Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Constitutional

Diminutive One is disgruntled.

Several of his classmates have engaged in an ongoing debate with him about the origins of man. I suspect this is more to have something to argue about than any real committment to the beliefs they parrot.

At their age, it's more about being right than being convicted.

He is grossly outnumbered.

Most of the children in his class have been marinated from birth in the belief that God created man in his own image and that Eve was molded from Adam's rib. Evolution is blasphemy. This is the only thing they know. This is the only thing they are allowed to know.

They tell him he's stupid to believe that man came from Apes. This, understandably, aggravates him.

"Mom...HOW can they think that human beings just POOFED into existence when we have PROOF that they evolved from apes? I mean, HELLO...we have fossils and stuff. All they have is some dumb book. THEY'RE the stupid ones."

Biting back a retort, I try to remain neutral.

I explain to him that here in the South, most people believe what the Bible says. And that's okay. But he has the right to disagree with him. AND, he has a right not to have to defend his own beliefs in a secular environment.

"Secular?" he says, blushing.

He has mistaken the word for something unsavory.

"That just means 'not religious', dude. Your school is a public school. That means that it's for all people, not just Christians. Or Muslims. Or Jews. And nobody has the right to promote their own religious beliefs there. That's what church is for."

He looks intrigued now. Immersed as we have been in the hyper reiligious climate that dominates here in the South, I doubt it has has occurred to him that he might not have to listen to it. I doubt it has occurred to him that he has any rights at all when it comes to that sort of thing.

But it has occurred to me. Plenty.

"In fact..." I continued, really working up a good head of irrevent steam, "it's against the law to talk about religion in your school. It's called 'separation of church and state', and it's in the Constitution."

"Really???"
he says, earnestly.

He's a BIG believer in the Constitution.

"Yes, really." I say triumphantly.

Then I realize that I might be coming off a little too contentious and smug. I really do try to teach him that he can believe whatever he wants, and that people who believe differently are not our enemies. That's one reason I killed myself putting on Cultural Arts Night.

So I decide to change my tack a little bit.

"Look, honey, it's okay that some people believe in Creationsim. It's what they've been taught to believe from the time they were just little children, just like you've been taught about Evolution. Neither of you should be calling the other stupid because of it."

"Yeah, I know."
he says morosely.

They shouldn't, but they do. And he is powerless to stop it.

"Religious beliefs are a very personal thing and you don't have to discuss it with anybody you don't want to discuss it with. So the next time someone tries to start a debate with you, you tell them that. You tell them 'that's my own personal business'. And if they won't stop, then you tell them that they are breaking the law. Because they are."

"But what if it's someone I like and they just really want to know what I think?"

"Well then that's fine, if it's okay with you. Because someone who is truly your friend won't stop being your friend because you believe something different. And you can actually learn from each other."


He is silent now, processing what has been said.

"Is it really breaking the law?" he asks.

"Yes, it is."

He smiles then. Not a malicious smile, but one of relief. He has a weapson now, to brandish against the onslaught of intolerance that he faces every day. Something to balance the scales a little bit, if not tip them in his favor.

With that he disappears to do kid things.

And I am left to wonder...

Could our forefathers; those men that so bravely put their names on a document that could have seen them swinging on the end of a rope for the crime of high treason...could they have possibly foreseen that their radical ideals and commitment to freedom would calm the fears of a 10 year old boy 250 years in the future?

Don't you think they would find that pretty goddamned awesome?

If something I did in my lifetime could carry that kind of impact across centuries...I would be a fulfilled woman indeed.

And then I think...maybe it just did.

ADDEDNDUM:

Thanks for all who commented about the legality issue. I actually do know the specifics of the law, but most 5th graders won't. I'm hoping "againist the law" will put an effective end to the bullying re: religion, and it won't come into question. If it does, I'm prepared to handle that. In fact, I welcome the opportunity to express to any parent who might take issue with that, my feelings about the way their children are behaving.

12 Comments:

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Traceytreasure said…

    COOL!!

    Very cool, indeed!

    Hugs!!

     
  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    Absofreakinlutely!!!

     
  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger Mac and Cheese said…

    You're really good at this.

     
  • At 7:03 PM, Anonymous OmegaMom said…

    Not to be a nit-picking Debbie Downer here, but it's perfectly legal for his *friends* to be talking about religion in school, so long as it's not in the middle of class. It's when the *teachers* of the school start talking about it in class (not as part of the, say, history or literature curriculum) that it becomes illegal.

    All that aside, you done good!

     
  • At 9:22 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    How you hold your own down there is nothing short of a miracle. A non religious one of course.

    Wanna hand me the second shovel cause i am digging myself a fairly good grave here.

    Just saying. good work mom.

     
  • At 11:09 PM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    not a lawyer, but i'm pretty sure they can talk about it as long as it isn't bullying, which this sounds like it is...

     
  • At 11:20 PM, Anonymous AA said…

    Well, I was coming in to tell you that I hated to be the one to tell you... but..... and luckily a couple of people beast me to it.

    While it may be annoying- it is not illegal for kids to talk about religion at school. They may carry bibles and other religious books and read them in class if they want (in their free time of course). They may even organize prayer groups and meet on campus (this may have recently changed and/or may not be true in all states).

    The stipulation is that it must be student led. Teachers may not play a part (other than to be a supervisor). Teachers may not teach or preach religion in classes. I think it may even be okay to voice their own religious beliefs and preferences as long as it is not in a teaching situation--would have to check on that. Teachers may discuss religion at school among other teachers in the private areas as much as they want-- assuming the administrators have not told them not to. It is not a legal issue though.

    Now bullying a kid or making fun of someone for their beliefs whter it is God or Santa Claus is not allowed -- or shouldn't be.

    Maybe you ought to reinform D.O. so he won't tell someone it is illegal and then their parents will really go ballistic on him.

     
  • At 1:26 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I think you are awesome. I know I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll be here in a few years and I am glad to be able to learn from your experiences... so thanks. :)

     
  • At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Apryl's Antics said…

    How 'bout the character building portion of Georgia's public school curriculum where statements like "Respect for the creator" can be written on a classroom board or outside on the marquis?

    While I'm not an athiest, I'm not a Christian, either. I'm not exactly sure who the creator is, but I doubt the ambiguous unknown is what they are referring to.

     
  • At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Could our forefathers; those men that so bravely put their names on a document that could have seen them swinging on the end of a rope for the crime of high treason...could they have possibly foreseen that their radical ideals and commitment to freedom would calm the fears of a 10 year old boy 250 years in the future?
    I seriously doubt it. Most of them were Preachers of their chosen faith.
    BA you are a puzzling creature, you vacillate between scoffing the faithful in one entry and thank God ,that's capital G by your key stroke, in the previous. I like reading you though.

     
  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    LOL, I capitalize God because it's a proper noun, not out of any kind of religious sentiment.

    With all due respect, because I don't want you to think that because you disagreed with me I don't want you to comment anymore, and actually, the opposite is true, because I find comments that challenge the most interesting...

    I think it's silly to assert that because I used an axion commonly used by believers and nonbelievers alike I am somehow contradicting my professions of anti-theism.

    Also, I am not scoffing at the faithful. Some Christians make me angry sometimes. But I do not paint all Christians with the intolerance brush or the hypocrite brush. But that does not mean that I condemn Christians as a whole.

    Indeed, I find those of faith who live as they believe to be people I greatly admire, respect, and...strangely enough, envy. I have several very good friends who are Christian, which is shocking, I know.

    It is those who insist on trumpeting their faith at every opportunity with no respect to the rights or beliefs of others that I take issue with.

    I do thank you for your comment. If your the same "anonymous" who has been commenting regularly for a while now, I find your comments interesting, insightful, and well intended.

    But read more. For all of the three years I have been writing this blog, I have written about faith often. And though I don't always succeed, because sometimes I'm too thick to see things objectively, I do think I've tried to keep an open mind and teach my children to do the same.

     
  • At 6:39 AM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    So strange. I happen to believe that God made the universe and all things therein, and I also happen to think that God gave us brains to understand the world around us. I don't think that believing what is true (things that have been proven scientifically) is a rejection of God. The conflict comes, I think, when people argue that every little thing in the bible must be literally true, and that hypotheses that haven't been proven (yet?) are literally true as well.

     

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