Lauren Kurty — Special to Southern News
Prayers in schools, crosses and religious phrases are found where some say they shouldn’t be. Are we teaching our children what they really need to know?
There is currently some type of a separation between church and state, but there desperately needs to be a separation between church and state especially in schools. Attending church services is a choice people make because they believe in what their chosen religion has to say. When people are attending these services they are expected to behave a certain way. When people step out of the church doors they might act a completely different way, leading to the idea that they are living two separate lives. Having a separation allows both to be protected from the fighting that would ensue if a school official tried to tell a church how to run and vice versa.
To use the phrase “one nation under God” in a school is completely unnecessary, although it is part of the Pledge of Allegiance. By bringing this into a school, it brings the idea of a religious figure. In schools, students say the pledge every day, but they don’t take time out of their days for prayer time, and this is exactly why using the phrase should be challenged. School children stand up by their desks with their hands over their hearts to say the words that everyone knows by heart. Ultimately, they could choose to omit the phrase, but not many do. In order to have a true separation between church and state, all people should be encouraged to utilize the opportunity to omit this phrase (if they want to), no matter what age they are.
If there wasn’t a separation between these two items, then people, especially many teachers, would attempt to scare children with images of hell and tell them if they were bad then “God would send them there.” Again, people need to keep religion where it belongs, and that is in churches, which most people attend by choice.
In schools, knowledge is supposed to be gained from the outside world without fear of what could happen when the end comes. When students are confronted with discussions of religion in an educational environment, it clearly shows there is no separation between church and state.
Southern’s field trip forms use the phrase “acts of God,” as well as other typical phrases, as a reason why students need to provide the college with emergency contact information. What does this college constitute as an “act of God?” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary would define the phrase as “an extraordinary interruption by a natural cause (as a flood or earthquake) of the usual course of events that experience, prescience, or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent.” The school should be using different terminology on their permission slips because there needs to be a line between church and state. If SCSU believes there is one, they are mistaken.
“See…God punished you…” is a phrase I have heard all my life, whether I stubbed my toe or something slipped out of my hand and fell to the ground. I was forced for years to attend church until the end of eighth grade where I got my confirmation; I then helped my sister and a former friend of hers teach Sunday school for a few years. Church wasn’t a place where I felt comfortable. I truly never read my Bible, and the things we need to be taught to us are learned throughout our years of education.
There needs to be a separation of church and state for the people that aren’t comfortable with the topic of religion, and just for the simple reason that we shouldn’t have to be bombarded every day with worrying what “God would think.”