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Several years ago (or was it in the 1980s?), there was a controversy here in Hoosierland between many fundamentalist parents and some of the reading requirements for English some Junior High Schools. The parents objected to the “colorful” and sometimes blasphemous language in some of these assigned books along with some of the more “unedifying” plotlines. These parents were not asking their children to be excused from schoolwork. Instead, they requested alternate book selections for their children. They did not demand that children of other parents also be required to read to same alternates as their children. For those who did not have a problem, the original reading plan could stand. What these fundamentalists were asking was a civil accommodation so that they may follow the laws of their religion.
As one would imagine, the faculty and school board reacted rather forcefully and insisted either these children complete the assignments as planned or receive “F”s — it was their choice. One teacher was interviewed stating with some self-satisfaction that it was time these children get broken out of their restrictive, small-minded world of their parents — the undercurrent being it was her right as a teacher to do so.
One’s first reaction is at the apparent discrimination in accommodating the religion of immigrants and not the religion of some citizens. However, on deeper reflection, the discrimination as such should have gone in the other direction. Immigrants must make some accommodation to their new country in order to assimilate and share in the common bread of one’s neighbors. Whatever can be said for the length of dresses, covering one’s face is offensive except under unusual circumstances. For all our faults, we do not accept restricting our young girls to be servants and we hold it as a social obligation to bring up all children to mature into a life of freedom. On the other hand, our fundamentalist neighbors are a part of American life — many if not most of us have similar Christian forbearers on our family trees. We may not agree with them — in fact, we may be keeping as much distance from them as possible — but they are recognizably American.p>For myself, I do not consider anyone educated if they do not understand (I am not saying necessarily agree with) the theory of evolution. I also believe it is impossible to understand Western Civilization without an understanding of Catholicism. In a similar fashion, one cannot understand the founding of the United States or American history without an understanding of Protestantism. Nevertheless, if we are going to listen to those who object to a literary classic because it may offend a minority group, then we should at least lend the same generosity to those who fear some work of literature may offend their God. br> — Mike Dooley /p> p> What a wonderful article! I really enjoyed the arguments, and look forward to using them in debates! br> — Anne Powers /p> p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?