Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

Why is it acceptable for our state funded prisons to employ chaplains, but not our state funded public schools?


Painkiller

Recommended Posts

"Why is it that our children can't read a bible in school, but in prisons they can?"

I read this bumper sticker on somebody's car on the way home from work today, and I started thinking about this statement as a legtimate topic for discussion.

Kids in school have the "right" to not have Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) crammed down their throat, according to some. The state is not supposed to "endorse" any religion.

Then when some end up in prison down the road (I am not implying that every child who does not adhere to a religious belief will end up in prison) religion is not only readily available in all it's forms. Christian, Catholic, Spanish Catholic, Islam, etc. etc it is actively presented to the inmate population via a chaplain. Inmates regularly attend "church" services, and other religious based programming in the facilities. Some of you long time members know that I am a Correctional Officer, so I have a first-hand perspective.

Public Schools are part of the system. Detention Centers and Prisons are also. What if an inmate's family is "offended" by the Detention Center chaplain offering "guidance" to the inmate population? The mere fact that an inmate in a "state" facility has to be "exposed' to anything spiritual is a "violation" of their civil liberties under a secular government, right? Apparently this same argument works in the school system, why not for the prisons?

I would argue that finding "spirituality" is not only allowed in prisons, but in a manner encouraged by having a "chaplain" as a legitimate paid employee of the given institution.

Discuss

(Let's have a legit discussion here. I ask that everybody avoid taking the mere presence of such a thread as an attack (or endorsement) of your religious beliefs or civil liberties beliefs. :) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would think that the difference would be that in prison, you have a choice to attend or not attend whatever service you like. It's not like you can leave the prison and go to church.

With schools, students are expected to follow a cirriculum. They don't have a 'choice' in what they learn, so you can't just throw religion in there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would think that the difference would be that in prison, you have a choice to attend or not attend whatever service you like. It's not like you can leave the prison and go to church.

With schools, students are expected to follow a cirriculum. They don't have a 'choice' in what they learn, so you can't just throw religion in there.

Exactly.

In what manner do you want religion to be in schools OP?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's a fallacious premise. in fairfax county in the 90's, we read much of the bible in 11th grade AP literature (no idea if they still do). i don't think there's any prohibition on the bible being taught as literature or in a course on religion. what's prohibited is a public institution showing allegiance or preference towards any religion.

however, having said that, i see your point that prisons might be more or less pushing christianity -- i don't know anything about that. it's worth noting that the military is full of chaplains as well. it does seem to be sort of blurring the line to say the least, but i don't think getting rid of them is possible or desirable.

maybe an argument could be made that the difference is prisons and military deal with adults, while schools deal with children, who are more susceptible to the influence of the institution. that seems kind of arbitrary, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think really the only similarity the two institutions have is that they are funded by the state (save Federal prison, obv.). From what I gather, OP thinks that chaplains in prison are presented to all inmates regardless of choice, when that's not the case.

Kosher is right - religion is an escape for many convicts and offers peace of mind. While I suppose John B. Islam may be offended at a Christian chaplain, it's hard to think it would even become a legitamate issue. After all, you're in prison. Bigger fish to fry.

edit: greenspandan is right - the amount of outrage that would arise if religion was revoked from military/prisons would far dwarf any present circumstance as an issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to comment on the bumper sticker itself, that's a pretty silly statement. Children are welcome to read their Bibles or whatever book they'd like on their own time in public schools. I've never heard of a teacher or faculty member taking away a religious textbook if a child was reading to themselves on their own time. Same thing with prayer. No state has ever banned individuals praying on public school property. Just do it on your own time. With jails you're dealing with some form of rehabilitation (at least that's supposed to be the goal). In that aspect, I have no problem with convicts being exposed to religion or a set of morality, as long as they aren't forced to attend or listen. It would seem to me the preacher would be more so a type of counselor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think the answer to this question is "because prisons are not all that analagous to schools". kids attend school from morning to afternoon, then go home, and are expected to fulfil their spiritual needs on weekends and on their own time. prisoners are in prison 24/7 (as is the military), and the prison has a constitutional obligation to allow the spiritual needs of its inmates to be met.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are children not allowed to read the Bible in school? Just because it's not taught in school doesn't mean you can't read it. I'm not certain, but I'd imagine there are many schools that have Bible study clubs too.

I think it's more a matter of spending tax money on Bible study and the fact that it's a waste considering you'd have to account for different religions, and because people can just go to church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

prison is a 24/7 institution. There is no leaving prison for church. School, on the other hand, only occupies what, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week minus summers and other holidays? Plenty of time to squeeze in religion outside of school on their own time and of their own volition. Prison? Not so much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are children not allowed to read the Bible in school? Just because it's not taught in school doesn't mean you can't read it. I'm not certain, but I'd imagine there are many schools that have Bible study clubs too.

You're exactly right children are allowed to read the Bible in school, they are even allowed to give reports on Biblical things so long as those things fall into the parameters of the class, children are allowed to pray, they're allowed to wear Christian t-shirts, and there are many schools that have Bible study clubs.

The bumper sticker is simply a falsehood.

---------- Post added February-22nd-2011 at 05:30 PM ----------

I saw one that said "Show me your tits!"

I don't want that in school either, but my high school son strongly disagrees.

~Bang

No comment....:paranoid:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, let's look at it another way.

Both Prisons and Schools are funded by the state. Both are Public institutions. Separation of church and state.

Prisons have paid chaplains to "administer" to the prison population. The very idea of a "chaplain" in public schools would send some people into a conniption fit.

For further clarification, I'm not saying that religion should be present in schools. I want people to make a compelling argument about how spirituality being presented to the student body is different then it being presented to the prison population. If the "state" is "secular" then all facets of the state should be secular right? There should be no paid chaplains in "state" facilities right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For further clarification, I'm not saying that religion should be present in schools. I want people to make a compelling argument about how spirituality being presented to the student body is different then it being presented to the prison population. If the "state" is "secular" then all facets of the state should be secular right? There should be no paid chaplains in "state" facilities right?

prisons hold people against their will. Religious freedom is one of the most basic freedoms that not even criminals should be stripped of. There is a question, though, of equal access for all the different religions.

(this is coming from an atheist libertarian)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, let's look at it another way.

Both Prisons and Schools are funded by the state. Both are Public institutions. Separation of church and state.

Prisons have paid chaplains to "administer" to the prison population. The very idea of a "chaplain" in public schools would send some people into a conniption fit.

For further clarification, I'm not saying that religion should be present in schools. I want people to make a compelling argument about how spirituality being presented to the student body is different then it being presented to the prison population. If the "state" is "secular" then all facets of the state should be secular right? There should be no paid chaplains in "state" facilities right?

because like i and several others have said: since prison is a 24/7 institution, it has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the spiritual needs of its inmates are met. schools are part time. you go home on weekends and afternoons and summers, and if all that isn't enough time to get all your god jollies, then you are free to enroll in a private school. no such luck with prison.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, let's look at it another way.

Both Prisons and Schools are funded by the state. Both are Public institutions. Separation of church and state.

Prisons have paid chaplains to "administer" to the prison population. The very idea of a "chaplain" in public schools would send some people into a conniption fit.

For further clarification, I'm not saying that religion should be present in schools. I want people to make a compelling argument about how spirituality being presented to the student body is different then it being presented to the prison population. If the "state" is "secular" then all facets of the state should be secular right? There should be no paid chaplains in "state" facilities right?

Not all prisons are state funded. I think prisons are widely privatized.

I am one who wants no religious teaching in public schools beyond the history and current events aspect.

BUT, I also give a lot of leewayin this regard in that these are not students, but offenders, and in a lot of cases, very violent ones. If a bible can keep them placid, give it to them.

If it can help them turn their lives around, GIVE it to them. It a very inexpensive way to achieve these ends.

~Bang

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it's about the separation of church and state. I don't know how it started, but it would benefit the state to have prisoners take advantage of church services as a form of rehabilitation. I'm sure it costs a lot less than psychiatrists, which would be another option that prisoners may or may not choose to use.

It's probably one of those things that has just always been there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not all prisons are state funded. I think prisons are widely privatized.

I am one who wants no religious teaching in public schools beyond the history and current events aspect.

BUT, I also give a lot of leewayin this regard in that these are not students, but offenders, and in a lot of cases, very violent ones. If a bible can keep them placid, give it to them.

If it can help them turn their lives around, GIVE it to them. It a very inexpensive way to achieve these ends.

~Bang

Ok, for the sake of argument we are talking about the Maryland Division of Correction. A state funded institution....and St. Mary's County Public School System. Also, a state funded institution. (... and your post pretty much gets to where I'm going with this. I'm playing Devil's advocate here.) Maryland Division of Corrections has state employees who act as Chaplains in the facilities. They cater to the spiritual "needs" of the inmates. As far as I know, no such employee exists in any public school system in Maryland. Public schools have "guidance counselors."

If a bible can help a prisoner "get his life together," couldn't it also help a troubled teen overcome a troubled home life and improve his grades? What I'm saying, is that if it's right for prisoners, why is it wrong for students? Are we willing to give up our right and true "principals" so easily just to accommodate a criminal?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it's about the separation of church and state. I don't know how it started, but it would benefit the state to have prisoners take advantage of church services as a form of rehabilitation. I'm sure it costs a lot less than psychiatrists, which would be another option that prisoners may or may not choose to use.

It's probably one of those things that has just always been there.

And for heaven's sake.

Prisoners are adults who are in state custody 24/7. Students are children who are in state custody 8 hours a day 200 days a year.

If Prisoners want Bible study, the state is depriving them of their constitutional right by denying it. If students want Bible Study, they have 128 other hours a week and three months in the summer to get it.

This whole analogy is insulting since it is conflating students with prisoners and adults with children as if all groups were the same.

You know who has a chaplain's office? A state university.

You know why? Because college students are ****ing adults.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

because like i and several others have said: since prison is a 24/7 institution, it has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the spiritual needs of its inmates are met.

but our system does not acknowledge the "need" for spirituality. Our system is secular.

Right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...