Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cinnamon Shenanigans

I wonder if Cinnamon Stillwell has a column solely because her thinking doesn't match her hippie name.

Anyway, she takes issue with a new scourge of Islamic indoctrination in schools.

She sites as an example:

Last month, students at Friendswood Junior High in Houston were required to attend an "Islamic Awareness" presentation during class time allotted for physical education. The presentation involved two representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization with a record of Islamist statements and terrorism convictions. According to students, they were taught that "there is one God, his name is Allah" and that "Adam, Noah and Jesus are prophets." Students were also taught about the Five Pillars of Islam and how to pray five times a day and wear Islamic religious garb. Parents were not notified about the presentation and it wasn't until a number of complaints arose that school officials responded with an apologetic e-mail.
I can't help but wonder - and, frankly, assume, that what is described as students having been "taught that," they were "taught about." Semantics? Sure, but an important distinction.

In the sixth grade, Arshad Ali's mom came in for, I think, a few days during our history time and taught us about Isam. The praying. The Pillars. It was interesting, even to a sixth grader. I don't recall notices going home for that lesson any more than they did when Amy's mom came in to teach us how to play Dreidel and eat Kosher foods.

How can anyone honestly arge that being taught ABOUT is the same as being taught THAT. If your kiddies aren't exposed, they'll forever remain too stupid and weak to maintain their own beliefs. That's gotta be worse than learning about praying, right?

Of course, the greatest danger in painting all instruction about other religions with the same "DANGER!" brush, is that we lose the ability to identify what might actually constitute an inappropriate blurring of church and state. Somewhere between a slippery slope and a bright line must come deliberative thought, no?

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