Prayer in Public School? It’s the Twenty-First Century!

I read a fairly short article on Huffington Post Alberta, which I agreed with. But that’s not the interesting thing. On Facebook, there was a rather heated argument.  And I got myself involved in it briefly.

There’s a woman who was supporting the Lord’s Prayer being recited in public schools in Saskatchewan, and a lot of people argued against her, saying that the prayer infringes on non-Christians’ right to be exempt from it. In Canada, you cannot impose your religion on another person. The woman argued that since the others were asking that the prayer not be said in class, they were infringing on her children’s right to say the prayer. But that’s not what they were saying at all. They were saying that her children could pray however they like, but the other children should not be forced to do it. She went absolutely nuts. I chimed in with my own little comment:

Your kids can pray whatever they want whenever they want. That is their right. However, that prayer should not be forced on other kids who may not be Christian. It’s a public school. Atheism is not being taught. School subjects are being taught. Religion doesn’t come into it. Religion is a personal thing and should remain private. Your kids can pray if they want, but don’t make mine pray to something they don’t believe in.

You see, she claimed that her children were being taught atheism. They weren’t, of course. I presume that she believes that the teaching of evolution, the big bang, and science in general is the teaching of atheism. It’s not. She later said that scientists believed that the Earth was flat. Actually, that didn’t happen. I added this:

Late to this conversation. Judy, it’s been know that the earth is round since the times of Ancient Greece. No one suggested it was flat after that. Anyone who captained a ship knew the world was round, because they has to take that into account when calculating their location and direction.

The belief that Columbus thought the world was flat is completely wrong. He knew the Earth was round. He was trying to find a shortcut to India across the ocean. He just ended up running into a few islands in the Caribbean. But that’s another story.

Back to the original topic. The teaching of religion in public schools should never be something forced on students. If you include one religion, you must include the others. If you have prayers in class, they should be silent, and should never be forced on students. Nor should they be shamed into it. Like I said on Facebook, religion is a personal, private thing. It should never be imposed on others. And public schools are for learning the skills needed to become a functional adult in society. Leave the teaching of religion to churches.

One other thing, she wouldn’t respond to this. Someone asked her that if she follows the Bible religiously, does she obey Matthew 6:5-6? Prayer is not to be done publicly, but in the privacy of your own home. Anyway, I’m staying out of that. I’m not going to argue scripture, because I find it a pointless activity.

What do you think? Should kids in public schools have to pray? Or should religion be kept out of public schools completely? The comments section is open for a little debate. But keep it civil, please.

The Anticipation of Going to Canada

It’s only two and a half months until we’re in Canada. It’s been more than five years since I’ve set foot in my home country. But this time, we’re going there to stay. I’m going to miss Japan a lot, and there are things I don’t really want to leave, but there are some things I’m looking forward to. They may not be typical things, though.

  • Landing in Vancouver. We will no longer have to worry about lugging around our six suitcases and three carry on bags. How the hell are we going to get to Narita? Actually, how are we going to get those bags from our home in Fujisawa to my wife’s parents’ house? I’ll be glad when my sister and mom pick us up, and we won’t have to worry about how to get them from place to place.
  • Taking the ferry to Vancouver Island. It’s been nearly twenty years since I’ve taken the ferry. I loved it back then, and I’m sure I’ll love it this time. One of the highlights of traveling to the island.
  • The Rocky Mountains. We’ll be driving back to Edmonton through the mountains. That will be great.
  • University of Victoria. I want to see the campus again. As an alumnus, if I had a card for the alumni association, I could use the library any time I wanted. But I just want to see the campus and the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • Downtown Victoria. I lived downtown for a while, and I spent a lot of time there. It’s beautiful. I really want to see it again.
  • Prairie clouds. The clouds in Japan are nice, but there’s something I never get to see here: huge cumulonimbus clouds that bring thunderstorms. Those things are incredible.
  • Big sky. Here in Japan, there are so many multi-storey buildings everywhere. The streets are narrow, and there aren’t many wide open spaces. The sky seems small here. The prairies have a very big sky.
  • Driving. I like Canada’s roads. I feel comfortable on them. The ones in Japan, not so much.
  • Dill pickle potato chips. I just love them.
  • Harvey’s burgers. I love them, too.
  • Central heating. I like to have a warm home in winter. In Japan, no central heating and poor insulation lead to cold homes in winter.
  • People. Especially friends and family. It’ll be great to see them again. But this time, I want to meet as many of my friends as I can.
  • Travel. From Canada, we should be able to afford to travel more often.
  • Lack of city tax and national health insurance premiums. Those costs are so high in Japan. No city tax for me to pay in Canada, and health insurance is dirt cheap.
  • Carpet. That’s right, carpet. We have hardwood floors, which is fine, if you like them, but I love the feeling of carpet on my feet.
  • Bookstores. I look forward to seeing English books everywhere. That’ll be incredible.

Well, that’s about it for now. Some of them are typical, while others aren’t. Any surprises? Let me know in the comments below.