Thursday, September 8, 2011

Separation of Church and State

A family I know has to relocate. It is not because they lost some of their income, or for any other economic reason. Rather, they have been taking a stand with the school board of their community for the past three years, and they've finally had enough. Three years ago, they learned that teachers at their children's school were supporting an outside church group and encouraging their students to participate. The parents, who are Jewish, began by politely informing the school officials that not everyone in their district was Christian, and reminding them that separation of church and state is a first amendment right. They carried on their battle, becoming less and less polite, until the school board president spoke at last year's commencement and told the graduating class that, "As long as you believe in Jesus Christ, you can't go wrong". At that point, they put their house on the market and started looking for a home in a more enlightened area. They found one, and have enrolled their children in the new school district for the coming year. They feel sad about leaving a home and community that they otherwise liked very much, and they feel as if they are giving up. I feel sad that any public school system can so easily fail to acknowledge the religious diversity of their population, and wonder how prevalent this must be in how many other school systems in this country.

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