The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Letters

September 13, 2013

Viewpoint: ACS should cut its religious education program ties

It comes the time of year again when the Anderson Weekday Religious Education program rears its ugly head. At the very best this program is wasting our children’s time while they are supposed to be in school, on Christian doctrine that should be taught in church, not public school.

At its very worst this program encourages dividing kids on religious grounds and promotes discrimination based on religious beliefs. The letter sent home from school with my fourth-grader points out that this program is legal in the state of Indiana and has been a tradition for over 50 years.

There is a fine line between 50 years of “tradition” and 50 years of “discrimination.” This program is clear that all denominations are welcome, as long as they are Christian. So this organization proudly holds its head up year after year and says, “If you are a child of the Jewish faith, the Islamic faith, or any other belief system other than Christian,” you are not welcome.

I have had two children go through this ridiculous process before, and I know how they have been punished because I don’t want to send them to a “mythology” class. They get to go have a “study hall” while the other kids are away at church. If the school day continued, and the students who did not attend this Vacation Bible School were able to continue with their day’s activities without interruption, this still would be a terrible practice, but at least it would be fairer.

I find it interesting that a school system that openly discourages parents from taking their students out of school during school hours for things like doctor’s appointments, or dentist’s appointments, has no problem with wasting time with a program that is clearly outside the school’s focus. Anderson Community Schools are “public” schools, schools that are supposed to be for all people, regardless of religious background, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing factor. This has been a shameful 50-year “tradition,” and it is time that is stopped.

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