A Georgia public school recently stepped into some controversy thanks to some student artwork associated with a project about Arthur Miller’s important work, The Crucible.
In the assignment about the book, the student created a piece of artwork that quoted the important line by the embattled John Proctor, “PROCTOR, his mind wild, breathless: I say--I say--God is dead!” (emphasis mine)
Having the work hanging prominently displayed in the school has caused a bit of drama among local parents and the school district.
I have very mixed feelings about this, because I agree wholeheartedly with both sides on the issue. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but let me explain.
I think that the High School is exactly the right venue to study and consider the lessons taught in The Crucible. One of those lessons is the struggle between faith and non-belief due to life’s circumstances in the minds of humans. The artwork created by the student is an appropriate vehicle to explain what may be the most important moment of the entire book, and while difficult to stomach for those of us who love our God – it is a common event with which most of humanity struggles. The school is right; the artwork belongs on the wall and the student has the right to expect her good work to be posted with her classmates for others to see.
I think it would have been better for the concerned parents to handle this in a quieter manner because of the perception that this argument immediately evokes. After reading the article about this kerfuffle, I was reminded of a scene in one of my favorite movies. The book ban scene from the Field of Dreams:
However, I also completely agree with the argument from the parents who were upset by the work. Our beliefs, faith and values are constantly denigrated in the public school system, and we have no course for redress. This inherently unfair system is born out of an incorrect understanding of the 1st Amendment and our religious freedoms. In our secular society today, far too many people believe that we have freedom from religion – when in reality our founders argued for our freedom of religion. The idea of the separation of church and government was built-in out of a desire to protect all religious beliefs from an oppressive government… it was not to protect our government from religion.
The extreme lack of faith in our school systems has become part of the cultural defect that is quickly eroding our family units and destroying the very fabric of our nation. The public school system was meant to be a strengthening factor of our civilization. Instead, because of its inherent animosity towards Christianity and the family, it has become the greatest tool of our destruction.
I don’t want to sound as defeatist or zealous as the previous paragraphs likely make me sound, but I don’t think I am being overly dramatic when I say that without a change in our education policies our national culture is doomed.
The irony of the book banning scene from Field of Dreams is that I agree completely with Annie’s speech on the need for freedom of speech and expression. However, I don’t think she really does. Imagine, if you will, her reaction if a teacher or student were to stand on the lawn of her child’s school testifying to the truth of the Bible as God’s Holy Word. She would be the first one to call the school demanding justice for her daughter, who was forced to go to the same school as that proselytizer. There is an ugly imbalance in the freedom of speech community of the left. They argue for free speech only when it suits their purposes. The hypocrisy is palpable, and for us on the right – smothering.