Roy Exum: Religion Comes To School

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
As I sallied forth in my Morning Readings yesterday, I ran into a headline that read, “Tennessee hopes fears of religious indoctrination will diminish with new social studies standards.” The story, posted on a wonderful education website, Chalkbeat, told about a four-year effort to teach our middle schoolers about different religions. This, which falls under the guise of Social Studies, will begin this fall, and I think that’s wonderful.
What has taken so long is the United States has turned ‘separation of church and state’ into a crime and then there is the fear that all of our eighth-graders will dash down the halls and out onto the lawn to face Mecca seven times a day.
We are a Christian nation but have yet to learn the way to overcome our fear of Muslims is the same way we overcome our fears of all else: study it and understand it.
Several years ago, when some of our zanies got all twisted up and the carpet-baggers spied a new way to separate a fool from his money, they rode the rumor we were going to soon be teaching out of the Book of Koran like it was a race horse.
Marsha Blackburn, now a U.S. Senator, was quick to wade into the spotlight, “It is reprehensible that our school system has exhibited this double-standard, more concerned with teaching the practices of Islam than the history of Christianity. Tennessee parents have a right to be outraged and I stand by them in this fight.”
Hello! Marsha’s vote-searching comment is exactly why we need our kids to learn about Buddhists, the Holocaust, and why there are five different Presbyterian tribes in the phone book. The reason there are so many  different church choices is not just because they can see so many Christians who disagree but how thrilling it is that our Constitution guarantees the right to worship as you please. Our children need to know in some other countries – right now – one’s love for Jesus Christ can get you killed. And let’s not leave out Jesus’ followers have died in His name for centuries.
I hope that I am never faced with such a fate, but I will also admit that I’ve found myself in devilish scraps where I have prayed, “Take me, Lord! Take me to heaven in the twinkling of an eye but do it now! The only thing that is fixing to happen is this moment is gonna’ get worse. Take me, Lord, and take me now!”
I’m a huge advocate of common-sense learning. I saw where University Surgical Associates now has classes with the certainty children who must have surgery will not be as afraid, and I wish any boy or girl who gets in trouble at school would get the opportunity to watch one of our Sessions judges deal with some jerk who has committed justice abuse. Civics? Ought to be a mandatory one-year class. Every boy ought to take a semester of Home Economics and every girl a fun-filled semester of auto shop and wood shop. And nobody graduates who cannot change a tire.
What if we could work with Sheriff Jim Hammond where rather than suspend some miscreant, we could let them spend the day – just watch – from a jail cell? By simply taking a kid’s cell phone where he or she can can’t text would freak ‘em out. Second offense? Make that kid’s mother sit beside him on that jail-house bunk for eight hours.
One more … through our science departments each high school ought to get into the bee business and start a pocket industry of selling honey. Bee keeping comes with more educational avenues than you would ever believe. A teaspoon of “local honey” is the magic potion against allergies; the ‘bottler’ and the ‘seller’ would each get a small ‘rub’ off every sell and then there is this. Little Johnny and Apollo Creed get into a hall fight and go before the principal. The SRO comes in with a couple of bee suits – and hats covered with mesh that tie under the dunces’ chins – and the principal explains the hives need tending to. There has never been a fight worth ‘bee duty.’
* * *
FROM SOUTH CAROLINA comes word a group of adults have organized to begin “Angel Clubs,” which is an ultra-secret group where that school’s alumni fund an effort to buy school lunch for the kids who can’t. The word is the thing has really taken off and there is a rumor that kids in after-school detention hall write the anonymous donors hand-written thank-you notes – like they were the kids who got a free lunch (wink! wink!)
* * *
IN OHIO THERE is a school where if some little cherub gets caught texting some girl (the odds are the girl could care less,) the accused has to text love letters to at least five people who they know cares about them. If a kid can’t name five, the school secretary supplies five email addresses of parents that are unrecognizable so the bad boy can tell the nice parents how hard he is trying in school so he can grow up “to be like you are.”


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