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The Lord’s Army Comes to America’s Public Schools - Comments

cloudstone123's Avatar Comment 1 by cloudstone123

I don't mind freedom of religion at all. It just bothers me that they want to pass laws or rules with only Christianity in mind. I really would like to see this turned around on them with how this article suggests near the end and have either secular parents do it as part of a point by having their teens who are more mature minded do mock handouts of non-christian religions at the schools.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:17:00 UTC | #926995

tardisguy's Avatar Comment 2 by tardisguy

I believe Christians have social engineering down to a... science?

Muahahhaha... Yeah couldn't help it.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:33:39 UTC | #927006

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 3 by Alan4discussion

See you up the pole!

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:05:10 UTC | #927022

some asshole's Avatar Comment 4 by some asshole

Let's start disseminating information in public schools on how kids can join the RDFRS. I'm sure no one will mind, since these people are so even-minded. Right?

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 18:36:00 UTC | #927057

Tryphon Tournesol's Avatar Comment 5 by Tryphon Tournesol

They've already lost it...nice memeplex-engineering: 'tell your friends' ...right, that'll prevale over pop culture promoting somewhat more enlightened values than the Treasured Old Books.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 18:57:09 UTC | #927064

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 6 by Starcrash

This article has so many biased semantics... I'd even go so far as to say "weasel words". "Tactics" for example, and "mega"church... also "infected", which is not part of the quotes for a reason. And worse, as much as I disagree with the actions taken by these Christian organizations, they're acting within the law.

There's no proposed solution here, and the obvious solutions aren't fair --- we can't ban kids from preaching to each other (as "preaching" is ambiguous and could lead to a slippery slope of losing free speech rights) and we can't ban churches from preaching to the kids outside of school because it's stepping on freedom of religion.

What's the alternative? Perhaps we could get kids to spread the word of Islam or anti-theism by abusing the same loophole (in order to demonstrate to the Christians why it's wrong) but two wrongs don't make a right, and we don't want to indoctrinate children. We could make activities like See You at the Pole adult-free (thus actually driven only by kids), but that's a chance for kids to abuse an activity that is chaperone-free.

I totally agree with raising awareness about this issue, but awareness is only half the fight, and I don't personally see a good solution to the question "so what do we do about it?" Does anyone have an answer?

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 23:59:03 UTC | #927168

Elisabeth Cornwell's Avatar Comment 7 by Elisabeth Cornwell

In response to Starcrash's comment: Katherine does offer some solutions in her book, this is just a brief article to raise awareness of an issue. To find solutions takes bringing people together to plan and to implement. But until a large enough number of people are aware that this is an issue, then solutions cannot be found. It isn't fair to ask one person, who has spent an incredible amount of time exposing the issues to then be the only one who is working on putting together the solution. It will take communities, it will take organizing, and it will take money to stop this sort of invasion of the childhood snatchers.

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 02:58:30 UTC | #927270

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 8 by Starcrash

Comment 7 by Elisabeth Cornwell :

In response to Starcrash's comment: Katherine does offer some solutions in her book, this is just a brief article to raise awareness of an issue.

I'll be looking forward to reading this book, then.

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 05:03:16 UTC | #927346

Sample's Avatar Comment 9 by Sample

This article pushed me over the proverbial ledge and now I've finally signed up as an official member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

I'll be forwarding the book title to the Association of Alaska School Boards. Individuals may want to consider contacting their own State's Association by clicking here: National School Boards Association.

Mike

PS. I see the book is available for download on Kindle.

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:41:13 UTC | #927447

some asshole's Avatar Comment 10 by some asshole

Comment 6 by Starcrash :

Perhaps we could get kids to spread the word of Islam or anti-theism by abusing the same loophole (in order to demonstrate to the Christians why it's wrong) but two wrongs don't make a right, and we don't want to indoctrinate children.

Two wrongs can sometimes make a right, if indirectly. In the schools where this is going on, I see nothing wrong with doing the same thing they're doing. When they go insane, let it go to court. All along, the point would be made as to what our motivations were: Not indoctrination, not even spreading our own message; just getting their religion out of places it doesn't belong.

Or, we can sit in the shadows, looking dejected and feeling sorry for ourselves like cowardly losers, not knowing what to do. Haven't we done that for long enough?

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 16:12:12 UTC | #927510

zengardener's Avatar Comment 11 by zengardener

I couldn't send my kids to school with the mission of leading a Satanic prayer meeting at the pole, just to prove a point. Not even to bring a lawsuit. The fight against theocracies and religious influence is my fight, because I choose it. When my son decides to join in, it will be his decision. If he comes home and askes about what these kids are saying, I will answer him as best as I can.

What these people are doing is despicable, but it is logical, GIVEN their religion.

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 04:31:09 UTC | #928014

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 12 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 03:30:34 UTC | #928537

GoldenRule rules!'s Avatar Comment 13 by GoldenRule rules!

BELIEF IS NOT A CHOICE

The dispicable and sick actions taken by this teacher in a Pasedena public school (or had they occured anywhere else for that matter) are in my view tantamount to multiple counts of:

  1. religious persecution
  2. terror attacks on young children
  3. pshycological child abuse

I am calling all you at the RDF and all readers to approach American psychology professionals to print their response to the article far and wide. I will personally be contacting the online edition of Psychology Today, and I ask that all you folks do the same. I want the American public (and the world) to know what harm is likely to have been caused by an adult telling the very young, that "to live, you''ll have to believe in Jesus".

I asked myself " what if, like me, they simply couldn't believe in Jesus?" Will they be quietly suffering a fear of iminent death, too afrais to ask for fear of an answer that confirms the penalty? Are they living in fear (or confusion) that at anytime now, their little life might suddenly end? Are they feeling guilty or traumatised by this experience? I should think so! The fact that some 'might be', is in my view enough to send in the councillors, to teach them that this man was only expressing his own personal 'opinion' due to his own beliefs for which there is no evidence. Further-more, this man should be made to re-visit these kids and explain that he made a mistake in presenting his personal opinion as if it were fact. These kids need to be helped now.

By the way, I ran an interesting experiment at my workplace here in Sydney Australia today.

I asked my employer (as he was at hand).....

At first, I related the story Katherine told us but substituted the teacher for an 'Islamist teacher', and I substituted Jesus for Mohammed and Allah.

I then asked if he felt that the Islamist teacher had committed an act of terror. He took a while to chew it over (he has a very contemplative, cautious nature - quite admirable) and eventually concluded that indeed, it was an act of terror.

Upon my relating the true story, he agreed, he would not change his verdict, it remained an act of terror in his view. Interesting. Mine too!.

Please keep on this like the preverbial bulldog!

Richard, there are just so very many issues being thrown up at us every day that I wonder if we could make much more virulent progress if the RDF assigned/farmed out each issue to interested readers/commentators to work on with the govt, media, public - rather than letting them all fall by the wayside and eventually petering out as they get overtaken by the next issue?

I look forward to seeing you and Lawrence Krauss on 12.4.2012 at Sydney Grammer School.

Kindest Regards Tony Ansell

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 07:59:02 UTC | #929219

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 14 by drumdaddy

I'm angry as hell after just having read Ms. Stewart's excellence journalistic expose.

Here is a YouTube peek at some of the ghastly fair to which the Good News Clubs are subjecting young children inside public schools in America. It's been under the radar for far too long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7YNeYgDG3Q

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 20:24:45 UTC | #929403

mellifera's Avatar Comment 15 by mellifera

I finished the book a few days ago. It's certainly worth a read. I think Stewart framed the issue correctly, wanting us to be on our guard, but careful to also stay away from hyperbole.

It surprised me that in my ultra-liberal college town, one of the local schools does indeed have a GNC. Good thing my daughter is in Montessori!

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 21:07:15 UTC | #929955

Nontheist Central's Avatar Comment 16 by Nontheist Central

I think I'm going to be sick...

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 22:43:36 UTC | #929976

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 17 by Neodarwinian

Sneaky bastards!

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 16:21:54 UTC | #930186

bubah's Avatar Comment 18 by bubah

An after party for See You at the Pole? This author has NO idea what they're talking about; See You At the Pole happens at 7:00 AM before school starts, and lasts until students go to class. It is normally, like mine, arranged by students, without adult help. I, with four other STUDENTS, led it at my high school my senior year. Denying High Schoolers genuine beliefs aren't we? I normally see reason behind what is posted RD.net, but some of this New Atheist activism that's getting posted is just as fallacious as the crud it goes against.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 04:08:44 UTC | #930322

Rhiaden's Avatar Comment 19 by Rhiaden

I grew up going to groups like this, with the "If you want to live, believe in X", or "Here are some videos of what happens when you die if you don't believe in X", as a consequence of my family being VERY evangelical.

I was very keen on converting my friends, because I wanted to save them....I stopped going to church when I got kicked out of it in my mid teens, but the way that those initial beliefs / indoctrinations stay with you is truly scary.

15 years on since I was kicked out of the church, and I, up until extremely recently, had problems with feeling panicky even discussing other religions, or that maybe some of the things I had been told were not correct.

It is completely illogical, but then, things drummed into you at a young age have an annoying habit of popping up in the back of your brain, even when you are a completely rational adult (Some say I am too skeptical...but that depends on your viewpoint).

Many of these groups merely had an adult supervising, and were led by teenagers/children, but that does not mean that I, or my peers were any less effective at getting the message across than the adults.

Those who see it as "just harmless" have no idea how difficult it is to move on from the messages you get told at such a young age. I still feel worried when reading certain books for goodness sake! And there is a little "But if you say X, then God will Y" in the back of my mind when I am discussing anything not in line with my original upbringing.

Yes, not everyone gets affected to this degree, but for those who completely unquestioningly believe these things, and the consequences of not doing them (or doing them, depending on the case), at a young age, these take years to overcome as an adult.

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:49:26 UTC | #930586

Spade 's Avatar Comment 20 by Spade

Religion being taught to children in my opinion is just horrible. But, actually convincing children to poison the minds of other children is beyond that. It's one of the things that set me off. I get so incredibly angry whenever I hear about it. The mere thought that someone would brainwash and manipulate a child like that is detestable and evil. And of course I have no power to put a stop to it. I'm not the child's parent. The only thing I can do, if of course I know the child or am related to it, is to tell them not to believe everything they're told. And, even that doesn't make me feel any better.

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 17:35:20 UTC | #930771

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 21 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 07:28:24 UTC | #931124

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 22 by gr8hands

Wow, bubah, I'm impressed. What an amazing coincidence that you and your friends chose the exact same name for your special group -- including the meeting place and times -- as this already in existence fundamentalist religious group!

And you did it all without conferring at all with any adults at any time!

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 19:10:31 UTC | #931204

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 23 by TIKI AL

It is a short journey from these pole activities for Jesus to pole dancing in a strip club. Bevare!

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 16:30:14 UTC | #931683

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 24 by Anonymous

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Tue, 03 Apr 2012 04:54:21 UTC | #932062

wdbailey's Avatar Comment 25 by wdbailey

I downloaded this book on my Kindle last night and though I've not finished it I now see clearly the whys and wherefores of a number of things that had me puzzled.

I was always puzzled at the opposition to anti-bullying laws. Sure, there was the rambling blather about "gay agendas" but even then I failed to make the connection. Now it's clear to me that anti-bullying laws will shut this sort of thing down with absolutely no recourse left for these clowns.

Sat, 07 Apr 2012 14:12:52 UTC | #932894

Carney's Avatar Comment 26 by Carney

The First Amendment, with the word "Congress", restricts solely the activities of the federal government. It is utterly silent on the states, which it is clear, with the implicit structure of the rest of the Constitution, made explicit and unmistakeable with the 10th amendment, can do anything they are not explicitly forbidden to do. In fact much of the historical impetus for the establishment clause came from anti-federalists wedded strongly to states' rights and specifically to their states' established churches, such as the Congregationalist Church in MA, and fears that if the federal government officially endorsed a given denomination that would supersede and overshadow their state church. The Establishment Clause was NOT intended, written, and ratified to impose a federally enforced zealously strict secularism on all levels of government right down to the local neighborhood school - it would NEVER have been ratified were that the case.

Too many people, especially on the secular left, consistently make the fundamental error of assuming that their personally preferred public policies are constitutionally mandatory, and their disfavored policies are constitutionally forbidden. Such a delusion is enjoyable and helps rationalize an end run around the vexing and slow process of convincing fellow citizens to pass laws or amendments, straight to judge shopping for a like minded judge who will wink at you and ram through your mutually preferred policies on some spurious pseudo--legal grounds. But it has the fatal flaw of being historically, logically, legally, and morally wrong.

And that's entirely apart from whether strict secularism at all levels of government is a wise, sound, helpful public policy. It is possible to be such a policy and yet NOT BE CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATORY. It is also possible for a given policy to be unfair, destructive, foolish, and ignorant, while still being perfectly constitutional.

Do you get it now??

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 21:47:56 UTC | #934257

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 27 by Anonymous

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Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:42:29 UTC | #935284

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 28 by Anonymous

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Tue, 17 Apr 2012 18:45:40 UTC | #935286

chuckleberry1974's Avatar Comment 29 by chuckleberry1974

Do you really believe what you wrote? What you accuse secularists of is page 1 in the conservative wing-nut playbook.

And as for the point in your last paragraph, you have to realize that a big part of this comes down to funding. Strict secularism is, in fact, the law of the land. It more than makes sense. If you want a particular religion in your neighborhood school, send your children to a parochial school. Public schools have no business promoting or allowing religion. Secularism leads to more choice. Religions do not. What is more American than choice?

Comment 26 by Carney :

The First Amendment, with the word "Congress", restricts solely the activities of the federal government. It is utterly silent on the states, which it is clear, with the implicit structure of the rest of the Constitution, made explicit and unmistakeable with the 10th amendment, can do anything they are not explicitly forbidden to do. In fact much of the historical impetus for the establishment clause came from anti-federalists wedded strongly to states' rights and specifically to their states' established churches, such as the Congregationalist Church in MA, and fears that if the federal government officially endorsed a given denomination that would supersede and overshadow their state church. The Establishment Clause was NOT intended, written, and ratified to impose a federally enforced zealously strict secularism on all levels of government right down to the local neighborhood school - it would NEVER have been ratified were that the case.

Too many people, especially on the secular left, consistently make the fundamental error of assuming that their personally preferred public policies are constitutionally mandatory, and their disfavored policies are constitutionally forbidden. Such a delusion is enjoyable and helps rationalize an end run around the vexing and slow process of convincing fellow citizens to pass laws or amendments, straight to judge shopping for a like minded judge who will wink at you and ram through your mutually preferred policies on some spurious pseudo--legal grounds. But it has the fatal flaw of being historically, logically, legally, and morally wrong.

And that's entirely apart from whether strict secularism at all levels of government is a wise, sound, helpful public policy. It is possible to be such a policy and yet NOT BE CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATORY. It is also possible for a given policy to be unfair, destructive, foolish, and ignorant, while still being perfectly constitutional.

Do you get it now??

Sun, 13 May 2012 20:36:42 UTC | #941310

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 30 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 26 by Carney :

The First Amendment, with the word "Congress", restricts solely the activities of the federal government. It is utterly silent on the states, which it is clear, with the implicit structure of the rest of the Constitution, made explicit and unmistakeable with the 10th amendment, can do anything they are not explicitly forbidden to do. In fact much of the historical impetus for the establishment clause came from anti-federalists wedded strongly to states' rights and specifically to their states' established churches, such as the Congregationalist Church in MA, and fears that if the federal government officially endorsed a given denomination that would supersede and overshadow their state church.

This is incorrect. Unless you are just voicing your opinion that the Sct has missed the mark for all these many years of using the 14th Amendment to apply to the first to all government action--federal, state and local. Maybe you actually read the first amendment, but have you read the multitude of cases interpreting it and applying it to state action? Seems not.

Sun, 13 May 2012 21:41:31 UTC | #941314