Letter: The religion of public schools

Published: 1/17/2018 12:01:15 AM
The religion of public schools

News flash: Concord Monitor editorial board wiser than the “wrongheaded U.S. Supreme Court.” I refer to the Sunday Monitoreditorial, in which the editorial board decries the use of taxpayer dollars to support religious schools or religion-based instruction. The editorial quotes from Justice David Souter’s 2002 minority opinion concerning the Cleveland, Ohio, school voucher program. In that opinion, Justice Souter mentions many world religions. However, he leaves one out, namely secular humanism.

The word “religion” means “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.” The adjective “religious” means “of, or relating to, or concerned with religion” (Dictionary.com). Any human enterprise, including that of educating people, has a fundamental set of beliefs and practices that members of that enterprise practice, some of them are practiced religiously. In this light, it can be argued that public schools are also religious schools. While they are not Christian, nor Buddhist, they are secular humanists.

You appear to be taking the position that our public schools are value neutral and have no beliefs or practices. But they do, and I, being a conservative Presbyterian, agree with Souter’s statements regarding one religion underwriting the teachings of another religion. Therefore, I object to my taxpayer dollars supporting the fundamental set of beliefs that are being taught in the public schools. Logically, taxpayer dollars should either be used to fund all schools, or it should not be used to fund any schools.

ANDREW SHARPE

Concord




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