Wednesday, March 23, 2011
It is often debated how much religion, or faith, can be shared in the public school system.
Recently a lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District because a youngster was nearly prohibited from performing what many consider a song that is too religious by nature. The song's lyrics contain Jesus' name.
Fortunately, the youngster was able to perform the song, but the controversy continued due to remarks made by the administration.
The school district eventually settled with the boy's family and changed some of the language in its policies regarding student participation in school activities involving speech.
What bothers me most is that the issue even arose. We are purportedly a "free" country, and people living here have the right to free speech, as well as the freedom of religion.
It is a long-debated issue as to whether or not allowing students to express those freedoms openly in the schools because of the Supreme Court's rulings on the separation of church and state.
I think the matter is much more simple than some would like to believe. If the schools are not telling the students to agree with a student's beliefs, there should not be an issue. However, that student still has a right to express himself/or herself and what they believe.
The name of Jesus is not a profanity. I could understand if a profane word was in the lyrics of a song how the student would be prohibited from performing the song.
But, Jesus is the name of a loving, caring individual. One could argue whether or not he is God's son or if God exists. One could argue he is just a person in history.
However, using the history argument, I still see absolutely no reason his name should be considered off-limits at any school function.
By taking the stand that Jesus' name is not to be uttered, one is by default saying He is relevant and considered a deity when arguing the separation of church and state.
Because this is the United States and not China or North Korea, however, every child and adult has the freedom to express Jesus' relevance in their lives. Every individual can share their faith on a personal level and provide education as to why they believe what they do.
Schools attempting to prevent these freedoms risk legal action just as the Los Angeles Unified School District did.
Thankfully, we live in a community in which our schools recognize the rights of EVERY student, not just the select few.