As I’ve mentioned recently, freedom of religion is a big deal to me. And that freedom doesn’t mean you get to worship your mainstream religion in public and I don’t. Or that you can discriminate against me — even harass me — because my beliefs differ from yours.
And yet, despite the very clear dictates of the US Constitution’s First Amendment on this, a school district in Louisiana is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union after a sixth grade student’s parents complained that the boy was being told he needed to change his religion, and accept that ‘this is the Bible belt.’ The boy’s family sued when the parish superintendent told them to transfer the boy, a life-long Buddhist of Thai descent, where there were ‘more Asians.’
It’s also alleged that the boy’s science teacher — who teaches that evolution is impossible, and that the Bible is 100% true — called those who believe in evolution ‘stupid.’
How is this in any way reflective of the Christianity of Jesus? Where would this show up in the New Testament? As someone raised throughout childhood in a Christian tradition, I can’t imagine if I had been this disrespectful of my Indian, Việtnamese, Chinese, Japanese, or ‘other’ friends. Or my parents’ friends, who were Buddhist, Taoist, Catholic, Jewish, and Christian. Later, my own friends were Muslim, Hindu, atheist, pagan, and Wiccan. How on EARTH is being rude and hateful to a sixth-grader emblematic of ANY faith?
I don’t understand meanness. Never have. But I really have no truck w/ being mean to children. And even less patience with people who try to impose their religious beliefs on ANYONE. It’s not your business what my children believe, and having a principal, or teacher, or superintendent of the district ask if a child can’t change his religion to ‘fit in’ is beyond insulting. It’s flat wrong. And it’s also unconstitutional.