A local mother of a kindergartner read an excerpt from the Bible during her son’s show-and-tell about him. It turns out this was a big no-no.
“The Marple Newtown School District in suburban Philadelphia told plaintiff Donna Kay Busch in October 2004 that she could not read the Bible passages during her son’s ‘All About Me’ program.” The court of appeals upheld this decision.
We would love to know how much taxpayer money the courts took for this years-long final decision to come about. All to shut down a kindergarten show-and-tell.
Now, we know we’re pushing a hot-button issue with this, but we’re still going to push it.
If your belief in the Bible, in the Torah, in the Koran, etc., explains a lot about you, then why shouldn’t it be allowed in a kindergarten show-and-tell presentation called “All About Me?” Seems logical. Why shouldn’t your beliefs be allowed anywhere?
This is where people usually start yelling "separation of church and state!" But here’s a little fun fact: The term “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. Being able to freely exercise and discuss your religion, and forbidding the government from forcing anyone to financially support or participate in a religion, is though.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Suffice it to say, “Johnny’s” (we don’t know the boy’s name) mom wasn’t an agent of the government, nor was she forcing anyone else to participate in her religion. She was talking. (To a bunch of kids who were probably napping or drooling.) And now she’s been told to shut up.
How have we gone from the country founded by people who wanted the ability to say what they want, religious or not, without a fascist government stopping them, to a country that freaks out at any sort of religious sentiment and spends taxpayer money so the court system can tell us little Johnny’s mom can’t read a Bible scripture in a kindergarten show and tell?
The term “separation of church and state” comes from a very wise letter by Thomas Jefferson to a congregation of Baptists in Danbury, Conn. in 1802. He refers to the first amendment, but his explanation and meaning does not say that religious beliefs cannot be voiced in any environment of the “state.” On the contrary, the whole point is to protect citizens from an overpowering government that tells them they cannot voice their religious beliefs or they must ascribe to specific ones.
So if the courts, a government agency, dictate that a person cannot share his/her religious views in all realms, isn’t that a violation of the true idea of separation of church and state?
By doing this, the government is saying you cannot practice your religion any time you desire. In a way this makes the government a staunch supporter of the church of nothing. And in turn dictates that citizens give taxpayer money to support its courts to uphold it.
We can think of hundreds of things the government should be protecting us from (a plummeting economy; rapists attacking 11 year olds; having to carry the burden of a bankrupt car company; etc.). Show-and-tell with God references is not one of them.