Beyond Religious Freedoms For Students in Public Schools

Envision a broken world of turmoil; floundering, disorder, seeking. Envision a community that is void of respect and love. Envision a people that live without purpose; lack hope, and disrespect. Envision a school; struggling, lacking. Envision a world, not so far from ours, empty.

This is what a place, such as ours, would be without faith. A broken world with broken people of turmoil. This is what society is now. Our society had evolved in such a way that students are now unable to pursue their freedom of faith freely.

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The subject of religion in schools has been debated strenuously, but the fact still stands: students should be able to express their religion freely in public schools. One reason students should be able to express their religion freely within public school systems is because it is their constitutional right. Due to the Separation Between the Church and the State, public schools cannot endorse any religions, nor discriminate against any religions, such as not allowing students to wear certain religious sentiments (such as head scarves or jewelry). There have been many cases in which teachers (and staff as a whole) have required a student to remove an item of clothing vital to their religion. This is a direct infringement of the First Amendment, but it still continues to happen within this day and age, and has been for centuries.

The exact words within the section stating “freedom of religion” reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise . . .

” This refers to the Free Exercise Clause (Herndon v Lowry, 1937), which essentially stated that people have the right to practice religion or none at all. “the 1st amendment needs breathing space and room for interpretation,” it reads, “and statutes attempting to restrict or burden the exercise of First Amendment rights must be narrowly drawn.” This segment addresses a loophole that many against religion in schools commonly bring up. For example, if a teacher were to sacrifice children “for religion”, the teacher would not be protected by the First Amendment.

The full extent of the Free Exercise Clause was later explored more to a greater extent during the Reynolds v United States case, which focused on the restrictions of religious liberty. If the person is not forcing religion on someone or violating any constitutional rights, than it does not infringe upon the rights the First Amendment gives citizens. So, in summary, public schools have no right to require students to remove religious sentiments if they are merely for a “distraction”. Secondly, students should be able to express their religion freely because the curriculum that is taught in a science class is not universally accepted. A National Survey was taken in the mid-2000s among college freshmen, who mostly reported high numbers of the presence of religion. 83% were associated with some religion or denomination. 88% assert they have ordinary  religious association.

An immense amount of students declared their denominations to be of the Christian Faith (Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist . . .

). A large 79% claim that they believe in God (of the Christian Faith) and 40% say that it is vital to obey teachings of religion throughout your life on a daily basis. According to Christian belief, many aspects of the Big Bang did not occur, and evolution is false.

If the theories they teach in schools are supposedly universally accepted, then among whom if not students? If science is truly the ways of the natural world and how it works, void of religion, then isn’t it a belief system in itself? If science doesn’t have substantial evidence for its theories, and neither do other religions that are more widely accepted and practiced, such as Christianity which is arguably the more popular religion, then aren’t all religions who claim they know how the Earth was created present theories? Shouldn’t these be taught too if many students believe this is how the Earth was created, as scientists do with their own theories? So why should students be taught something they will not apply to their knowledge of life? It would be more beneficial if students were taught the most popular theories that are known world-wide.Finally, all students in the public school system should have the right to express their religion freely within school sponsored activities and required classes. Students, however, have already been granted this freedom, but was executed poorly. 47% of religious teens and children have reported being bullied for their beliefs. About 17% claimed they were cyberbullied.

What is even more worrying, however, is that many of these instances included teachers and staff members seeing the situation and not doing anything to stop it. These cases are less common and more rare, but still occur. Last year, from 2016 to 2017, this problem was being solved by government authority and, hopefully, in this new year, we will see a difference. Another issue is the fact of a choir class where one may have to sing a song they are not comfortable with or unable to because it is against their religion. If it is within a required course, they are either able to be exempt from the assignment or to be assigned an alternate one. In choir, however, this isn’t as simple. A Jehovah Witness, for example, is unable to sing certain songs because it goes against their religion. How are they able to participate in a class if this song(s) will be worked on for months during class? If need be, they should have the right either transfer classes (perhaps to a study hall) or find a reasonable solution with the director or another staff member.

This goes for anyone who feels discomfort for a certain piece. Many church and gospel songs are sang within choir as a way to introduce different genres and different techniques in order to be as successful as possible. However, if one is still uncomfortable, no matter the reason, they should have the ability to reach a solution that they are comfortable with. Summarie your trashy piints .

. . blah blah blah . . . Without faith, we are like a broken body. Without faith, those who have religious teachings lack knowledge and wisdom. Without faith, we lack a heart.

We lack emotions and depth. Freedom of Religion is supposed to mean we can freely discuss our religions. But in practice, do we really? As a whole, it seems almost as if the liberty America has been given of Freedom for Religion has caused more aggravation. Freedom of Religion is like finding a pair of shoes. Seek a pair that fits for you, works for you, is comfortable for you. But don’t let anyone else where them or touch them.

But we can change this. We have our rules and our laws. We have countless examples of freedom, like the Civil Right’s March or First Wave Feminism and the Women’s March.

Now, we take things into our hands. Our world if full of longing for a belonging people. Do you know what would change the world? Make it pristine and golden and beautiful? Make it loving and caring and kind? Make it void of corruption and fraud and dirtiness? Acceptance.


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