LETTER: God and religion have no business in classrooms

To the editor:

With regards to the letter “Bring God Back Into the Classroom” on Jan 29, 2020. The writer is stating that without religion in the public school system that teachers, and by extension their students, are prone to lack the moral fortitude we, as citizens, expect from members of our community.

Many studies have shown that several species of animals exhibit what most would call a healthy moral or ethical code, showing compassion, consideration for feelings and needs of their peers etc. This has been documented in studies of dogs, crows, apes, horses and many more species. I suppose the writer would have us believe that these observed moral codes are due to the fact that these animals are God-fearing beings and are therefore compelled to behave accordingly. I find it more likely that all animals, including human beings, have evolved to realize that life and survival depends greatly upon their ability to co-exist with others in a mutually beneficial way.

As far as expressing a desire to have “God in the Classroom”, the writer fails to state which God. Well… which “God”? I can assume he is referring to the god of Abraham but that would be presumptuous on my part. Clearly, from an anthropological point of view, there are quite literally hundreds of gods he could be referring to. While most are considered frivolous by today’s standards there is still, by no means, only one left to choose from. It would be both immoral and unethical to exclude any one of them. Or, perhaps (and I’ll go out on a limb here) we should simply leave the choice of whether or not to believe in a god (and/or which god) outside of the public school system. Where it belongs.

Advances in science, education and our knowledge, over the last couple of hundred years has served to challenge religious authority on many fronts, and rightly so. Prior to that, human kind spend 2000 years believing that planet Earth was at the center of the universe, while the sun and all other visible objects in the night sky revolved around us, at the insistence of religious authority and despite evidence to the contrary as early as the third-century BCE. Those with an open mind to science and knowledge who challenged that religious doctrine were often, quite literally, tortured and murdered. Galileo being one of the most famous of those who gave his life for the cause and Copernicus didn’t publish his evidence of a heliocentric solar system until after his death for fear of religious persecution. Hundreds of millions of people in our history have been tortured, raped, murdered and pillaged in the name of religious authority. This is still going on to this day. In fact, by all measures, the largest single cause of direct human suffering throughout recorded history is religious in nature. Where was/is the moral code of these perpetrators.

Religion in our public schools, I don’t think so. I’m certain we can do much better than that. (Perhaps we can start with some rudimentary skills such as cursive writing and grammar.)

Ken Hansen

West Kelowna, B.C.

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