Let’s Talk About Religion

I have always appreciated a good debate; sometimes it gets me caught up! This is my morning discussion while juggling a sick baby and Sociology class. Facebook is becoming quite a distraction! After casually running across, and commenting on, the article “Oklahoma PTA Speaks Out Against Mustang High School Bible Class”, I found myself quickly bombarded with feedback!

This is how that conversation went.

ME:

Unbelievable; I love how Oklahoma and Louisiana seem to think they are above our constitutional rights!!! Even as an elective, it oversteps CLEAR boundaries. Will they also offer elective courses to include all other religions represented in the school!? Bible Belt or not, Oklahoma is NOT above the law. I hope the PTA brings this venture to a screeching halt.

Jeff Adams:

There is NO law against this, never has been, just like there is nothing in the constitution about separation of church and state- that was taken from a narrative written by Jefferson, the article is referring to the governmental overreach on establishment of religion, read your constitution…..if you can read at all.

ME:

I know exactly where separation of church and state originated; just as I’m 100% familiar with our constitution. Whereas, perhaps in your smugness, you forgot ALL citizens are entitled to freedom of religion. Or perhaps my reading abilities fail me, and 900,000+ other people in the United States! Go sound ignorant somewhere else; and it was not an article- it was a letter.

Nicole Poindexter:

The Supreme Court has made it clear through their rulings that schools should not promote only one religion. If another group is denied an elective course on the Koran, there is going to be a lawsuit filed. And there should be. Odds are though; once another group wants an elective, this one will be shut down to avoid teaching about other religions.  (I agreed with Nicole!)

Angie Noyb:

First… I don’t know why anyone would be so angry over this… your kid does not have to take it if they don’t want to! Good Lord. Secondly, they had over 200 kids sign up for this class already. So, there is an interest. If they have the same interest in another religion then I agree they should provide a class for that as well. But I don’t see 200+ kids in the Mustang high school wanting to take a class on the Koran. Just sayin’. My son’s high school offers classes that I think are absurd – but it doesn’t bug me. There are clubs for every ethnicity except the Caucasian persuasions, i.e. Scandinavian or Irish, etc. But we don’t throw a fit and ask that the others be shut down. My son IS however forced to take ‘fine arts’ which is a waste of time, imho, because it will not help him in any way in the career he is going into and just takes up a slot of time that he could be taking something more beneficial. But… we aren’t throwing a fit about it. This is what it is to be mature and live in the ‘melting pot’ that we live in. Get over it. I say ‘good job’ Mustang. Wish our schools in Moore would offer something like that as a ‘fine arts’ class. At least then they would be getting something out of that block of time.

ME:

Angie, I never said I was angry over it. I said it infringes on constitutional rights; clearly it does. Personal opinions, when it comes to the matter of beliefs, are considered biases. The Bible is not proven; it is a theology of faith. Furthermore, it is a book intended for personal interpretation & conviction via prayer/intercession with “God”, not a book meant to be even more destroyed by the narrow confines of one teacher’s perspective. It is great that children want to learn more about their faith. Know where a great place do that is; the church!

Veronica Macauley:

The government stomps on our constitutional rights everyday and kids wanting to learn about the bible are the most of your worries?

Becca Marable:

Grace, how come you aren’t this passionate about removing all traces of Greek mythology or literature from public schools also?

ME:

Veronica, did I say that? I’m not sure I said this is the biggest worry that I have. However, now that your banter has brought it up, I do believe our rights are important. I believe soldiers died, and still die, fighting to protect them! I believe that if Oklahoma can stand behind the idea of a man that “died for our sins” then they can (and should) most certainly stand behind the men that died for our right to freedom!!!

Angie Noyb:

What constitutional right does this infringe upon exactly? And if you want to remove things that aren’t ‘proven’ from schools then you have a bigger fight on your hands than religion. You can start with evolution, the big bang theory, and also should double check our history books since history books are generally written with a slant toward the country for which its intended readers reside. I agree that the Bible shouldn’t be ‘preached’ from one teacher’s perspective. But it can be taught from an impartial, open minded, non denominational stand point, just like any other ‘writing’.

ME:

Angie, perhaps you should reread this thread, or familiarize yourself with the constitution. That response surely does not reflect your intellect.. I hope. Furthermore, when you figure out what mysterious right it infringes upon, perhaps you will understand the points being established; which have nothing to do with removing things that aren’t proven from school. Keep up. In addition, if we are so adamant that this book be taught, perhaps we should start from the book of Romans which advises that refusing to follow the laws of the land is refusing to obey God; or is that verse not as important as the others? Your argument is invalid. Becca, if you feel so strongly about such topics, then you pursue it. This is not a matter of removing religion from school- it has already been removed. This is about our nation’s guaranteed freedoms and the state’s audacity to think it is above them.

Angie Noyb:

Ok.. so I am confused, Grace. And maybe you weren’t directing that comment on me, so that may be why. But if you were directing at me…. First… in your other comment you say “I never said I was angry over it”. Well, you are right you didn’t. But your post with Caps and exclamation points lends to the fact that this topic angers you. Secondly, your last comment…. Did you say what? I didn’t say that this was your biggest worry. One of your points to not having the class taught is that the Bible is not ‘proven’. So I simply said that if we applied that thought to all material in school, there would be much more than the Bible to get rid of. Then I pointedly asked you what rights are being infringed on and instead of answering that question, you twist the conversation to soldiers and standing behind them as though I can’t do both. And btw, most soldiers are Christian. So I think they will understand that a lot of us stand behind our Savior AND fully stand behind the men (our family members for some of us, so tread lightly my friend) who fight for us each day. Your patriotic stab at deflecting the question wasn’t lost on me. You still didn’t answer the question on how this is infringing on anyone’s rights at all. It isn’t being forced. If you don’t want to take it, then don’t. Why is it okay to add things and make things available to some, but when it isn’t something you like then you (you being a relative term) want it stopped?

Becca Marable:

Grace, I do not feel strongly about it or anything. Idgaf. If it ruffles your feathers to have a bible course offered then mythology courses should make you feel the same, right? Just pointing this out.

ME:

Becca, your need to make such a point is senseless; but thank you… I guess. Mythology is just that. It is not theology or organized religion. Religion is NOT what I’m advocating against; our rights are for what I advocate.

Becca Marable:

Clearly, you have no understanding of Greek mythology. You are taught all about the various gods and how and why they are worshiped. Sounds like a teaching about a god to me. I know, I’ve taken this class in a public school. No different.

ME:

Becca, quite frankly, I do not care, darling! Angie, actually the first comment was clearly in response to you. And the use of capitalization implies emphasis not anger. Exclamation points imply excitement. I did not, by any means, deflect your question- I was just hoping I would not have to answer such an ignorant question of sorts. Freedom of religion, darling; I figured that was an obvious answer; clearly I was mistaken. Most of our soldiers are Christian? Prove it. That, again, is opinion. The point is, their belief, my belief, your belief are all IRRELEVANT when it comes to a classroom. And do not make assumptions that you cannot support; you have no idea if I “like” Christianity or not. Why? Because I have not stated it. Why? Because it is irrelevant when it comes to supporting the right to “freedom of religion.” If you’d like to continue to debate with me, I suggest you dig a little deeper. Btw, it was not a ‘patriotic jab’, it was a patriotic reference!

Becca Marable:

Well then, if you don’t care, quit caps talking and let those people in that school offer whatever class they want to. They have a right to teach it. The only reason I’m here is to support that right and point out your hypocrisy of supporting one, but not the other.

ME:

Becca- 1) In that case, you’re arguing against the very same principles that would support your point; which is that mythology should also be excluded from the classroom! What is the point of speaking against a voice that is on your side?

2) “CAPS talking”? Good grief; 5 words in ALL that I have spoken have been capitalized to imply emphasis. But what I find ironic is that people generally start focusing on petty things like this when they begin to look foolish in the midst of an intellectual debate. It’s passive-aggressive frustration, and simply nothing more than confirmation that I have ruffled feathers. It’s okay, I don’t mind at all!

3) Since you so avidly, and then disrespectfully, wish to persist, I’ll address your concern directly!

“Mythology” is an element of religion. “Religion is the broader term. It includes aspects of ritual, morality, theology, and mystical experience. Disconnected from its religious system it becomes legend/folklore” (Religion & Mythology, 2014). That being said, in today’s society, it does not have a large community of followers that establish it as an ‘organized religion’. Teaching our children that other beliefs exist is much different than communicating to them that one religion is more important/relevant to their education than another. Today we see mythology reflected in literary references, Zodiac signs, planets and constellations. If, in the future, we build sanctuaries and gather the masses to worship mythological deities, then I assume that this discussion will then be applicable to the topic. Therefore, I would support it in the same way. (Reference: Religion and mythology. (2014, April 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.)

Becca Marable:

My original question to you was basically, in simpler words, do you support the public funding of Greek Mythology? You finally answered in a long breath, yes.. I think. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your paragraphs. Greek mythology, being older than Christianity, is really no different. It is basically a course about gods, and though they are mostly gone, there used to exist massive buildings and statues just so people could worship such deities. You cannot support one and not the other; which is what you’ve just done. Although I despise mythology, I support both.

ME:

Becca, I understand. I am Christian by faith. I support Christianity. But I also understand that not everyone shares my belief, sometimes I question it myself. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support our individual right to freedom of religion. That is what provokes passion about this topic, for me. In Oklahoma, it is not the popular opinion. We believe, as Christians, that we are called to “spread the Gospel”, to be a “light unto the world”. Whereas, for those that strive to live by the Word, that stands as true- there is a way to do that without impeding on the rights of others to worship as they choose. If we cannot add classes about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, Mormonism, etc., then we should not offer a class on Christianity, either. It might not be what Oklahomans want to hear, but it is the very reason the PTA took a stance against it.

I said yesterday, when discussing Louisiana’s bill to make the Bible the official state book, that “We are supposed to a nation built on freedom of religion. Unfortunately, what we really are, and we have always been, is a walking contradiction. We penned the very right to that freedom with the same pen we wrote laws into effect that were backed by one religion’s moral compass.”

I believe our country should stand behind the laws set in place to protect us or change them.

If Making The Elderly Vulnerable To Bullying Is Our Solution – We’re In Trouble

‘I AM A BULLY’ sign-holder calls sentence unfair after a judge rules for him hold a sign while sitting on the side of the road, seen by any onlooker and exploited by the media.

I disagree.

I understand the intention behind this ruling. I just do not agree with it.

Whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it, and even if we think they deserve everything that comes at them, criminals still have rights! Mean, thoughtless, senseless, hateful and harmful people, still have rights!

As a nation, we seem to have adopted an attitude of  “they deserve it,” while at the same time abandoning a justice system of which we claim to be proud.

We forget that personal opinion has no bearing in a court of law. 

We’ve stopped supporting the very foundation of our freedoms and our rights. Meanwhile, statements such as, “What a lowlife. Who picks on kids with disabilities? He got what he deserves” echo throughout the news feed.

Not just in this case, but even those concerning our children! If legal matters were meant to be handled outside the written law, why do our laws exist?

Laws exist to protect the people.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services,

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) defines “abuse” as infliction upon an adult by self or others of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.

Furthermore, they go on to define emotional abuse as occurring:

When a person is threatened, humiliated, intimidated or otherwise psychologically hurt. —Ohio, Adult Protective Services (APS)

Was this man threatened? I wonder if drivers/passengers that passed by yelled out crude things to him. How do we know whether or not threats were among them?

Was this man humiliated? Yes, he was.

Was he intimidated? Yes, he was. We can see him with his head hung, as he exploits himself in public because a trusted Judge (who is also there to protect his rights) has ordered him to do so, as a probation officer stayed close by to ensure that he did as he was ordered to do. Yes, intimidation was a factor.

Lastly, was this man psychologically hurt? In his own words, “The judge destroyed me.” Yes, of course, he was!

We either stand behind our laws or we don’t.

APS guidelines are present to protect citizens that are the age of sixty or older.

If that was my loved one, I would have been outraged. What if that was your father or mother, husband or wife, grandma or grandpa?

I bet many of the people who are so easily supporting this verdict would think differently if it was one of their family members holding that sign and exposed to such humiliation and possible harm.

What perplexes me the most is why we are not questioning how our justice system failed to assist the family that was victimized by Aviv’s actions. Fifteen years of harassment and they are just now taking action. Yet the courts have documented reports of his behavior?

I am more upset that law enforcement has not intervened before this point.

We view his actions as beyond horrible because they transpired for 15 years and readers are enraged that the victims were disabled.

Personally, I’m upset for the mother who did not get help before now. I am upset for the children that suffered so long because no action was taken on their behalf.

Why do we seek to throw rocks at the criminal but not also question how this type of bullying is allowed for fifteen years?

Now what?

After his jail time, Aviv will walk the streets alone and exploited, and there will not be a corrections officer by his side, or anyone to protect him! He will face the world in fear. He will become a potential victim now that he has been publicly and nationally labeled as a “bully that picks on disabled children” and described as “intolerant” of anyone different from him.

Those are strong and provoking words, and they were carefully articulated by the judge. All this sentence did was make someone else a target and put this elderly man’s safety and well-being at risk over a charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

It’s unacceptable.

After winning the election for city’s municipal court judge, Judge Byers (who made this ruling) said,

I was surprised, pleasantly. I was also reminded of how awesome and important the job ahead of me is. I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve the people of South Euclid —Jeff Piorkowski, 2011, via Sun News

I would say she failed one person with this case.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is exactly what was violated in Aviv’s case. “But he’s a ‘monster’ that bullied disabled children”  you might reason and rationalize in an attempt to feel like true justice was served! But his actions do not take away his rights. Article 2 states, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of a kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Everyone means everyone.

Have we really become so full of hatred and discontented that we are willing to abandon the right for all Americans to be treated with dignity and respect?

More importantly, will we be willing to stand behind that decision in the years to come as our society becomes more reckless and more dangerous every day?

We walk a fine line when we begin to let our emotions rule our thinking and become comfortable with small acts that violate our basic human rights, simply because our anger tells us justice can only be achieved through revenge, humiliation or degradation.

Wake up, America! The world we create today is the world our children have to live in tomorrow.

Get behind the laws that are there to protect us or raise your voice to change them!

But do not continue to allow our rights to be trampled on and dismissed!

“United we stand, divided we fall!”