There was a recent CNN story with the headline: “Public schools all over South Dakota are putting up mandated ‘In God We Trust’ signs, and this is happening in other states as well: Louisiana, Kentucky and soon, Missouri.
These aren’t tasteful little plaques situated over the drinking fountain either; not some motivational poster. They are words painted in 3-foot letters on the main wall in the lobby of the schools, so that anyone that comes into the school are forced to see them.
This sign in schools sends a strong message to anybody who holds a different religious view; a message that says “If you’re not part of the main religion in this area, THIS school will probably find some way to discriminate against you and your children”, and “Our students may bully your children if they abstain from prayers or religious gatherings” that are increasingly held there.
When will believers ever realize that the more they push their religion on children, the more they will resist it. The people who put these signs up are acting from an authoritarian bent (which is taught from the ground up by their religions) and think that they can force people to believe as they do. This has been the case all down through history as seen in the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the extermination and conversion of Druids, etc.
The religious politicians, who passed the “In God We Trust” ruling to make it the national motto, think that if they use the word “God” it will cover every religion except for atheists, but there are many religions, particularly Eastern ones, who don’t hold a god belief: Buddhists, Shintos, Confucians, Jains, Taoists, Scientologists, etc., don’t hold god beliefs.
And for those people who DO believe in gods (Hindu’s, Muslims, Sikhs), etc.)? They know that if they aren’t of a Protestant Christian religion, that those signs are meant for them as well. “JOIN US” the message says, “or be prepared to be stigmatized and sidelined by our school system”.
Schools are a part of the state and county government, and are overseen by the federal government. Even if you ARE a protestant Christian of some flavor, aren’t you the least bit concerned about what version of Christianity they will teach? Your child may be taught things that are in direct conflict with your particular church’s teaching AND it will be mandated by the government! As a Conservative Christian, you generally want the government to stay OUT of your private business, but NOW you want them to teach your community’s children a particular version of Christianity? Do you really want the government to interpret the Bible to your kids? What if you’re a Baptist and they start teaching Church of God? Or Orthodox Christianity? Or Jehovah’s Witness theology? Or even Catholicism or Judaism? It all depends on who has the power to choose the curriculum?
Also, what if each state or district decides to teach a different religion? Utah’s majority Mormon government would almost certainly choose to teach Mormonism. They could literally arm themselves and fight the state and federal forces if challenged. They’ve done it before. Google search “1838 Mormon War” and “Mormonism: The Utah War”. We could soon have states breaking into geographic regions and fighting each other. NOTHING divides people like religious belief.
By the way, it wasn’t atheists that had that separation clause put into the constitution. It was the church leaders of that day. Why? Because they were very afraid that the Church of England would get power in the new American government, and that all their hard-won religious freedom would be for nothing. Remember most of those people fled England because they didn’t want to be forced to worship as the Church of England dictated.
No alarm bells going off yet?
Just take a moment and THINK about it. Whichever religion gets into the federal, state, county or even city government would soon pass laws limiting the power of the competing religions. If YOURS isn’t the one that gets to be in control, YOURS will be one of those that will be marginalized, or outlawed; and those laws could be enforced with the power of the police and the army.
Religious Freedom, which you claim to value so highly, belongs in church. That is, if it’s actually going to be personal and a free-choice. Secular education belongs in school. The Constitutional wall of separation between church and state protects your religion as much as it does your neighbor’s.
Religious belief is a personal decision. It can change over time, and can change many times in a lifetime. Do you REALLY want the government to take that choice away from you?