I have to say I’m a confused by the contradiction between two posts by Jim West who, only a day or two ago, scolded a school for having a song which praises Allah and who just today threw on the mask of persecution because a school had to take down a Christian prayer banner. And if you can’t see the contradiction, you’re blind.
You cannot claim fowl when one religion (Islam) gets prominence over another (Christianity) and then claim fowl when one religion (Christianity) doesn’t get prominence over another (the rest of the world religions). That is called hypocrisy and unless you have blinders on, it’s as clear as day.
Unfortunately Jim blames secular humanism and calls it “the only allowable religion in America”, which is patently ridiculous, since if this were the case then Jim West would not be allowed to be a Baptist. Jim West is a Baptist (and a darn good one) and not in jail so obviously secular humanism isn’t ‘the only allowable religion’ in this country. It isn’t even a religion, so Jim is wrong about this as well.
But what is most unfortunate of all is that Jim (and others in America) doesn’t seem to grasp the reason why we have a separation of church and state in this country. It isn’t just Christian men and women who pay taxes in this country; Jews, Muslims, atheists, humanists, Buddhists, Scientologists, Raelians, Taoists, Hindus, all contribute to the money used to pay for public facilities like schools, libraries, court complexes, municipal buildings and all have equal rights to them. Therefore it is all or nothing. Either every religion is allowed to have a state/locality sponsored prayer or nonprayer banner or none are.
But it would cost more than it is worth to have every religion have a banner in a school or public building so the consensus (especially in this economy) is that none go up. And that is the right mentality. Nobody is taking away personal religious freedom; people have the right to pray in school privately (hell, my public school had moments of silence and people prayed all the time–it just can’t be a school-sponsored prayer where one religion is favored). Besides, every good Baptist should be well acquainted with Matt. 6.6 (right, Jim?):
σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ εἴσελθε είς τὸ ταμεῖον σου καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου πρόσευξαι τῷ πατρὶ σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ καὶ ὁ πατήρ σου ο βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἀποδώσει σοι.
Rhode Island did the right thing. Religious freedom is something that must be upheld and by allowing everyone the right to feel comfortable and feel belonging at that public school, regardless of religious preference, they have upheld that right proving that Rhode Island is still a safe haven for religious freedom.
I suspect, however, that those who have criticized the Rhode Island public school system on this matter have confused several socio-political constructs: ‘Religious freedom’ has been confused with ‘Christian persecutionism’ and ‘majority rule, with minority rights’ has been confused with ‘might makes right‘. And that is truly the travesty here. Because what people who promote this sort of tripe want is a totalitarian rule–and they want the rulers to abide by their religious law.