Homeschooling is a powerful alternative schooling option, versus the more traditional public or private schooling. Unfortunately it has been co-opted by the religious right to provide an environment where the priority is to not be exposed to non-religious opinion, or to any science that conflicts with a strictly religious viewpoint (hence its popularity among creationists). Katherine Stewart, author of
The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children talks to some former students to understand why this is a very bad idea, in this article from the UK Guardian.
According to the Department of Education, the home schooling student population doubled in between 1999 and 2007, to 1.5 million students, and there is reason to think the growth has continued. Though families opt to home school for many different reasons, a large part of the growth has come from Christian fundamentalist sects. Children in that first wave are now old enough to talk about their experiences. In many cases, what they have to say is quite alarming.
An interesting article in Psychology Today on why separation of Church and State is such a big deal: because of “Crisis Induced Devotion” or CID:
CID shows us that what appears mundane, given the right stimulus, can quickly become extremely intense. CID occurs, for example, when a person who is not particularly religious or patriotic suddenly becomes fervent about their religion or patriotism due to some external crisis that triggers intense devotion.
David Niose is the author of “Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans“
Our words today in the MN Capitol for the National Day of Reason.
On this Day of Reason 2013 I would like to quote someone who took issues regarding separation of Church and State very seriously . Many years ago, in a very famous and oft-quoted speech, he illustrated how important it is that we leave secular issues to be decided within the realm of the secular, and religious issues to be decided within the confines and framework of those whose interests are in deciding and promoting those issues. Now, I never met the man, but I like to think that he would have agreed with the current arrangement we see here today: people of faith gathered in prayer, but very significantly outside the halls of secular law. Inside these walls, the place where reason should and must be considered paramount, we are separated in this case both physically and literally in space by the walls of the building; but also, and most important, metaphorically by the wall of separation that exists between our purposes.
The person I would like to quote understood the need for this wall, as have many of his followers. He said very clearly that this distinction must be maintained, permanently, for the good of both our groups. I refer of course to Jesus, who very clearly and unequivocally stated in Matthew 22:21 that you must render unto religious consideration that which is religious, and render unto the authority of reason that which has the secular law as its proper domain. Of course, he said “unto God” and “unto Caesar”, but I like to think that was just the terminology of the time.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State stands here today, as we did last year, in support of the reason and secular purpose underpinning our system of law, as well as our freedom to worship and practice (or not) our faith (or lack thereof) where and when we see fit, including outside these walls, without inference or instruction from the government. And we stand here also to thank you for supporting these walls, whether they be physical or metaphorical. Thank you.
If this makes sense to you, come and join us in the MN Chapter of Americans United! Happy National Day of Reason.
Seems to be a logical statement, right? After all, that’s what separation of Church and State is all about.
So why are there groups that are hell-bent (no pun intended) in having the government tell you when and where to pray? Whether it’s forcing all students to pray at certain government-proscribed times, in classrooms, and in front of all the other students (which many religious faiths have a serious issue with), or by telling you which days are the right “Days of Prayer”, it seems some are very comfortable with state-mandated and regulated expressions of faith. This should be disturbing to anyone who wants the freedom to practice their own religion they see fit, especially these same groups who have not always had the freedom to do it themselves.
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. If you want to pray that day, you are free to do so. However, you’re free to pray (or not) any day. Why should it be the government’s responsibility or concern? As our parent organization stated:
At Americans United, we find the National Day of Prayer offensive for a number of reasons. In the first place, it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. Congress passed a federal law requiring the president to acknowledge the day. Most governors follow suit, thus giving Americans the false notion that elected officials have some sort of official role in religious matters.
In the second place, the NDP has been all but taken over by extreme Religious Right groups that use it to promote bad history, attack church-state separation and distort court rulings in this area.
Join us tomorrow at midday in the MN Capitol rotunda, where we will be talking about Church and State separation, why it’s vital in order to keep our religious diversity AND freedom alive and healthy, and why we support the “Day of Reason”.
Join the MN Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State for the Eighth Annual Day of Reason Celebration!
Come and join us at the MN State Capitol this Thursday, May 2. Meetup details here.
The National Day of Reason began as a response to the federally supported National Day of Prayer, which Americans United considers to be an inappropriate misuse of federal law to promote religion, and contrary to the U.S. Constitution. Minnesota Atheists inaugurated an annual observance of the Day of Reason at the State Capitol Building 8 years ago, and we will be there to support this important event, every first Thursday of May (the same date as the Day of Prayer). We will celebrate the First Amendment and remind our state legislators of the importance of separation of state and church.
This is a family friendly event. You may even call ahead to schedule a tour of the capital building for while you are there.
The Minnesota Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State welcomes AU’s Director of Religious Outreach, Reverend Steven Baines, to Minneapolis on the 27th and 28th of April.
Rev. Baines is responsible for the organization’s national engagement with and mobilization of people of faith. Before coming to AU, he served as Director of Interfaith Outreach at both the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and People For the American Way. He has also served as Executive Director for Equal Partners in Faith, a national interfaith organization committed to fighting racism, sexism, and homophobia. He is a national spokesperson and author on issues of faith and politics, religious liberty, and church & state separation. Steven has been featured debating leaders of the Religious Right and the so-called “ex-gay” movement on CNN, CSPAN, CCTV, Court TV, and numerous syndicated talk radio shows.
Steven is an expert in, and very outspoken about, the problems inherent in allowing political engagement by tax-exempt organizations by permitting them to endorse or oppose candidates or parties during an election. As a 501(c)3 organization ourselves, it can be frustrating to see organizations skirt the very rules that allow us to be tax-exempt as well, and either not understand or not face the consequences of these actions.
Saturday, April 27, 3pm to 5pm
“Are You Seeing Double? The Blurring of Religion and Politics in America.”
Southdale Public Library
7001 York Ave S, Edina, MN 55435
Sunday, April 28, 930am
“The Perils of Politicized Pulpits”
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis
900 Mount Curve Avenue
Minneapolis Mn 55403
Sunday, April 28, 4pm to 6pm
Conversations with local faith leaders
4pm to 430pm: meet and greet, light refreshments
430 to 5pm: presentation by Steven
5pm to 6pm: Q&A
SpringHouse Ministry Center
610 W 28th St Minneapolis, MN 55408
NC proposes a bill that states they have a right to declare a state religion. Unsurprisingly, North Carolina is also one of the states that has (unenforceable) laws on the books that prohibit non-believers from holding public office. The bill was proposed, apparently, in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU telling county commissioners in Rowan County to stop opening meetings with a Christian prayer.
It’s like they’ve never heard of the 14th Amendment… or the First.
You’ll notice that the proposed bill doesn’t state WHICH religion will become the “official” NC one. I’d almost love to see them go through with it, just to watch the inevitable internecine implosion as they try to figure out which one of the thousands of interpretations of what they assume is a single religion gets to be the “official” one, and then face the backlash from the majority that doesn’t belong to that particular group.
Separation of Church and State: it’s not just a good idea. It’s actually the law.