Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just a bit more on the Power Team...

Here's an opinion piece about the Power Team I found that lays bare some interesting facts. Among them is that the Power Team has, within the last year, been performing in PUBLIC SCHOOLS and taking in taxpayer money for doing it. Aside from the absurdity of it, I have no problem at all with these guys performing to their (gigantic) heart's content at church functions or in private auditoriums, nor does it bother me that they take cash from religious folk. If you want to pay for these guys then by all means do it. Like I said before, they do some cool stuff. What bugs me is the idea of kids being forced to attend one of these witnessing events as a compulsory assembly at school while taxpayers are made to foot the bill. Now in the article above, the school districts in question ultimately showed good judgment and opted to cancel the Power Team's performances. How many other school districts have not made such a prudent choice?

Public schools should remain secular (and I don't mean atheistic here - there's a difference) when it comes to what they teach children. It is not the state's place to take any stance on religion whether in the school system or anywhere else. Doing so imperils the freedom of conscience that our founding fathers so wisely sought to secure for us. This is a point that is lost on some of the people I talk to and it makes me sad that they can't see the issue. Teaching evolution in schools rather than creationism is the right thing to do - it's science, not evil atheistic science, just plain science. There is no religious stance inherent in it, regardless of what some folks might have you believe. Creationism and it's trenchcoated pal Intelligent Design, on the other hand, are based on a specific set of religious assumptions - something the state has no business pushing on kids.

This is a fine distinction that is often very easily (or intentionally) blurred. Let me clarify with a somewhat different example: I would wholeheartedly support Richard Dawkins giving a talk about evolutionary biology at a public high school. I would be opposed to him giving a talk about The God Delusion at the same public high school.

I am an atheist, and I think that the world would be better off if religion had significantly less influence or disappeared completely. I also stand firm on the side of freedom of conscience, and I would no sooner desire that the state mandate atheism than I would submit to it mandating any religion.

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