Social Question

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Isn't it interesting how nobody can bring up or teach Christianity in school, but other religions are fine?

Asked by ChocolateReigns (5619points) November 12th, 2010

People, both kids and teachers alike, get in trouble for teaching Christianity all the time, and for doing anything at all related to Christianity in school.

Girls get in trouble for wearing a necklace with a cross on it. Why do people not find it wrong for for girls to walk around with head coverings on for the same reasons? Wouldn’t you think a necklace with a cross on it less offensive?

Why don’t they crack down on all religions just as much? Am I just missing those news stories, or is there really as big of a difference as I’m noticing? If so, why do you think this is? Are you all right with it? And if you are, why?

Please, I’d like this not to turn into a discussion about why people think Christianity can’t be touched. I know why and that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m just curious why people don’t mind the other religions.

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60 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am here to tell you that I mind when any religion is taught in public schools. Period. And also thinking that wearing a head covering is ‘more offensive’ than wearing a cross – yeah, your prejudice is showing.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sorry, but this is a bad misunderstanding. It is possible to teach about any religion you want. It is not legal to teach and/or endorse a religion.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Since when do girls get in trouble for wearing a necklace with a cross? I’ve never personally heard of such a thing, but I’m curious to see an article or story that illustrates this happening. Not arguing with you, just news to me.

As @Simone_De_Beauvoir said, I mind when any religion is taught in a public school.

janbb's avatar

I seem to need only one answer today so I’ll use it again:

Questions like this are so loaded with false assumptions that they don’t deserve serious debate.

Qingu's avatar

Maybe you should cite the news stories where people get in trouble for wearing crosses or teaching about Christian history.

By the way, doesn’t your religion (I’m assuming you’re a Christian) command you not to bear false witness?

mrlaconic's avatar

I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for wearing a cross

As for head coverings I feel those are not so much religious as they are cultural.

theichibun's avatar

The problem is that when people start to teach about Christianity, someone inevitably has to start preaching Christianity.

Separation of Church and State doesn’t mean that you can never have any sort of religion in a government setting. It means that any religion has to have an equal opportunity to be present in the setting.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie My friends who are in public school get in trouble for it all the time, and I’ve heard about it in the news several times (sorry for not having an article to site. I didn’t think of that.)

iamthemob's avatar

I would ask where you find that crosses are not allowed, but the burqa or some more secular form of it is. In terms of public schools, the rights of students to wear expressive clothing is pretty well protected.

What was the situation where your friend’s were getting in trouble – and where do you see other religious symbols getting privilege over yours?

El_Cadejo's avatar

As others said, there is a difference in teaching about something and preaching it. I enjoy learning about religions very much but if the class is preaching the religion its a totally different thing.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@iamthemob The most recent time, my friend was just walking down the hall at school and she got sent to the principal’s office where she was told her to take off her necklace because “one of the students was offended by it”. At that same school I’ve seen a couple girls walking around wearing head coverings during a school day.

El_Cadejo's avatar

im sorry but I dont believe that in the slightest.

DominicX's avatar

First off, there’s a difference between teaching about a religion and teaching a religion. I’ve learned about different religions in public school, but we were not lead in prayer or told we had to believe in God or anything like that.

Secondly, the situation you describe with people getting in trouble for wearing crosses but not head coverings describes an odd hypocritical position of the school and you should speak out against it as soon as possible and tell as many people as you can about the discriminatory practices of your school.

But no, I would not find it “less offensive”. I guess I’m supposed to think Islam is more offensive than Christianity, but I don’t, sorry.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Just because I was curious, I Googled this. Seems like CR is not completely off-base here.

School in CO made announcement that religious symbols and jewelery were not permitted, shit hits the fan.

Kid in NY punished (but now rich) for wearing a rosary to school.

Just adding some grist for the mill here. Don’t hurt me!

Jaxk's avatar

Just for the sake of information, here are a few instances:




There are a bunch for the UK as well. Hard to tell how prevalent this is but it happens.

crisw's avatar

I assume you are home schooled from the links posed on other threads.

Therefore, I think you may not have a real grasp of what happens in public school.

It is perfectly fine to teach about religion in a public school, and it is done all the time. This applies to Christianity as well as other religions.

It is not OK for a public school to sanction, promote, endorse or espouse a religion. This is an entirely different thing.

Some stories told by someone somewhere of “getting in trouble for wearing a cross” do not amount to tangible evidence and have absolutely nothing to do with teaching about a religion in a public school.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think there should be a problem with wearing a personal religious symbol to school whether it be a cross or a mezuzah or something else. That seems like a weird overreaction by school officials and someone should challenge it in the courts.

I have not had any teaching of any religions in schools. If it occurs, I assume that equal time would be given to Christianity. Can you back up your assertions in that regard?

By the way, your prejudices and point of view are showing.

El_Cadejo's avatar

none of those sources with banning of religious symbols imply that other religious symbols are allowed though..

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The boy scouts can’t meet in my kids school any longer because the ACLU doesn’t want the Scout Master to say “God bless America”.

crisw's avatar


That is a tremendous oversimplification of the real issues with the Scouts.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

And it’s not even just religious symbols any longer. It’s all over the radio today, School Makes Boy Take American Flag Off Bike

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@crisw The ACLU threatened my kid’s school with lawsuit specifically because the word “God” was used by the Scout Master. I can’t speak for other schools or incidents, but nothing was mentioned about homosexuals or atheists whatsoever.

YARNLADY's avatar

When enough people who do actually care what goes on in their schools can bother to attend their school board meetings and get involved, you will see who cares and who doesn’t.

This type of question is based on mis information and is a lazy way to complain about something without actually having to do anything.

Winters's avatar

It really depends where you are and what your school district tolerates.

In seventh grade, my history instructor preached Islam in class, she got away with it by calling it cultural immersion. She was also extremely prejudice against the only Jewish kid in our class. When any other religion was ever brought up in class, she’d either rip on it, or send the kid outside while she wrote up a detention slip. Fortunately, that year was the last year she taught at our school. I hear she still has a teaching job.

Also, here’s another case regarding schools banning a particular item, in this case the good old red white and blue:

This and other incidents like this are partially why I sometimes wish my home state was anywhere but California.

DominicX's avatar

@Winters @RealEyesRealizeRealLies

For every story like that, there’s one about a lesbian not being allowed to prom or something along those lines. It goes both ways.

Winters's avatar

@DominicX Yes, and that’s one thing I am glad about in California (at least my school district). We let LBGT into prom and a year and a half ago we even had a lesbian in the running for prom king (I haven’t kept up with what’s been going on since I go to college in NY now).

But San Francisco never ceases to piss me off, though the story in the link in my previous post did have a happy (ish) ending.

Winters's avatar

Apologies if someone already linked this story

iamthemob's avatar

It seems, though, that these are isolated incidents. I haven’t heard of any pattern of repression in the schools, so it seems dishonest to claim that they happen “all the time.”

If you don’t know they happen all the time, I’m concerned that this is an attempt to spread disinformation as part of an agenda. Concerned, not assuming – but it really does seem that Christian movements are painting the religion more and more as being oppressed in the U.S., and point to the rise in membership in Islam as part of the cause.

Let me know why you think it’s appropriate to claim it’s all the time – there may be a reason I’m missing.

Winters's avatar

@iamthemob A growing number of schools in the school district to the south of mine have increasingly been pushing for uniforms so that no one feels/is different, and these proposed uniform regulations include no visible tattoos when in uniform, no piercings at all, no jewelry, etc. pretty much you cannot do anything to your appearance that would catch someone’s attention or express yourself.

anartist's avatar

Teaching what a religion is about [as in philosophy or comparative religions courses] is very different from the teaching that is indoctrination. Too often, in a Christian-majority country, the latter is what occurs with the subject of Christianity. In a comparative religions course, Christianity would be treated equally.

spittingblaze's avatar

Most religions are vexing, apparently if you don’t believe in a deity go to hell or deserve to suffer. Is there a heaven or hell? Is there even a God? And some religious people even come door to door, cannot they just keep to their churches and their schools? Why exactly must I be told I am going to hell and that my flesh will burn? Or if they want to push religions down other people’s throats fine. Wait I guess this doesn’t really answer the question.

iamthemob's avatar

@Winters – That just sounds like…a uniform. No law against that.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I have never had an experience in which any religion was banned to be taught. Furthermore, I have never been in an environment in which someone could not wear a cross necklace. Therefore, I cannot relate to your question as @janbb stated it is “loaded with false assumptions.” (and by the way I went to Public School America)

Winters's avatar

@iamthemob I just don’t like the reasoning, so no one is free to express themselves or do with their body that which they want to do.

Sure, I’m in the army, so yeah I wear a uniform, but it was my choice to do so. I understand private schools, boarding schools, religious schools having uniforms, but at public schools I feel it is unnecessary, unreasonable, AND in that school district, most families currently do not have the money lying around to buy a set of uniforms.

Yeah, I know there is no law against it, I just find it at the least inappropriately timed.
(My hometown was one of the worst hit when the recession hit, foreclosures through the roof, still has not shown any sign of significant recovery.)

iamthemob's avatar

@Winters – the money thing is an objection I can totally understand.

DominicX's avatar


I was thinking about the story you linked to. I think the reason why it caused a stir is not just because they happened to be wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, but because it was seen as though they wore the shirts on purpose as an anti-immigration statement or something along those lines. Obviously, you could never prove that and the whole thing is ridiculous; it doesn’t matter what day it is, an American flag on itself is not offensive.

However, there was a story in New York about kids wearing “Straight Pride” T-shirts with bible quotes on them on the day meant to commemorate LGBT suicides due to bullying. That was obviously done as a deliberate counter to the “pro-gay” sentiment that the day stood for.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Hadn’t heard about that one. Sick.

Winters's avatar

@iamthemob yeah, I probably should have mentioned that sooner.

@DominicX Personally, I find it annoying that the Hispanic population gets so offended by people wearing red white and blue on Cinco de Mayo (at least where I’m from and apparently the SF area). I laughed so hard when three years ago, a group of Hispanics almost attacked a local for wearing red white and blue on Cinco de Mayo, thing was, the gang’s colors were red and blue. LMFAO

Also another similar event occurred involving me, freshman year in high school, I was almost beat down in the restroom on Cinco de Mayo because I apparently wasn’t showing Mexican pride. They thought I was Mexican because of my complexion, they backed off once they got through their heads that I am half Korean and half Caucasian.

However going so far as to wear Straight Pride shirts deliberately meant to insult LGBT suicides is disgusting. It’s pathetic what people can do to each other.

breedmitch's avatar

It’s just us Liberals persecuting christians again. Enjoy!

Winters's avatar

@breedmitch GAAHHHHH!!!! Religious Intolerance is so Dawn of Man-1990s. Stop being so old fashioned and GET OVER IT! It is the 21st century after all. lol
(This goes for the rest of the world as well btw)

Nially_Bob's avatar

Judging by the discussion so far it seems evident that the cases wherein Christianity has been “persecuted” in public schools are extremely isolated, based on personal accounts and/or involve a few people who were frankly just looking for an excuse.

In a US public school all religions should hold equal ground, and unless the practices of one or another are directly interfering with the school should be let be in accordance with the US Constitution.

On a lighter note, is it just me or do the offended parties in these personal accounts of “religious oppression” always come across as utter d**ks? Seriously, who would walk by a fellow student who they may not see again for a matter of weeks (depending on their school size) and say, “Your cross/veil/star of David offends me!” – Me thinks somebody needs to get laid.

ETpro's avatar

The premise of the question simply isn’t true. I took a course in history of religion in public school. It covered all major religions. What would be illegal and unconstitutional is to teach one particular religion as the only true faith, and it makes no difference what religion one chooses to teach, even a modern one like Scientology would be unconstitutional if favored over all others.

Joybird's avatar

All religions are now taught as part of Global studies and studies of history BUT you aren’t allowed to proselytize ANY religion in public schools. Individual accounts of things other than this occuring happen all the time. There is a huge sculptual yin/yang symbol hanging above my desk and an OM symbol hanging nearby. But then I work in an artroom and these were just examples for the students one of whom just completed a symbol for anarchy. So that’s probably why no one has said anything yet. But let me add, we used to have students that came into our room wanting to draw Wiccan symbols. The lead teacher would say to them, “We don’t want none of THAT in here.” But then she would go on to allow another student to draw Jesus holding a baby or a cross. I said something to her about it stating that this was a open bias and discriminatory against the belief systems of other people as opposed to creating an environment where differences were discussed as the kids did artwork. It went on for about half a year until I stated clearly that this position was offensive to me because I am not Christian and some of the symbols the kids are attempting to draw resonate with my belief system. I stated that I appreciate the fact that she is Christian but that she might consider having the same respect for my belief system. That ended that. They draw what they will so long as it isn’t done with offensiveness and that they embrace the full meaning of what they are depicting or that if they draw someone else’s symbols they aren’t doing so in an manner that would offend. We haven’t had any problems with students or staff around this way of handling the issue. And I’ve spent just as much time designing elaborate Christian based graphics for our students as I do designing work for students of other spiritual orientations. It’s a position of not just tolerance but accomodation.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Have you ever gone your entire life without hearing a particular word, and once you hear it for the first time, you start to hear it every couple of days? I think probably everyone has experienced that. When it happens, do you really think you never heard the word before? or do you suspect you simply never noticed it?

What im getting at with that, is that there are loads of stories about all religions having problems in school.

The Christian girl who got in trouble over some jewellery, is just as ridiculous and wrong as the story of the little 5yo Muslim boy who got expelled for making gun shapes with his fingers. and just as silly as the story of the atheist kid who was not allowed to do something with the rest of his class because he was an atheist.

Every religion or lack of religion have their own newspaper headlines to help fuel their persecution complex.

Have Christians ever got in trouble just because they where Christian? yes. probably on a daily basis. But that does not mean they are being stepped on or persecuted, it just means some people are idiots. It happens to everyone. We have a world full of different kinds of people, and all of us with out own conflicting ideas.

Here is a key difference I think that is important, Just because someone is a Christian, they don’t have a right to walk around school with any necklace they like. However, they do have a right to walk around school with any necklace they like because they are a person.

What I’m trying to say is, when a Christian or Muslim or whatever gets told they cant do something because of their religion, they should not feel “I am having my religious beliefs oppressed”, rather they should think “im having my rights oppressed”.

The fact that religion is in the equation, makes everything more touchy and personal. But think back to what school was like. People used to steal lunch money, teachers would some times steal things from you by confiscating it, and nasty crap used to happen all the time. If there where a religion for video games, people would go just as over the top when a teacher confiscates a game boy.

A girl being told to take the necklace off, is just as mild of a problem as the boy that was told to take his hat off, or the kid who was told they cant come to class in red socks or with green hair. Just because religion is in the equation does not mean there should be exceptions. Some times it will be just, other times it wont be just, but its really not that big of a deal. No one is being executed at school for their religion. As long as the kids are learning the place is doing its job, and we have bigger problems to deal with.

Sure, it sucks when injustice happens, but it’s inevitable really. I just don’t think we should make schools a political battle ground over things like this. If we let things like that get to us, we will eventually live in a world where “kid thrown out of class for chewing gum” will become an important headline.

iamthemob's avatar

Here is a key difference I think that is important, Just because someone is a Christian, they don’t have a right to walk around school with any necklace they like. However, they do have a right to walk around school with any necklace they like because they are a person.

I think you just expressed the issue with some of the greatest clarity I’ve seen.

nicobanks's avatar

“my friend was just walking down the hall at school and she got sent to the principal’s office where she was told her to take off her necklace because ‘one of the students was offended by it.’ At that same school I’ve seen a couple girls walking around wearing head coverings during a school day.”

And the necklace was simply a cross? If this is true, your friend’s parents should lodge a complaint – first to the principal, and if that does nothing, then to the school board.

I do not believe this incident is indicative of a greater social trend. I think it should be treated – in your mind, and through the actions of the parents involved – as an isolated incident (or, at most, a trend at that school, which can be corrected by the school board).

nicobanks's avatar

@poisonedantidote “Have you ever gone your entire life without hearing a particular word, and once you hear it for the first time, you start to hear it every couple of days? When it happens, do you really think you never heard the word before? or do you suspect you simply never noticed it?”

Ah, this one drives me loopy! Logically, of course, the answer is you never noticed it before. I consider myself a fairly reasonable person, and the reasonable explanation for a thing tends to dominate my understanding of it. Now, the phenomenon you described happens to me a lot, and I want to accept the reasonable explanation. I do! But experience makes it difficult: Last year I encountered the phrase “auto-da-fe” 3 times in the space of a few days. I have a hard time believing I had encountered this phrase before and not noticed because of my long-time interests in both the Christian tradition and the incorporation of words/phrases from the Romantic languages into English. So, I find it hard to believe; but, I admit, not impossible. It is a fact, however, that I have not encountered this phrase once since that third time over a year ago now. What the eff??!!? This one thing more than anything else makes me doubt our reasonable explanations of the world… and like I said, it drives me loopy.

Nially_Bob's avatar

I have to echo iamthemob’s sentiments here and say that,
“Here is a key difference I think that is important, Just because someone is a Christian, they don’t have a right to walk around school with any necklace they like. However, they do have a right to walk around school with any necklace they like because they are a person.” is one of the most precise and insightful statements made thus far in this discussion.

tigress3681's avatar

You have to keep in mind that quite often the vocal Christians in public schools are trying to recruit others.

Winters's avatar

@tigress3681 I’ve seen the same done by vocal Muslims and Buddhists. It’s just that Christianity is predominant here in the US.

But any universal religion is going to try and convert, that’s just the way they work.

tigress3681's avatar

@Winters I have not had the experience of meeting any member of any other religion or spiritual sect that recruits but I shall keep my ears open. This whole idea of converting/forcing is deeply disheartening for me. Took me a while but I finally found a biblical passage where jesus is proported to say public prayer is less desirable than private, and to me this also includes going around preaching/converting. check out Matthew 6:4 – 6:7

Berserker's avatar

I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble at school for sporting the cross. I also had Catholicism taught to me in highschool. The teacher was awesome.
That was more than ten years ago though, so perhaps things have changed.

Still, try bringing a sikh to school or attempt to teach the religion of Islam in forms other than for historical purposes and see what happens. :/

Ron_C's avatar

I went to Catholic grade school and actually taught in a Catholic high school. I hate the idea that tax payer money can be transferred to those schools via voucher programs. I also resent the idea that my tax money can be forcibly transferred to a for-profit school system. All of these transfers are unconstitutional and expressly forbidden by the constitution stating that the state shall not support ANY religion.

While we are at it, how can you justify exempting churches from income taxes and property taxes? That is just as bad as the religion taxes prevalent in Europe.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C The school voucher program is nothing more than a plan to end public education and then jack prices so high for quality schools that only the elite can afford a decent education. Terrible medicine for a society.

Ron_C's avatar

Yes, @ETpro and it’s disgusting. This “voucher” system is part of every republican operated state.and the end result ignorant children and an increase of people with a pro-christian and anti-science prejudice.

chelle21689's avatar

In 1995, I was in Kindergarten and they made us pray before lunch. This was a public school…I’m not sure if that was legal lol. Anyways, I wore a cross and never got scolded at.

ETpro's avatar

@chelle21689 There is nothing wrong with an individual, student or teacher, deciding to wear a cross, Star of David, star and crescent, Buddha or the atheist fish with feet. There is something very wrong with leading prayers to any of the involved deities of lack thereof in a public school. It’s not just illegal, it’s unconstitutional.

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