Separation of Church and State

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by StarFire, Jan 6, 2003.

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  1. Master-Jedi-Smith Jedi Master

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    May 26, 2002
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  2. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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  3. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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  4. Admiral Maciejewski Jedi Master

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    Aug 9, 1998
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    Hmmm there are lost of churches in my state, so I guess they are not so seperate at all.
  5. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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    Mar 20, 2002
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    Har har har.

    Good grief, why isn't there any discussion? Well, here's a new topic: Should public schools be allowed to have a "Moment of Silence" in their classes?
  6. StarFire Jedi Master

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    Oct 31, 2001
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    Certainly. There's a legitimate reason to allow students a few moments to collect themselves, whether they just twiddle their thumbs, meditate, or pray. Banning such a thing because student's could use the opportunity to pray illegitimately burdens a student's right to freely exercise their religion.
  7. Cheveyo Force Ghost

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    Oct 29, 2001
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    Q: Should public schools be allowed to have a "Moment of Silence" in their classes?

    A: Why should it not be allowed? A moment of silence can be used for silent prayer, internal reflection, reminiscing memories of loved ones now gone, doodling, the child's/adolescent's choice. What they do in that time is not governed by the school. Just like during lunch break, they do not tell students what to eat. And during recess, they do not tell students what to play on.


  8. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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    Mar 20, 2002
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    But what's the point of it?

    If we don't argue from a legal or constitutional point of view, let's argue it based on practicality: What difference is a "Moment of Silence" from an extra five minutes slapped onto recess?

    A MoS, even if it isn't officially, is designed to give students the opportunity to pray. If students want to pray, why not just do it at recess, instead of taking time out of class? Or do it during class while the teacher's talking? IMO, the MoS is unnecessary. Recesses are usually fifteen to twenty minutes long - that should be more than enough time for students to pray.
  9. Cheveyo Force Ghost

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    A MoS, even if it isn't officially, is designed to give students the opportunity to pray. If students want to pray, why not just do it at recess, instead of taking time out of class? Or do it during class while the teacher's talking? IMO, the MoS is unnecessary. Recesses are usually fifteen to twenty minutes long - that should be more than enough time for students to pray.

    I disagree. The Moment of Silence is exactly that. It's not dictated behavior, other than sitting still and quiet for 1 minute. This allows everyone to do what they need to do at the start of the day. Some people pray, some people collect their thoughts, some people write notes, some people drool. I doodled. The school does not tell you to prayer during the MoS, nor does it imply that you should. It simply offers the time at the beginning of the day for those whose practice it is to start the day with some sort of personal (quiet) ritual may do so in peace.

    As opposed to the pledge, a single action, mandated in some cases by the schools, strongly suggested in others, that does not apply to everyone.

  10. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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    Couldn't they do their praying before school? Or when they get up in the morning? I don't see the point in taking away class time for an activity that ostensibly has nothing to do with academics.
  11. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

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    Mar 19, 2002
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    The question is whether academic success is the only goal of elementary and high school education.

    I don't think it is: we also want good people, and that means in all spheres of life. We want good citizens, civics-minded kids who grow up understanding our political system and showing an active interest in its goings-on. (After all, we the people largely determine what our government does.) We want good producers, people who understand free-market economics to the point that those who choose to become entrepreneurs become good ones and that everyone is good and managing their own finances. And we want moral people, those who at least recongize that there are other people with rights of their own and that there are ideas that are bigger than themselves.

    (Notice how well meeting the primary goals of education helps these other hopes. Someone who can read, write, and work with numbers is more likely to keep a closer eye on his government, to better balance his checkbook, and to sharpen his own religious beliefs.)

    It's not clear whether a moment of silence helps in any of this, but I think that we should still desire an system of education that produces good people, not just good students.
  12. Cheveyo Force Ghost

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    Oct 29, 2001
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    Couldn't they do their praying before school? Or when they get up in the morning? I don't see the point in taking away class time for an activity that ostensibly has nothing to do with academics.

    I tend to agree with Bubba's statement above. The question is whether or not the school is soley about academics.

    I could say the same for recess (in elementary school): Couldn't kids just play outside before and after school? Why is an additional break really needed? It just takes away from the "learning time".

    By the way, the above was continuing on your assertion. This by no means should suggest that I think recess should be taken away. I know what a value it is; both to students and teachers. ;)

    Now, having said that, I equate recess to a moment of silence just as I would equate the act of running laps in PE to reciting the Pledge (setting aside the health benefits for a moment). Kids are told to run, but some get notes from home not to. This is frowned upon by the instructor, and often the butt of jokes by their peers. Likewise, the PE teacher cannot "force" a student to run laps. However, in most cases, the instruction is given with no room to think it's an option not to.

  13. AJA Force Ghost

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    Oct 13, 1998
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    School choice is the answer. The Supreme Court has already decided that using a voucher to attend a religious school does not violate the First Amendment, provided the decision on where to spend the money is made by the parents. There are numerous reasons why doing away with the current educational system is imperative, and this is only one of them.
  14. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

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  15. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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    Mar 20, 2002
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    Cheveyo:
    I could say the same for recess (in elementary school): Couldn't kids just play outside before and after school? Why is an additional break really needed? It just takes away from the "learning time".

    Yes, I expected this argument. The thing is, recess is long enough and placed at a certain time to deliver effectively its job: to give students a break. An MoS would most likely be impractical in this regard, if it's goal is the same as recess's. (What is its goal, anyway?) It's only 5 minutes long (presumably, since it's a "Moment"). The "Silence" part prevents it from allowing students to unwind. Trust me, if students want to unwind, they need to do it with noise.

    Well, I'm not going to pretend like an expert in the science of recesses, b/c I know I'm not. But I do know that an MoS would be a poor substitute or addendum to recess/lunch breaks. It seems to make little sense and doesn't really have much of an apparent purpose. What is its purpose? To let students "collect their thoughts"?

    I can't say much about its legality or constitutionality, but IMO, for lack of better words, it's dunb.
  16. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

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    Kuna, I agree that a mere moment of silence is probably ineffective in accomplishing much of anything.

    Assuming school choice, something far superior to a moment of silence is a morning service, thirty minutes or so of prayer, hymns, Scripture, and a brief message from a school chaplain.

    Even then, not everyone will grow as a person from such services. But that happens in most aspects of school. Some kids will try getting by in math by rote memorization instead of seeking to truly understand the material. But that doesn't invalidate having a math class.
  17. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
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    It seems to make little sense and doesn't really have much of an apparent purpose. What is its purpose? To let students "collect their thoughts"?

    In my opinion, the MoS is to allow those who choose to pray to do so, for those who chose to reflect to do so, for those to collect their thoughts to do so. Some families and cultures have rituals they start the day with. This short amount of time (not 5 minutes, more like 2 max--though it may feel like 5 sometimes) is given for those who wish to use it to start their days with the rituals they follow.

    It shouldn't be part of recess, because it holds a different purpose. And how much do you think kids can learn in 2 minutes, assuming the MoS is taken away for more "learning time"?

    How much can you learn in two minutes? How much could you teach? Think it makes a difference?

    Author's Note: I know I used the very argument I am defacing now when we were talking about the pledge. After some thought, I've retracted my earlier argument in favor of this rationale. I still hold to my belief against the Pledge, but I withdraw the reason that it wastes time (although it does [face_mischief]). The time spent is relatively dainty.
  18. Kun2112 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
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    This post is in response to several posts a few pages back:
    Morality cannot be the basis of a system of law within an "enlightened" society. A mentally ill person may not belive murder to be wrong. Christians and Muslims do not agree on the morality of everything--eating pork for example. These and other discrepancies in morality force the question: whose morality should be used in determining the law?

    Non-econimic laws are not based upon morality as previously argued. The fact that laws reflect morality are coinsedense. The underlying reason there are laws against murder, rape, assault, theft, vandalism, etc. is that these acts violate the rights of others. The protection of a citizen's basic rights (i.e. life, property, self) is the cornerstone of most leagal systems throughout the world.
  19. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
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    I hate to burst your secularist bubble on this, but there are several ways in which you're completely wrong.

    First, laws are morality. A law is nothing but a public statement of right and wrong enforced by the government. In a democracy, the laws reflect the moral principles of the people.

    If what you mean to say is that laws cannot be based on religious beliefs, again you are wrong. If the people choose to elect representatives who write laws that reflect the principles of their religion, those laws will be enacted. In the U.S., there may be some cases where the Constitution might prevent a specific religious principle from being legally codified, but in most cases, it doesn't.
  20. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

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    Mar 19, 2002
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    Morality teaches that it's wrong to steal.

    The right to property implies that it's wrong to steal.

    There's little, if any, difference. I believe rights are simply another way of expressing moral claims.
  21. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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    Mar 20, 2002
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    Morality/Law Discussion (Bubba, AJA, Kun):
    The thing is, there are some things that we consider immoral but we don't ban. Cheating on your significant other, for example.

    Laws should be based on a balance of justice, pragmatism, and human rights. Elements of morality make their way into legislation (in a sense, it's unavoidable) but should NOT be the driving force because everyone's moral standards are different.

    MoS Discussion (Cheveyo, Bubba again):
    Cheveyo: Two minutes can make a lot of difference. Maybe not so much in elementary school where students take forever to quiet down, but definitely at the high school level.

    But that's besides the point. My argument is that if students want to pray, they can do so before school, at recess/lunch, or after school rather than taking up valuable class time.
  22. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
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    But that's besides the point. My argument is that if students want to pray, they can do so before school, at recess/lunch, or after school rather than taking up valuable class time.

    The same can be said for recess. "If students wat to play, they can do so before school, at lunch, or after school rather than taking up valuable class time with those pesky recesses."

    Also, ask an instructor how much time they feel they lose during the Moment of Silence.

    The great thing about the Moment of Silence (as opposed to the Pledge, for example) is that by its very nature it is all-inclusive. It does not discriminate. It does not force a specific agenda or ideology. It is a moment of free time.

    We're talking about a time where kids and teachers can do whatever they need to do to start their day (pray, meditate, reflect, take a deep cleansing breath, gather your thoughts, etc). Think of it as stretching before exercising.

    And you're against this?

  23. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

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    Mar 19, 2002
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    Kuna, I agree that we cannot legislate morality, but what I'm saying is that morality and rights (the basis for some but not all laws) are practically equivalent.

    Consider these two statements:

    "Every man has the innate right to his own property."

    "Thou shalt not steal."

    I see no real, significant difference.
  24. bedada3 Force Ghost

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    Jul 9, 2002
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    In "Separation of church and state," what is meant by "church?"

    I don't know if that has been brought up before, but Humanism is recognized as a religion and is replacing Christianity in k-12 schools (that's where you start) and that's called "separation of church and state."

    If you want to take religion out of society, Humanism will have to go.
  25. Kuna_Tiori Jedi Master

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    Mar 20, 2002
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    Cheveyo:
    The same can be said for recess. "If students wat to play, they can do so before school, at lunch, or after school rather than taking up valuable class time with those pesky recesses."

    But recesses are positioned to offer students a break. If an MoS is the same thing, why do we need it all, considering that we already have recess?

    Bubba:
    Kuna, I agree that we cannot legislate morality, but what I'm saying is that morality and rights (the basis for some but not all laws) are practically equivalent.

    Yes, that is true for *mainstream* morality, unfortunately.

    Also, to ban cheating, stealing, killing, raping, etc. is not only something based on mainstream morality and justice (i.e. an individual can force his/her will only on him/herself) but also on practicality; if there were no such laws there would be no social order and we would all descend back into the state of nature, and only a lucky (or strong) few would benefit from such a condition.

    bedada3: Well, to answer your question we'd have to define what exactly is a "religion".
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