Comments about ‘Supreme Court avoids talking about God in school’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 24 2012 7:04 a.m. MST

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Pete1215
Lafayette, IN

That a state representative would call a 16 year old athiest an "evil little thing" because she sought to defend her First Amendment rights should be a major story.

IMAN
Marlborough, MA

IMVHO Promotion/criticism and discussion of religious theology should take place in houses of worship, homes or religiously affiliated institutions, not in public schools. Based on the U.S. constitution this seems to be a simple enough concept for me. I am very suspect of any individuals/orginazations that wish to take the promotion/criticism of religion into the public education system. History is littered with the mostly dreadful consequences of this type of effort.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

The plain, simple, amply and repeatedly proven fact is that creationism very clearly _is_ "religious, superstitious nonsense." The teacher in question was simply speaking the truth.

If verifiable facts offend you then you have problems that are far bigger than the US Constitution.

m.g. scott
LAYTON, UT

If I read this story correctly, there is a law that protects government workers from any financial penalty if they violate a persons constitutional rights. I didn't know that. I guess government workers are better than the rest of us. Then we have the wonderful 9th circuit defending this guy on the "ignorance of the law is no defense." Only they got it wrong. I guess the dog ate the 9th circuits homework.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

I disagree with IMAN. Disregarding religious beliefs because someone doesn't believe, does not mean religion is barred from anything the government has it's hands in. This seems very simple concept to understand, based on the US constitution. I am very suspect of any individual/organization that seeks to promote their agenda. Especially when they use the government to force their values, beliefs, or non-beliefs on others. History is littered with terrible consequences of government and non-believers destroying those that believe differently and are not allowed to worship how, where, and what they may.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

The fact is, believers are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. Non-believers are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. It seems that the public school would be an excellent place for people to come together and share their beliefs, non-beliefs, opinions etc. in a non-threatening, non-forceful way. Why can't that happen? Is it wrong for people of faith to be challenged? Is it wrong for atheists to see that there are other thought processes out there?

You'd think if an atheists was intellectually honest, they would welcome the discussion of religion and relish in the opportunity to share their reasoning and why they don't believe.

What else should be barred from being discussed in school? Should we never mention traditional family, since many people no longer live in a traditional family setting? That might offend somebody.

Maybe we should not allow kids to go to school that are given rides. Since some kid might believe in global warming. We wouldn't want to offend that child, and make them feel threatened every time they go to school.

But, it's okay for a teacher to threaten a child for believing in God.

How is that intellectually honest? That's the teachers opinion. I still haven't seen evidence produced by any atheists that God doesn't exists. It's just a matter of their opinion, and in my opinion atheism is fiction.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

It's time to grow up and quit being offended by anything.

very concerned
Sandy, UT

I appreciate your views. In some ways I agree with them. I do believe in recognizing God through prayer in a public place. I think it should be done in a way that is sensitive to all faiths. After all, I believe mostly all of us believe in God. We have different doctrines about Him, but in general, most believe in a supreme being, whether that be Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, or one of several others. We have an innate yearning for a belief in God.

I respect however those who object to a particular religion and its doctrines being taught in a governmental institution (i.e. public school) where those who do not believe in those doctrines are required to attend. I understand that. I wish though that we would all want all wholesome beliefs championed anywhere and everywhere; things like kindness to our neighbors, sanctity of life, respect for othersâ property and safety, communication with God etc. In the Christian world, it is the ten commandments or the golden rule Iâm describing. But most religions (when they are not killing each other) tend to teach similar doc trine as the ideal.

But I DO sometimes personally question why one person has so much influence as to stop a practice (prayer in school) that is appreciated by the vast majority.

very concerned
Sandy, UT

We clamor and fight for our *rights* so much that we forget our responsibilities. And some of our rights are misunderstood. For example, I truly donât believe that our right to *freedom of speech* includes the protection of pornography. I believe the Founding Fathers are rolling in the graves over that one.

As far as religion in the *public square*, such as commenting in this newspaper, voting your conscience, blogging, proselyting, religion on TV, etc., etc., etc., reasonable religious dialogue should not be discouraged, but should be open and free.

The same people who founded the constitution, which so many people use to beat up on religious beliefs, practices, people, and doctrins, also put references to God in our money, made numerous public references to God, and recognized His hand in forming this nation. The first amendment is very simple when it comes to religion. *Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.*

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Liberal Ted: "I still haven't seen evidence produced by any atheists that God doesn't exists."

That's not how the burden of proof works. The burden lies on those attempting to prove something _does_ exist. You can't prove a negative. Or do you want to argue that until I "prove" that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist you'll still believe in it?

"But, it's okay for a teacher to threaten a child for believing in God."

Huh? What child has been threatened?

Unless... are you saying that teaching tested, verifiable facts to students constitutes a "threat?"

Again, if the truth makes you feel threatend, then the constitution isn't where you should be looking for a solution to your problems. Instead, you need a mirror.

very concerned
Sandy, UT

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT
The plain, simple, amply and repeatedly proven fact is that creationism very clearly _is_ "religious, superstitious nonsense." The teacher in question was simply speaking the truth.

If verifiable facts offend you then you have problems that are far bigger than the US Constitution.
First, even if it were true that creationism is incorrect, it is highly unkind and insensitive for the teacher to use the words he did in his talk. To call a deeply held religious doctrine, *religious, superstitious nonsense*, leaves a lot to be desired in sensitivity and style points.

Second, you may be convinced there is no evidence of Godâs hand in the formation of earth and life as we know it. But to me, the evidence Iâve seen for evolution from apes is far from convincing. As a scientist myself, I marvel at how much we DONâT know. We are always discovering new things and learning that old theories have to be discarded. Also, I myself DO see the hand of God in His creations. It probably was not a literal seven days that it took Him to create earth, life, and man. But from what I see around me, He did a wonderful job of creating order out of chaos. Iâm speaking as a scientist and a believer.

Captain Kirk
Lehi, UT

Amen to Liberal Ted and Flashback!

I have never been offended by anybody's beliefs because I choose not to be offended.

I do think this issue becomes heated when people feel their children are being indoctrinated one way or the other.
This issue also gets heated when a religious/anti-religious or GLBT group wants to meet at school.

I can certainly understand being concerned about things like that.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

There are many belief systems. We call those that include a Deity religions.
Secular belief systems do not include God.
Prohibiting religion in the public square has given an unfair advantage to secular belief systems. It also makes it appear that there is something wrong with religion.

What is prayer but speech to God? The constitution guarantees us freedom of speech (even if the person we are talking to is imaginary or considered to be imaginary by others).
We are also guaranteed the right to the free exercise of religion.

I don't mean to start a fight over evolution but at the very foundation of this theory you have living organisms springing from non-living matter. This is called "spontaneous generation", a long discredited theory.

I have heard evolutionists proclaim that Intelligent Design is not science because it cannot be tested in a laboratory. If a team of scientists created life in a laboratory it would be a test of Intelligent Design.

1. The experiment was designs.
2. The designers (scientists) were intelligent.

That is unless you want to claim that the scientists were not intelligent and volunteers are in short supply.

To date all purported tests of evolution have been tests of things related to evolution. Even the Miller-Urey experiment that produced an amino acid was an organic chemistry experiment, based upon assumptions now proven to be false. It was not a test of evolution.

Good luck testing evolution its self in under 2.5 billion years. (Live long and prosper.)

David in SLC
Sandy, UT

There is no Constitutional right to not be offended. The rest of the first story is semantics.

As for the second story, why must the words "Oh Heavenly Father" be a part of the school mantra? The inclusion of those word makes the proclamation a prayer, but the rest of the banner is an admirable motto for a school to have.

Kdee
SLC, UT

@ Very Concerned: "But I DO sometimes personally question why one person has so much influence as to stop a practice (prayer in school) that is appreciated by the vast majority."

In 1995 an LDS family and a Catholic family sued over school prayers in Santa Fe, Texas. The majority of the students at the school were Southern Baptist and the prayers offered were done so according to that religion. The children of the LDS and Catholic families involved in the case were harassed, discriminated against, and openly mocked for their religious beliefs and unwillingness to betray their personal beliefs and participate in the activities of a religion other than their own.

Just because the vast majority of people appreciate something, that doesn't mean they have a right to force those who don't appreciate it to participate in it.

ProudUtahn
St. George, Utah

Blue Salt Lake City, UT
"Liberal Ted: "I still haven't seen evidence produced by any atheists that God doesn't exists."
That's not how the burden of proof works. The burden lies on those attempting to prove something _does_ exist. You can't prove a negative."

In other words athiesm cannot prove any of their thought process? They are suggesting God and religion are man made? If that is the fact then all religious material, talk and action are allowed in the public square under the 1st amendment. Why not it fosters hope and encourages most people to try and be better, all I see of the alternative is nothing matters do as you please once your dead your dead so why try?

Is education not to teach how to think and to come up with a good reasoning process?
Today it appears to be I don't agree therefore I am offended so I am going to tie up the courts.
What are we learning or worse yet teaching our children? adstinance is proven to be safer and works 100% which schools won't or can't teach we have to provide and show how to use contriceptives. Blue try to convince me your way is right don't use the courts to force your opinion! or is it there is not a good argument? and the courts is the only way to get your way?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Pete1215" what First Amendment right was was infringed on? Couldn't the students also turn around and counter sue under the same arguement? If Christianity or any belief that includes a supreme being is not allowed in schools, shouldn't the same standard be applied to Athiesm? Why do we allow athiests to push their beliefs into the government.

The athiests and anti-thiests are making athiesm the state religion and nobody seems to care. Wasn't the US colonized by people escaping countries with state religions?

Candide
Salt Lake City, UT

The theory of evolution is science and follows scientific principals and therefore belongs in a science classroom. Intelligent Design is religion and does not belong in a science classroom. Teach it in Sunday school or in a comparitive religion course. Most people forget that every culture has it's own creation myths. If we taught all of the Intelligent Design myth's, (ancient Greek, Norse, Aztec, Hindu, Egyptian, various Native American, Abrahamic religions)then when would our students have time to learn about Dinosaurs and DNA?

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

VC: "But to me, the evidence I've seen for evolution from apes is far from convincing. As a scientist myself, I marvel at how much we DON'T know."

If you don't understand that humans did _not_ evolve from apes, but do share a distant common genetic ancestor, then you are not a scientist and should not pretend to be one.

"But I DO sometimes personally question why one person has so much influence as to stop a practice (prayer in school) that is appreciated by the vast majority."

Is an idea true because a majority of people believe in it? Are truths decided by popularity contests? Do two wolves and a calf vote on what's for lunch?

If an idea being represented as science (e.g., creationism) is in fact demonstrably nonsense, why is it wrong to point out in a classroom that creationism is nonsense?

Painful truths should not be suppressed in order to protect comforting lies.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Among all the "I think", "I believe", and "I hope", shouldn't we first look at what the Constitution says?

1st Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,"

It looks like we have two things happening.

1. Did CONGRESS pass a law respecting an establishment of religion? Nothing in the article addressed that point.

2. Does a teacher have the right to speak freely and to give his opinions?

I think that the Supreme Court was right, not because it denied the exercise of religion, but because it allowed free speech.

- Congress did not deny that student the right to worship.

- The school is not an establishment of religion.

- The teacher has the same rights as you and I to express his (erroneous) position. We do not have to have absolute proof before we state an opinion.

- Nothing in the article tells us that the student's grade depended on that teacher's statement.

I think that proper public discourse must allow diverging viewpoints to be expressed, even those that contradict our ideas. We learn more by seeing contrasts than by trying to discern subtle shades of gray.

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