The Boy, the Story and the Angels
MAULE.Prof.Law at LAW.VILL.EDU
Mon Feb 9 10:36:32 PST 1998
This morning's Philadelphia Inquirer has a long story about the boy
who was not permitted to read the story to his first grade classmates
and a discussion about the dispute.
The story's headline link is at
Here's the part that caught my eye:
"Zachariah Hood, now 8 years old, stays away from any mention of
religion at his new school in Lumberton. He tells his mother he
cannot write the word <i>angel</i> in a handwriting assignment."
If true, that is sad and alarming. What's left after stripping the
English vocabulary of all words with religious connections? What
books remain after banning all books containing words with religious
connections? Not much.
Something is very wrong. Interestingly, the article quotes a woman
with four children who have passed through the first grade teacher's
class as saying that "I personally fees that the teacher was set up."
That could be true. If so, by whom?
So now I'd like someone to explain why the First Amendment does not
afford this boy the right to write angel. And I'm not all that
convinced by the "he's a minor and doesn't have full rights" argument
(though I know it is quite valid) simply because that argument
undercuts the whole purpose of the First Amendment by permitting
brainwashing of folks at the ages most vulnerable to brain washing.
After all, is it appropriate to expect a young child to draw a wall
between his real life (home, community, church) and school life (an
artificial land where secularism is the only protected religion?)
Talk about ways to create psychological problems....
Professor of Law
Villanova University School of Law
Villanova, PA 19085
maule at law.vill.edu
(610) 519 - 7135
More information about the Religionlaw