Marvin's Window: Schools discriminating against Christianity

I watched out my window as the fancy car pulled into my drive.

Two professionally dressed people, a man and a woman, stepped out of the car and walked to my door.

Each was carrying an expensive legal size leather briefcase with the letters ACLU in large gold print on the side.

They rang the bell and I greeted them warmly.

I had called them to talk to me about handling a separation of church and state issue that has me steaming.

They sat down at my kitchen table while I poured coffee for everyone.

We chatted about the weather, the blue sky and the views of the mountains surrounding our area.

"You sounded excited about this issue when you called," the man said.

"How can we help you?"

I told them that religion was being taught in the California public schools and I was sure that was both dangerous and unconstitutional.

They leaned forward in their chairs showing both interest and doubt.

It was obvious I had hit a nerve, but they were not yet sure that I knew what I was talking about.

My hair stood up on my neck as I explained about the class, the curriculum outline and the textbook used statewide in California in a junior high social studies program.

"One third of the year is scheduled teaching one religion," I shouted as I smashed the table with my fist.

I told the ACLU lawyers how students were asked to take religious names for the 12-week study.

They were startled to learn that students read from the "Holy Book" and were assigned scriptures to memorize.

I showed them passages from the textbook that supported the religion without criticism.

Other passages described bad things about other religions.

The religion was described as "peaceful," "kind," and "supportive of equal rights for women." The lawyers nodded in agreement indicating that part was a good thing.

I could see they were getting edgy and ready to take on this school and religion issue.

"We have to stay vigilant at every turn or the Christians will take over the schools and indoctrinate the students," the woman said forcefully.

She explained how they had fought Santa Claus, Christmas music, prayer at school football games and graduations, Easter and Christmas vacations and the Bible at schools across America.

"But," I replied between clenched teeth, "This curriculum in California public schools is about Islam!"

To my surprise they began making excuses to support the teaching going on in California junior highs once I named the religion.

I told them the teaching guide includes role-playing, taking religious names, scripture memorization from the Koran and prayer rugs to immerse students in the curriculum.

I think that crosses the line and would not be tolerated if Christian principles were being taught using the same methods!

The ACLU did not agree.

They snapped their briefcases shut and stalked out.

Since Sept.

11, all of us have greatly increased interest in learning about the religion, culture, people and geography of a region most of us could not find on a map before the attacks.

We really did not care then.

Now, we do.

It is a good thing for Americans to learn about the people, Islam and a region that has great impact on our daily lives.

It is a good thing for each of us to show tolerance, treat individuals as fairly as we can and accept the diversity that is a strength of this country.

Uncritical teaching of any religion in public junior high school classrooms steps way over the line.

In my opinion, the courts and schools have gone too far in many parts of the nation in pushing everything Christian out of the public sector and treating other groups with a different yardstick.

I have been angered by news reports of teaching religion in California schools.

Parents of those children should be angered also.

If my child were in one of those California junior highs, he or she would be home schooled, shifted to a charter school or sent to a church school of my choosing.

That is the age at which young people are looking for role models.

They are asking, "Who am I" and trying out roles.

They are trying their wings.

A third of a year role playing and learning scriptures will make that specific religion credible and will lead some of them beyond the intent of "exposure to a culture and an important period of history."

It should be stopped.