Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That pesky separation of church and state

I know. It's such a pain when you're forced to do your out loud praying at home, church, or a million other non-government public places. And it's awful that you can't even send your kid to public school and expect him to be taught about the science of creationism. America isn't faaaiiiirrrrr!

Except yes, it is. Most people don't realize that in addition to having a freedom of religion, we also have a freedom from religion. This means that we are free to not practice any religion at all. It also means that we're free from being forced to participate in religious ceremonies and traditions. Except, it's not a law that's taken very seriously, particularly in the South.

I'm still thinking about Damon Fowler, and how indignant students at his public school were told they weren't allowed to pray at graduation (not that it matters since they went ahead and did it anyway). I had someone tell me that they think prayer should be recited in class in public school. The mind. It boggles.

Even if you want to ignore that there are atheists (aplenty!), what prayer are you going to choose? If you pick one with Jesus in it, you're excluding the Jews. You can probably find something that would satisfy everyone who believes in the Christian/Jewish/Muslim God, but what about the many Gods of Hindu? If they switch it up and occasionally do prayers specific to religions other than Christianity, are there going to be pissed off parents? And since I don't actually want to ignore the atheists, can there be one day a week where instead of praying, the teacher reads aloud from a Dawkins books?

I think people misunderstand the separation of church and state laws. All it does (when it's followed) is prevent religion from playing any part in how our country is governed (please explain to me why that's a bad thing) and to prevent any one religion from becoming the official religion of America. There are other reasons, but I'm losing steam.

I don't think it's so much that people want to pray in school, it's that they're being told they're not allowed to.

We all have laws we don't like, and lucky for Christians this is one where a blind eye is often turned.

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