Jump to content

Religion In Public School


Neon Genesis
 Share

Recommended Posts

I know a lot of members here went to private Christian schools growing up, but for those of us who went to public schools, did you ever encounter religion being pushed into public school education? After reading the article about that song about no separation of church and state, I remembered that way back when in I was in high school, one year I went to the school talent show and the group who was running the talent show had led the audience into singing "Lord I Lift Your Name On High." It wasn't just that some student was singing the song but the people who had organized the talent show were leading the school into singing it together. Back then I was still a xtian but I believed that worshiping God with musical instruments was a sin, so I felt uncomfortable being encouraged by the school to participate in a religious ritual I didn't believe in. The talent show was optional and they didn't kick you out if you didn't sing the stupid song, but looking back, were they really allowed to do that? I noticed the year later they had an entirely different group of people running the talent show and we weren't encouraged to sing religious songs after that. We also had a "bible history" class that was also entirely optional to take but the class wasn't really so much on actual history as it felt more like an extension of Sunday school. Like the teacher didn't try to push her church's specific doctrines on the students but the bible "history" class was all taught from the presumption that the bible is historically accurate instead of teaching it from a secular point of view. Even though this class was optional, they didn't offer similar classes for other religions. Like they didn't have a "Koran History" class where the Koran was taught as literal history and they didn't have any Buddhist history class. For some reason, the bible was a-ok. As I was still a xtian, I didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back, was it ok for the school to have a bible history class like that? What are your experiences with religion in public school? What was your reaction to it then compared to your thoughts about it now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

At my age, the distant memories are pretty good (but what did I have for lunch?) and I don't recall any religious crap being presented in my public schools. Of course there was the annual Christmas concert, but that was a secular celebration with some religious classics thrown in.

 

As a kid I hated being dragged to church every time the damn place was open, and if they pushed religion at school as well, I'd have said, "Oh shit. Not here too!"

 

I think both sides of the religion issue were less touchy back then. I always had a lot of Jews in my schools, and even a few Muslims. Nobody got offended. I celebrated Hanukkah with a Jewish family a few times as a teenager, but they didn't have enough presents to suit me. Food was good, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the early 1980's religion in my school was a very touchy thing. I remember listening to people from Young Life talking about the difficulties they had in getting onto campus to talk to the teens. I remember hearing that the other high school had more fanatical teens from Maranatha that would damn other teens from across the lunch room for their immorality and marijuana use. The fanatical ones would preach in the courtyard until stopped. My school didn't seem to have any fanatics, just low-key Young Life members. One Christian teacher that was popular gave our graduation address and she did a little bit of preaching along with it. Some of the teachers did their best to push Jesus. One of my favorite teachers was such a one, but ended up getting cancer and slowly died. He was pretty pissed at God. At the time I was pissed with the church for trying to give him false comfort. He was hurting and damn tired, but he kept being encouraged to come to church anyway.

 

My brother graduated a year earlier and his class wanted to sing the Hallelujah Chorus as their parting song, but school officials said NO! They practiced in private and did it anyway when graduation came. The music teacher paused for a second then went along with it. Nobody minded at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in first grade in 1963, when they actually took the lord's prayer out of the schools. Until then, it was recited each morning with the Pledge of Allegiance. All through grade school, our xmas celebrations were an unabashed mix of carols and "Here comes Santa Claus."

 

Other than xmas, though, I don't recall religion coming up much. Campus Crudade for Christ sort of aligned itself with the school, and their meetings were publicized by the school. There was an assumption that everyone was xtain, but not much talk about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember it being pushed more in elementary school than in middle and high school. We learned God Bless America in music class, everyone said the pledge then (I stopped saying it in high school), and it was just assumed that everyone was xian. I remember that there was quite a bit of god and country indoctrination but no one ever objected. Two things that stood out to me during high school both had to do with history teachers. The first was when I was in 10th grade and I had a history teacher for homeroom. One kid didn't stand up when it was time to say the pledge and the teacher went over to him and ripped him a new one for it. It was pretty crazy. The second thing happened in 11th grade. We were learning about the Scopes monkey trial. The teacher just barely skimmed over the explanation of evolution but he went into great detail in explaining creationism. He was a xian and he ran some after-school worship thing for students. That was the worst of it, though, from what I can remember. Thank goodness I got the government teacher that I did. Most of the history teachers at my high school were conservative xians, but he was a liberal atheist. My government/humanities teacher was an awesome teacher and he started me on the road to deconversion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eh, minus "under God" in the flag salute (something I really can't bring myself to take issue with for some reason) and the Christmas-related performances by our school orchestras... nothing really. There's a Prayer Club at my current school but from what I hear, since our resident Very Devout Must Convert Everyone Christian got married-- at seventeen-- and graduated early, it hasn't actually met. And it's not like they had any influence, they just met, and that was cool with me. I've got eight weeks in this black hole of a school district left so I guess we'll see if anyone makes any attempts on my faith or lack thereof.

 

Actually, I've had (really cool) teachers that openly encouraged debate to increase people's understanding of each other. Technically we weren't even supposed to talk about religion but we said "fuck you, administration" and did it anyway. And you know what, most of the time, it turned out all right. We broke down more barriers than we put up.

 

(I was so glad to get out of that damn Lutheran school... I'd only been there two years. How ironic that every attempt made to throw me deeper into Christianity only pushed me away further.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't remember Xtianity/religion being pushed in the public schools I attended. I actually recall being taught the Pledge of Allegience without the "One nation, under God" part and when I went to a Lutheren school I remember asking why they said it wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in Los Angeles in the 80s and early-to-mid 90s, and we never had to deal with any of that shit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.