Required to stand for the Pledge?

marc stern mstern at ajcongress.org
Fri Sep 10 12:27:16 PDT 2004


Good point, but it merely illustrates how difficult it is sometimes to
reconcile constitutional law with the real world. But would your offending
student have been less offensive if he respectfully asked hard questions
about religion premised on Marx' view of religion?
Marc

-----Original Message-----
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Ann Althouse
Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 2:30 PM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Required to stand for the Pledge?

Calling attention to the student's difference might be emotionally 
wounding to this student too. ("Class, please tolerate Susie, she's 
different.") But I agree that tolerating the different student is 
better.

In my class, many students were offended. One called out in a 
particularly angry way. But the derisive student was actually asking 
for it and had been escalating his mockery over a series of remarks.

Ann

On Sep 10, 2004, at 2:13 PM, Steven Jamar wrote:

> Ann,
>
> I appreciate your post and sympathize with your conundrum of what 
> happened in class.  But it seems to me that to encourage showing 
> respect, the principal should have talked to the teacher and the other 
> students about respecting the minority beliefs of the affected 
> student, not the other way around!
>
> Why is OK to single out the different one to require her to show 
> respect to the others in accordance with what they (the majority) 
> think is right?  Refusing to stand on religious grounds does not show 
> disrespect.  And it is not uncivil, as it appears your student may 
> have been.
>
> BTW, why not talk to the offended person and suggest that she both 
> toughen up and lighten up a bit and show some tolerance for others who 
> may not yet be as enlightened as she is?  People should speak with the 
> understanding that what they say and the way the say it and where they 
> say it matters.  But people should also listen with compassion and the 
> understanding that not all of us express ourselves perfectly or 
> exactly as someone else would like us to (or even as we would like to) 
> all the time.
>
> Steve
>
>> This seems like an excellent example of a good time for the school to 
>> just give an apology. But I wonder if there is any legal violation in 
>> talking to students about the advisability of being respectful to the 
>> feelings and beliefs of the other students. We were discussing US v. 
>> Lee in my Religion and the Law class yesterday, and one of the 
>> students was characterizing the Amish in a way that was a bit 
>> derisive and another student snapped at him. That was the first time 
>> in 3 years of teaching the course that there was ever any discomfort 
>> in talking about the sensitive topic of religion. As the class was 
>> leaving, I motioned him over and said something to the effect that 
>> people in the class are used to a tradition of speaking very 
>> respectfully about religious beliefs, and that he might want to tone 
>> it down lest people get mad at him. He's a law student of course, and 
>> the girl in the news is a middle school student, but I do feel that 
>> what I was doing was similar to what this principal did: encouraging 
>> a student to show more respect in the classroom.
>>
>> Ann
>
> -- 
> Prof. Steven D. Jamar                                     vox:  
> 202-806-8017
> Howard University School of Law                           fax:  
> 202-806-8428
> 2900 Van Ness Street NW	                        
> mailto:sjamar at law.howard.edu
> Washington, DC  20008           
> http://www.law.howard.edu/faculty/pages/jamar
>
> "Years ago my mother used to say to me... 'In this world Elwood' ... 
> She always used to call me Elwood... 'In this world Elwood, you must 
> be Oh So Smart, or Oh So Pleasant.' Well for years I was smart -- I 
> recommend pleasant.  You may quote me." --Elwood P. Dowd
>
> - Mary Chase, "Harvey", 1950
>
>
> -- 
> Prof. Steven D. Jamar                                 vox:  
> 202-806-8017
> Howard University School of Law                       fax:  
> 202-806-8428
> 2900 Van Ness Street NW	                    
> mailto:sjamar at law.howard.edu
> Washington, DC  20008      
> http://www.law.howard.edu/faculty/pages/jamar
>
> Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust 
> doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up 
> for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth 
> corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where 
> your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
>
> Matthew 6:19-21
>
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