Marine Gets Banned for Complaining About Pro-Islam Lesson
The two links above are just a sampling of issues popping up in schools all over the US regarding religion. The theme seems similar across all the stories: It’s okay to teach and advocate for religion, as long as it’s Islam, not Christianity. I’m not going to rant about separation of church and state (that phrase does not exist in the US constitution). What does bother us here at Mirused is seeing such an asymmetrical balance. The United States were founded on certain specific principles. Among them was that of acceptance of varying and different beliefs. We have no problem if a school wants to focus a short unit on a religion in a social studies class. However, it must be balanced.
At another school, a teacher was terminated from his position for refusing to remove religious books (checked out from the school library, mind you) from his desk. There were no allegations that he was teaching doctrine to his students, or assigning them to read from these books, or that he was teaching from them. In fact, many students had no idea the books were there until the school district started making very public reprimands.
Schools exist to educate students. Many of the problems our world faces stem from cultural ignorance and intolerance. Should we tolerate evil acts? Absolutely not. Should we respect the peaceful beliefs of others? Absolutely. America is a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, and religions. We cannot seriously consider ourselves purveyors of knowledge and learning if we are seeking to stifle it. It is beneficial for students to learn about other religions so they might understand their peers better.
Read about The Grand Dichotomy of Education
We live in a world that is getting increasingly smaller with the advancement of technology. If we expect our students to become productive members of society, we must provide them with a knowledge base so they will be able to make educated decisions, understand the cultural differences of others, and find ways to work with those who have differing ideologies. Our culture (religious or otherwise) often shapes our decisions and the way we approach our studies and work (read Outliers for a more in-depth look at this idea). When we seek to silence a specific culture, either intentionally or by giving one more attention than others, we are essentially teaching our students that bigotry, racism, and preferential treatment are the preferred attributes of our world society.
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