The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Voices: Violence myth

Our Conscience

In a recent letter to the editor, Maurice Filson (Globe, Aug. 20) stated that "more than 30 years ago our children could speak the name of God and/or Jesus in our public schools" and that back in those "simple times. ... The largest problem was chewing gum or throwing paper wads."

I promise to stop confronting these myths as soon as they stop being spread.

In 1927, children at Bath Consolidated School in Michigan had to worry about chewing gum, paper wads, and mass murder. They had to worry about the worst case of mass murder in a school in U.S. history, in which three times more children were killed than died at Columbine. This all occurred in that "simple time" when people, according to Maurice, could talk about Jesus in schools.

For the 50th time, what courts have banned has nothing to do with restricting the religious speech of children: "State officials may not compose an official state prayer and require that it be recited in the public schools ..." Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).

Maurice continues that, "Today's secular society prohibits our children from being taught what caused Cain to kill Abel, and killing continues." Our "secular society" (90 percent religious) can teach its children about religion using the most effective means possible: parents.

The government can't even balance its checkbook. Plus, we have run out of colonies in which to escape from state religion.


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