I happened to catch something unfolding on Twitter and Facebook this evening. The QueenofSpain herself, Erin Kotecki Vest was sharing a story about an online friend and her daughter. First, let me just say, if you haven’t read my blog, I am not a Christian (I am religious, but my religion is private to me). I am also a parent. I homeschool my son and have for several years (since 2nd grade). This story has helped to remind me why I would homeschool any child Ashtyn and I have.

After reading about Maria and her six year old, Bella, I felt enraged. I am furious that a public school has been able to get away with this for almost an entire school year. I am incensed that young Bella was “punished” for exercising her Constitutional right while whoever was getting the kids ready for lunch was breaking the law. Yes, anything Unconstitutional is illegal and the worst part is the perpetrator of this particular crime was doing such to innocent, impressionable children. Punishing a child not involved in the law breaking hardly seems fair, but this entire debacle is one big mess candy coated with religion.

You can check out the full story on Maria’s blog at http://www.icanonlybe.me. However, in short, the event that occurred at Eastern Wayne Elementary in the Wayne County School District (North Carolina), involved daily recitation of a prayer before the kids were to go to lunch. These children were led in a prayer familiar to most of us raised Christian, “God is Great, God is Good…” What some may dismiss as just a harmless incident holds tragic implications for those who do not practice Christianity or even those that do, who prefer to be the ones to introduce their young children to the God they believe in.

This is a public school. Prayer is not allowed in a taxpayer and government funded institution such as this. Maria, a taxpayer and an atheist, pays for these teachers to be in this school. She does not pay for her child to go to a school to learn about a God that her daughter knows nothing about nor one she (Maria) does not believe in. If a teacher were leading a prayer based on Islam, Judaism or any other religion, you can bet Christian parents would be throwing a fit (with the school scrambling to fix this), and yet, Maria is still waiting for answers to why such law breaking practices are allowed to occur in a school she helps to fund.

Every child has a right to pray if and when they want to, but it should not be required or led by a teacher or other authority figure at any public learning institution. Every child has a right NOT TO pray. I am sick of self-righteous people of any religion trying to stuff it down the throats of everyone around them. I am sick of them believing non-believers must be coerced to convert from their own beliefs. The forefathers believed religion was a private thing between man and whatever God (or lack thereof) he believed in. Thrusting religion into the public sector defies everything the forefathers stood for and disavows all of the freedoms they offered to American citizens.

This apparently, does not apply in North Carolina. If you don’t subscribe to the religious practices of the public school, you get punished. After Maria raised the issue, Bella was put out in the hall, so all the other little kids could be led in prayer. Bella was punished for upholding her constitutional rights; rights she is too young to understand she has. Instead, she just knows she is the one put out in the hall, while those in her classroom continues to break the law.

[tags]Religion in schools, Religious, Atheist, Eastern Wayne Elementary, Wayne County Schools, Children, God, Religion, Prayer, Prayer in School, Constitution, Illegal, Break Law[/tags]

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