Church and Government Scandals and Hypocrisy
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"The American mind, unlike the English, is not formed by books, but, as Carl Sandburg once said to me, by newspapers and the Bible " --- Van Wyck Brooks

Church and State DO NOT Mix - Tell A Congressman!

Christians and GovernmintBlatant violations of church-state separation continue to take place in our public schools. Among the more recent such violations have been the following:

In Alabama, a family of Jewish children was repeatedly harassed after complaining about the promotion of Christian beliefs in their public schools. One of the students was forced to write an essay on "Why Jesus Loves Me." At a mandatory school assembly, a Christian minister condemned to hell all people who did not believe in Jesus Christ.

Elsewhere in Alabama, officials in the DeKalb County school system blatantly disobeyed a district court ruling that forbade religious activity in school such as the broadcast of Christian prayers over the school public address system and the distribution of Gideon Bibles on school property. The court has now been forced to issue an injunction to compel the schools to abide by its earlier ruling. A Jewish student at a public school in Utah was required to sing religious songs and participate in Mormon religious worship activities as part of a choir class. After she voiced objections to these practices, the student was humiliated in class by the teacher and became the target of anti-Semitic harassment by her classmates.

Some otherwise well-intentioned advocates for school reform are promoting initiatives that would channel public funds to schools that engage in religious indoctrination. In their various forms -- "vouchers," "school choice," "hope and opportunity scholarships" -- these programs would force Americans to do something contrary to our very notion of democracy: to pay taxes to support the propagation of religious dogma.

The best way for citizens to protect their constitutional right to be free from religious coercion is to become educated, and to educate others, about the separation of church and state. Local officials need to understand that they may not use their authority, government funds or government property to promote religion, even if the majority in the community approves. School administrators and teachers need to understand that public schools should teach the ideals of American democracy, not religious pedagogy.

In Montgomery Alabama, the Associated Press reports, the Alabama House has passed a bill permitting the posting of the U.S. motto "In God We Trust" on classroom walls in Alabama public schools. The bill's sponsor, representative Jimmy Martin (D), says he feels the motto hanging on classroom walls will send a positive message to students. The bill is now moving on to the Senate.

And how does he get around the church and state issue? Easy. Don't have tax payers pay for it. Instead, have the signs paid for by private organizations.

Let's just forget about the church-and-state issue for a moment. Let's just talk about the appropriateness of it. Should private organizations be funding religious posters to hang in public schools? The school is no place for advertising, for God or otherwise. Unfortunately, we have tons of advertising in our schools already. Channel One is a good example of how students are subjected to heinous advertising in the classroom. In Ohio, students who refused to watch were thrown in jail.

When parents send their kids to school, they're sending them to the one place where they have no say in what their kids are being exposed to. They don't anticipate they're being exposed to commercials for sodas, violent movies, or junk food (all of which can be seen advertised on Channel One). And they certainly don't anticipate that they're being exposed to advertisements for God.

"In God We Trust" is our country's motto. Despite the fact that it quite plainly states in easy-to-understand English that we all trust God, the courts have so far upheld that the motto has a secular purpose. To that end, I wouldn't object to kids learning in school that the phrase "In God We Trust" is our country's motto. Hopefully that lesson would include a bit of history and debate. But Rep. Martin wants the posters to "send a positive message." If I were an Alabama parent, I'm sure I would not want my son getting the message in school that he should trust God. That message should be taught, if the parents decide so, in the home and place of worship.

Trust me. :)

Catholic Church - Shame

"Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, the very purpose of our life is happiness, the very motion of our life is towards happiness. " --The Dalai Lama

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