Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Judge" Roy Moore on going back to school

Too bad he's not going back to school -- he still needs to learn a few things.

In a new post over at the WorldNutDaily, he writes:

Most of the public school students will return to a world without prayer or the Bible and where God is mentioned in some schools only in the Pledge of Allegiance (for now). For those of us who can remember, however, we know that it has not always been so.

He's wrong about the basic facts: kids can have a Bible in school (and even study from it). Kids can pray too. They just can't pray during class (unless they do so silently; unless teachers develop ESP or the student advertises the fact, I doubt anyone will know, not that it matters) or in a disruptive manner. In other words, if kids want to pray before eating lunch in the cafeteria, they can. If they want to pray in the hallway between classes, they probably can (maybe if they block the hallway or access to a room, they would have to move, but the problem wouldn't be the prayer itself, though some school officials may not know that).

So what is "Judge" Moore upset about? (As far as I can tell, he is not a judge anymore).

Part of it is his childhood:

In 1952, President Harry Truman declared a National Day of Prayer so that annually the people of the United States would turn to God. In 1954, when I was just 7 years old and in the second grade, Congress added the phrase "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance so that "the children of our land, in the daily recitation of the Pledge in school, will be daily impressed with a true understanding of our way of life and its origins." By 1955, "In God We Trust" was placed on all our currency and coins because our government wanted to reflect "the spiritual basis of our way of life." By the time I was in the fourth grade, "In God We Trust" had become our National Motto by joint resolution of Congress.

Obviously, things were much different in schools in the 1950s. We began each day with a prayer and a Bible verse or two. Then we stood facing the flag and, with our hand over our heart, pledged our allegiance as "one nation under God." Nobody was ashamed or embarrassed to acknowledge a belief in God – and the ACLU was not lurking near every schoolhouse and courthouse to be offended and file suit at the slightest mention of God.

Because we were taught that we were created in the image of God and that He alone was the judge of our hearts and minds, we had respect for our teachers and they seemed to care about us. Of course, there were student fights, gossip and rivalry, but we never heard of students killing each other or their teachers.

Note that he remembers when "one nation under God" was added to a pledge written by a socialist (!). And when "In God we trust" was adopted.

That's right -- they weren't there before. If there weren't there, then how does that support Moore's contention that associates this "acknowledgment of God" with "hav[ing] respect for our teachers and the[ir] seem[ing] to care about us"? Did teachers suddenly care about students because an acknowledgment of God was added to the pledge? or because "In God we trust" was added to our coins?

And if these acknowledgments weren't present before the 1950s, wouldn't the US have suffered some dreadful consequences -- perhaps losing a war? Against a religious country -- like Mexico or Spain -- just to teach us a lesson. Hard to see then his slippery slope fallacy:
I am very concerned for our future and believe that unless we restore the foundations of faith, family, freedom and law, we will continue to suffer the consequences of turning from God.

If God governs all, then perhaps we're losing not because we're turning away from God (no evidence of this happening, unfortunately), but because we're not a Muslim nation. I wonder...

Anyway, he also has quite an idyllic vision of schools: "we never heard of students killing each other or their teachers." While kids coming to school and shooting several kids or teachers may be a recent phenomenon, Richard Rothstein notes in The Way We Were? that there were violent incidents with students rioting -- in the early 20th century!

My classrooms were always relatively tranquil too. At least no one was shot or physically attacked (well, not with weapons anyway). There were fights. Rumors. Gossip. Girls probably developed eating disorders. Boys got high. Some girls probably got high too. Hmmm. Maybe not very idyllic....

Anyway, Moore is dead wrong when he writes:
No one ever imagined that the courts or our government had any intention of banishing the acknowledgment of God from us

because "the acknowledgment of God" has not been "banished" "from us" or anyone. You are free to do what you want. What is forbidden is the imposition to acknowledge God from anyone in authority.

He wouldn't want to be forced to worship a different God. Why should Baptists be forced to pray Catholic prayers? Or Jews forced to pray Christian prayers? Or Muslims...? Why should non-religious people (even those who believe but don't pray or don't want to pray) be forced to be religious? Is that something in the "Christian" spirit of things?

Or is being Christian forcing your neighbors to be like you?

Especially if you're a hypocrite.

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