The Instigator
sarahjeen
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
jregalia
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Separation of Church and State in Public Schools

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,783 times Debate No: 31698
Debate Rounds (3)
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sarahjeen

Pro

This is a simple discussion: Is the separation of church and state a good thing to enforce in schools?
I am FOR the separation of church and state in schools.
Thanks for any input. Please be respectful to one another.
jregalia

Con

Hello i look forward to this discussion. This is a tough argument because it has no easy black and white answer. Should america have a national religion of course not. Should we require religious practice in schools? Again of course not these are not moral or necessary. But if we look deeper we have to ask the question how far do we go and how far have we gone. I believe the america focuses to much on the establishment clause Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. We focus on this clause and become clouded with fear of "hurting someones feelings" or oppressing religious or nonreligious vies. Fear clouds our decisions and we often overlook the Free Exercise Clause Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. We must tread carefully we are becoming so scared of religion that we are oppressing it at some levels. Schools are so fearfull they wont teach world religion classes. I believe that the study of the kings james bible is just as important as shakespear if seeking to understand the English language it has arguably effected it equally. We must also look consider the relevence of religion in history. To understand decisions and actions taken by people throughout history we must understand the religious factors of the time.
Debate Round No. 1
sarahjeen

Pro

Hello and thank you for joining the debate. I appreciate your input. I agree on a few points in your argument. I agree that America should not have a national religion, as we are the "home of the free and the brave". And I also agree that required religious practice in schools is not acceptable, as we are a free nation. But these points also lead me to points in my own argument. That, as a free nation, we have decided to separate religious practices in public schools in America. This only supports our rights as American citizens to practice, without penalty, our own set of beliefs. I understand that an argument could be made that the Separation of Church and State suppresses our rights to practice religion, or that teachers cannot freely share their beliefs with the class. My rebuttal to this would be that The Separation of Church and State does not suppress anyone's right to their religion, as religion does not need to be advertised to others. A more typical example of this is the belief in the Christian god. Their religion is centered around a strong faith and/or relationship with their lord, and most Christians would say (and they have said) that their relationship with god is a very private one, and that they enjoy a special bond with their creator that does not need to be public. This goes to show that a persons religious practices do not need to be known by everyone, nor do they need to be advertised throughout the day. The important part of one's religion is upholding their beliefs, such as kindness, godliness, etc. Returning to your argument, I feel that we are not really afraid, and fear does not cloud our decisions. The Separation of Church and State is to protect the rights of every citizen in school, so that they may come to their own personal conclusions concerning religion and their beliefs. I also enjoyed the point you brought up about the study of the king james bible. Though not every school does, some do. The high school that I attended had employed an English teacher who taught a whole unit on the king james bible. Although many people object to this because of their beliefs, it was still being taught throughout my high school years. Which brings me to another point: many religious people are uncomfortable with studying religious books outside of their own faith. In a class that studied the Quran, many Catholic and Christian students were uncomfortable, and refused to partake in the class activity. This shows that, not only are non-religious students uncomfortable with being told to study religious texts, but religious students are also equally offended. However, history classes do in fact teach about the religious groups throughout history, and I was personally required to write about a randomly selected religion in my world history class. I believe my main point is that it is not the studying of the relevance of religion in history that should not be forced on students in public schools, but the beliefs and laws of religious groups. It is not about the fear of hurting someone's feelings, but the violation of the right to freedom of religion, or lack thereof.
jregalia

Con

jregalia forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
sarahjeen

Pro

Since my opponent has forfeited the previous round, I will state my closing argument.
It is my opinion that Separation of Church and State should continue to be enforced in public schools.

1. Private Schools

Private schools are founded solely for the purpose of including the religion of a certain group into the education of the students. These schools are independently funded and upheld because of the Separation of Church and State. This option of "private schooling" is exactly where any religious persons should enroll their children if they wish that their religion be included in their child's schooling. Otherwise, a state funded and employed public schools should abide by the Separation of Church and state, allowing for complete religious and spiritual freedom among their students.


2. Variety of Religion

Although the phrase "America is a Christian Nation" is widely accepted, many believe it to be false, as well as myself. Our founding fathers left England to create a nation that was free of government upheld by the church and king. People such as Thomas Jefferson opposed the mixing of religion and government, as the religious government of England had destroyed human freedom. A majority of the founding fathers, in fact, were deists. (Deists hold a view that there is a god, but that he does not have a place in human interactions). America reflects the people who founded it: We are diverse as a nation, and will continue to be conflicted when it comes to spirituality. For this reason, the absence of religion is necessary to allow school-aged citizens to arrive at their own conclusions concerning the "meaning of life".


3. Distractions From Education

It's plain and simple: Everyone has their own religious or non religious beliefs, and they all have different standpoints. What should be taught in school is factual information. If it hasn't been proved, it shouldn't be taught. Refraining from incorporating information that has not been proven will allow the children to learn at school. Education would become a much cleaner process, and allow for bountiful knowledge.


For these reasons, as well as my argument from the previous rounds, I stand by my opinion and original stance that Separation of Church and State is beneficial to the public school system and the student's private lives.
jregalia

Con

jregalia forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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