June 3rd, 2009 at 04:29am
I can understand the reasoning behind this decision, but I wonder if it will be applied consistently?
A U.S. court says a kindergartner’s mother cannot read Scripture during show and tell, even if the Bible is the boy’s favorite book.
Monday’s ruling is a victory for the Marple Newtown School District in suburban Philadelphia.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the school’s decision does not violate First Amendment rights given the nonpublic nature of the classroom and the tender age of the children.
The mother, Donna Kay Busch, argues the students heard stories related to Passover, Christmas and other religious holidays.
The appeals court says there is a “significant difference” between identifying those holidays and reading from Scripture.
I can understand the theory that reading extracts of a book which pushes a specific agenda to young children is some form of indoctrination, although I disagree in this case as I think the Bible is, linguistically, too challenging for young minds without a degree of interpretation, and I doubt that the kids would grasp the meaning of much of it…I also doubt that they would be particularly interested unless they happen to live in a devoted Christian household.
My thoughts on this specific case to one side, the ruling here is, effectively, that books which push an agenda which is not shared by all (or at the least, a vast majority) should not be read to young children in public schools. This makes me wonder what would happen if a mother were to claim that one of Barack Obama’s numerous books were her child’s favourite reading material, and then proceeded to read extracts to her child’s class…would the court rule that such activity is not permissible considering that 47.1% of the country voted against him, and his political views are therefore not shared by enough people in the country to warrant them being read to young children?
The answer should be “yes, the court would not allow such an activity”, but I would like to see it tested as I’m not confident that this ruling will be applied consistently.
Time will tell, and I’m sure that this ruling will be tested many many times in the future.