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1902 - Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali), Gen. E.F. Beale's Syrian camel driver, dies at Quartzsite, Ariz. [story]


joemessinamugI recently read a story about a public school that took students on a field trip to a mosque. At first I was outraged, as were many of my fellow conservatives. How dare they spend my tax money to go to such a place of hate, and an enemy to Americans, those jihadist-loving Muslims? To top it off, the kids were given Qurans and were forced to listen to Muslim scriptures, read from their book.

Then I heard it, that little voice in the back of my head: You hypocrite. Who me? Really? No way. But as I thought about the term “hypocrite.” That’s exactly what those thoughts were: hypocritical.

That’s right. You see, I often talk about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of worship, but am I only talking about Christians or Jews? I firmly believe this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and that the majority of our founding fathers were Christian, God-loving men. However, also I believe they gave up everything for the rights we hold so dear. And it wasn’t just for Christians and Jews; it was for everyone.

Whenever we conservatives (especially conservative Christians) even think one of our religious or free-speech rights are being trampled on, someone’s going to hear about it. And you know the left and the atheists would go out of their minds if there were a field trip to a church where a priest came out, read scripture to the kids, explained what it meant, and then offered the kids a Bible. Every anti-religion group known to mankind would come out to protect those kids from indoctrination. The Freedom from Religion Freaks, Freedom from Religion Association, and ACLU would be up in arms.

But on this one, nothing. Not a peep. Not a word. That shores up my argument that the attack is on Christianity. But that’s another column.

To my Christian conservative friends, unless you want ruin any chance to educate children about your belief system, you need to back off.

The way to win this argument is to allow field trips to all places of worship – Buddhist temples, Jewish synagogues, Islamic mosques, Catholic churches, Christian churches, and whatever house of worship atheists and others have.

The left is a huge proponent of “education” and exposing our kids to all aspects of life. Let’s do the same thing. You can win this argument in court. Equal exposure to all aspects of religion for everyone.

Think about some of the songs and words our kids hear around Christmas and the holidays. What displays are put up? They are Christian in nature. We won these battles because we allowed all songs, all displays, to be on campus.

When they are taught about the legal system, they are taught where the basics come from (those pesky 10 Commandments).

The Gideons give out Bibles near school entrances. These are rights the courts have upheld because we allow them for all religions, not just one.

Kids are permitted to lead student-initiated prayer at the flag pole on the National Day of Prayer and other events.

When you get past the rage and look at the facts, the kids were offered the Quran, and a few took them. The kids were not forced to pray or read from the Quran. They weren’t even required to go. It was a field trip.

When the parents asked the principal why they didn’t go on other houses-of-worship field trips, he replied that it was simply a money issue.

OK, you conservative, Christian parents and business owners: Now’s the time to ante up. Collect some funds and make that trip possible for all of the kids in class. As your good book tells you, share your faith with all people.

The point is, don’t scream about how bad it is for your kids to visit a mosque and all that goes along with it. It’s about educating and informing people. You do that with information. Teach your kids well, expose them to these kinds of things, and as long as you’re living out what you believe, your kids won’t stray.

I remember reading: “Train up your children in the way they should go, and when they are older they won’t depart from it.”

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Freedom of religion is for all or it’s for none.

 

Joe Messina is host of The Real Side (TheRealSide.com), a nationally syndicated talk show that runs on AM-1220 KHTS radio and SCVTV [here]. He is also the current president of the Hart School Board. His commentary normally publishes Mondays.

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2 Comments

  1. Greyling says:

    Here we go again.

    Honor students from Hendersonville High School in Tennessee visited a mosque and a Hindu temple as part of a world religions class. Students who chose not to go on the field trip had to write an essay on world religions. That’s all very reasonable. And appropriate for studying world religions.

    Except that equal isn’t good enough for certain “Christians” because equal won’t give them the power they want. Nothing to do with Christ or Christ’s teachings. It’s about power and control. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/02/ron-paul-s-christian-reconstructionist-roots.html

    Sixty percent of the population of this country considers itself Christian. The majority. Not an actual persecuted minority, as in Kenya or Rwanda or Somalia or Pakistan.

    It’s doubtful classes of mostly Christian children need to take a field trip to a Christian church and be given Bibles, especially in the white evangelical Santa Clarita Valley. Of course, perhaps learning about the real history of Christianity would be enlightening.

    In high school I took a comparative religions class. The born-again Christians lined up to take the class, and it wasn’t long before they realized it was all religions and not just theirs. They were not interested in learning about other religions. One actively proselytized to the other students in the class and another argued with the teacher, before they all dropped out. Once my classmates learned what I was studying, a Mormon girl gave me a Mormon bible and an open invitation, and another girl tried to get me to go to her evangelical Pentecostal church, which now has many branches here in the SCV, the descendants of Sister Aimee Semple McPherson’s Foursquare Gospel church. Sister Aimee was quite a character. But I digress.

    Children need to be exposed to philosophy, which is what real religion actually is. As with science, learning Eastern and Western philosophies and languages would go a long way to teaching our children critical thinking skills, along with tolerance, reason and perspective.

  2. raytheist says:

    Children don’t need to be force fed ANY religion, including Christianity. What they need is exposure to the vast spectrum of ideas, from which they will be free to choose. Those high school students didn’t need to be bused to a Christian church — many of them already had been amply exposed to Christianity, in many of its flavors. But how could they know it is ‘right’ if they have no exposure to all the other major religions? They are in school for education and exposure, not indoctrination.

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