Column: Religion in the classroom not detrimental


I would like to congratulate the Sooner State for producing a new bill which I think is long overdue, not just for said state, but for every school in America.

While Oklahoma’s House Bill 2211 (which allows for a much greater arena for religion in the classroom) may anger some, it brings pure joy to my heart.

Growing up I, like most students in America, attended a public school. I recall learning evolution around the seventh grade and it was taught to me as one possible theory of creation. I can safely say, however, that while looking at the pictures in my science book of apes morphing into men, I was not convinced of its likelihood.

If passed into law, this bill will allow students to express their own beliefs, not only about creation, but any number of things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing students to express their beliefs or allowing them to think freely and critically in a school setting.

By passing this bill, Oklahoma will show what should have been obvious to the rest of America all along: If there is room for science in the classroom, there is room for other theories, namely religious ones.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary online, science can be defined as the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

While I think science is important, it’s always changing and is inherently experimental and theoretical.

Evolution is just an idea. What makes this idea any better than the idea of creationism? It seems to me that, if something such as evolution is being taught in schools, why shouldn’t religion be allowed to be talked about and discussed as well?

This bill isn’t even asking schools to teach religion: It’s asking schools to let students and teachers be open to other students’ viewpoints and there is no harm in that. Allowing students an alternative voice allows for greater acceptance and understanding.

I am aware that there is a separation of church and state, but this bill isn’t infringing upon that in the least. Teachers in public schools cannot just start teaching Creationism, but there is no harm in students believing in any of their own religious views and backing them up if they feel so inclined. Religion has just as much right to be in the classroom as anything else.

A columnist in last week’s North Wind stated that this bill would allow students to stand up and say things at a school assembly such as, “If you do not believe in God, you are going to burn in the fiery pits of Hell for all eternity,” or “God is nature.” While I agree that this bill would allow for such statements, I highly doubt people will start running around proclaiming their religious beliefs at the top of their lungs.

First off, it is highly unlikely that anyone would actually stand up during a school assembly and say such a thing just because he or she could. And secondly, since when is having a belief and sharing it with someone an imposition to others? Any time I told someone how I believed while in school, I surely don’t recall forcing that belief down his or her throat or making anyone believe the way I did.

Let’s give kids a little credit here. They will make up their minds about what they want to believe with or without laws warranting or prohibiting what they can or can’t say.

I believe the least of our worries in public schools right now should be children expressing different religious views. With school shootings, and bullying and hatred running rampant, this is quite possibly the last thing anyone should be getting all worked up over.