush, also considered a primary founder of public education in this country: "The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty." Is this insane? Let me reiterate my argument from above: can secularism defend the virtue of freedom, of free expression, of fairness and even-handedness in education? All of those are absolute obligations for Christians. I consider myself to have failed in my moral obligations if I do not render absolute respect upon other humans, to give their views equal VOICE with my own even in the midst of RESPECTFUL DISAGREEMENT. I will take no rights for myself until I first guarantee that you have them as well. In what secular axiom system are these virtues considered obligations?

        October 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
      • snowboarder

        dhung – enough of the fallacy of secularism as a religion, already. no one is going to fall for it.

        and quoting anyone expounding the lie that the source of virtue is religion is pure unsupportable malarky.

        if you want to be religious, be religious, but don't pretend attempting to indoctrinate the children in this country is anything other than what it really is.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • dhung

        @snowboarder: You say, "enough of the fallacy of secularism as a religion, already." That's great! Did you find a fallacy in my argument? Please, show us. If I'm wrong, I need to know.

        And now we've crossed into another topic: "and quoting anyone expounding the lie that the source of virtue is religion is pure unsupportable malarky." It may or may not be true, but "unsupportable malarky" suggests that you need to read up on the current state of the debate. Of course, we would have to agree that we're talking about the same thing. If you mean societal virtues, then obviously there is no religious component necessary. The question is whether there are virtues that are universal, whether there are rights that are inalienable, as described in the Declaration of Independence. This would imply a moral standard that is obligatory on all cultures, all governments, all societies, universally. If you think such rights exist, then let me ask again: taking secularism as your starting point, how do you explain where these rights come from?

        October 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • dragonfire77

        dhung. I found a fallacy in your argument, or rather a flaw in comparison. You equate secularism to religion. That's your argument's core failing. The two are not the same.

        October 3, 2012 at 10:27 am |
      • not really

        Avoiding the topic of religion in school is not the same as teaching 'irreligion' in public schools. There is a big difference.

        From what I see of the public school system, they simply teach the material and test on the material. They are just supposed state the facts without any extrapolation to the greater possible meaning this could have in life.

        Unfortunately for religious types like yourself, when a child does wish to extrapolate what these facts mean in the greater scheme of things, it shows the religious beliefs many were taught as children to be blatantly false. We are discovering that the universe in which we live in is in juxtaposition with the current religious explanations for phenomenon.

        This boils down to the argument as to whether we should teach all perspectives regardless of how ridiculous they are (to give everyone an equal voice) or we should just teach the facts that have been scientifically demonstrated (which will require us to keep the religion out of it)

        October 3, 2012 at 11:21 am |
      • SoonToBeDad

        Not teaching religion is not irreligious. It's just not teaching anything relating to something has no scientific merit. So I do not think that schools lean towards irreligiousness.

        October 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • dhung

        @dragonfire77: You came late to the conversation. The argument I'm referring to is attached to another comment further up. The purpose of the argument is exactly to show that secularism is a religion. That is not the assumption, that is the conclusion. Please look there. Thanks.

        October 4, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • snowboarder

      dhung – this is a false assertion. religion is excluded from public education to allow the rights of parents and students to make their own decision about religion outside of the domain of government.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  76. Greg

    A news flash for Rev. DeForest Soaries, Jr:

    On his second point pertaining to "political dealings with the various political forces that impact and control public schools" – A nonprofit organization is not allowed, per the IRS, to interfer with politics. That's a big no-no. He needs to go back and take another route. If he chooses to intefer in politics, he should not be involved in being a pastor.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  77. Floyd Thursby

    Religion has NO business in our public schools. NONE!

    October 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • David

      LOL! I guess you were sleeping during American history - our first schools and universities (yes, even the Ivy-league schools) were all started by Christians.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Our first schools were private inst'it'utions founded before the Const'itution. Or the establishment of the country, for that matter.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
      • David

        We *are* talking about PUBLIC schools, are we not?

        October 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
      • Amniculi

        The first true public school in America was founded in 1635 by Puritans. Again, before the Consti'tution and before the United States. Luckily we have the Consti'tution to prevent religious corruption of our schools now.

        October 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
      • KT

        Are you referring to the people whose actions resulted in the genocide of Native Americans when they refused to accept Christian teachings? Gotta love a good Inquisition.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  78. gggg

    People who attend church are more than welcome and should be encouraged to volunteer to help out in schools. There are many positions that can be filled or assisted by volunteers. But these volunteers do not have to attend church. Religious volunteers may NOT teach their brand of faith to the students, nor can they be allowed to portray religious based pseudo-science as actual science. If they do those things, they should be asked to leave and not come back. If people desire a religious based education for their children, they can send their children to religious private schools. In that way they will not interfere with the secular education desired by most people and will not be interfered with by those students wishing to learn under a different faith. What it comes down to: As a concerned person/parent, you are encouraged to volunteer in schools, but unless you are volunteering at a religious private school, please check your faith at the door (at least your need to talk about it).

    October 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • dhung

      You realize, though, that what you have made is a series of religious demands. To the extent that secularism answers religious questions, to that same extent is secularism a religion. When you say that "religious volunteers may NOT teach their brand of faith to the students," do you exclude volunteers who may teach their brand of secular humanism to the students? So if I were to tell a student, "Racism is wrong because all humans have innate dignity," I am crossing the line, but an atheist may tell a student, "Racism is wrong only because of a social contract," that is not? How very inconsistent, hm? Religion is basically a set of claims about how reality works. No view of reality is neutral, including secularism. As an experiment, try "checking your faith" in secularism at the door, and observe that you may NOT speak in any way about the secular view of ethics, humanity, justice, love, success, progress, epistemology, or excellence. Instead, you could pay close attention to the First Amendment, and allow EVERYONE to speak EQUALLY for the students to decide themselves. Otherwise, you have merely privileged your own metaphysics over others' by illicitly deeming it neutral.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • David

        Well written, dhung. And right on target.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • gavin

        Awesome and well put! Check secularism at the door, if religion has to be checked out as well.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Amniculi

        You people need to learn how to use a dictionary, or at the very least Google. Secularism is the exact opposite of religion:


        [ sékyələr ]

        1.not concerned with religion: not controlled by a religious body or concerned with religious or spiritual matters
        2.not religious: not religious or spiritual in nature
        3.not monastic: not belonging to a monastic order

        October 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • dhung

        @Amniculi: And you need to learn the difference between descriptive and normative. The difference between secular and secularism is as great as the difference between legal and legalism:

        sec·u·lar·ism noun \ˈse-kyə-lə-ˌri-zəm\

        : indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations
        — sec·u·lar·ist noun
        — secularist also sec·u·lar·is·tic adjective

        October 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Have it your way. Doesn't change the fact that they're wrong:


        [ sékyələ rìzzəm ]

        1.exclusion of religion from public affairs: the belief that religion and religious bodies should have no part in political or civic affairs or in running public insti'tutions, especially schools
        2.rejection of religion: the rejection of religion or its exclusion from a philosophical or moral system

        October 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • dhung

        @Amniculi: If by "they" you mean Merriam-Webster, okay. Sure. We can play "my dictionary is better" all day, but that's rarely a productive conversation. I should have resisted the temptation to respond in kind, but my primary motivation was to illustrate the VERY common mistake of confusing descriptive and normative. Secularism, in either definition given above, is a position that makes a normative claim, i.e., it makes a demand. It claims that a secular view is better than one that's not, and that I would be better off for adopting one. Normative claims are inherently and inescapably moral. Starting to sound religious, a bit? Even folks like John Loftus are susceptible to this mistake.

        Let us take the same argument and rephrase it using terms that perhaps we agree on more closely. I prefer to use the term "worldview" or "metaphysic," which at bottom refers to a set of axioms about reality. We all know how axioms function: they are unprovable truths which we take as our starting point for reasoning. Either the universe is real, or it is an illusion. You and I accept the former axiom, and many Hindus accept the latter. Both views are rigorously unprovable, both views are non-neutral, and only one (or zero) can be true. Either humans dignity is innate, or it is societal. Both views are non-neutral, and only one (or zero) can be true. These are axioms, and your axiom system is your worldview. Philosophy 101 here.

        Is every religion an axiom system? Yes. Is secularism an axiom system? Yes. Is atheism an axiom system? Yes. They all possess the same metaphysical and epistemic status. Secularism is not a minimal common set, and religion is not secularism or atheism plus random other stuff. They are both full-fledged axiom systems. It is invalid to speak of secularism as having any a priori properties over and above other axiom systems; they can only be adjudicated on a posteriori considerations, i.e., evidence. To elevate secularism above other axiom systems, by placing it in a different category from all other "religious" axiom systems, is nothing more than rhetorical sleight-of-hand. If you REALLY insist on preserving that distinction for literary reasons, that's fine with me. We can simply continue the discussion using the term "worldview," understanding that it encompasses all axiomatic thought systems. But in that case, you cannot simply use the literary distinction of "secular vs. religious" to argue that secularism is superior. To exclude all axiom systems besides secularism requires a better argument than that.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Blah, blah, blah. You can take your philosophical argument, stick it in a pipe and smoke it. You may be using a lot of words, but you're not improving your argument. Secularism in the public sphere is established by the First Amendment. It is not a "normative claim" as you state. It is a position of neutrality obtained by removing the option of dissenting opinion. No advantage is given to any one point of view over another. Children can pray or not pray in school as they wish. They just can't be forced or otherwise coerced by a school or its officials into doing so. Likewise, a school is not allowed to tell children not to believe. Your argument is null and void.

        October 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • dhung

        @Amniculi: How unfortunate. If you would like to point out any actual errors in my actual argument, please show us. Until then, my argument stands unchallenged: secularism is no more neutral than any religion.

        You seem not to have noticed that this current argument has nothing to do with the First Amendment. We had to get the basics out of the way before even getting to that. So even if your unsourced claims about the First Amendment were correct, it hardly renders my argument "null and void," since that's not even what my argument was about.

        Furthermore, you contradicted yourself: "...neutrality obtained by removing... dissenting opinion. No advantage is given to any one point of view over another." You really don't seem to want to accept that this very statement IS a point of view that you are giving an advantage to. You are not neutral, and that's not a criticism. Neither am I, nor is anyone. In the same way, you really don't seem to want to accept that almost every statement you've made is normative: that neutrality is desirable (I agree), that secularism is the best way to achieve this (I disagree), that no advantage should be given to one point of view (I agree), and that secularism is also the best way to achieve this (I disagree). How are those not normative?

        Finally, I completely agree that no child should be forced to pray in school. Where we differ is that I think a teacher should be allowed to pray or to speak whatever they like within the boundaries of their job. I went to a private secular school where no such restrictions existed: teachers could inveigh all they wanted against religion, and did so regularly, with arguments both good and lousy. And I can assure you that there was barely a single Christian on staff to balance this. What a refreshing and stimulating environment it was: the free exchange of ideas. Also note that college is the same way, and seems to work just fine.

        October 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
      • SoonToBeDad

        Secularism isn't a religion. Period. Saying that all humans have innate dignity is something that in our country(U.S.) is believed to be true so saying that to a child is simply backing what which we hold true. If it's said to be because of a social contract, is that any different from the previous statement? No. It's the same. Semantics. Everyone can speak equally, it's just a matter of where you speak and in the schools is not the place for it. You seem to think that by someone saying you can't do that here that an attack is being made against the idea of being religious and that's not the case. I don't care if someone worships a pile of cat litter. I don't want it in my public school, and should I have to wage war to make it so that what I consider to be the great Jesus Myth to be taught along side Greek/Roman/ Mythology, funny how they call these other religions Myths and get all revved up when someone calls Christianity a myth, instead of as fact I will. I would rather that everyone respect a Parent's right to not have their child be exposed to these things in school where learning should be taking place instead of religious debate.

        October 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Amniculi

      "unsourced claims about the First Amendment"

      The First Amendment is my source. I need no other.

      No, I did not contradict myself. Neutrality in this case is a state of being, not a point of view. There is no other option. Of course I, personally, am not neutral. No one truly is. The law can be, however. You are trying to make a philosophical argument out of a legal one and are failing spectacularly.

      "I think a teacher should be allowed to pray or to speak whatever they like within the boundaries of their job"

      Teachers are not prevented from prayer – no one is. And they can speak whatever they want within the boundaries of their job. Those boundaries state no proselytizing, either for or against religion.

      October 3, 2012 at 9:16 am |
      • Amniculi

        Oops, wrong spot.

        October 3, 2012 at 9:17 am |
      • dhung

        @Amniculi: Thanks for clarifying your position. We're finally making progress! Now that I understand your terms, your statements make much more sense. They are not self-contradictory, and I'm happy to retract that claim. Note, that long "philosophical" argument that you were so quick to dismiss was (like most formal arguments) almost nothing but a long series of definitions, exactly so that we would not misunderstand each other in this way.

        I do need one more point of clarification. "Neutrality in this case is a state of being." What kinds of things have this state of being? Did you have individuals in mind, or the law, or something else? Again, I don't want to misinterpret, but it sounds like you're saying that neutrality is a property, which some things have and other things don't. If that's what you mean, I agree with that. And you also seem to agree with me that one of the things that doesn't exhibit neutrality is an individual's point of view.

        So your actual argument, which now seems clearer, is that you think it is possible for people like ourselves who don't possess neutrality to construct a legal system that does possess neutrality. If this is a fair characterization of your position, then let's discuss. First off, if it can be shown that a truly neutral legal system is possible, one that privileges no view above another, then I would be all for it. My objections consist mainly of counterexamples to that possibility. Consider something like divorce law, a topic that might first appear to be a purely civil issue, but you soon find yourself asking questions like: should divorce be unilateral or bilateral? It must be one or the other, and neither is value-neutral: either the law expresses the non-neutral view that individual happiness supercedes family stability, or the law expresses the non-neutral view that the family supercedes the individual. I'm not taking a position on that here, I'm only pointing out that every nontrivial law is an expression of someone's non-neutral value. Given that, it is difficult to see how mandating the "secular" choice in every instance - i.e., secular-ism - could possibly result in a legal system that can be described as neutral. Secularism implies a complete set of non-neutral answers for every significant legal and moral question, the same as any religion.

        But here we're talking about public education. Does the same apply? It seems to. We have to teach students not to cheat, after all, but it's rather unproductive to do so without referencing a value system. Therefore one supposes that we should mandate a secular value system, and all I'm saying is that simply isn't neutral. That's an establishment of secularism, a non-neutral point of view on the subject of honesty.

        And maybe that's what the First Amendment really does imply. Perhaps the only way to accomplish its mandate is to establish secularism. I don't think so, but let's suppose it is. Then, that would be fine by me - what's not fine is to claim that it's neutral, rather than properly seeing it as a privileged view over against other views.

        We didn't have this problem at my private, secular high school. My physics teacher, an ex-NASA bigwig, passionately believed that the proper teaching of science necessarily implied the teaching of atheism, and saw that as being within the bounds of his job - indeed, central to his job. In this environment, we all knew that each teacher, being an individual, has a point of view that they consciously and unconsciously advocate. So we expected this, and understood it as a means to broaden our perspective. In other words, I think *fairness* is attainable additively via freedom of speech, rather than subtractively via censorship-in-the-name-of-neutrality.

        Lastly, and very briefly: "The First Amendment is my source. I need no other." Be careful of anachronism, then. Your interpretation of the text is only correct if you use the correct definitions, and it is risky to assume that a 200-year-old text uses words like "establishment" and "expression" in exactly the same way you are used to. That's why serious scholarship of any text requires reading contemporary works by the same authors to see how those words and phrases were, in fact, used at the time.

        October 4, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  79. snowboarder

    community involvement in education is a great idea, unfortunately the religious crowd has a penchant for overstepping the bounds of education and into religion.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  80. bud johnson

    Churches role in public education? Should be nothing, zero, nada, diddlysquat.

    Churches role in private education? Whatever they are willing to pay for.

    Thats how our country is supposed to operate, but the whiny zealots I'm sure will find plenty of reasons to inflict themselves upon us.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • ted

      I agree 100% but that should also include any and all political affiliations.
      6th grade students have no business coming home telling their parents they should Vote for Obama, or Romney for that matter. Not that teachers are trying to indoctrinate students with the Bush doctrine. Although the currents admin policy is doing wonders to create future Republicans on their own.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  81. Mark

    Keep religion out of public schools, period. As you read the thread you notice that the churches want to take over the school district and its curriculum then they'll want to make sure all the teachers are christians. Just like living in the bible belt the christians run the school board, the library, city & county government, no thanks. Keep god & religion out of government at all levels. The United States is a secular country.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • gavin

      The US is not a secular country. As pointed earlier, most of the Founding Fathers were Christians themselves.

      October 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Whether or not the "founding fathers" were Christian or not has no bearing on the argument. The United States was established as a secular nation by the First Amendment, which was further reinforced by the Treaty of Tripoli as ratified by Congress unanimously on June 7, 1797 including Article 11 which states, "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;"

        October 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • SoonToBeDad

        Ironically they were mostly Christians who were creating a government based on those damn pagans Iroquois Nation. Interesting that apparently Christianity doesn't have a good structure for leading people and they acknowledged it even back then.

        October 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Polydued

      If you want to have a voice as well Mark, you could always volunteer for a school as well. There are no laws restricting the volunteer work of church members because such a law would be a violation of the seperation of church and state. 🙂

      October 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  82. cronewinter

    The churches role in education should start and end at the Sunday school door or if a parent wishes they may chose to pay to have their children mistaught in a private church school. Religion and education really do not fit well in the same mind.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  83. rw

    The churches would reject all but "bible based" teachings, lead us all to be uneducated soldiers in their crusades against all non-christians.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • David

      All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

      Reject the Bible and you reject righteousness. It is very apparent this is coming to full fruition in this current generation of 'englightened' humanists.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • SoonToBeDad

        Define Righteousness.

        October 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  84. griz5106

    Not built into my nature Mark. I worship nothing and believe in what I can see, feel and smell.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Harvesting

      So based on your logic you do not believe in air because you can't "see, feel and smell" it.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • snowboarder

        harvesting – not really true.

        October 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  85. iceload9

    The problem is allowing church incursion while controlling doctrine. If a church starts a school or has classes the participants know what they are signing up for. If they really want to help, don't add a level of bureaucracy, volunteer at a local school and help the teachers. It's not glamorous and you won't get a movie of the week out of it. Productive work rarely gets a movie of the week.

    October 2, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  86. Cathy White SP

    I beleie a very promising way to help public education is to help our congregation members undestand on of he central tenents of Christianity, to love our neighbor as our selves. If undesood with ther gospel vlues we wuld be ready to hel in our schools. I believe we need to help the parents of public school students tae our christin values ino our schools. A long timeago public educators said, give us your children and we will eucate them. This hasn't happened because we, hye parents did not go with our children. The adadge says, "It takes a village to raise a child." In too many places we abandon the child to others who do not understand christian values. We need to stand up and take part in public education.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • snowboarder

      cathy – that is a very challenging post to read.

      what should be taught in schools is humanistic values. religious values are too dogmatic and variable among denominations or religions.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • KC

      Christian? There are many devout Jews and Muslims that might disagree.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Amniculi

      The Golden Rule is not a Christian value, it's a human value. Society does not work well without it on some level. It is insulting when relgious people, no matter the religion, claim to have a monopoly on morality and "values". This country was built on the ideas of religious freedom AND freedom from religion – this cannot be without complete separation of church and state, which means keeping religion and religious dogma out of public schools. I have no problem with volunteers as they are a necessary and valuable addition to the education process. However, if these volunteers start to proselytize, that is where we will have issues.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  87. IslandAtheist

    Religions roll is to destroy critical thinking, so it's meme can continue.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  88. butterflyfree

    These church leaders are right.
    For those who don't like this option, why don't you step up and go help at your local school. Schools want community volunteers – just 30 minutes a week can help one kid learn to read or do math better. If you can blog, I know you can help a kid read. Ever tried it?

    October 2, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • gavin

      well spoken!

      October 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  89. snowboarder

    as long as they are not pushing a religious agenda, any community involvement in public schools is welcome.

    especially in urban and minority schools.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  90. MarkinFL

    If used purely as a force to improve education and access to education and NOT a force for proselytizing and teaching Christian beliefs then I see no problem. Problem is that even if the intent is there some will cross the line, willingly or by accident. It can be difficult for the faithful to recognize the line.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Harvesting

      Nothing will be perfect because humans are involved in creating a system of controls, yet doing nothing is not working now.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  91. Ari Goldstein

    They should stay as far away as possible, we've seen what happens when we let priests anywhere near our children.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Amniculi

      Or imams.

      October 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  92. open

    Visit one of your local Catholic schools. We are not Catholic, but we utilize their schools for our kids. One minute on the playground with a group of them shows all the difference in the world. Not only are they receiving a top rate education, but they behave so much better than the public education taught children. They understand caring for others, respect for others and the enviromment, and self control. The public education system, faith aside, could learn a world from the Catholic education systems. Theses are not better kids, just a better system. Also, we pay less than our public system gets from the State to do a similar job.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Janet

      That's hardly universal. I tried that with one of my kids and it was a disaster. And the reason it costs less is because many of the teachers have taken vows of poverty.

      Do you really mean that there are no official prayers said? And no pictures of bleeding men on crosses with halos? And do they teach the same science that is taught in public schools?

      October 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • mk

      Kids who go to catholic schools don't behave better because they go to church. They behave better because they have parents who care about their education enough to pay for it. They have parents who volunteer because there is not enough money to pay someone to do the work. Kids whose parents are involved and show respect for education tend to produce kids who are better behaved.

      October 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  93. christina knight

    As long as there is no attempt to proselytize or introduce religious beliefs or practices, I have no problem with any individual or group encouraging students to learn. However, any such influence must be wholly secular in nature to be in accord with the 1st amendments establishment clause.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  94. Amniculi

    Religion should be like any other legal drug – not allowed until 18 years old, when the person can choose as an adult. I believe Christopher Hitchens was 100% correct when he said exposing children to religion is child abuse. As for the role churches play in public education, that should be nil. This shouldn't even be an issue.

    October 2, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • dragonfire77

      I disagree. Religion gives children a certain framework for understanding their world. Understand that Children are also capable of believing in the tooth fairy, Santa, and the Easter Bunny. Understanding electromagnetics, and it's effects on atmospheric moisture to create lightning just isn't going to resonante with a kid. But "The angels are bowling" is much easier for them to grasp.

      I draw the line, however, when religion and religious groups try to act as scientists, and try to teach dogma as scientific fact. Keep education of religion in religion class, and OUT of science and math classes.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  95. Golmer

    Churches should have ZERO roles in PUBLIC education. If churches want to influence the minds of children, that should happen in CHURCHES that the children attend. Of course children shouldn't be exposed to religion until they are old enough to decide for themselves what its all about, but I digress.

    October 2, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • CTEd

      Agreed. Parents shoudl be invovled but not as agents of the church. Ecouraging church members to run for schoolboards is what results in Kitzmiller v Dover and the Kansas schoolboard embarrassments. Religion actively teaches against reason, science, and common sense – we already lack that in public education we don't need to make it worse.

      October 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
      • legal mind

        to CTEd try the Episcopal church. They welcome everyone and incourage reasoning as part of their docturine.

        October 2, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • Mark

        I believe you are mistaken. Most religious beliefs teach everyone needs to love and respect one another. What I have studied of the Bible has always said to seek knowledge and improve yourself while being kind and helpful to others. It is the few individuals that take it to the extreme. You should not hold a religion accountable for a single individual, just as you shouldn't hold all white people responsible for the bombings done by Timothy McVey. I think society would be far better if we sought knowledge with the temperment of asking is it really needed to be learned and not seek it because we can seek it.

        October 2, 2012 at 10:39 am |
      • YoozYerBrain

        @ Mark
        " I think society would be far better if we sought knowledge with the temperment of asking is it really needed to be learned and not seek it because we can seek it." sad, so sad...this is why religion is ANTI-American, it destroys the brains of our citizens like Mark.
        Mark, there are few things more fun or fulfilling in life, and no greater gift to the rest of humanity, than endeavoring to learn something just because you CAN learn it. Cuz you can pick ANYTHING to learn. And 9 times out of 10 you'll learn something you weren't looking for as a bonus. And then you can decide to do whatever you want with the knowledge and bear the consequences of your decisions, like a free, responsible adult.
        Ugh, what you wrote implies that you think there should be a value judgement on WHAT to learn. F you, LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN! YoozYerBrain, please!

        So sad...

        October 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  96. pvariel

    The involvement definitely can make a great impact in the school education of respective Church member's children
    The Church should have an eye on their activities at school as well in the society.
    This is no doubt definitely this will bring out great and good result in the over whole developments in their siblings

    October 2, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • Amniculi

      You are out of your mind. Religion, for the most part, is evil and nothing but an effort to control peoples' minds. Children should not be subjected to this sort of brainwashing. Wait until they are adults so they can make informed decisions.

      October 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
      • LinSea

        Wouldn't teaching children that religion is evil and to not believe in God also be an attempt to control their thinking?

        October 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Did I say that children should be taught that? That is my personal view. My daughter can believe whatever she wants to believe. I just want her to be able to make an informed, adult decision without being influenced during her formative years.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mark

      Everyone worships something. Even an athesist believes in Science as their god. It is built into the nature of all humans. The question is what types of beliefs are best for our children and our society. Ignoring the religious dogma, is the religion teaching the children that soceity is about caring for others, respect their parents, respecting the law, and being productive for society (most Religious Schools); or are the children learning that high school society teaches disobidience and defiance is "cool" (most public schools).

      October 2, 2012 at 10:34 am |
      • Amniculi

        You are out of your mind as well. Atheists, like myself, do not worship science. That is ridiculous. Science is not a mythological figure. Worship is based on faith, and there is no faith involved in the scientific process. Either something works or it doesn't.

        October 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |
      • Daremonai

        Actually, if you bothered to study, you would know that religion is only built into a certain percentage of the population.

        October 2, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • LinSea

        @Amniculi, but isn't science what you have chosen to believe in? Haven't you put your trust in scientific principles and theories and made them the foundation upon which you base your opinions and decisions and have faith that those principles and theories are correct? Aren't theories simply that–an assumption that you think could be true but which has not been proven? And maybe you don't pray to science, but if belief in it is what you have devoted yourself to, that is, in a sense, the thing you worship. I don't believe science and faith are at odds with each other.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • Amniculi

        Science doesn't require belief (aka faith) to function. Science is supported by demonstrable evidence. There is no rigidity in scientific "belief" as is required by religion. Views can change with the evidence.

        October 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • allenwoll

        Mark and LinSea - HOW can ANY adult (I presume that you both are adults) possibly confuse the methods of science and religion. . They are utterly and completely distinct and UN-related to each other.

        Science requires PROOF which survives determined rebuttal.

        Religion requires mere FAITH.

        NO comparison, NO connection ! ! ! . None at all ! ! !

        October 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Brian

      What a moron...

      October 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
      • YoozYerBrain


        October 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
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