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Thread: Bible in the Schools

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferJJ
    Except for a few additional books in the Bible, Catholics have the same Bible, so I don't see why this is an issue
    That's how I feel too however I've had more than one friend from southern states tell me that Catholics are looked at askance where they come from. Maybe not true in all parts of the south but hearing that really took me by surprise. When I heard one of the authors of those 'Left Behind' novels (finally remembered the name of the series) say that he thought Catholicism wasn't a 'real' religion it only confirmed my belief. I don't know about him either, maybe he's one, single errant nut job but those books are pret-ty popular huh? Somebody's buying what he's selling.
    Linda

    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say “I used everything you gave me.”

    Erma Bombeck

  2. #62
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    That's how I feel too however I've had more than one friend from southern states tell me that Catholics are looked at askance where they come from.
    I live in a medium-sized southern city, and moved here from a large midwestern city with a large Catholic population (although I'm not Catholic). I'm not sure if they're "looked at askance," but certainly Catholics are a minority of the Christian population here. There only are two Catholic churches in the city (and perhaps one additional one in the suburbs).

  3. #63
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    The Ku Klux Klan was historically anti-Catholic and Catholics have traditionally been the targets of various kinds of bigots.

    Logically of course Catholicism is a form of Christianity but to bigots they see Papal worship, strange rituals, nuns and other unfamiliar things and historically Catholics were predominantly of the inferior though white races - Italians, Slavs etc. The Irish endured their share of bigotry also when the immigrated.

    I went to school in the South and many of the people in the smaller towns had never encountered a Catholic -- let alone a Jew. They said many of the people from their towns were in fact bigoted against Catholics (as well as other groups) -- this was in the 1970's -- maybe they've changed and some of them have died no doubt. Hard to believe but the grandmother of one of my friends firmly believe Jews actually have horns.

  4. #64
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    I'm curious to know what the driver was for adding the Bible in the Schools program (or other similar programs).
    What was the above question?

    What does the school/parents think is the benefit?
    I guess if you are a believer, the answer to that is pretty elementary, if you aren't a believer, then you wouldn't understand........anymore than I could understand discussing all of the different hetero and homosexual positions that can be used in lovemaking was important for my daughter to know when she was taking family life in the 10th. grade.....but I digress....

    The Bible teacher, a former English teacher, prided herself in including all of the elements of learning. The children had to read, they had to write an essay on occasion, the learned the geography of the region, they learned Roman history, they learned to spell and they did memorization of the books in the Bible...and other stuff...heck I haven't driven for the program in 9 years...so I had to really think about this.

    If I made it seem insignificant, all it involved, I apologize.

    As for the ice cream thing, it was on the last day of class, it was a reward, and although the children at school did not get to participate in on the making of the ice cream, the Bible teacher and I made ice cream for the students who stayed back at the school, and their classmates took it back to them.

    And yes, we did play games. But the games were learning games, after going over information, she would divide the class into two teams and they would compete to see who could answer the questions. If you got it correct, you had the privilege of going to the board and add a mark for your team. Everyone got a sucker that day and they also took suckers back to the class for those who didn't participate, because the teacher didn't want anyone feeling left out. She was a very loving woman...still is.

    As far as I know, the program is still going strong. The last I talked to her about 96% of the 3rd., 4th., and 5th. graders attend. They used to smile when they get on the bus to come to the church and were still smiling when they got back to the school....or at least when I drove them...and I have no reason to think it is different, now.

    Joyce
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmarie
    What was the above question?

    Joyce - in other words, why was the program started? What brought people to the point that they said to themselves and the community "Hey, we need to start taking kids of class and telling them Bible stories!"

    I think I'm understanding the posed question correctly.


    It's not so much the children that attend that concern me, but the children that aren't being included, for one reason or another. Part of this for me still goes back to a group of kids being read stories for one specific religion, getting to play games and the like, when another group is staying back, doing homework and doing work around the classroom.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  6. #66
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    In Louisiana, we give the LEAP. It tests language arts, math, science, social studies, and study skills are embedded. There is a focus on finding information (dictionaries, glossaries, internet, etc.) There is barely time to teach all of these things. My adored art and music are being phased out of our public schools. And the best part of NCLB? Special ed students are expected to pass the state tests as well. Can you spell torture? How about humiliation? I feel so badly for the special ed kids having to take these tests. It's a crime in my opinion.

    Anyway, there is a Bible on the bookshelf of my classroom (placed by the Gideons I think), and occasionally a student will look at it. Most of us are church-going Christians in my little town. But even the most devout don't really want public schools teaching their kids about God.
    Margaret

  7. #67
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    I am 53 years old and when I was in the 6th. grade, I took Bible. Bible has always been offered to the students. And always as OPT OUT. I remember a friend of mine Barbara...her mom wouldn't let her attend. Her dad didn't have a problem with it, but her mom called the shots in this case. This family was Catholic and she got to go to the Principal's office and sit at his desk and file things for him...I thought she was SO lucky to be able to get to do that....but I also loved Bible and Mrs. Stanley who taught it.

    I don't know why they did it....or who had the foresight to do it....Bible in School. I just know that it has been around here, forever. And it has always been a good thing, as far as we were concerned. I know most of y'all aren't happy about it, but what works for some doesn't have to work for everyone. And just because it doesn't work for some, doesn't mean that those it works for, should have to give it up.

    I found some history as to WHY?
    1914 - WRE began in Gary, Indiana taught in public high schools. Began by local clergy at the request of Gary Public School Superintendent, William Wirt.

    1921 - Walter Scott Athearn, Director of School of Religious Education and Social Service, Boston University presented his address on "The Correlation of Church and State" to the Third Annual Conference on Character Education in Indianapolis.

    1925 - Virginia survey showed that of 18,434 high school students, only one out of ten could name as many as three Old Testament prophets. Approximately one-half the four gospels, and about one-third could name as many as three of Jesus' twelve disciples. Conclusion that our high school students were biblically illiterate. The Virginia State Department of Education made the first move toward resolving this dilelmma.

    1925 - On September 21, 1925, Dr. Harris Hart, State Department Superintendent, wrote to Dr. Minor C. Miller, Executive Secretary of the Virginia Council of Religious Education. Dr. Hart said that in his opinion, the way was open to begin Weekday Religious Education on the basis of released time from public schools. Dr. Minor C. Miller laid the groundwork for WRE classes to be taught throughout Virginia.

    1925 - On December 11, 1925, twenty-eight interested persons from Augusta and Rockingham Counties met at the Staunton Y.M.C.A. for an organizational meeting, with Dr. Minor C. Miller presiding. They decided to begin classes in Rockingham County and also in the Arlington - Fairfax area, to initiate one or two pilot projects. The Board of Superintendents enthusiastically voted to release every child in the county for two hours per week for Bible classes in the churches. However, the County School Superintendent preferred to have the religious instruction in the public schools, and included access to all facilities.

    AND MORE RECENTLY:
    1982 - Pulaski WRE voluntarily moved out of public schools since the matter of separation of church and state had become a hotly debated issue in some areas of the state. Some classes were held in area churches. Students transported by bus. 50th anniversary of Pulaski Co. WRE - history speech by Ms. Gerolean M. Buckner.

    1989 - Olive Clark retired and Evelyn Simmons took over the position of State Coordinator.

    2000 - Release Time Bible classes taught to public school students in 23 states.

    2001 - Kindergarten curriculum was added to "Adventures In Christian Living" guides.
    (Page County withdrew from the Virginia Weekday Religious Education Program.) Evelyn Simmons retired from the post of State Coordinator and Faye Drewry was hired for the position.

    2002 - There were 20 WRE Councils, 43 teachers and approximately 12,000 students in Virginia
    Those who opt out have never been made to feel slighted or different. I went to school with children who opted out and my children did and all were well adjusted as they all played well together.

    When there became a huge separation of church and state, some schools had to give it up because of logistics. But those who had a church nearby and had enough support to get a bus and allowed parents to opt their children out, if they didn't want them going, who could afford a teacher kept their programs. Others lost the programs.

    This is all I know.
    Joyce
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  8. #68
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    It's not so much the children that attend that concern me, but the children that aren't being included, for one reason or another.
    Bethany, believe it or not, children's feelings are hurt far more when they aren't included in the Enrichment Classes. My children made it sometimes and sometimes they didn't, depending on their strengths. It was a difficult pill for them to swallow to be included in one portion and then not the other.

    Some kids never got to be included.

    How is this different?

    The Jewish kids were excused from classes during the high holy days and also at Christmas. You think my kids weren't envious of them? For some reason here, we didn't see kids as Jews or Catholics. We knew, but we saw them as our friends. They were just one of us and I speak for my children and others and myself, when I say this.

    I feel sorry for those of you who see this as a major difference in children....like they wear a huge scarlett letter on their forehead or something. Children are children and they like you for how you treat them, not where you go to church or if you attend Bible. The teachers made it fun for those who didn't go to Bible, by, pretty much, letting them have run of the classroom as long as they weren't destructive.
    Joyce
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  9. #69
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    Badunnin - yes, you interpreted my question correctly.

    Joyce - sorry, when I said "driver" it probably sounded like I was talking about the bus driver. Oops!

    The timeline above is pretty interesting. I find it odd that people were concerned that only 1 in 10 kids could name books of the bible or Jesus disciples. Or, more specifically, that they thought it was the public schools' job to fix this problem. The study's results says to me that they should be doing something different at church, rather than school. That was an awfully long time ago, though.

    It's interesting to hear what everyone's various concerns are. I'm not concerned or worried about the feeling of the kids left behind. I'm sure they like having a whole period to blow off. (but, I can fully see how others would rightfully worry about them feeling "different" even if only subliminally). My big concern is that, in an age where most schools have to cut art and sports, why are we making room for a single religion. Just find it quite odd.

    And, even though there are kids who wish they could get off of school for Jewish high holy days because it would mean an extra day off of school, it really does penalize Jewish kids. They have to make up homework/tests/etc. And, it pretty much says to everyone that Christian holidays are acceptable to close the schools but Jewish holidays aren't important enough. The problem is, where do you draw the line? If we were so equal as to take a school holiday for every single possible religion, we wouldn't have much school :-)

  10. #70
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    I do not see this as a problem that is only because of a percieved difference in children. That does enter in to it (I was one of only two that opted out of being a safety patrol in sixth grade, and we were derided by classmates and teachers alike, so it does happen), but my biggest concern is the use of public school time (which has a cost--those teachers and resources such as utilities, staff, etc. while all of those kids are out of the school) for something that should not be public school-related. Another major concern is the exclusion of other ideologies and the feeling that it's okay because the majority of those in this little rural community are okay with it. That doesn't always mean something is right. And ultimately, it's this idea that if you are "a believer" you'll get it and be okay with it, and if you aren't "a believer," well, your kid can just clean erasers and they'll be just fine, we won't think any the worse of them. My kid will deserve much more than that. If I feel it's important for him to know all the books of the Bible, I will see that he does. I want the school to be sure he is taught his multiplication tables, grammar, the parts of a cell, and the capitals of all the states. And I freely admit that if this was an extended story time--a time to be read books like Where the Red Fern Grows, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, even Harry Potter--I would most likely have no problem with it. It's the church thing that bugs me. I don't think this kind of program should be a part of any public school day, regardless of community acceptance or tradition. Once it would cross into a World Religions, or a Literature of World Religions, class, then I would be happy to have my child exposed to it. And if your community wants to continue a strong Bible Stories class, that's great--but it should be outside of school time. An after school program, an evening program or a weekend program should be sufficient.
    As the arc of history bends towards justice, it's a new, more progressive day. --Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, 11-07-12

  11. #71
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    And, it pretty much says to everyone that Christian holidays are acceptable to close the schools but Jewish holidays aren't important enough. The problem is, where do you draw the line? If we were so equal as to take a school holiday for every single possible religion, we wouldn't have much school :-)
    Well, where I grew up, the school district closed for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. Our cafeteria also provided kosher meal selections during Passover. (Many of our Jewish students attended Conservative synagogues and did not necessarily keep kosher normally, but would during Passover.) Our district had these days off as too many children and teachers would be absent if they didn't close schools for the high holidays. So - that's where the line was drawn.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusanMac
    And, it pretty much says to everyone that Christian holidays are acceptable to close the schools but Jewish holidays aren't important enough. The problem is, where do you draw the line? If we were so equal as to take a school holiday for every single possible religion, we wouldn't have much school :-)
    I don't think it says to Jewish kids that their holidays aren't important. I think it recognizes the reality that Beth H pointed out in her post. If a majority of the students celebrate a holiday and will thus miss school, the schools will close rather than have minimal attendance. Whether the majority is Jewish, Christian or some other religion or group.

    In our own family we have chosen to take the kids out of school to celebrate the Iranian New Year which is a holiday celebrated in Iran as widely as Christmas is in our community. We don't think it's unimportant just because the school doesn't close. We do recognize the fact, however, that most non-Iranian people do not celebrate it (unless we invite them over! ). It is important to US.
    kathyb


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