I hear a lot about how God has been forcibly removed from the public schools, that children are not allowed to read the Bible and they are not allowed to pray. I know for a fact that these statements are untrue, but they are regular talking points in the faithy world, lamenting how they have been forced to act like atheists. It goes even further, with emails that circulate about how everything from 9/11 to earthquakes are caused by God unleashing some of that Old Testament wrath on us for not letting the children be faithful in schools.
Well, you’re wrong. And I have a challenge for you. If you want to make these claims, test them. I challenge every faithful public school student to exercise their right to freedom of religion. I am asking them to take their Bibles to school with them and read them during free time. I am asking them to pray in class. If they so desire, they can join or start a prayer group. So long as they follow the rules, that being that they do not seek school endorsement of their faith-based initiatives and they don’t use their faith to make others feel uncomfortable, then I ask that they test the claim.
There are benefits for everyone in this challenge. The most obvious is to poke gigantic holes in the ridiculous argument that schools have outlawed prayer and the Bible. But I think the biggest benefit is in having children read their Bibles. I firmly believe that the single most effective thing that can show how all systems of faith are bigoted, nonsensical, and utterly contradictory is to encourage people to read them with an open mind. Most children accept the Bible because their parents did, and they read the passages that make the most sense to them and promote whatever particular image of God they like best. But that sort of cherry picking doesn’t really expose you to the truth behind your faith.
I challenge you, public school Christians. Read those books. Understand that the reason God doesn’t want you to masturbate is because he felt compelled to kill Onan because Onan didn’t feel good about impregnating his dead brother’s wife. Understand that your God tolerates and embraces slavery. Read them in school. Inspire those around you by actually evaluating your faith and learning more about it, not just the good bits that they tell you about in Sunday School. Find out about the real King David, a bloodthirsty tyrant whose crimes in today’s light would make the Black Dahlia Murders look like children’s programming. Learn how your loving God tormented the Israelites, slaughtering almost all of his chosen people and scattering the rest to ensure that they would turn back to him and love him again.
What’s the worst that could happen? Your school isn’t going to stop you reading the Bible unless you are doing so at an inappropriate time. Your school isn’t going to stop you from praying. If God is really angry that he isn’t in public schools anymore, then what are you doing about it? Stand up. Be counted as one of the faithful. Show your parents that this persecution they claim isn’t real, and while you’re doing it, learn a bit about this wonderful faith of yours.