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More Shots Are Fired in the Evolutionary War

May 29, 1991

I grew up in Orange County and graduated from a local high school nine years ago. This story comes very close to my own experiences. I thank you for your article and applaud Emily Long with all my heart for standing up to this violation of the law and narrow-minded bigotry.

As a Jew, I too have my own beliefs that I feel strongly about. But the one thing I've always felt most deeply is that everyone has a right to believe whatever they want to as long as they don't push it on others or condemn what others believe. And all of those beliefs should be shared in the home, temple or church. Not in school.

I can't tell you how many times I've been told I'm going to hell if I don't accept Jesus Christ as my savior. And all of the talk from Republicans about wanting prayer in school sends chills right down my spine.

High school is a very impressionable and pressure-filled time. When teachers, who are role models, share their religious beliefs--whether before class, during class or after class--they make a strong impression and sway students' minds. I saw it happen in my own experience. And if you believe something else, you're left out, chastised or condemned. It can be psychologically damaging unless you're lucky enough to have high self-esteem and strong family/friend support.

When looking through my senior yearbook a few years ago, my husband, who grew up in L.A.--as a Christian--couldn't believe how many references were made to bible verses in the senior memory section. I faced it in clubs, in classes and everywhere on campus. It made me uncomfortable and uneasy at that time, but I didn't think it was out of the ordinary. When my husband said he'd never seen anything like it before, it made me angry.

That's why this story really touched a nerve in me. It didn't belong there when I was in school and it doesn't belong there now or in the future.

If John Peloza or any other born-again Christian feels so passionately about their beliefs that they can't keep it out of school, then I say go teach at or attend a Christian school, for God's sake! And for all our sakes.



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