Saturday, December 8, 2012

Where’s Your Armor Lady Liberty?

Would somebody throw this gal
a bullet-proof vest or something, please?

It seems that the debate concerning the meaning of “separation of church and state” has reached a whole new level of crazy.

A first grader at West Marion Elementary School in Marion, North Carolina was told to remove the word "God" from a poem she’d written about her grandfathers, who fought in the Vietnam War. The little girl had been chosen to present the poem at a school Veteran’s Day event.

The student wrote in the poem that “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.” But when a parent complained about the inclusion of the word “God,” the student was asked to remove it.

School administrators decided that “allowing the line would constitute an endorsement of ‘one single religion over another.’” Superintendent Gerri Martin told the press that “The discussion [about the poem] occurred between myself, the principal and the assistant principal at West Marion.” Seriously, they discussed the issue? It frightens me to consider that this is the result of a reasoned discussion among intelligent adults. I guess that’s why critical thinking  has become such a hot topic in workforce training.

Exactly how does the mention of “God” rise to the level of preferring one religion over another? Many different major religions believe in the existence of a higher power, collectively referred to as “God.” The poet did not state “He prayed to Allah for peace,” or “He prayed to Jesus for strength,” and even if she had, she’d only have been giving an historical account of what her grandfather did. Is that no longer allowed? Does anyone really think that our forefathers intended that no one should ever utter the word “God,” even in an historical context, in any public setting? Lord have mercy. This is lunacy.

Some have argued that the little girl’s First Amendment rights were violated, while others have said no, the school had every right to ask her to remove the reference if its inclusion proved disruptive. I agree with those who believe that the school acted within its rights. But what disturbs me is that school administrators decided that the objection of a single individual to such a generic reference was indeed actionable. Did this parent represent the PTA or something? Were there threats of pickets and protests and financial support withdrawals? I hope so. I hope there’s more to the story than was reported.

Provided I believed it were possible, I’d have to imagine our forefathers turning over in their graves at the way we’ve twisted their intentions, seemingly for no other purpose than to ensure that a particular brand of nonbeliever never has to be confronted with the notion that some people actually believe God exists and (God forbid!) some even believe and worship. So much for valuing diversity. Where’s your armor, Lady Liberty? It’s time to suit up. You’re under attack, or hadn’t you noticed?

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