Friday, March 1, 2013

North Carolina Bill Would Add Bible Courses For Students As Electives

North Carolina bill would add Bible study at public schools (Fox News)

I know the anti-religious cults and those who make it their mission in life to deny any kind of higher power are going to be flipping out over this one, but at some point our side has to stick it back in their face and actually have an argument about this kind of thing. This legislation would allow kids to choose if they wanted to take a course in the Old Testament, New Testament, or a combination of the two. It would be considered an elective, which means the students that did not want to take the course would not have to take the course at all. They could find another elective elsewhere, and no other elective would be cut in place of this one so the argument that students may be forced to choose this elective is far-fetched.

Any mention of the Bible in schools sends the Left going nuts! To be fair, it sends some on the right even more nuts but that is for another day and another blog. What we are talking about here is allowing students who want to take a course in the Bible to do so. The argument from the ALCU seems to be that it will be difficult to teach something like this and not be one sided toward that specific religion, but in theory the person teaching the course would not have to be impartial at all. How many science teachers out there are partial to Darwin's theory of evolution and stand by that theory? To say a course in the Bible would have to be dumbed down because it might offend someone who did not have to take the class in the first place is ridiculous!

Remember, no one has to take this course if they do not want to. They can take another elective. There might be schools that find no one wants to take the courses so they will not even have them for a semester or two. It will all depend on the student and what they believe. Why would an Atheist take a course in the Bible to begin with? If they would, they should expect some kind of bias one way or another. But the argument of bias does not resonate with me. I went through high school and college and if I learned one thing it is that teachers have bias, schools have bias, and the way some classes are taught will differ from district to district. To say these classes should not be allowed because of bias should also mean we get rid of science courses and also history courses as well. Talk to someone in high school and see if their teacher ever gave their opinion on world events. Once the teacher does this, the class is biased in one direction instead of allowing the students to decide for themselves.

At the end o the day, people, any conversation about "separation of church and state" will not fly. Yes, these schools are government funded but the school nor the government of the state of North Carolina is forcing anyone into the courses. The state is not declaring its own religion, not sponsoring a religion, or telling people how to practice if they choose to be religious.

I like to add some background sometimes to show everyone where I am coming from. In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled in Engel v. Vitale that it was unconstitutional for a government entity (a public school) to compose a prayer and then have students recite that prayer. In other words, prayer in schools was a thing of the past after this ruling. Older Americans probably still remember going to school and reciting a prayer before the school day, and some may even remember being in school when this action by the High Court changed the game forever. A year later, all prayers, composed by the school or not, was found to be unconstitutional in Murray v. Curlett (1963).

in 1962, Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina said, "I should like to ask whether we would be far wrong in saying that in this decision the Supreme Court has held that God is unconstitutional and for that reason the public school must be segregated against Him?"

It is about time we called a spade a spade in this country and actually had people educated about what the Constitution says, not what some letter says. A letter to a church is not governing law in the United States, the Constitution is what the High Court looks at to make decisions that come in front of them. Our Constitution says nothing about the Bible, religion, or non-religion being in the schools. The only thing our Constitution states is that the CONGRESS shall not make law establishing a religion. Here it is, in black and white:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Remember, it says that Congress shall make no law that ESTABLISHES OR PROHIBITS  religion. This basically means the government needs to stay away from the religious rights of others and allow them to practice how they see fit. The Warren Court did not decide based on this First Amendment wording but on the words of Jefferson and his letter to the Danbury Baptists. They take ONE LINE out of the letter and use it to force segregation of religion in the schools and other places. How many of you have actually ever read the letter? How many of you actually understand the context? Because if you have EVER used the letter in an argument against religious freedom in a public school, you may be making more of an ass out of yourself than normal.

The line that causes the stir is this: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

Now, this WALL of separation that Jefferson writes about is very interesting, and also somewhat confusing for people who take it on its face. You have to understand the context, and that context is the First Amendment wording of having no law respecting or prohibiting religious freedom. Jefferson says religion should be between a man and his God, but his opinion is only that, an opinion, and does not go to the extent that the Constitution relies on. Jefferson is one man, and the Constitution was signed by many. That overrules anyone's opinion on the matter, even Jefferson in this case. His "wall" of separation is not explained further, either. Did he see the future and see government's running schools in the manner we run them today? If so, then maybe you are right in your conclusion but there is no way of telling that. Even if he did, even if his opinion was based solely on the fact that man and God should be separate from government, again, this piece is not law but an opinion from a man of high power. If Barack Obama wrote a letter to the church telling them they should not speak of religion outside the walls of the church, would the High Court use that to restrict religious freedom? Should the court use something like that to limit freedom? If so, then maybe even the Conservatives who argue for the "separation" are not as Conservative as they believe they are!

There is nothing on the books that says schools cannot offer these kinds of classes to students who want them. You know for a fact if this were to pass in North Carolina that the ACLU would be all over it. We will see what happens, but to try and argue separation when the student is not forced to do anything at all (not take the elective) then you are going down a dangerous road of not just re-interpreting the Constitution but using the opinion of one to shape a nation. If we wanted that kind of rule, we would have had a King! 

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