Do not practice religion in schools

Published February 26, 2007

I am a very spiritual person. I have raised my children to be also. The issue is not about beliefs or lack thereof. The issue boils down to a very simple concept. If one religion is allowed to be practiced in our schools, that opens the door for all religions to be present in our schools.

Is this somewhere we really want to go? If followers of Santeria wished to bless the desks with the blood of the goat they just sacrificed in the classroom, would we respect that, as the principal in question is asking us to respect her beliefs? Or should we disallow the followers of any other religion to practice their beliefs in our schools?

Perhaps we should establish a state religion, and then we can prosecute all those who believe differently than the state dictates. But wouldn't that make us the same as those who are currently using their religion as a reason to terrorize our great nation and commit horrific acts of human abuse? These people believe that their way is the only way and that all others must die in the name of their God as infidels. They see no reason why any other religion should be accepted or even acknowledged.

Closed-mindedness like this is dangerous and only leads down a path of destruction.

Faith is personal; it should be taught at home. It should not be an issue that creates disruption in our classrooms, or segregation in our communities, or wars for our nation. Think about it for just a moment: If we, as a society, could simply accept that people believe what they believe and that it is okay for them to do so, imagine the conflict that would be removed from our lives and the lives of everyone on this planet.

Religion has no place in our government or our schools, nor should it. Their job is to provide us with the things we need to grow and function as a society and provide needed services and basic education to our children. Churches and other religious groups exist to aid in our spiritual growth and to give comfort during those dark nights of the soul.

The article does not go into detail about what the children were expected to do that day. If that was an actual FCAT day and the classroom was not prepared to the standards dictated by the state for the FCAT, those children would have been forced to take the test at a different time and location. Or, even worse, their test results may have been nullified after the state found out what happened. This could have serious implications for the children's future, even resulting in them being retained at their current grade level.

As principal, Mary LeDoux's focus should be on the students' ability to perform their given tasks, not on her ability to practice her personal religious beliefs.

Chris Gross, Brooksville

Re: FCAT blessing raises a ruckus Feb. 22 story

Nation's future doesn't look good

The news that school administrators engaged in a voodoo-like ritual of smearing magic oil on students' desks to help them pass a state test is actually very sad. We are at the dawn of the 21st century, a time of incredible scientific breakthroughs, and our public schools are being run by people who believe in rituals, magic and superstition.

Perhaps this explains why our doctors, computer scientists and engineers are increasingly coming from schools overseas. As we are confronted with complex world problems, we have retreated into rituals and nostalgia and a belief that praying hard enough will bring back a "good old days" period that really never existed.

This does not look good for the future of the United States.

Tom Butler, Tallahassee

Re: Fire officer's career forged as teen Feb. 20 story

Story on captain was 'refreshing'

How refreshing it was to read the wonderful story about Capt. Kenny Wannen on the front page of the Hernando Times!

We need more stories like this one.

Patricia Hunkele, Spring Hill

Hickory Hill plan deserves support

Hickory Hill, known as the Thomas Ranch, will be developed in some form or fashion. My main concern has always been the alternative to Hickory Hill as proposed by Sierra Properties.

The possibility currently exists for hundreds of wells and septic tanks scattered randomly over 3,000 acres, as opposed to none. Hundreds of driveways off Lockhart, Baseball Pond and Hickory Hill roads are a possibility, as opposed to three private entrances. No functional open space or wildlife corridors would be required, as opposed to 1,100 acres of quality green and natural open space. Also, be aware agriculture zoning has the potential for many uses, and some, including certain commercial and agricultural businesses, would not be so desirable.

I am amazed at the number of comments about groundwater by many who oppose this development and development in general. If you go on the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Web site, you will find the state of Florida has seven water management districts that are overseen by governing boards and staffed by every conceivable type of professional or scientist, required to arrive at a reasonable decision on any water-related request or issue. Many of these staff members are strong environmentalists and sensitive to the value of our water supply. If we were in trouble with supply, don't you think they would be sending up a code red? They place water use restrictions on us all to prevent a problem, not because there is imminent doom.

Let's try to trust these individuals to make the right decisions about water use and keep the opinions of the untrained out of the picture.

As a permanent Spring Lake resident, I support the Hickory Hill project because I feel it is well-planned, protects our resources and provides for the best use of the unique Thomas property.

The Thomas family and Sierra Properties together have a plan that will deliver an excellent and known quality to the Spring Lake community and all of Hernando County.

John Crowder, Brooksville

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