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« The Religious Faith of the Payne County Bank | Main | Bill Quigley »

12/22/2010

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Susan Stabile

Re the argument that the large numbers approach discriminates against minority religions, can one justify it on the basis of practicality? If the population of a school district is, e.g., 80% Muslim, there is little value in the school expending the resources to stay open on a Muslim holiday merely for the sake of equality. To say that in order to avoid the unequal treatment the school either has to stay open and ineffectively teach because the bulk of the class is gone or to also close for religious holidays celebrated by no one or almost no one in the district seems a silly result.
I recognize acting this way is easier when the constitutional issues are not at stake, but it is the same rationale: When I was taught at St. John's, where I had a fairly large number of observant Jewish students, I canceled class on Yom Kippur. I don't cancel class on Yom Kippur at St. Thomas, where I now teach and where in the last three years I've had only a handful of Jewish students (and you have to add up all the classes I taught to get a handful).

Steve Shiffrin

Susan
Thanks for commenting. I agree with the pragmatic approach, so long as
it is admitted that it comes with costs. I think Prothero gives too
much emphasis too this, but, as he says, The problem with this
pragmatic approach is that it uses the coercive power of the state to
legitimize more popular religions while delegitimizing less popular
ones. That is clearly not the intent of the pragmatic approach, but it
would be the effect in many circumstances. If more Hindus lived in Bill
OReillys school district, perhaps he would not be quite as dismissive.

Jimbino

This is just one of the many problems in our public schools that would be resolved if we simply eliminated public education and handed out vouchers as uncle Milton recommended.

If that were done, GONE would be political controversy over:

Teaching of funky history in Texas.
Prayer meetings around the flagpole.
Banning of tee-shirt slogans.
Teaching of Intelligent Design.
Firing of teachers for mentioning religion.

The greatest effect would be that kids would have a chance to get an education.

The time has come to kill off public "education."

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