Time to Push for Religious Instruction in Public Schools?

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:22 am by Steve

This has my stamp of approval.

(AgapePress) – A constitutional attorney says school districts often employ a double-standard when making religious accommodations for students.
Last week The Washington Post reported that the Howard County (Maryland) School Board may continue a policy that has allowed Muslim students to leave school 20 minutes early on Fridays to attend prayer services. Opponents of the policy say the students are missing too much instruction time over the course of a year. But Joshua M. Kaufman, chairman of the Howard County Board of Education, told The Post that “constitutionally, we are obligated to make reasonable accommodation to those who wish to practice their religion.”
Steve Crampton, chief counsel at the American Family Association’s Center for Law & Policy, says there is a great deal of irony involved in the situation.
“For the first time perhaps, the public schools are starting to actually put teeth into the constitutional requirement that they make reasonable accommodations for the practice of religion,” Crampton points out. “The irony, of course, is that if this was a Christian bunch asking to leave because they had a Bible study or something, they would be roundly ignored or flatly refused.”
Crampton says this may be a prime opportunity for Christians to push for religious instruction in district schools, as Howard County may have no choice but to make similar accommodations for Christian students.
“Back in 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court [in Zorach v. Clauson] faced a situation in which public school students were allowed to leave campus to receive explicit Christian religious instruction,” the attorney notes, “and the school upheld the practice under the so-called ‘released time’ program.”
In fact, high school students in South Carolina now receive academic credit for off-campus religion classes. The South Carolina Released Time Credit Act was signed into law in early June by Governor Mark Sanford. The act states that “the free exercise of religion is important to the intellectual, moral, civic, and ethical development of students” in the state.

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