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Keep religion out of public schools

I find myself questioning the motivation behind a recent letter writer’s attempt to trivialize the importance of keeping religion out of the classroom. The Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is now understood to require the separation of church and state, and I am certain that the writer has been enjoying his right, along with the rest of us, to worship as he chooses, or to not worship at all.

When a public school teacher hung a poster displaying a biblical quote in the classroom, the writer deliberately mischaracterized her actions by defending teachers’ supposed right to “decorate their rooms.” More accurately, what the teacher had done was post a quote expressing her personal religious sentiment. When a student objected, the writer called it a “personal dispute,” as though this was a disagreement between colleagues.

Objections to religion in the classroom are neither “fruitless” nor “tiresome.” Creationists continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever-changing guises, as evidenced by the Dover v. Kitzmiller trial.

Religion is belief in and reverence for a supernatural power accepted as the creator and governor of the universe. These extraordinary claims remain unsubstantiated. The Education Department’s job is to administer fact-based education, so the biblical quote simply does not belong in the classroom. His letter leaves me wondering whether he’d have trivialized this separation violation had the poster quoted L. Ron Hubbard or the Quran.

Lisa Deck Drdul

Amherst