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Muslim Prayer Allowed in San Diego–Christian Prayer Denied in Bayonne

Somehow I missed hearing about this story until yesterday, and when I did so, I listened carefully, then read thoroughly about this development. My ire is raised…for it is reported that in Carver, a San Diego elementary public school, a time during class hours has been set aside for Muslim led prayers, and that the school is now offering classes in Arabic.

Carver school no longer serves pork and other foods which conflict with fundamental Muslims diet restrictions. In addition, single gender classes for girls have been set up there.

When I read this, my mind raced to Jeremy Jerschina, the valedictorian of his graduating class, who was forbidden to include a prayer in his address to the assembled people during the ceremonies.

Please carefully read both of these accounts …and think…what you’re reading. It’s outrageous!

Muslim prayers in school debated

S.D. elementary at center of dispute

By Helen Gao
STAFF WRITER San Diego Tribute

July 2, 2007

A San Diego public school has become part of a national debate over religion in schools ever since a substitute teacher publicly condemned an Arabic language program that gives Muslim students time for prayer during school hours.

Carver Elementary in Oak Park added Arabic to its curriculum in September when it suddenly absorbed more than 100 students from a defunct charter school that had served mostly Somali Muslims.

OVERVIEW Background: The U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines say students can pray at public schools during school hours by themselves or with fellow students. However, Šteachers and other public school officials may not lead their classes in prayer, devotional readings from the Bible or other religious activities. What’s happening: A substitute teacher claimed that Carver Elementary School in San Diego was indoctrinating students into Islam, and that a teacher’s aide led Muslim children in prayer. An investigation failed to substantiate the claims, but the allegations have thrust Carver into a nationwide debate over prayer in schools. The future: Carver, which has set aside a 15-minute break to allow time for students to pray, is considering alternative prayer accommodations. Religious and civil rights groups are monitoring developments.

After subbing at Carver, the teacher claimed that religious indoctrination was taking place and said that a school aide had led Muslim students in prayer.

An investigation by the San Diego Unified School District failed to substantiate the allegations. But critics continue to assail Carver for providing a 15-minute break in the classroom each afternoon to accommodate Muslim students who wish to pray. (Those who don’t pray can read or write during that non-instructional time.)

Some say the arrangement at Carver constitutes special treatment for a specific religion that is not extended to other faiths. Others believe it crosses the line into endorsement of religion.

Article continues here.

The Bayonne High School graduation ceremonies on July 20 were marred by a controversy over the inclusion of a prayer in this year’s Valedictory Address.

Traditionally, the top student of the graduating class speaks during the ceremonies, often expressing feelings about the past and hopes for the future.

But a few days before the June 20 ceremonies, Jeremy Jerschina – this year’s valedictorian – was asked to submit his speech for review.

The speech ended with a prayer to God, which was deemed unacceptable by school officials.

The article continues here.

Here is Jeremy’s “offensive” prayer:

Dear God,
I am to You forever grateful for Your Creation. You placed Your eternal Hand upon the Earth and created Man. You have created him of every tongue and race, and gave him the capacity to grasp at least some of the vast multiplicity which You precisely engineered.
Thank You, Lord, for bringing us together tonight to celebrate both our achievements and those individuals who have helped lead us to this level of accomplishment.
Also, lest we forget about You in the midst of our individual successes, I ask You impart in us an understanding and remembrance of Your omnipresent power and might.
Lord, I pray that You guide, protect and bless us.
I give You all praise and honor for Your Creation, for Your love, for Your mercy, and for the life that You proffer to us daily. In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.

What is wrong with our country, our Christian nation formed on Judeao-Christian values? What has happened to our throats that sing loudly, God Bless America, and on whose coins is stamped In God We Trust?

Who is behind these wretched decisions that provide for Muslims to have special menus, class arrangements and adult led prayers during class time, but who deny a high school valedictorian the opportunity to say a godly prayer in which Jesus Christ is mentioned? Something is terribly wrong here.

I will get lots of flack from this post–I know that, but I am prepared for it. I hope too, that you who are of like thinking as I, will also speak. We must not be silent against the terrible war that is raging against our country, and that threatens to destroy the freedom to practice our cherished Judeo-Christian values–values that were brought at great price.


My devotional blog is here.

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Profoundly Outrageous School Assembly

It was early in the morning yesterday when I learned of the assembly that recently took place in the Boulder, Colorado high school. During the mandatory assembly, this outrageous speaker, Joel Becker, an associate clinical professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, encouraged the students to engage in sex, and to use drugs. Not only did he advise sex, but he encouraged the students not to limit their sexual experience to people of their own sex. A direct quotation follows: “Well, I don’t care if it’s with men and men, women and women, men and women, however, whatever combination you would like to put together.

The speaker spoke in such an offensive way that at the school board which later met to discuss several parental objections, the following exchange occurred:

At one point, school board president Helayne Jones told Priscilla White to stop reading excerpts from the panel discussion because the language was inappropriate for the meeting.

“But it was at Boulder High School,” Priscilla White responded. “If they can listen to it, I think you can listen to it.”

There are other startling developments in our school systems. Last week, a teacher showed the controversial “homosexual” film, Brokeback Mountain, to a group of 8th graders. The film is rated R, and the students were required to watch it.

A couple of weeks ago, teachers in Murfreesboro, Tenn. subjected their class to an imaginary terrorist attack. From an AP article reprinted in the Edmonton Sun comes the following article.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables. The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip. “We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said. But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged. “The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip. Some parents said they were upset by the staff’s poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman. During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on locked door. After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said. “I was like, ’Oh My God,’ “ she said. “At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out.” Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation “involved poor judgment.”

WHAT is going on in our school systems? I’m outraged.


My devotional blog is here.

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Evan Wins National Spelling Bee

Congratulations for winning this spelling bee go to both this fine young man and his mother, Jennifer, who schools him at home. I’m encouraged with our world when I read of such people; their brilliance, their dedication, and their accomplishments. Here’s to the upstanding and focused young people among us.

 AP Photo

Having spelled “serrefine” to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Evan O’Dorney is ready to tackle an even more unusual challenge for a 13-year-old boy.

“In the fall,” said his mother, Jennifer, “he’ll be taking calculus.”

Evan, a home-schooled eighth-grader from Danville, Calif., breezed through the competition Thursday night to become the nation’s top speller. He said he knew the winning word — a noun describing small forceps — the moment the pronouncer said it, but he was more enthusiastic when he spoke about an upcoming math camp this summer and the calculus class he’ll be taking at the University of California at Berkeley.

Read the entire article here.