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Displaying the 10 Commandments

What’s so wrong about taking down the 10 Commandments?

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If you live around my neck of the woods, you’re probably quite aware of the scuffle surrounding taking down the large 10 Commandments statue at Connellsville Jr. High East. I graduated from Connellsville School District, but did not attend East. I didn’t even know the statue was there, honestly prior to today. We don’t live in that school district now.

If you aren’t from around these parts, I’d wager you’re going to hear about it in a national news story soon. These things always make quite a story.

I mean no disrespect in this post to those who feel strongly about the 10 Commandments. I was raised on them, too. But, I have to agree that this doesn’t belong at a public school. We are given the freedom to practice whichever religion we choose. We are not given the right to impose our beliefs with displays on public property. It’s my opinion, take it or leave it.

But, take a minute to really think about it in reverse. What if a religious group decided they wanted to display their beliefs on a monument at your child’s school. Would you allow it? Or would you rally against it with a cry that it offended your religious beliefs? See my post from earlier today (before I knew about this issue) to take the 10 question test on religious liberty

I was just invited to a rally on FB to keep the 10 Commandment statue. I declined.

It’s amazing to think that parents will get so upset about something like this 10 Commandments monument being taken away from the school. They will rally and write letters and demand that it be kept there. Now I know some of these people personally and they are good folks. Good parents. Involved in their kids lives.  Friends of mine from high school. Parents of some of my children’s friends, I’ll bet.

But 90% of parents of school age children will never volunteer for anything to help the school, many never show up to their child’s parent-teacher night, and some will be the ones who always blame the teachers when their kids don’t do well or misbehave instead of helping them out with schoolwork at home. Take down something that could be offensive to those who do not subscribe to the same belief? You bet they’ll be there to save it.

I just think if you feel this strongly about the commandments and teach the values and ideas presented in the 10 Commandments at home, your child will carry them in their heart and act accordingly in school.  It won’t take this monument to teach them. They aren’t going to need a reminder, they’ll be living what you teach them.

I have to wonder how many of these parents have the 10 commandments prominently displayed in their homes? Probably only 1 or 2%, but yet they want to keep it out at a public place.
If you are Christian (or any of the multitude of religions that teach things similar to the 10 commandments) then your child doesn’t need a big stone object with the sayings on them.

If you aren’t a Christian and you honor a spiritual being by a different name, your faith is being publicly diminished by #’s 1, 2, 3and 4 of the Commandments. That isn’t the ideal this country was founded on.

What is more important? Teaching that your beliefs are right and standing up to make sure the physical signs of them are displayed for everyone to see. Or, teaching our children to treat all people kindly and to be accepting that there are other beliefs which we might not practice, but are not wrong or bad.

You know what I would like to see? All the students gathering in an assembly to discuss what principles they think would make a good school and good students and teachers, with positive values to replace the one that has been covered. Let the students work together to come up with 10 – or 3 or 5 or 12 – guidelines for being a good person.

Then it doesn’t matter what your faith is, you’re just being good for the sake of being a good person. And you’ve let the students take the lead role in shaping that responsibility.

Update. 9/10/12: The statue will be removed and placed at a very nearby church’s lot after school board approval to give it to the church. This is a beautiful solution. Read the TRIB for the full story on the 10 Commandments potential new home.

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