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Ventura County Perspective

Religion at School

February 11, 2001

Reams of paper are being used in the polemical over religion in schools. I do not claim to have the answer to this dilemma, but for what it's worth, may I ask: Whatever happened to the concept of "educating the whole child?"

If a child is taught to invoke a higher being at home but prevented from doing so at school, the message he gets is clear to anyone with a little understanding of children: "I don't have to do it at school; why do I have to do it here?"

In today's world, a parent can no longer say, "Because I say so." Therefore, the immediate setup for conflict between a parent and child is apparent to anyone with a little vision. This conflict, of course, will naturally lead to other conflicts, as any parent well knows.

Who has caused this altercation at home between child and parent? Do we dare to say the teacher, the school, the system, the laws? Something or someone must share the blame for unrest in the home, at least in the case of religion and therefore morals.

Morals cannot be taught in isolation, they must have roots, they must be authoritative. Who is the authority? If there is no authority, it's simply the teacher's word against the child's.

To deny a child the foundation of morals is to deny him the source of hope, peace and strength in his life. Children must have a constant in their young lives, an authority they can trust to be at their disposal.

Only trust in a supreme being can provide the peace of mind and inner strength to learn and become a good citizen, prepared to make good choices. That ought to be the goal of a well-rounded education.

CATHERINE ANTOLINO

MERVYN

Oxnard

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