Author Topic: OK to Pray? Not According to Lunchroom Teacher who Harassed Little Child  (Read 6403 times)

Offline michaelintp

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The harassment of that little girl is so disgusting.  How twisted has our culture become?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KJiorW8vhTM
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 05:01:04 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline JLI Jesse

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Offline michaelintp

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I agree with you that the comments you found are disgusting.  Just demonstrates how often those who are outspoken on the Internet are jerks.  Unfortunately, we see it all too often.

However, that doesn't take away from the fact that the harassment of this little girl is very disgusting.  Since when it is "illegal" for a child or adult to privately pray, in school, in the workplace, anywhere?  Where the hell does this lunch room teacher get off interfering with this little girl's private prayer (something that she was clearly instructed by her parents to do)?  My guess is that the "teacher" either has a secular anti-religious axe to grind or, more likely, is an ignoramus who doesn't understand (and probably does not care to understand) the First Amendment and therefore thinks it is OK to browbeat a child under the mantra of "separation of church and state" (words found nowhere in the Constitution).
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline JLI Jesse

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However, that doesn't take away from the fact that the harassment of this little girl is very disgusting.  Since when it is "illegal" for a child or adult to privately pray, in school, in the workplace, anywhere?  Where the hell does this lunch room teacher get off interfering with this little girl's private prayer (something that she was clearly instructed by her parents to do)?  My guess is that the "teacher" either has a secular anti-religious axe to grind or, more likely, is an ignoramus who doesn't understand (and probably does not care to understand) the First Amendment and therefore thinks it is OK to browbeat a child under the mantra of "separation of church and state" (words found nowhere in the Constitution).

But in my view, it's not harassment. It sounds like this as only happened once. The school has since said that students are permitted to pray during school and that they will remind all staff members. Problem solved. Their daughter can now pray in peace at school. Instead of harassment, it's sounds like the teacher was someone who was just wrong about the law. Everyone knows about the separation of church and state, not using school funds for religious activity, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if that confused her. Rather than this person being anti-religious satan worshiping moron, there is a better chance that they were simply uninformed. However, regardless of the teacher's own beliefs, he or she shouldn't have said praying was bad. That was their worst offense because they shouldn't be telling a student that praying is either good or bad.

So the school has made it known that it is the right of a student to pray. Major problem solved there. But now everyone seems to want this teacher's head on a pike. The more sane and rational response is to educate teachers on the rights of students regarding prayer in school. You don't have to fire them when you can educate them instead. Yes, the school says they can't figure out who said it. Maybe that's true and maybe that not. We will probably never know. But there is no need to start a witch hunt that can only end with this teacher's life being ruined. We learn from our mistakes and that's what Perez would be promoting. If it happens again, then that's another story.

Also, call me cynical, but what a coincidence that the person losing their mind over this and trying to make it a national story just happens to be vice president of sales for a Christian book publisher. I smell a business opportunity.

I wonder if Marcos Perez would be fighting this ardently if the same thing had happened to a Muslim student praying in school. Again, call me cynical, but I'm betting not.

Offline michaelintp

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I agree with you that the teachers need to be educated. Glad to hear the problem was "solved" in this case, with this school. I agree with most of what you're saying, Jesse. But just because harassment occurs once (that we know of) does not make it any less harassment. Of course that poor little girl was being harassed.  She was taught by her parents that prayer is a good thing, she was proud what she was doing, expecting to be praised, and the teacher slammed her down ..."No, it is BAD."  (Sounds like the teacher repeated this more than once).

In terms of making it a "national" issue, I believe it merited some national attention because the misconception that private prayer or private religious activity can be suppressed in public institutions is, unfortunately, quite common. You are correct that it may have been a misconception, but if so, it is a fairly common one. That needs to be corrected, beyond that one school.

My own inclination would be to see the teacher sanctioned in some way, but not be fired.  Ding the teacher in an eval, something of that sort. That the school doesn't know who the teacher is sounds very "odd" to me.  Like they don't know which teachers were supervising the lunchroom?  Like the child can't identify the teacher?  This is suspicious.

As you say, you don't tell a little girl that prayer is "bad."  That is horrible.  Unless, of course, it is your own child, where you have the right to do as you please.

Of course you know I have no Christian interest in this story.  It doesn't surprise me that a Christian activist/publisher (whatever) did take a special interest in the story.  Rightly so.  But any person who believes in religious freedom (for practitioners of any faith) should find what the teacher did highly objectionable.  As you well know, my view would of course be the same if the little girl were a Muslim child.

One of the objectionable comments above did raise the issue of whether a Muslim child would have been treated the same way by the teacher.  Unfortunately, the person raised the question in a stupid offensive way.  That is, however, a legit question, what with the fear of being accused of "Islamophobia."  The teacher might have had second thoughts of behaving this way with a Muslim child, but felt comfortable doing so with a Christian child.  But then again, maybe not.  That is pure speculation.  Though my guess is the answer to that question might turn on where the anonymous teacher is on the political spectrum.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Of course you know I have no Christian interest in this story.  It doesn't surprise me that a Christian activist/publisher (whatever) did take a special interest in the story.  Rightly so.  But any person who believes in religious freedom (for practitioners of any faith) should find what the teacher did highly objectionable.  As you well know, my view would of course be the same if the little girl were a Muslim child.

One of the objectionable comments above did raise the issue of whether a Muslim child would have been treated the same way by the teacher.  Unfortunately, the person raised the question in a stupid offensive way.  That is, however, a legit question, what with the fear of being accused of "Islamophobia."  The teacher might have had second thoughts of behaving this way with a Muslim child, but felt comfortable doing so with a Christian child.  But then again, maybe not.  That is pure speculation.  Though my guess is the answer to that question might turn on where the anonymous teacher is on the political spectrum.
This absurd notion that Americans are more tolerant of Islam than Christianity...just stop it.

Offline michaelintp

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Please Reg.  There is a fear held by many in public institutions that they don't want to open themselves to accusations of prejudice. In the case of Muslims, of "Islamophobia."  There is no comparable threat of accusation of "Christianophobia." We have seen on your own forum a much stronger propensity to attack Christians than Muslims. You know that is true, and it has been true for many years.  Depending on a teacher's perspective, I can easily envision a teacher having second-thoughts about telling a Muslim child that "prayer is bad" who would not have the same hesitation with a Christian child, because with a Christian child issues of respect for "cultural diversity" don't come into play. I can also imagine a scenario where a teacher might be more inclined to target a Muslim child, but such a teacher would quickly be in deep sh*t (and rightly so).

Telling a child that "prayer is bad" in either case is equally wrong. I would be just as outraged if a Muslim child were abused in the way the Christian child in the video was.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Please Reg.  There is a fear held by many in public institutions that they don't want to open themselves to accusations of prejudice. In the case of Muslims, of "Islamophobia."  There is no comparable threat of accusation of "Christianophobia." We have seen on your own forum a much stronger propensity to attack Christians than Muslims. You know that is true, and it has been true for many years.  Depending on a teacher's perspective, I can easily envision a teacher having second-thoughts about telling a Muslim child that "prayer is bad" who would not have the same hesitation with a Christian child, because with a Christian child issues of respect for "cultural diversity" don't come into play. I can also imagine a scenario where a teacher might be more inclined to target a Muslim child, but such a teacher would quickly be in deep sh*t (and rightly so).

Telling a child that "prayer is bad" in either case is equally wrong. I would be just as outraged if a Muslim child were abused in the way the Christian child in the video was.
Christians are criticized more because their influence and power in the United States is vast enough for many excesses to take place which demand reprimand. But in no way does it compare to Islamophobia or Anti-Semitism in the US, both of which are bigger than any anti-Christian movement.  How many Americans even know a Muslim? 

Growing up in a small town in the midwest, I didn't have any Jewish friends until I changed schools in the 3rd grade.  If I had stayed in the public school system, that would not have happened until college. 

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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I just want to commend Jesse on his well reasoned and kind responses. Kudos, sir.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline michaelintp

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I just want to commend Jesse on his well reasoned and kind responses. Kudos, sir.

Kudos to Jesse indeed. I always enjoy discussions with him.

Curtis, is there any aspect of my reasoning on this thread that you believe is flawed?  Because I believe my and Jesse's comments are largely complimentary and build on one another.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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I just want to commend Jesse on his well reasoned and kind responses. Kudos, sir.

Kudos to Jesse indeed. I always enjoy discussions with him.

Curtis, is there any aspect of my reasoning on this thread that you believe is flawed?  Because I believe my and Jesse's comments are largely complimentary and build on one another.
I think your take on it is fundamentally different than Jesse's and flawed at its root. I agree with Jesse's approach to this as an isolated incident, not a case of institutional harassment. Further, I share his suspicions about the motivations of those publicizing the incident. Finally, I see no basis in reality for your assertion of widespread persecution of Christians in the US (outside of Fox and the like). And I agree with Reggie that your "Islamophobia" claim is absurd.

I do appreciate that your reaction would be the same if the child in question were Muslim.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline michaelintp

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I just want to commend Jesse on his well reasoned and kind responses. Kudos, sir.

Kudos to Jesse indeed. I always enjoy discussions with him.

Curtis, is there any aspect of my reasoning on this thread that you believe is flawed?  Because I believe my and Jesse's comments are largely complimentary and build on one another.
I think your take on it is fundamentally different than Jesse's and flawed at its root. I agree with Jesse's approach to this as an isolated incident, not a case of institutional harassment. Further, I share his suspicions about the motivations of those publicizing the incident. Finally, I see no basis in reality for your assertion of widespread persecution of Christians in the US (outside of Fox and the like). And I agree with Reggie that your "Islamophobia" claim is absurd.

I do appreciate that your reaction would be the same if the child in question were Muslim.

Thank you for responding. Your frequent mention of Fox News after my posts makes me wonder if you think I watch Fox News. I do not. I don't have cable TV. What I really watch is Netflix. I ask this as it seems you sometimes extrapolate and assume I am advocating a position you may have heard on Fox News. Rather than looking carefully at what I am actually saying. This may result in some misunderstanding of what I am actually saying, resulting in your responding to things I did not say and don't believe. Now on to the specific points:

1. I said the TEACHER was harassing the child. I made no mention of "institutional" harassment. To determine if the latter is true an investigation would be needed. Was the teacher acting alone, or following orders or instructions from someone else? If there were orders or instructions, what were they, and from whom? An investigation of these points seems warranted to me. It does seem odd to me that the school administrators "don't know" who the teacher is. This should also be looked into. What if, for example, it were determined that the whole incident were fabricated? An investigation would show this as well. Though I doubt that would be the outcome, unless that child and her parents are good actors. I also don't know if this teacher ever abused another child similarly, and/or whether the incident only occurred with this one child because she is the only one who openly prays before eating a meal in that lunchroom.

2. Jesse and I seem to agree that the likely explanation of the teacher's conduct arises from a mistaken understanding of the permissability of private prayer in public institutions. Based on an overly broad applition of the lay concept of the "separation of church and state."  I believe I am correct that many people misunderstand what is and is not permitted, with some now erring on the side of unwarranted restriction. I don't, however, view this as broad-based "institutional" discrimination against Christians per se. I do, however, believe it is more likely that a teacher or administrator would make this mistake today, as opposed to, say, fifty years ago.

3. I don't think it odd that a religious Christian would be outraged by this incident and speak out publicly. Any more than I would think it odd that, if it had been a Jewish or Muslim child, the first to speak out would be a Jewish or Muslim activist or spokesperson, respectively. No facts that I am aware of suggest the religious Christian is insincere.

4. I have observed a tendency of some on the secular Left to not only disagree with religious Christians on issues, but to also paint them as stupid, etc. (pick any pejorative here). Descending to the level of mockery. We also saw this with respect to Mormons when Mitt Romney was running for President. Some of which, in my view, has fallen into the realm of intolerance. But I would not say it has descended to the level of institutional harassment nationwide. Though, now that you bring it up, in some industries (such as entertainment) it seems that there may be some discrimination, against persons who are openly religious or conservative, but that is not the topic of this thread nor what I had in mind here. I have also seen some persons broadly disparage Muslims as a group, and Jews as a group, etc. Of course. I am not a big fan of religious intolerance.
 
5. My observations regarding whether the teacher would have acted the same if the child had been Muslim (or for that matter an Orthodox Jew) are, I believe, well-reasoned. With a "minority" religion there is an additional consideration that might enter a teacher's mind - the concern regarding a potential charge (or lawsuit) that does not exist in the case of Christians: Allegations of religuous persecution or harassment of a religious minority and disrespect for cultural diversity. I added that whether these considerations would have altered the teacher's conduct in this case is speculative. No way to know for sure. There are, however, additional factors at play when a member of a religuous minority is involved. That was all I was saying. No broader sociological point. I specifically mentioned a Muslim child as that is what Jesse brought up.

My basic position is that all persons should be treated with respect. The little girl (and by extension her parents) were not.

I do believe the matter should be fully investigated. To clearly get to the bottom of how this could have happened.





« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 01:38:27 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Thank you for responding. Your frequent mention of Fox News after my posts makes me wonder if you think I watch Fox News. I do not. I don't have cable TV. What I really watch is Netflix. I ask this as it seems you sometimes extrapolate and assume I am advocating a position you may have heard on Fox News. Rather than looking carefully at what I am actually saying. This may result in some misunderstanding of what I am actually saying, resulting in your responding to things I did not say and don't believe.
It is a fact that alleged persecution of Christians is a recurring theme on Fox News. Your comment reminded me of it. That's it. No other inferences drawn. As for the rest, you asked, so I called it as I see it. You're welcome.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline michaelintp

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Thank you for responding. Your frequent mention of Fox News after my posts makes me wonder if you think I watch Fox News. I do not. I don't have cable TV. What I really watch is Netflix. I ask this as it seems you sometimes extrapolate and assume I am advocating a position you may have heard on Fox News. Rather than looking carefully at what I am actually saying. This may result in some misunderstanding of what I am actually saying, resulting in your responding to things I did not say and don't believe.
It is a fact that alleged persecution of Christians is a recurring theme on Fox News. Your comment reminded me of it. That's it. No other inferences drawn. As for the rest, you asked, so I called it as I see it. You're welcome.

Error ... Curtis ... based on what I wrote above, on what basis did you "call it" the way you did?  I'm truly puzzled here. I don't believe I said anything that is illogical (or, for that matter, unkind).  :-\

It seems all your disagreements with "me" are either with things I didn't say (widespread persecution of Christians, institutional harassment), judging the Christian publisher negatively (without any evidence that is warranted), and denying that were a minority religion involved additional considerations come into play that might (just might) have altered the teacher's conduct.

Really, what am I missing?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 06:23:18 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Really, what am I missing?
Beats me. But I have nothing to add. You asked what I thought; I told you. Do with it what you will. I expect nothing.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."