The following prayer/poem showed up in my inbox today delivered through my fibromyalagia Yahoo group.  Since joining this group I have gotten a number of chain emails sent to me and stuff like this is posted with some frequency, much to my annoyance.  I am becoming more and more certain that this support group is not a good fit for me, but that’s a different story.

NEW School prayer:

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene..
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all..
In silence alone we must meditate,
God’s name is prohibited by the state.

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks…
They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.
It’s ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong,
We’re taught that such ‘judgments’ do not belong..

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles..
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It’s scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Amen

I looked this up on Snopes since the email it was attached to claims it was written by a 15 year old school kid in Arizona in response to not being able to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school because of the phrase “One nation under God.”  Snopes claims that where it came from is unknown but some version has been circulating for over 10 years.

I know there are a lot of people who will agree with the sentiment of the poem.  I understand the point of the poem but I don’t agree with it.  In fact, it angers me.

First and foremost, prayer of any type does not belong in public school.  Public schools are run by the state and prayer in school violates the separation of church and state.  End of story.  If you want religion in your kids school, send them to a private school that matches your religious beliefs.  If you can’t afford it, homeschool.  Do not expect or demand a public school that is open to all citizens of every race and religion cater to your individual and specific religious beliefs.  Even if it wasn’t for the laws in place, this just can’t be done because there is not one unified religion that everyone must follow or face some horrible wrath of the government body.

Those people who want prayer and everything restored in schools are very short sighted and self absorbed.  I am sick and tired of everyone taking the attitude that their religious beliefs are the only “right” ones.  Part of the acceptance that this poem talks about includes acceptance for every religion.  Putting Christian prayer in school not only excludes students but it also forces them to acknowledge, if not respect, that religious view point without acknowledgment being made to theirs.  Do you really think for one moment that Christian parents would stand for Islamic prayer being said right after or a prayer to a pagan god or goddess?  They would ask that their kids be allowed to leave the room, they would put their kids in private school or remove them to homeschool.

I particularity love this: For praying in a public hall, Might offend someone with no faith at all… Why does everyone always assume and take the attitude that not being Christian means one doesn’t have any sort of faith?  What about those who are Jewish or Muslim?  Are they without faith?  Or should I ask, are they of the wrong faith?

I am sick and tired of people using Christianity as a reason to bully someone because they have different beliefs.

The first elementary school I went to had one Jewish kid in it.  One.  I wish I could remember his name but I remember the names of so few people from elementary school.  He was allowed to miss school for his religious holidays.  We were allowed to talk about Christianity all we wanted, but we weren’t allowed to talk about Judaism.   We weren’t allowed to ask questions.  This was in a public school.  Because of this, this boy was treated like a freak and he had few friends.  Because he was different.

Back when we were trying to find out what was wrong with our autistic daughter I was looking for information on how to homeschool a child with special needs.  Someone on the homeschool list I belonged to was talking about how it was a challenge to homeschool someone with ADHD and was talking about what they were doing to help the situation.  I took this as a cue to ask questions and explain what was going on with my daughter.  I was told, by more than one person, that her behavior was not because of a disability but because she was lacking in her spirituality, and as her mother I was at fault.  She needed a priest and an exorcism.  I sat down and cried.  I was hurt and frustrated and I felt that people were passing unjust judgment on me.   I never once stated my religious beliefs on this list and I stayed out of all religious discussions.  People assumed an awful lot about me and my family when they said these things.

I am tired of total strangers telling me that I am going to go to hell because I don’t hold their beliefs, without even knowing what my beliefs are.

Acceptance goes beyond the appearances that this poem is so hung up on.  It extends to sexual orientation and religion and how the religious treat those who are gay is a related but entirely different topic all together.  I am not even going to get into the idea that teenage pregnancy is caused by lack of religion in schools and how right and wrong can only be taught through religion.  That is absurd.

I could go on forever about all this, but it really doesn’t surprise me that people feel the way that they do about religion in general.  It starts wars and spawns harassment, and I am just not talking about Christianity.  I am talking about religion as a whole.  People really need to learn how to get along a little better, be more tolerant of all the things that make us different and quit being so judgmental.  Remember, God made us all different complete with different beliefs for a reason.  Don’t question him.

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