So, I know that most of you don’t live in Colorado Springs, although I’m sure you wish you did. But for those of you who do, you’ve no doubt heard the winds of Evangelical indignation a’blowing. You see, not too long ago a local student was told by his principle that he isn’t allowed to pray in school. Okay, that’s not entirely true. He was hosting a prayer meeting during school hours and on school property, and the administration didn’t think that this allowed for enough separation between church and state. And, honestly, my thoughts are, “Okay. Whatever. Prayer works off school grounds and outside of school hours too.”
Now, as you can probably guess, my more GOP friends tend to disagree with me. And as luck would have it, another interesting discussion surrounding school and religion popped up within my earshot recently. You see, I know a guy who knows a guy, who dated this one girl, who got a tattoo from an old college buddy, that once knew a gal, whose kid went to this one school1… well, that kid was being taught about Islam in school.
And this raised all kinds of a ruckus when one of my friends found out. I mean, take a moment to consider the heinousness of this crime. Children are being forced to learn about a religion that isn’t necessarily their own! And I thought this was still ‘Merica.
But, all of this did get me thinking – would I want my kid being taught another religion at school?
My answer? Yes.
I mean, as a big theology buff, I’ll probably slip some comparative religions into our breakfast conversations before he’s in 5th grade anyhow. So, if the school system wants facilitate that conversation for me, by all means!
There are two reasons that I really don’t care if someone else teaches my kid about a religion I don’t agree with – (1) I happen to give kids a lot more credit when it comes to reason and critical-thinking than most adults, and (2) if I really believe that mine is the superior perspective, why would I fear having my kid consider different views? I think that when Christian parents shelter their kids from alternative (non-Christian) ways of thinking, it betrays either a lack of trust in their kid’s ability to think or a lack of trust in the persuasive power of Christianity. Almost as if we don’t really think our faith is going to sound as good as the faith of others.
I had a nice lady once tell me that she hated asking questions about her faith. Looking around warily, she leaned in closely and asked me, “Aren’t you afraid that if you examine Christianity too closely you’ll find out that it’s not true?”
What!? No. If Christianity isn’t true, I’d like to know.2 And if it is true, then there’s nothing to fear from scrutinizing it.
Anyhow, that’s something for us all to chew on.
Should we allow schools to teach religions other than the ones taught in our homes?
Given a level playing field among religions in schools and the minds of young people, are we really afraid that Christianity won’t survive?
What do you think?
1: I’m trying to protect the innocent here, folks!
2: I’ve got a lot of other things I could be doing instead… like getting rich from starting a cult.