Schools and Education: The Intersection of Church and State?

When worlds collide?

     I’ve been noticing a common thread throughout some of the blog entries that I’ve made in the past month. It seems as though a lot of things having to do with child rearing and education are happening in Tennessee! Michael Pearl and NGJ, the mom that dressed her daughter in fake boobs for Toddlers & Tiaras, all in Tennessee!

     Now, another story from the same state. It seems that there are problems developing in the Sumner County school district over prayer, religion and the freedom to exercise one’s beliefs, or for others to be free from their imposition. Battle lines have been drawn, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit(1), and the school board is running around like so many chickens with their heads detached.

     Keep in mind that this is the same Sumner County school district that stated last month that they were looking to cut $5M from their budget due to shortfalls in salaries, transportation and benefits.(2) One might be forgiven for supposing that the internal politics of the school district would be impacted by these fiscal woes…

     Now it seems that the pendulum might be swinging in the other direction. A group of teachers and coaches are claiming that the school district is infringing on their religious freedoms, by reprimanding them for bowing their heads to pray, and warning teachers to hide if they want to pray.(3)

The U.S. "Bible Belt"

     What really gets me is that this whole chapter in the struggle between church and state is happening in a state which lies firmly within the U.S. “Bible Belt.” Could we be seeing the accelerated breakdown and eventual disappearance of the “red area” in the picture on the right, due in large part to a swing of the social pendulum towards the liberal? I don’t know. What I do know is that there are enough issues in and with our schools nationwide already, and the only ones that really suffer as a result of all these political “pissing contests” are our children.

______________________________

References:

1) ACLU v. Sumner County Schools (Nashville Jefferson blog at WordPress)

2) Sumner County Schools Could Lose Employees (WTVF NewsChannel 5, Nashville, TN)

3) Teachers Told Not To Bow Heads, Pray In Public (Fox News)

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