andHave you noticed the persistence of religious practices in school, a ‘moment of silence’ for some or another incident; bowed heads the same; celebrations of religious holidays – Xms, Chanukah, Hallowe’en, Easter – Good Friday? …will you tell me – oh that’s ok – it doesn’t mean ‘religion’?
…but these do. They’re straight out of the church, or non-church churchly activity, like Unitarian Universalism. As the U.S. is a racist nation, it is also a religious one, sectarian, that is. That means that you might tell your child not to participate; to refuse to stand both when made to say The Pledge To The Flag, or to listen to or sing The Star Spangled Banner. But your child, your 8 year or 12 year old child will join, nevertheless. And the lesson will remain – that your child, as were you, is an outsider… School is THE place where pretty much everybody almost unthinkingly does what everybody else does.
Besides this ugly lesson foisted on students and their-our communities – the teachers, too, whether they would or not, there is the matter of limited inclusion of history of religion; that is, religion as an integral concern of history is barely included, often not at all – because the public institution decides it’s religion and the institution is unable to approach it.
That’s not a preferable choice.
I’m sure you agree the substance and influence of religion historically must be part of history study. To the contrary of the rule not to talk religion and politics, what else is study for!, but to indoctrinate, of course. Like so much of history, – which instead of just learning what our Owners have done the past millennia, religion, which is made an element of the many warrings, conflicts, conquests is left out in order not to cause dissension, questioning, conflict.
Depending on what young children get from anything about religion at home, seeing a teacher’s or school staff’s crucifix jewelry, or Jewish star, or other representation of their religion, or their little Jesus on a cross on their desk or posted on their wall, next to a posted prayer and a blessing likely causes long lasting concern: what’s this about?, why are these here?, what am I supposed to do with this new knowledge? This authority figure represents for this behavior.
I recall those responses to those symbols out of place. With people trying ever more industriously to claim their territory, as the system becomes more and more tenuous, this statement of their religion becomes more and more important, and more and more affecting to people – children and their communities.
You can ask the questions about it; I don’t have to tell them to you.
A child also is stirred as well to wonder why these symbolic acts are part of this schooling experience. And might never bring that question, those questions home…