Sunday, December 15, 2013
Recently, the ACLU has launched a campaign to have any and ALL recognition of ANY type of religion displayed in public schools. In part, their argument is that if you element all references to all religions in public school, it would prevent anyone from being offended. In other words, public schools could not display ANY form of religious icons within their schools. Furthermore, they would not be permitted to close their schools down for religious references if those closings "...occur in collation to a known religious holiday." Translation: Public schools could not close around Christmas or Easter (as we currently do) because those days off correspond to a known religious holiday. In addition, public schools would not be permitted to display any symbols that relate to a given religious holiday...regardless of how they attempt to reword it to make it appear as if they were being unbiased (i.e., no "Holiday Trees" - another name for a "Christmas" tree, no Santa Clauses - St. Nick..., nor any Menorah, Kwanzaa, etc.) Not to mention that public schools would also be prevented from singing any type of religious songs during "Holiday Concerts" or at any other time during the year. In all likelihood they probably would object strongly to Dr. Bob's playing of holiday music. The supporters of the ACLU's proposal do agree that students should be permitted to be absent due to their religious beliefs to celebrate their given holiday and that the absence should not be counted against them, but the school, as a whole, should not be closed or recognize any religion.
Those that are fighting the ACLU argue that the Supreme Court has upheld on a number of occasions that school districts are allowed to recognize whichever religion which is dominate in the majority of their given demographics. So, if the majority of your community is Jewish, the school's are allowed to close for Jewish holidays (i.e., Paramus school district) or if the majority of your population is Christian, then they can close for Christian holidays. Furthermore, those that oppose this current move by the ACLU state that they are incorrectly inserting something into the Constitution that isn't there ("separation of church and state) and that if the majority of the parents of a given school district do not have a problem with the school's recognition of any given religious holiday, then there isn't a problem.
THIS WEEK'S BLOG TOPIC: Should public schools stop recognizing any and all religions? Would doing so finally create a "religious free" environment and improve the overall learning atmosphere of public schools? Or is this just simply "political correctness" going too far? Furthermore, is this even a "real issue" that needs to be addressed?