The elementary schools in Morgan County, Indiana participate in a program they call “Weekday Religious Education.” This program allows 3rd and 4th grade students, after obtaining parental permission, to leave the school building and go to a trailer located on the school grounds for bible study. This bible study is held for one hour, once a week. This is not a new program (i.e., it has nothing to do with the Bush administration), it has, according to an article in the Mooresville-Decatur Times been going on in Morgan County for 54 years.
Now, after all that time, the Mooresville Consolidated School Corp., one of the school districts in Morgan County, is being sued by the mother of a Mooresville elementary student who does not have permission to participate in the Weekday Religious Education Program. This unnamed parent is apparently not objecting to the students being released from classes for one hour for religious education, with parental permission, but objects to the bible-study trailer/classroom being located on school property.
Bill Van Horn, the president of the Weekday Religious Education Program calls this a “frivolous lawsuit” because “he does not think” that the program violates any laws . . . and he’s probably right. The Weekday Religious Education Program may not violate any laws but it does violate common sense.
Religious education is, a wonderful thing for religious people and every Christian church I’ve ever heard of has something called Sunday School that accommodates that education very well. Considering that there are hundreds of Christian churches in Morgan County, Indiana there is absolutely no reason to have one hour’s worth (or even one minute’s worth) of religious education for 8- and 9-year olds during school hours.
When parents send their third or fourth graders to school they expect them to learn arithmetic, reading, history, science and social studies along with arts, crafts and health training. If these parents want little Johnny or Mary to learn about the Bible, they can make sure he or she is enrolled in Sunday School.
The litigious mother in Moorsville, Indiana will probably loose her case because of the length of time the Weekday Religious Education Program has been going on and because the school does not finance any part of the program. The program itself, however, is totally unjustified and IMO, should be removed from the schools. A comparitive religion class at the High School level or above is certainly appropriate, as long as it is an educational activity and not an indoctrination for any one religion; a Christian Bible study hour at the elementary school level, however, should be considered clearly inappropriate.
The Moorseville-Decatur Times: Parent sues school over religion classes
From the blogosphere: ICLU Sues Mooresville School Over Voluntary Bible Study
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