[FoRK] reas. conv. 12/4: Beyond Faith

Russell Turpin < deafbox at hotmail.com > on > Mon Dec 11 13:11:29 PST 2006

In regards to Jeff Bone's story of his religious upbringing and departure
from it, I can't help but think that the public school is the one place
where many children get the opportunity to meet a variety of peers who do
not share their home's religious beliefs, and likewise having some
significant encounter with adults who do not worship as their parents do.
If we create a system of school vouchers, that allows their use to create
sectarian schools, how many millions of children will then go through
their entire youth taught only by adults who worship in the same church,
playing only with friends who are taught the same creed, and having only
tangential encounter with anyone, peer or adult, who does not. And mind,
when I say "the same," I don't mean just vaguely Christian, but rather
the narrow creeds of specific sects, from Pat Robertson's specific
variety of wild-eyed fundamentalism to strictly orthodox Catholicism. I
realize that happens with many children now. But they are part of an
exclusionary minority, and importantly, they recognize that. Even the
most parochial, home-schooled child knows that the cultural standard from
which they depart is a public school of much greater diversity. And that
culture bleeds over. If the religious right gets its way, American culture
will not be mostly a great mixing in the public schools, with a relatively
few families who choose and manage to hold their children apart, but a
majority of narrow sects.

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