Additional Rules And Regulations

  • Category: History
  • Words: 869
  • Grade: 95
Additional Rules and Regulations
        On December 15, 1791 the first amendment was ratified, stating that "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of citizens" (Encarta). Since then additional rules have been added to adjust the power withheld by the state in regards to freedom of religion; this is particularly true for the public school system. By the state, public schools and their administrative staff are unable to recognize or promote any form of religious talk or activities. Some believe the additional laws of religion are restricting and some even call the schools "Religion-Free Zones" (Fraser 192). Although this statement is not true and I myself as well as many other individuals believe that the restrictions are towards the states, which is for the best, eliminating distractions in the learning atmosphere of schools. The meaning within freedom of religion is still the same, but has changed in limited applications that actually benefit the citizens of the country.
        The actual definition of freedom of religion according to Microsoft Encarta, "is the right of a person to form personal religious beliefs according to his or her own conscience and to give public expression to these beliefs in worship and teaching, restricted only by the requirements of public order." To myself, this definition states that any person within the boundaries of the United States is free to express their beliefs as long as order is installed, but within our public schools this does not stand true and I strongly agree with it. The States have taken the right away from the public schools and staffs to recognize, affiliate, and persuade the students with any religious behavior. There is a large amount of distraction and uncomfortable feelings with children of different religions leading to segregation upon a public campus, which is unneeded. Even though many students still are given the right and do worship on school property. The public school campuses are institutions for physical and academic study in which all members work together. As the churches, temples, synagogues, and homes are places for religion, where all members are able to actively take part at their own will. There are many reason for the laws against school interaction with religion, but the students really do not lose their first amendment rights as many may think.
        In addition to the first amendment, the freedom of religion amendment was also passed on June 4, 1998 stating "Neither the United States nor any state shall establish any official religion, but the peoples right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools shall not be infringed"(Fraser 187). In actuality this law does not even affect the right to free religion, in many cases it produces much more benefactors from the separation of church and State. Students still have the right to pray individually and as groups as long as they do so in a non-disruptive manner. On the other hand the students are limited by not having the right to have a captive audience and compel other students to participate, or when participating in a school activity, or pray while called upon by a teacher. As far as teachings of religion, students may be taught about religions, but school officials may not teach religion. Topics such as the history of religion, comparative religion, and the bible as literature can be taught. Teachers may not ridicule students for their beliefs. At graduation ceremonies, school officials may not mandate or organize prayer, nor may they organize a religious baccalaureate ceremony.
        As a graduate of a public high school, I have experienced a number of accounts in which I have either viewed or been involved with religious activities on school campus. For the most part I felt very uncomfortable because of feelings of guilt or ridicule. Countless times I could remember walking pass a bible study group at lunch; I remember feeling guilty for not participating in such meetings or for not standing up to religious remarks made by my friends. I could not agree more with the exemption of religion from school, leaving out the number of segregated groups that would form as a result of the acceptance of religious clubs. Many people I have encountered take religion very seriously, and at the same time have also witnessed an equal amount of people who dislike and disrespect all aspects of religion. It is best to avoid the controversy and keep the separation of religion and state.
        No matter how many laws they make there will always be prejudice against religion as there are with races. The forming of school recognized religious groups and activities would only segregate the school and increase the number of religious oriented hate crimes. With all the violence, misconduct, and poor education, it is better to leave religion at home and in places of worship. Not many people like to be treated differently because of their religion. Trust me, it is best not to set extra boundaries between each other. Can't we all just get along?
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