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Separation of Church and School - Comments

pzkrakz's Avatar Comment 1 by pzkrakz

"The church that meets at my daughter’s school is associated with a movement that instructs its members to pray for a Christian “reformation” of American education and for the election of like-minded political leaders."

This is unbelievably egregious. I don't live in NY, but I would not want anyone not affiliated with the school where my kids attend, to have after-hours access. Not even secular non-profits. Churches often offer up space for various secular groups, which is admirable and beneficial, but access to schools compromises safety.

Also, who decides what groups are given access to schools for religious activities? If they allow one group, can any other be legally denied? And who knows whether they are leaving leaflets or other materials behind for kids to find.

If there are really that many schools involved, then this seems a worthy target for the ACLU or other secular legal organizations.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:02:32 UTC | #637972

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 2 by Neodarwinian

What?!?! How can this pass in the United States? I see our children and our grandchildren dealing with this religious incursion into our rights if we do not become more oppositionally active.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:37:25 UTC | #637984

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 3 by rod-the-farmer

I would be on this in a flash. The school should charge the going rate for anyone who wants to rent space in any other building. No deals. If your crutch cannot afford to rent the space, then out you go. Tell them to ask another crutch if they can use the premises later on Sunday, after the owners have finished with their own services.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:44:45 UTC | #637987

Veronique's Avatar Comment 4 by Veronique

I don't have a problem with cults hiring school buildings when they aren't in use.

They must be made to pay the going square metre rental rates and they can only use an area that is open. No classrooms with the students' work on the walls. The assembly area only; the hall or whatever common room there is.

They have to sign a contract of occupancy stating this otherwise they don't get a look in. The contract should forbid the leaving of literature or any material whatsoever and deny contact with students of the school.

It's the privilege that cults of all stripes expect and get that has to be stopped. The school presumably could use rental income in offsetting its own costs, after all.

I don't know much about education and facilities in the US. They seem to be very parochially managed.

Bloody sneaky little evangelists with their holier than thou behaviour masking their manic need to proselytise.

I am glad I am so old that these things can't affect me or my family directly. Whew!

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:58:11 UTC | #637991

Mendar's Avatar Comment 5 by Mendar

I live in Colorado Springs, CO and churches are using schools here for churches as well. A place of learning that has an infestation of illogical thinking and preaching of bigotry against those who do not live the way that "god" wants them to.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:13:17 UTC | #637998

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 6 by Stafford Gordon

This a really creepy horror story; it'd certainly keep me awake at night.

But of course, all parasite are opportunistic.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:20:11 UTC | #638005

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 7 by SomersetJohn

To expose this sneaky infiltration on the cheap someone should persuade/help/encourage the Church of Satan to take advantage of the cheap rates. They would open a school as a church, with as much local and national publicity as possible, and wait for the brown stuff to intersect with the spinning aerofoils. Best way would be to get a school one day which will be used the following day by the godbotherers. I can just imagine the screams of anguish and outrage. Now that would show off their hypocrisy.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:23:18 UTC | #638006

CarlaTrumper's Avatar Comment 8 by CarlaTrumper

I agree with rod-the-farmer. This OP was/is very disturbing, all one needs to do is read a newspaper, watch the news or hear about an incident that these so-called "evangelicals" do on their "off-time". They shouldn't be within 5,000 feet of a public school.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:50:08 UTC | #638019

Savant's Avatar Comment 9 by Savant

"In light of this ruling, the city should enforce its original policy and exclude the use of school facilities for worship services."

HALLELUJAH!!

"A near-term problem — and an example of precisely why this kind of entanglement should be avoided in the first place — is that many churches have come to depend on the schools for their survival. The city should seek a way to gradually end these relationships."

No - the city should end them immediately, and allow these cults to sink or swim on their own facilities - just like any business is expected to do.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 17:53:50 UTC | #638025

skiles1's Avatar Comment 10 by skiles1

The 2001 Supreme Court decision is villainy. Taxes shouldn't support religion. Schools should be secular, and by that I mean that all schools should be secular, not just public schools. Two articles appeared in the news today about how religious schools affect society, one was from England, the other from the United States. Christopher Hitchens might have said it best when he wrote "religion poisons everything".

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 19:19:39 UTC | #638065

nude0007's Avatar Comment 11 by nude0007

This is an outrage! Are any New Yorkers taking issue with this at all? If they can't afford the rates to rent a space, let them meet under an overpass somewhere, or hopefully not meet at all. If they are allowed to use the space, they should pay the going rate. No wonder education is under-funded.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 19:44:24 UTC | #638078

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 12 by Mr DArcy

Am I getting old and cynical? Just why does the expression "Creeping Jesus" spring to mind?

Maybe because it fits the reality.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 19:50:30 UTC | #638081

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 13 by huzonfurst

Every US taxpayer, especially those who complain on ideological grounds that taxes are too high, should withhold a percentage equal to the subsidy that churches get from their undeserved exemptions. This would serve the dual purpose of raising the consciousness of the "silent majority" about how religion is ripping them off, plus exposing the sheer hypocrisy of the right-wing anti-tax and pro-religion contingent. It would be quite a circus once the big players got involved.

That said, this example from New York needs to be dealt with swiftly and surely. The parasites keep pushing the envelope, and as long as it gives in they will keep pushing. It has to stop!

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 19:53:34 UTC | #638084

Aztek's Avatar Comment 14 by Aztek

"The situation originated in a 2001 decision, Good News Club vs. Milford Central School, in which the United States Supreme Court appeared to suggest that keeping religious groups out of schools after hours amounted to discrimination against their religious views."

Yeah, I've never understood this. "Discrimination against religious views"? Isn't that the point? If you have stupid ideas, religious or otherwise, we do not tolerate them. We are critical to them and question them relentlessly. If they stand up to scrutiny, we accept them. If they don't, as in the case of all religions, we do not have to stand them. Simply keeping religious groups out of schools is not discrimination against their views. It's just a matter of upholding secularism.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 21:17:15 UTC | #638128

Seashore's Avatar Comment 15 by Seashore

There is likely a political advantage working here.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 21:25:04 UTC | #638135

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 16 by BigJohn

@#3--rod-the-farmer-- Crutches, indeed! Very funny!

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 22:02:01 UTC | #638145

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 17 by drumdaddy

Disgusting! Free rent for liars whilst teacher jobs are cut and school programs are diminished. Despicable!

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 22:10:16 UTC | #638150

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 18 by QuestioningKat

Churches in schools are not new. They are also frequently found in libraries and movie theaters. I'm OK with movie theaters because they pay the going rate. (I assume.)

If you want to make your jaw drop, google 'taxes minister housing' or parsonage allowance and check out the perks that the government extends to the clergy. Then think about the income of ministers of mega churches and recall Jim Bakker. Considering much of their income is a "love offering" I assume that this is tax free because it is a gift. I recall that when I went to church this amount was not listed on my annual contributions form.

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 23:51:39 UTC | #638180

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 19 by Crazycharlie

Organized Christianity in this country will continually, CONTINUALLY.. try to work it's way into the educational Curriculum despite there being no state sponsorship of religion in the U.S.. It will be a constant battle to fight them. They will look for any loophole or any weakness in the wall of separation.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 01:07:01 UTC | #638204

educationsaves's Avatar Comment 20 by educationsaves

Sad. So sad. Actually I would ok with them using the school if they pay fair costs and do not try to brainwash children. Unfortunately we know they will not pay fair costs and that they will try to brainwash children with myths and threats of retribution if they don't obey. This is child abuse and is justifiable grounds to have them removed from the school. Perhaps you could approach it from the angle that because they are telling your children that they, their friends and their family are going to suffer a horrible fate without any evidence to support their claim, they are causing them distress and that is child abuse and you will hold the school board financially responsible for pain and suffering. Simply make it too expensive for the school to have them there.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 01:27:24 UTC | #638212

Hobbit's Avatar Comment 21 by Hobbit

My children go to a state school here in Australia. The school rents out the building to a number of different organisations, including religious groups, not for profits and for profit organisations as well as providing advertising space in the school newsletter.

All groups pay the same rates for these services. No one gets a discount. All the ads in the newsletter are put in a seperate area with a disclaimer that they are paid for and that the school does not endorse their products in any way.

This is a great way for the school to raise much needed funds which are then put back into the kids education and facilities.

I would have thought that the NY school system, being in worlds capitalist heart, would have seen these rich religious fools as a great opportunity to make some cash.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 01:33:48 UTC | #638216

Munski's Avatar Comment 22 by Munski

Some of these religious organizations are the riches in the world, yet still, public funding is an issue . . . even in Canada. Religious schools still receive funding here as well, and are supposed to teach a publically recognized curriculum in science, math, and other courses, but are capable of putting their spin on how it all relates to the world.

Of course, some 'cult-like' places like Bountiful, BC that has been in the news and their methods and their practices questioned, (it's a polygamist Mormon fundamentalist community that has close ties with their cousins in the YFZ Ranch in Texas, and Warren Jeffs, who was on the FBI's top-ten list of wanted for awhile for rape), but I've yet to see any actual work done on investigative reporting on what constitutes 'education' in a faith-based system that is supposed to be teaching evolution. If it's anything like what Prof. Dawkins encountered in the series 'Faith School Menace' in the UK, it's a bit concerning that our tax dollars are not only providing shelters for them, but funding as well.

The good news about Bountiful is that after so many years of evading the tax-man is that he's going to court about it. Trouble is, he's seeking a publication ban on details of his life that sound clearly like a man who knows he's broken the law concerning issues about allegations of having child-brides, in which case, he'll be seeking to have his 'freedom of religion' protected.

A shame the children don't get that same protection.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 05:51:44 UTC | #638268

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 23 by QuestioningKat

Comment 20 by educationsaves :

Unfortunately we know they will not pay fair costs and that they will try to brainwash children with myths and threats of retribution if they don't obey. This is child abuse and is justifiable grounds to have them removed from the school. Perhaps you could approach it from the angle that because they are telling your children that they, their friends and their family are going to suffer a horrible fate without any evidence to support their claim, they are causing them distress and that is child abuse and you will hold the school board financially responsible for pain and suffering. Simply make it too expensive for the school to have them there.

Say What? How can this be child abuse when no children from the school are in the building on Sunday and after hours? I did not hear that they are leaving literature only praying for the kids and arrogantly calling the building a "house of God." We can see religion as abusive, but try proving this to society first. This really is a money issue, tax issue and separation of church and state concern. Make it about money and everyone listens.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 11:15:57 UTC | #638360

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 24 by Ignorant Amos

a church that runs a Gender Affirming Ministry Endeavor associated with the movement to “cure” gay men and lesbians — is representative of the neighborhood.

What an uncanny coincidence, just as I was reading this.....some yank therapist is over here on the BBC NI news making a nuisance of himself by proclaiming he can provide therapy that can change homosexuals into heterosexuals and that being gay is a lifestyle choice....the Church of Ireland are getting slated for letting the kook use their facilities.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 12:56:55 UTC | #638380

Aquaria's Avatar Comment 25 by Aquaria

Unfortunately we know they will not pay fair costs and that they will try to brainwash children with myths and threats of retribution if they don't obey.
Say What? How can this be child abuse when no children from the school are in the building on Sunday and after hours?

So these predatory scumbags won't try to brainwash children, eh? Funny, that's not what the article said. You know the part you can see if you click on "Read More" at the end of the post:

In some communities, parents and school administrators have complained that representatives of the churches have made use of their proximity to students to approach children for religious purposes. A friend in TriBeCa told me he was taken aback when his daughter asked him, “Daddy, is the church part of our school?”

Emphasis mine.

You were saying?

What an uncanny coincidence, just as I was reading this.....some yank therapist is over here on the BBC NI news making a nuisance of himself by proclaiming he can provide therapy that can change homosexuals into heterosexuals and that being gay is a lifestyle choice....the Church of Ireland are getting slated for letting the kook use their facilities.

I highly doubt that this moron has any kind of certification in any of the fields for which one can be called a "therapist" in America--i.e., psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker. Did anyone at the BBC even ask about his qualifications? His educational background? If his frickin' license/certifications were recent and up-to-date? How many years he was a therapist before latching onto this gay reparation therapy bullshit?

Somehow, I doubt the BBC asked. This scumbag says he's a therapist, and they probably took his word for it, without looking at his background at all.

A lot of these frauds lie about their qualifications/experience. Most of them are doctors of bullshit... Er, doctors of theology or divinity--if they have that much education. Even fewer have qualifications in legitimate therapy/counseling. No, spewing their bullshit one-on-one with one of their deluded sheep isn't counseling. Now there are some priests who have psychology degrees. But they're not doing the reparative therapy bullshit. That's an evangelical scumbag scam.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 22:15:01 UTC | #638609

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 26 by QuestioningKat

Comment 25 by Aquaria :

Unfortunately we know they will not pay fair costs and that they will try to brainwash children with myths and threats of retribution if they don't obey.

Say What? How can this be child abuse when no children from the school are in the building on Sunday and after hours?

So these predatory scumbags won't try to brainwash children, eh? Funny, that's not what the article said. You know the part you can see if you click on "Read More" at the end of the post:

In some communities, parents and school administrators have complained that representatives of the churches have made use of their proximity to students to approach children for religious purposes. A friend in TriBeCa told me he was taken aback when his daughter asked him, “Daddy, is the church part of our school?” Emphasis mine.

You were saying?

Yes, I see. My faux pas. In that case, I wonder why they are there when the children are in the building. The parents should bring this to attention at the next school board meeting.They should be reminded that this poses a concern for the safety of the children and could result in a potential financial risk for the district . The school administration should not be allowing unknown adults in the building with the children. That's just standard operating procedures. Even parents visiting a child are supposed to report to the office first. If the children are being approached outside, this has potential of being a legal matter. The church simply needs to be kicked out because they pose a legal risk for the school district and safety of the children.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 23:35:15 UTC | #638635

Munski's Avatar Comment 27 by Munski

Recently, a school in Burnaby, BC, changed its' policy to define specifically sexual orientation as part of it's anti-bullying policies, and it's a public, non-faith-based school, but it's getting flak from parents that claim it infringes on their right to teach intolerance about gays to their kids due to their religion. The proponents of this faith-based hatred-combating policies want to see a province-wide version of this policy made in BC.

And this is a fight that we're still having in Canada, where gay marriage is legal, where we have hate-laws that specifically forbid actions or words that lead to violence . . . and yet, religion is still protected by law to single out gays as targets of discrimination and violence, with no repercussions or punishments.

So much for being in the 21st century. Religious intolerance and hatred still trumps common decency.

Wed, 15 Jun 2011 09:13:09 UTC | #638731

travlr3000x's Avatar Comment 28 by travlr3000x

"In light of this ruling, the city should enforce its original policy and exclude the use of school facilities for worship services." Sums it up quite nicely. The cited 2001 SCOTUS ruling is in error. My taxes pay for the school building for the purposes of public education, not to subsidize religion.

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 11:37:26 UTC | #639230

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 29 by Hendrix is my gOD

“Notice the names of the children on pieces of paper,” the pastor advised his flock. I looked around and saw the posters the kids had made, with their charming snapshots from summer holidays and rambling lists of likes and dislikes. “Pray for them!” the pastor continued. “Pray that the families of this school will come to know Jesus and say, ‘This is a House of God!’ ”

If total strangers got hold of my kids name and pictures of her from the school and were praying for her, I'd be filing negligence charges against the schools. This is a privacy and safety issue and has nothing to do with religion. Would it be any different if a janitor at the school swiped my daughter's picture and was now in love with her?

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 15:42:42 UTC | #639640

pzkrakz's Avatar Comment 30 by pzkrakz

This whole thing reminds me of my grandmother-in-law, who spend a good deal of her career raising the kids of a Jewish couple, having baptised them secretly in the bath... They will find a way to leave their mark on the school, kids, and community, and I don't think the space should be available for rent.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:23:56 UTC | #639668