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Tenn considers religious expression bill for schools
Posted: 26 March 2014 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/tennessee-religious-discrimination-bill_n_5030344.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Ultimately, I think it can and should be allowed for students to express religious views in artwork or wear a cross or other religous symbol as those are all personal decisions that have no effect on academia. Unfortunatley, I cannot recall the article, but I read another article on this bill (not the one linked above), that stated students would be allowed to reference their religion in work. Now, should personal religion be allowed as “references”? For example, I recently was taking Medical Law & Ethics course at the college level and one of the students failed to ever write his group discussion topics with actual references to scholarly material, rather using the Bible as a basis for all his ethical arguements and this was a challenge to have a discussion in the realm of academia with a person who was not basing his rationale in verifiable academic or ethical principles. Furthermore, I feel that when bills such as this are created, are they created with “Christian Privilege” as an underpining? Or if a student who practices Wicca starts to base his or her arguements on such, will be equally validated?

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Posted: 26 March 2014 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I can agree with some leeway in art class, in other subjects, I disagree. This will absolutely spill over into science classes.

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Posted: 26 March 2014 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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mid atlantic - 26 March 2014 05:17 AM

I can agree with some leeway in art class, in other subjects, I disagree. This will absolutely spill over into science classes.

Essentially, they might as well be paving the way to offer the option to drop out or opt out of science class because that could be against someones religion. I am not a resident of Tennessee, but have family there and apparently, according to what I’ve been told, some of my old time relatives in the early 1900s “disagreed” with electricity and “science” and thought it was scary, evil and this included “electricity.”

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Posted: 26 March 2014 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Sure students should be free to express their religious views in classwork when it’s appropriate to the subject matter.  It’s just hard to think of when it would be appropriate most of the time.  And it shouldn’t be allowed as an excuse for not studying.  Just writing, “I didn’t bother to read the chapter on Evolution because I’m a Christian,” wouldn’t cut it.  The student should still be required to read the material, even if he/she doesn’t believe it.

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Posted: 26 March 2014 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I think the classroom should be a learning environment without introduction of personal beliefs.  First, is it only limited to Christianity or are the other major and minor religions (including Wiccan is pointed out above) allowed?  One could claim that his/her religion included the idea of racial or sexual discrimination, or a wide variety of beliefs and behaviors that would certainly disrupt the class.

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Posted: 26 March 2014 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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What would happen if a teacher failed someone because on a test the teacher disagreed or did not understand the student’s theology?

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Posted: 26 March 2014 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If anyone here has the time, the inclination, and the legal background to understand it here is a link t the actual bill.

http://openstates.org/tn/bills/108/SB1793/documents/TND00044082/

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Posted: 26 March 2014 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The bill states that time has to be granted at all school activities for student speakers ( ie. to allow a prayer no doubt) and that these student must be chosen from the following four groups

1) Student council officers
2) Class officers of the highest grade level
3) Captains of the football team (I guess they are more respectable than soccer, lacrosse, basketball players and for that matter ANY female athlete)
4) Other students holding positions of honor as the LEA ( Local educational authority) shall decide

Pretty obvious that they are trying to prevent anyone with unpopular or minority views from speaking. It seems this law should be pretty easy to challenge since its intent is clearly to discriminate against anyone who is not of the majority viewpoint.

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Posted: 26 March 2014 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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FinallyDecided - 26 March 2014 04:35 AM

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/tennessee-religious-discrimination-bill_n_5030344.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Ultimately, I think it can and should be allowed for students to express religious views in artwork or wear a cross or other religous symbol as those are all personal decisions that have no effect on academia. Unfortunatley, I cannot recall the article, but I read another article on this bill (not the one linked above), that stated students would be allowed to reference their religion in work. Now, should personal religion be allowed as “references”? For example, I recently was taking Medical Law & Ethics course at the college level and one of the students failed to ever write his group discussion topics with actual references to scholarly material, rather using the Bible as a basis for all his ethical arguements and this was a challenge to have a discussion in the realm of academia with a person who was not basing his rationale in verifiable academic or ethical principles. Furthermore, I feel that when bills such as this are created, are they created with “Christian Privilege” as an underpining? Or if a student who practices Wicca starts to base his or her arguements on such, will be equally validated?

One of the big problems with legislatures that want exceptions for such religious views is that when they say “religious views”  they mean Christian views. If a Muslim or a Buddhist or an atheist wanted to express his or her religious views they’d rush to change the law. They might even begin to develop an appreciation for the value of separation of church and state. As it stands they believe in separation of all churches and state except for Christian churches.

Lois

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Posted: 26 March 2014 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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advocatus - 26 March 2014 07:12 AM

Sure students should be free to express their religious views in classwork when it’s appropriate to the subject matter.  It’s just hard to think of when it would be appropriate most of the time.  And it shouldn’t be allowed as an excuse for not studying.  Just writing, “I didn’t bother to read the chapter on Evolution because I’m a Christian,” wouldn’t cut it.  The student should still be required to read the material, even if he/she doesn’t believe it.

Not only read it, but understand it and pass tests on it. They could do that and still be free to not accept it. That would be their choice. Their choice should not be to not study it.

Lois

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Posted: 26 March 2014 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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macgyver - 26 March 2014 10:02 AM

The bill states that time has to be granted at all school activities for student speakers ( ie. to allow a prayer no doubt) and that these student must be chosen from the following four groups

1) Student council officers
2) Class officers of the highest grade level
3) Captains of the football team (I guess they are more respectable than soccer, lacrosse, basketball players and for that matter ANY female athlete)
4) Other students holding positions of honor as the LEA ( Local educational authority) shall decide

Pretty obvious that they are trying to prevent anyone with unpopular or minority views from speaking. It seems this law should be pretty easy to challenge since its intent is clearly to discriminate against anyone who is not of the majority viewpoint.

Probably because council officers, class officers of the highest grade level, captains of the football team and other students holding positions as the LEA will be Christians exclusively in any school with a large majority of unthinking Christians—which I would wager is the case in all of Tennessee.

Lois

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Posted: 27 March 2014 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Lois - 26 March 2014 05:48 PM

Probably because council officers, class officers of the highest grade level, captains of the football team and other students holding positions as the LEA will be Christians exclusively in any school with a large majority of unthinking Christians—which I would wager is the case in all of Tennessee.

Lois

Exactly, and when the motive is that obvious it is unlikely this will stand up to constitutional review if someone decides to challenge it

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Posted: 27 March 2014 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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macgyver - 27 March 2014 06:33 AM
Lois - 26 March 2014 05:48 PM

Probably because council officers, class officers of the highest grade level, captains of the football team and other students holding positions as the LEA will be Christians exclusively in any school with a large majority of unthinking Christians—which I would wager is the case in all of Tennessee.

Lois

Exactly, and when the motive is that obvious it is unlikely this will stand up to constitutional review if someone decides to challenge it

Let’s hope.

Lois

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Posted: 27 March 2014 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Why bother to try to teach. Someone is going to be religiously offended by nearly everything. By the time you water it down to an acceptable pablum, you won’t be teaching anything.

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Posted: 28 March 2014 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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asanta - 27 March 2014 11:23 PM

Why bother to try to teach. Someone is going to be religiously offended by nearly everything. By the time you water it down to an acceptable pablum, you won’t be teaching anything.

And that is what some people want…the Bible should be the science book, the history book, the literature book and the psychology book.

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Posted: 28 March 2014 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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FinallyDecided - 28 March 2014 08:02 PM
asanta - 27 March 2014 11:23 PM

Why bother to try to teach. Someone is going to be religiously offended by nearly everything. By the time you water it down to an acceptable pablum, you won’t be teaching anything.

And that is what some people want…the Bible should be the science book, the history book, the literature book and the psychology book.

That is not going to work if you are also accommodating the Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Calvinists, Pastafarians….

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