:: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 ::
Brendan Mintner has an excellent editorial on religios freedom at OpinionJournal entitled God-Free School Zones in response to the firestorm that followed Education Secretary Rod Paige's statement in an interview with the Baptist Press that, "All things being equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school where there's a strong appreciation for values, the kind of values that I think are associated with the Christian communities, and so that this child can be brought up in an environment that teaches them to have strong faith and to understand that there is a force greater than them personally."
What the New York Times and Washington Post may really be afraid of, though, is something Mr. Paige isn't even pushing. That all of this may clear the way for local school boards to allow curriculum to include serious and honest debate about the role religion has played in society. One day public schools students might seriously consider the ideas behind the Protestant reformation or the role of religion in America's founding.
If that happens, students would graduate from public schools with a better understanding of many of the major events that have shaped Western civilization. These students would be prepared to challenge many of the assumptions made by the liberal elites now in control of public education.
Public-school students would be able once again to read and openly debate the letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association on Jan. 1, 1802, in which he described the First Amendment as a "wall of separation between church and state." Responding to a letter from the Baptists complaining about Congress and state governments declaring days of prayer and fasting, Jefferson argued that the First Amendment permits government-supported religious expression, which, he argued, in no way interfered with the Baptists' right to believe or practice their religion. Jefferson--the deified deist of the left--ended the letter: "I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man."
Read it all.
:: Mark 1:53 PM [+] ::