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Old 03-06-2007, 11:26 PM   #31
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I don't think it's that hard to understand why the idea of a designated prayer room might appeal to someone like John Edwards. Most religions put considerable emphasis on communal prayer, and schoolmates being the most important peer group in most kids' lives, it makes sense that some of them might wish to pray with schoolmates from the same religious background as theirs. Obviously that can be done outside school too, but considering the amount of time most kids spend there, it's certainly convenient. I just think many people who support the "prayer room" idea aren't thinking realistically about the mutual discomforts you'd get into having one in a typical public school, where students come from all kinds of religious backgrounds.

I assume AEON meant, make it financially and transportationally possible for every child to attend a private school. That isn't economically feasible though.

I'm a little puzzled by your last sentence there, BVS--are you opposed to religious schools then?
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Old 03-06-2007, 11:30 PM   #32
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Originally posted by yolland
I just think many people who support the "prayer room" idea aren't thinking realistically about the mutual discomforts you'd get into having one in a typical public school, where students come from all kinds of religious backgrounds.
And there's the rub. People like to have these lovely fantasies about homogeneity, forgetting how pluralistic American schools and society really are.
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Old 03-06-2007, 11:32 PM   #33
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Can't that be part of the education though? Learning that people from other faiths pray differently?
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Old 03-06-2007, 11:43 PM   #34
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Can't that be part of the education though? Learning that people from other faiths pray differently?

Why?

Isn't that the chosen church's job? Why do I have to teach your kids about how other people pray?

I already have to teach your kids about sex. Can't parents do anything anymore?
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Old 03-06-2007, 11:50 PM   #35
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:19 AM   #36
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I already have to teach your kids about sex.
You do know the image of Mary Kay Letourneau just popped into my head, don't you?
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:20 AM   #37
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I assume AEON meant, make it financially and transportationally possible for every child to attend a private school. That isn't economically feasible though.

Yes, this is what I meant. And I think it would be feasible if there were cuts in other areas (which would include cuts in "public schools" as enrollment moves to private schools).

I don't see why having Fed and State standards or a formal accreditation process would be impossible.
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:33 AM   #38
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I don't see why having Fed and State standards or a formal accreditation process would be impossible.
But wouldn't some of these schools be predicated on the idea of teaching things that aren't standardized? For example, Christian schools teaching creationism which is clearly not taught in the public schools of the state. How can you standardize a biology class that way? These parents are choosing for their kids to go to a school teaching this stuff. Now I may think it's nonsense but it's their prerogative. If you're going to forbid that in order to ensure that all children in the state receive an identical education in biology, then what's the point of having separate schools to begin with?
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Old 03-07-2007, 12:36 AM   #39
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But wouldn't some of these schools be predicated on the idea of teaching things that aren't standardized? For example, Christian schools teaching creationism which is clearly not taught in the public schools of the state. How can you standardize a biology class that way? These parents are choosing for their kids to go to a school teaching this stuff. Now I may think it's nonsense but it's their prerogative. If you're going to forbid that in order to ensure that all children in the state receive an identical education in biology, then what's the point of having separate schools to begin with?
Here's a novel idea -- they could teach creationism in religion class and teach science in biology.

But I don't want my tax dollars paying for someone else's kids to get religious indoctrination, so I'm not for vouchers or the like.
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:29 AM   #40
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Can't that be part of the education though? Learning that people from other faiths pray differently?
Not really. Education was when I attended a Catholic high school and studied catechism, New Testament, read St. Augustine and so forth. Standing in a "prayer room" peering curiously at Catholic students reciting the Our Father or praying the rosary wouldn't have taught me much of anything. Anyhow, students wouldn't be in a prayer room to provide an anthropological conversation piece, they'd be there to pray. Again, and especially considering that we're talking children and teenagers, I just think it'd most likely be weird and uncomfortable for everyone to have evangelical students praying to Jesus next to Muslim students performing salat next to Jewish students reciting Mincha etc. etc.
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:32 AM   #41
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For me as a white person, spending time with African Americans or Hispanics teaches me a lot.

My point is exposure to those who are different is in fact a way to learn. For me as a Christian, I could learn through first hand experience how a Muslim prays and how important those prayers are to them. I believe there's plenty to be learned.
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:44 AM   #42
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Spending time with black or Latino friends teaches you a lot insofar as you're able to have conversations with them about their experiences of being black or Latino (and vice versa). Simply having people of different races present in the same room doesn't offer much beyond general social ease with the idea of that (though as far as it goes, it's one of the merits of public schools that they typically offer the best local opportunity for this). If a non-Muslim student wants to learn about Islam, great, but the way to do that is to take an introductory course geared towards non-Muslims (many mosques offer this) or perhaps strike up a conversation with a Muslim friend in their leisure time about it. Muslim students using a prayer room would be there to pray, not to teach other students about their religion or their prayers, and it isn't fair to expect them to do that.

Where I grew up we were literally the only Jewish family in town. Virtually everyone else, black or white, was Baptist or Methodist. We certainly attended church weddings, funerals, and MLK Jr. Day celebrations numerous times, but that didn't make me knowledgeable about Christianity; it just made me socially comfortable with evangelicals at prayer. Whatever I learned about things I saw or heard on those occasions, which really wasn't very substantive, was as a result of questions I asked friends who had been there later ("What was that one spiritual after the sermon about?", etc.). It wouldn't have been appropriate to lean over and ask those things during church, nor would it have been appropriate for me to randomly buttonhole any congregant I pleased and pester them with questions. They were there to worship after all, not to provide a spectacle for non-Christian guests to watch. If our school there had had a prayer room and my brothers and I had used that for Mincha for some reason, I can guarantee you the reaction would've been gawking and snickers, as well as mutual discomfort with the situation of trying to concentrate on your own prayers when there's another group of students carrying on with theirs in another language and with distracting gestures, etc. nearby.
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:53 AM   #43
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I wouldn't say im against religious schools, i understand some peoples need to have their children go to a school where their faith is a part of the day and has the same ideals etc - thats fine. I do worry sometimes though, that it is very heavy handed in religion and is perhaps not as truthful (for want of a better word) then a secular school.

I also think that John Edwards saying Jesus would be upset is such an overblown moot point. First of all - he's assuming and secondly, for the millions of peple who don't believ ein jesus is a non statement and means nothing
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:00 AM   #44
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I don't see any need for prayer rooms. It makes John Edwards "look good" to certain people for him to support that, but really, I agree with Yolland. It's not really practical.

I do, strongly, believe in the right of schools that teach religion to exist. I do not however feel that the government needs to be funding attendance at such schools. Religious parents who are committed enough to the idea of religious education for their children will find away to afford it. My mom did.

And if there are children who truly cannot afford a parochial education but want one, then that's when the churches should step in and lend a helping hand.

The government should neither encourage nor discourage religion. It should just leave it alone.
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:33 AM   #45
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Quote:
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Why do I have to teach your kids about how other people pray?

I already have to teach your kids about sex. Can't parents do anything anymore?
Haha...I love this.

Like I said once before, though. Most of the ardent supporters of prayer in public school aren't in it for the prayer, as much as the opportunity for evangelization. They want to get 'em while they're young.
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