experiencing a religious practice in school
robertmw at MINDSPRING.COM
Fri Feb 13 12:55:04 PST 1998
At 10:46 AM 2/13/98 -0600, Thomas Berg wrote:
>But the student did raise a more general question: for
>constitutional purposes, how far may a school go in
>assigning students not just to read about certain behavior,
>but to engage in it, in order to understand to some
>extent what the believer experiences? For example, could a
>school assign students to wear, for a day, certain clothing
>worn by a religion? Could it assign students to put an
>ash mark on their foreheads (on Ash Wednesday or on some
>other day) to understand what it's like to be Catholic and
>have some people stare at you that day? Could a school
>require students to kneel for some lengthy period of time
>in order to understand the physical strain that lengthy
>prayer vigils in various faiths can mean for the believer?
Or, could it insist that jewish children sing christmas carols under the
same reasoning? Sorry, couldn't resist. Not trying to pick a fight.
But the issues are very closely related. Only when those in the "majority"
are required -- for ostensibly (and I submit, legitimately or rationally
articulated) secular reasons -- to engage or participate in a "practice"
that is also a component of another faith, do they begin to appreciate what
it's like to have the shoe on the other foot.
Rob Weinberg, Montgomery, AL
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