Should Religion be Allowed in Public Schools?

Posted By on August 14, 2019


We’ve all heard the arguments. Religion does not belong in publicly funded schools. That would be a violation of the separation of church and state right?! Where I live, in Canada, there are three provinces that give constitutional status to what are called separate schools. Now these are schools that reflect the doctrines of a particular faith which is usually Catholicism. This state of things is strongly opposed by long-standing organized groups who want to promote a single secular school system. Even though my family home schools, I’m a big supporter of separate schools and diversity in education options. the fact is, not all people are the same. We come with different instincts, different learning goals, different values, and different spiritual beliefs. Wouldn’t it make sense to have different options that better reflect the priorities of parents and families for their children? But what about separation of church and state? Well in Canada, that doesn’t exist, so that’s not really an argument. Separation of Church and State isn’t mentioned anywhere in our Constitution and in fact our, Head of State, the Queen is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. It also doesn’t appear in the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence. Where it does appear is in Article 13 of the Constitution of the Soviet Union along with the Separation of Church and, you guessed it, schools. So if that’s where we want to draw our inspiration from then okay but we should be clear about where it’s coming from. Now you might be objecting, “If the government supports an education system that upholds certain religious beliefs, doesn’t that seem like an endorsement of those religious beliefs?” I would say not necessarily. The government can support all kinds of organizations and institutions without it being seen as an endorsement of a particular culture or religion to the exclusion of all others. For example Yoga is really popular and I’ve seen Yoga themed events that were sponsored by municipalities. Now, I didn’t see that as the establishment of Hinduism as some sort of official religion. Freedom of Religion exists to ensure that the state doesn’t establish or impose any official religion. That doesn’t mean that a sitting government can’t show support for some religious beliefs or practices. We seem to have a deeply ingrained double standard when it comes to freedom of religion. Think about what that means. A freedom is something that should be as unrestricted as possible. The law, the government, and other citizens have no right to restrict its use. Now to illustrate this point imagine if we treated other freedoms the way we do religion. “Yeah you have freedom of speech but not for public places; that’s for private use only. No freedom of speech in schools either that would imply that the government somehow favors particular expressions of freedom of speech; and absolutely no freedom of speech in government.” Those are clearly examples of a freedom being restricted not protected so when secularists insists on imposing those same kinds of restrictions on freedom of religion in the name of tolerance and diversity, I kind of scratch my head. It just doesn’t make any sense. You’re not protecting freedom of religion, you’re suppressing it in favor of some sort of oppressive atheistic political correctness. True multiculturalism and diversity exists when we offer opportunities for different cultural and religious persuasions to be seen, heard, and celebrated as fundamental fixtures of society. Instead we’ve succumbed to this idea that they should be absent from public life for fear that someone will get offended or feel discriminated against. Ironically, that only promotes the idea that we should get offended by the religious expressions of others because we’ve established this precedent that it doesn’t belong in the public space, so if I see it there then I should get offended. So seeing how freedom of religion doesn’t preclude the government from supporting religious organizations in the same way that it can support organizations that prefer certain kinds of thought or speech, then it still doesn’t answer why the Catholic Church should be given so much freedom in education. Well there are a lot of reasons I could point to but for starters the Catholic Church, as an institution, has been educating people longer than anyone else, going all the way back to the monastic schools of the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church also established the first universities which were fundamental in shaping all the things we take for granted in academics and science today. That makes it something of an expert in education. That should also make us reflect on why they were so eager to sacrifice resources in the name of this cause when nobody else would. Maybe something in the Catholic belief system is intrinsically focused on education thereby making it a natural ally in the pursuit of public education. If you read about the history of Alberta, which is the province that I live in, you’ll read about fur traders, whiskey traders, ranchers, bison hunters, and the struggle to take whatever could be found in this new frontier. What you hear less of is the people who came here with different intentions. They were the ones who had no ambitions on the region’s resources. They had no aspirations for wealth or glory. They were the Catholic Oblate Missionaries and the Grey Nuns. They came here with little resources and traveled here often by foot through the harsh and hostile wilderness to set themselves to the work of establishing the first hospitals, schools, orphanages, and missions. While everyone else was spellbound by the prospect of wealth and opportunity, they were doing the hard work of building up the necessary pillars of civilization. Think about that! Something in Catholicism compels its adherence to establish schools and hospitals when there are none to be found. The fruits of that hard and thankless work is what we take for granted today in a stable and prosperous. society. So when aggressive secularists show up and say that the Catholic Church should be expelled from the education system they helped establish, I tend to disagree. Anybody can show up after the hard work has been done and inherit it without saying thank you but to go a step further than that and to try to expel the religious convictions that were the very reason that anybody thought that educating the public was a worthy calling in the first place… well that’s just out of line and frankly it’s ignorant. We as a society should show appreciation for the things we have by honoring the institutions and the people who gave them to us before we ever even thought to seek them for ourselves.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 42 comments

  1. then why do schools that promote Christianity do not allow satanists addressing kids…. when schools promote only Christianity and one flavor of Christianity it's oppressive I am in favor of equality and we need satanism in schools

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  2. If we throw out religion from the schools, we should throw out all hint of anti-religiosity and ideological Atheism.

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  3. We could all be the same, though. And that's a good thing, especially when it comes to education. Imagine how much more peaceful the world would be if we all had the same morals, ethics, critical thinking ability, and level of empirical knowledge. Private religious "educational" institutions are counter-intuitive to a progressive society.

    Another point: Christians love to say that we should keep or reintroduce "religion" back into public schools, but when you ask them if they mean Islam, Satanism, Hinduism, paganism, etc. the indignantly protest and say, "no, Christianity". Hmmm.

    If religion is to be taught in schools, it should only be an elective and it should be taught as a history, philosophy, or literature class, not as "alternative facts" about nature and reality. Limiting the perspective and knowledge of kids seems to be the exact opposite of education. By indoctrinating them with a particular ideology or perspective, you're setting your child up to fail and depriving them of, what I would argue as, a fundamental right: autonomous thought and knowledge.

    Finally, I respect other people's beliefs. You can believe what you want. But my respect ends when you try to push your beliefs on others, ESPECIALLY children who have not yet developed the ability to critically reason/think for themselves. We need to end the cycle of destructive and counter-productive social systems: tradition holds no moral or ethical value, nor does it make us better people or make a better society. Schools should be a place that teaching children (and adults) HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

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  4. Here, in mostly irreligious Eastern Europe state, the private schools is often the only way to avoid the ideology of mainstream ideology about genderism, homosexuality, abortion etc. But the good quality of these schools and smaller study groups often attract all sorts of parents who totally try to reject the Christian part of the school. So they would pick Christian school without Christiany. funny!

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  5. Your argument isn’t at all valid. First it’s not about denying anyone their right to say what they want. It is about ensuring that the government which pays for public schools does not show favoritism to a religion. Second while Catholic Church has sponsored education, it has sponsored only the education that follows its beliefs. They pushed their agenda which they are totally allowed to do but don’t glorify it by saying they did it for pursuing true knowledge. They did it to spread their doctrine. You have every right to believe what you want but you don’t have the right to force it on others

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  6. Let us not forget that religion teaches immoral, dogmatic, delusion based on 1st century ignornace, myth and superstition with virtually no shred of verifiable,concrete data, proof or evidence of a single supernatural event / god{s} claim / assertion. Religion is simply bullshit based on bullshit. Who in their evidence based, rational thinking mind would ever consider respecitng or accepting any opinions based on religion? As an outspoken Atheist I never would ! I consider teaching children any form of religion as mental and emotional child abuse. I ask all parents to refrain from expsosing their child to any form of relgion; all based on sheer delusion.

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  7. You say that you want diversity in schools that reflects what the parents want. What about the children?
    I really get sick and tired f hearing terms such as "catholic children" or islamic children" etc.
    There are no catholic children, just as there are no islamic children.
    There are just children.
    Some of these children have catholic parents, while others have islamic parents and all the other religions etc.
    These children don't get any sort of choice as to which religion they are brainwashed into believing.
    They also don't get the choice of being able to ignore religion until they are old enough to make their own informed choice.
    Religious indoctrination of children into any religion is child abuse.
    No school, no matter how it is funded, should be allowed to indoctrinate children with these unproven beliefs, just because of which family they were born into.
    State funded and run schools are subject to the separation of church and state, which is, of course, the only reasonable way forward.
    State educated children can then make up their own minds.
    But at least they get the chance to be able to think rationally before making the choice.

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  8. Who said "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith"? Adolf Hitler.

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  9. be very careful of the royals ,or for that matter the British establishment GOD does not come into their thinking .

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  10. Hi there, really enjoying the videos I have seen thus far. On this one though I have a problem agreeing with. It is interesting that you only cite communism when speaking about seperation of school and religion.
    France has a specificity called "laïcité" which means that, though you have the guaranteed right to practice your preferred religion, the government or any public servant should not show any preference to a religion: they have to be neutral and treat every religion in an equal manner.

    There are Catholic and other religious schools in France, but they are private schools. Teachers of public schools, being civil servants, aren't allowed to profess their religion or influence students in any type of religion (or political party). They are not allowed to wear ostentatious symbols representing a religion (or a political party). The same goes for the students. Teachers are allowed to speak about religions, but only in terms of facts, never allowed to say this is the truth or this religion is wrong. This assures that different religious denominations will be *taught with equality and fairness*.

    A government which favours a specific religion cannot be neutral, and thus cannot represent the whole of its people who may not be of said religion or even have a religion at all.

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  11. Yes teach religion in schools as an academic along with Zoatorism, monolithism, Hinduism, eypgtian MA'AT, buddism and about 16 others way older than Christianity (thousands of years older)but all with the same mythological stories.
    Yeah we should teach religion just like that.
    Note: the last time religion was taught on a massive scale I believe we called that the Dark Ages. Religion and knowledge don't mix so for 500 years no new technology, art, philosophy, science etc. Nothing because religion ruled the world.
    But thank them for making you more ignorant during said dark ages millions and millions of ancient documents got burnt. Knowledge that we can never have all because if religions. Or more pointedly Christian Cult

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  12. I'm not sure if you are trying to deceive on purpose, or you really don't know. The US constitution doesn't have the phrase "separation of church and state": However, through the first amendment in the bill of rights, it states that the government shall grant free exercise of religion to its citizens but will not promote, or legislate, any religion. In other words, the government is to remain secular, while respecting those who want to practice their religion as their right. Sounds familiar right? It sounds a lot like SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE my friend. Oh and FYI, the American founding father Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "separation of church and state" in various letters and documents. That is where the phrase came from and that is what other founding fathers paraphrased in their letters and documents. Nice try trying to link the origins of the separation of church and state to Soviet communism lol. In actuality, this concept originated from enlightenment thinkers who influenced the American founding fathers.

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  13. Sectarian religionists like this fellow are always trying to worm their way into the public schools, using various convoluted arguments like the vague and loosely phrased ideas in this presentation. He uses the term "we" to refer to both the American and Canadian polities, a very slippery way of arguing his point. We in the United States, where the separation of church and state was invented, adhere to it because we know that sectarian religion is a firebrand, and that is why we keep it out of the schools. Religious instruction is a private matter, and is up to parents to decide on for their children, not something to be taught in the public schools. This fellow doesn't seem to understand the American idea  that religion is private business, highly personal  to each individual, and that we enjoy almost perfect religious liberty in this country, and religious peace, exactly because of the separation of church and state. It was the cruel and terrible persecutions of first the Catholic Church and later the Protestant that led up to our Founding Fathers establishing a secular government here. The cheap  device he uses to imply that separation of church and state is a Soviet Communist idea shows two things: 1) that he is a charlatan with a very definite (Catholic) agenda, and 2) he knows nothing about the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, that informed our Founding Fathers, and just incidentally finally pulled the fangs and drew the claws of the Catholic Church. This kid is still wet behind the ears, and he shows it in his videos.

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  14. School is for acadametics, math, science history, and other such, "NOT" for fairy tales from the bible. if a parent wants religion in a school, register their kid in a religious school, "DON'T" try to force it on my kids. My kids will make their own choices about religion when they choose to, not have it force fed to them.

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  15. wouldn't it make more sense to discover individual freedoms independently free of indoctrination? religion is a personal decision, and to argue it's an educated one is defying faith. faith is intuitive in that it's based more on emotional beliefs.
    and freedom of speech? try saying you hate muslims or women in a workplace in Canada and see how long you remain employed. it's an illusion.

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  16. We don't come with differences. Our parents and families fill our heads with nonsense and brainwash us into ways of thinking that they were brainwashed by their parents into believing. Starting from a clean slate, very few people would believe the ludicrous stories that religions try to sell us on.

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  17. Teaching children reliegeon at a young age is the only reason it still exists. If people heard about it for the first time as an adult no one would buy it. No wonder the religious are so desperate to teach their beliefs in schools.

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  18. People should have the freedom do say and think what they want but not to do what ever they want to children.

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  19. So you think people should be able to send their children to athiest schools that teach that god definitely doesn't exist?

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  20. Dishonest creep. This is all a pretense. You don't actually care if other religions schools are getting public funding. As long as Catholic schools are funded (as it is now), that's all you and other catholics care about. Everybody else can basically go fuck themselves. You are clearly too biased a hard core Catholic to understand why a truly free society requires a secular gov't and separation of church and state. All you care is that Catholic privilege is maintained. Well congratulations you live in place that favors a publically funded Catholic school system. Lucky you.

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  21. I see no problem with the study of theology. Education is in theory supposed to teach reality and facts, culture and the arts ( I know it often fails) No matter how you flower religion up, it's a theory not a fact as it's simply a man made myth in all it's forms. To teach a specific religion is simply brainwashing and indoctrination. I would not allow my child to be "educated" to believe in fairy tales other than bed time stories.

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  22. Sorry I think I just unsubscribes after a few minutes. You’re using very flawed logic and it’s insanely dangerous. It’s a road down fundamentalism, I would know, my dad’s a baptist pastor so stop it.

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  23. Private citizens have the right to express their faith in public, including public schools. It's called the free exercise clause. the guy in the video understands that.

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  24. I agree with you and am in favor of school vouchers– in moderation– usable for a religious school of a parent's choice. But one must anticipate that sooner or later, Islamic madrasas will also benefit from this allowance. If this prospect horrifies an unimaginative naif too much ("What? I thought it only applied to Christians!"), well, maybe that person must reconsider his advocacy.

    When almost every parish had a school and almost every child in the parish attended it, I certainly respect the effort, but were these really the good old days? They seem to have been run on a shoestring. One hears all the time from former students who blame unhappy experiences in parochial school for their having left the church, with their large class sizes, cramped conditions, and overworked nuns who were not always paragons of Christian charity. Even a college friend whose faith was quite intact surprised me with his remark that the sisters who had taught him were "awful people– except one."

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  25. Here's what's so funny about this. God isn't even present in his own house, so why would he attend public schools? The most segregated day of the week is Sunday, you all know it. Churches talk more about politics (division) and money than they do about RACE and unity, harmony. (All) Religion is another form of slavery. They also want to arm teachers and preachers, where's the LOVE, who wants to die for Jesus today??? Forget the brainwashing and do some soul-searchin, humanity. The bible or gun, whichever one that works best for you. ….Jesus loves the little children…so does priests and preachers!!!!

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  26. In the midst of an anti-Christian conspiracy that goes largely unnoticed the herd cry out their conditioned prejudice in unison. The devil laughs at them.

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  27. If Bible and prayer, in other words, any discussion of morality is banned from schools,
    then every political agenda should be banned.

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