When is “read what you want” time not actually read what you want? When you are in a public school and what you want to read is the Bible. The parents of a 2nd grader at Hamilton Elementary School in Cypress, Texas say that when their daughter began reading her Bible during free reading time… her teacher confiscated her Bible.
When their daughter returned home and told her parents about the incident, they were mortified. They immediately contacted the Liberty Institute to look for guidance and support.
Michael Berry, senior counsel with the Liberty Institute, says the alleged incident happened about two weeks ago. He added that Hamilton Elementary’s library contains copies of the Bible.
“So if it’s appropriate for their own library, why on earth would it not be appropriate for their own students?” said Berry.
KHOU in Houston spoke with two different parents on the issue.
Parent Jennifer Muse found the news upsetting.
“They are letting them read the Hunger Games, that’s kids killing kids, why can’t she read the Bible,” said Muse.
But one parent KHOU spoke with says the teacher did the right thing, adding “there should be a definite separation.”
The ridiculous statement made by the second unnamed parent must be pointed out. One parent believed that the teacher did “the right thing,” because “there should be a definite separation.” It is instructive of how out of touch our culture has become with what the Constitution actually says. There is no separation of Church and State in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The premise comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist congregation in Maine that feared overreaching government power. An extreme view of separation of church and state has become part of the common American belief system and it is terrifying.
This parent believes that the “separation of church and state” is meant even for a child reading her Bible during free time in school! Their version of separation is actually religious oppression.
Let me help clear things up for everyone. You are free to practice your religion in any way you see fit, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others or break state/federal laws (and even then you may sometimes get permission to do things that are normally illegal if it is a sincere part of your religion). Kids (and adults) can practice their faith freely in public schools, in government buildings, at public parks or any other public place. The separation of church and state doctrine says that the federal (and our courts have added states) cannot give preference to one religion over another religion or (non-religion).
A little girl reading her Bible during a free reading time doesn’t mean the state is giving preference to her religion. Far from it.
Let’s stop the insanity.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com