Religion is creeping into politics and the courts—Bible reading as a sentence and U.S. schools modeled after Madrassasby Don Lacey on Jul. 16, 2012, under Atheism, AZ Politics, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Education, Faith, Freethought, Fundamentalism, God & Bible, Government, History, Islam, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Separation of Church & State
Cregg Chmara, the one that wrote the article on Atheism a couple of days ago, and a member of the Tucson freethinking community sent me two articles written by Jonathan Turley—“South Carolina Judge Sentences Drunk Driver To Read Book Of Job” and “Rep. André Carson Calls For U.S. Schools To Be Modeled On Madrassas.”
They have a couple of things in common. First they are written by Jonathan Turley and secondly, they represent a religious creep into society in a couple of dangerous places—the courts and the schools.
In the coverage of the court case, it appears that there won’t be any appeal or any action at all because the person receiving the sentence was not coerced into taking it and she is apparently a Christian and it doesn’t really bother her. The 28 year old got drunk and severely injured a couple of people when her car crossed into oncoming traffic. She got eight years in jail, five years of probation, substance abuse counseling, and she has to do a book report on the Book of Job from the Bible.
If I got a sentence like that I think I’d also be receiving a sentence for contempt of court because I’d have a hard time holding my tongue. I’d probably say something like, “Judge Michael Nettles of South Carolina you need to check your Baptist religiosity at the door! If you can’t you need to find another job.” I’m saying that now.
In the second article Rep André Carson, a Democrat from Indiana and one of the few Muslim members of Congress, would like U.S. schools modeled after Madrassas. In a speech he stated, “America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our Madrassas, in our schools where innovation is encouraged. Where the foundation is the Koran.” Here’s the video of the speech.
I watched the video, threw up a little in my mouth, then thought about what he’s proposing. To begin with I think that the public school system that I attended in the 60’s was a pretty good school system. I missed out on kindergarten and started the first grade in 1959. I finished up in 1971. I attended a Catholic school for one and an half years but the rest of my education was at public schools. I believe that the public schools I attended allowed me to learn what I needed to learn and allowed me to interact with a wide variety of individuals with a wide variety of beliefs including religious beliefs. It’s what makes the “melting pot” of American culture work. I may have been fortunate. All of my public schools except for the last two years of high school were schools attached to military installations where the students come and go. You could make friends quickly but they weren’t expected to last long.
So let’s look at these “Madrassa” schools where “innovation is encouraged.” First, I didn’t find “Madrassa.” I found Madrasah and a couple of other spellings. However it was spelled, every description centered on religious training. One thing we don’t need more in our public schools systems is religious training. We reserve that element of a child’s education to his or her parents and individual churches.
No, religion does not belong in our courts and in our schools. Perhaps most Christians reading this might say, “what’s wrong with reading the Bible as a court sentence?” What would those same Christians say if they were “assigned” by the court to read a chapter of the Koran? When considering the argument for making our public schools like those in the Middle East consider this–if innovation is encouraged, where are all the Muslim Nobel prize laureates? (Compare that list to THIS LIST of Jewish Nobel prize winners.) Let’s keep that wall high and strong.