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    …and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia…

    The spread of virulent theocracy appears to be well-nigh unstoppable in my home state:

    A Pennsylvania school district violated the free-speech rights of a parent who was prevented from reading the Bible to her son’s kindergarten class, an attorney for the woman said on Monday.

    The parent, Donna Busch, has filed a lawsuit against the Marple Newtown School District near Philadelphia, claiming her constitutional rights were breached when a school principal stopped her reading from the Bible in a class last October.

    Busch, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, attended her son Wesley’s class as part of “Me Week,” which gave parents an opportunity to read aloud from their child’s favorite book.

    Busch planned to read Psalm No. 118 but was told by the principal the reading would violate the separation of church and state, according to the suit filed earlier this month.

    Yes, letting mothers read Bible chapters alongside Make Way for Ducklings and Where the Wild Things Are is clearly comparable to the institution of a state religion. Dorkwads. Children are left in the care of people with this kind of judgment?

    The school district has defended the principal, saying his actions upheld the law, and its policies forbid the teaching or advocacy of any religion.

    Ed Partridge, president of the school’s board of directors, said Busch would have broken the law if she read the Bible because it would have amounted to a promotion of religion.

    So this mother is the state? I suppose there’s a dark Freudian appeal there, if you go in for that sort of thing. BTW, for those who, like me, are a bit rusty on which Psalm is which number, Psalm 118 is here. It talks a great deal about God’s role as a protector, but there doesn’t seem to be much about it that endorses an identifiable brand of theology over any other. Any little atheist children traumatized by it aren’t likely to fare any better when it’s time to talk about the spirits in Native American religions, or about how wonderful and peaceable Buddhism is.

    2 Responses to “…and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia…”

    1. Obora says:

      It’s amazing who people jump to judgment without the facts. Donna Busch was going to read ONLY 4 verses (about 10 seconds worth) from the Beginner Bible to the class. Although I am not particularly religious, I can see where a children’s Bible with stories and pictures would have appeal to kids. And I can tell you that Wesley’s favorite book is the Bible. (For the other two children in the family, this is not the favorite book. Also, there is a 2003 ruling by the department of education that reading of religious material is permitted as part of homework or educational activities, which, was clearly the case here.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, the whole Reuters story didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t mention that she had planned to read a short passage, and it also contained this juxtaposition:

      Busch planned to read Psalm No. 118 but was told by the principal the reading would violate the separation of church and state, according to the suit filed earlier this month.

      Some U.S. religious groups are fighting for inclusion of “intelligent design,” a theory they say competes with evolution, into biology classes, and another Pennsylvania school district is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for including intelligent design in its curriculum.

      I don’t think any of this is factually untrue, but it gives the impression that this incident is somehow related in a meaningful way to debates over what should officially be in the curriculum, when it’s obvious that it really isn’t. There’s no indication that the mother was pressing to have the Bible assigned to the children. (If, as I assume from your signature and e-mail, you’re a relative of Ms. Busch’s, you’d know more about this than I do; I’m just going by what’s been reported.) The whole thing seems like a non-issue.

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