Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just my two cents on the home-schooled girl

ordered into a public school by a judge because she had rigid religious views.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting” and “different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”

I wonder, if, as Subvet asks, what would have happened if she had been raised as an atheist? Would she have been sent to a Catholic school? Or if she had been raised by Muslims, would the judge have ordered her to a synagogue school?

Of course not.

Now, I don't know this girl and neither do you. Maybe she has a devout, even orthodox, faith in Christ. Maybe she thinks that anyone who rolls the toilet paper off the top instead of the bottom is predestined for hell. But that's not the point here. Obviously, her education was not an issue, as the judge clearly admits that she is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level”. What the judge found in need of correcting was that the girl has firmly held beliefs not in conformity to the amorphous, relativist, secular mindset that pervades our culture. The problem is not that the girl has religious beliefs; the problem is that she takes those beliefs seriously.

See, people in our culture are very tolerant of those who have different beliefs, as long as no one holds those beliefs to be actually true. Beliefs are permissible if they are not actually beliefs. Nice fables, fine. Vague moral compass, OK. But the moment that someone acts like beliefs and actions have real consequences in a metaphysical way, then they must be isolated and corrected.

It's like the parents that send their kids to Catholic school so they will have some religious upbringing, but fail to attend Mass. These are the people who send their kids to learn all about the faith that's not real enough or important enough to put into practice. But that's OK, right? I mean, as long as you're a good person, God's not going to reject you.

I'm not advocating any witch-hunts of non-believers, if that's what my tone suggests. But my frustration lies greatest with an attitude toward that faith that renders it "cute" or "curious". The danger of a pluralistic society is not that there are people who believe differently who might challenge my beliefs. It's that a pluralistic society demands that I have no belief at all.

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