Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Concord Monitor of Concord, the state capital of New Hampshire. It’s titled Prayer, Darwin and schools’ mistakes. They don’t seem to have a comments feature.
Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Harvey. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!
In the Jan. 12 edition of the Monitor there was a story at the top of the front page about the high level of anxiety teachers were feeling in the classroom because of outrageous destructive behavior by some of the students.
We can’t find the article Harvey is talking about, but it doesn’t matter. He says:
Decades ago the state of New York designed a prayer to be used in all the public schools in that state. The U.S. Supreme Court correctly ruled the prayer unconstitutional. It was an establishment of religion and violated the First Amendment.
We’re not sure what case Harvey is referring to, but it’s probably Engel v. Vitale. Harvey tells us:
But educators went further. [Oh no!] They decided that prayer became illegal in public schools. [Gasp!] Wrong.
Aha! Harvey says prayer in public schools isn’t illegal. He explains:
They violated the “free exercise” clause. [Huh?] Teachers should have been allowed voluntarily to lead students in prayer each morning. [That’s “free exercise” of religion?] It had been done nearly everywhere for generations but following that misinterpreted ruling some schools gradually became “blackboard jungles.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Harvey is a bit confused. The right to free exercise of religion refers to what you choose to do on your own time and on your own dime — not when you’re required to go to school and you’re sitting in a government-run classroom and the teacher leading the prayer is a state employee. Let’s read on:
In addition, there has been the pernicious teaching in the public schools of Charles Darwin’s unproven theory of evolution.
Oh no — that’s horrible! Hey — look how Harvey ends his letter:
If children are taught that they are merely educated animals, should we be surprised if they often behave like animals?
Harvey’s got a good point there. Back in the days when we did have prayer in the schools, children behaved like angels — without exception. Those were the good ol’ days!
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