Eddyville, KY

Opinion

Lawmakers don't need to dabble with religion

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - Updated: 11:23 AM
By Jody Norwood

Last week a Kentucky lawmaker introduced legislation to allow the Bible to be taught as an elective in public schools across the state.

As a Christian, I hope the proposal doesn’t become law.

It’s human nature to share your good fortune with others. From philanthropy by those with big bank accounts to those of more modest means who volunteer their skills and time, people give back. That desire to elevate others extends from the physical world to the spiritual one.

It’s also intrinsic in most religions. Christianity is no different. Christ charged his apostles to take the word to the world, and for those who hear the message to take up their task.

Christ wanted a living church, one where Christians put words into practice as opposed to just showing up, tithing and making sure no one gets your seat in the pew.

So, if Christians are tasked with spreading the word, shouldn’t they jump at the chance to have increased opportunities?

In this case, no.

It starts with the religion itself. Being a Christian means having a relationship with Christ. Like exchanges between a parent and child, every interaction between a person and Christ is a personal one. It’s a private rapport.

Teachers are wonderful people who do impossible things on a daily basis. With limited funds they navigate the distracted and the disinterested.

Anyone who can make a teenager learn calculus is a special kind of person.

But they shouldn’t be tasked with teaching a personal relationship. That steps outside the bounds of imparting knowledge and letting students develop their own understanding of the concepts of spirit.

Some might say no one is asking teachers to take on that role.

They will be asked to present the book and leave it up to students to take it from there.

Once again, that’s a horrible idea.

The Bible is many things to many people. To some it’s a source of strength. For others, a roadmap to a better life. To some it’s a work of fiction. Unfortunately, there are also those who misinterpret its words as weapons. Just like how some folks can turn a sunny day into a bad thing, there are those who twist a message of amity and acceptance into one of separation and status.

Teachers are people, and few in public education are theological experts. Presenting a book evoking strong feelings and a long list of questions should be the task of someone studied enough in the subject to answer inevitable questions. Without guidance, one might mistake some of the acts in the Bible — particularly in the Old Testament — for acceptable. Family life in Genesis needs a bit of context when considering the exploits of Lot or Noah.

Really, explaining anything in the Old Testament — and how it doesn’t apply to much outside of giving some context for the New Testament — is probably better left to a professional.

As a Christian, I’d rather someone didn’t inadvertently lead someone I care about down the wrong path. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Well, ok then. What about bringing in a pastor to teach the class instead of piling that task on a civics teacher?

That, too, is a bad idea.

Right now a separation exists. There’s a definable line between what educators instruct and what students believe. There’s been an often politicized rallying cry of bringing prayer back into schools. The truth is, it never left.

No, really. It never did.

A student can pray to whoever they want, whenever they want, as was evidenced a few weeks ago when a Lyon County basketball player was injured.

Prayer circles broke out around the gymnasium.

Several congregated midcourt.

The caveat there is, it has to be the students praying, not the adult.

Going back to the aforementioned reason, that’s the way it should be.

Prayer is part of that relationship with Christ.

In a lot of ways, it’s one of the most important parts. Asking for help is a humbling experience.

The only way to make sure that relationship doesn’t get blurred is to make sure that line of separation stays in place.

You never have to fear your child is being led down the wrong path if they never start down it in the first place.

 

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