Thursday, November 25, 2004
Freedom from being uncomfortable: or "Don't know much about history." I was briefly listening to what I hope was a replay of the Alan Colmes radio show (I mean, they gave the guy Thanksgiving off, right?) earlier this evening when I quickly discovered that the night's subject of debate was whether or not the founding fathers believed in God.
Colmes repeatedly referenced Thomas Jefferson and his personal letter that gave us the famous phrase "separation of church and state."
Colmes knows better, but chooses to deny the fact that this nation was built on Judeo-Christian ideals.
Twenty years from now, the next liberal talk show host may not know better -- especially if they went to public school in Maryland.
"We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective," said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary's County Public Schools curriculum and instruction director.
School administrators statewide agree, saying religion never coincides with how they teach Thanksgiving to students.
Too much censorship can compromise a strong curriculum, some educators said.
"Schools don't want to do anything that would influence or act against the religious preferences of their students," said Lissa Brown, Maryland State Teacher's Association assistant executive director. "But the whole subject of religious toleration is a part of our history and needs to be taught."
Brown, a former social studies teacher, said she was surprised to hear schools aren't teaching about the Pilgrims' faith in God.
Teaching about a secular Thanksgiving counters the holiday's original premise as stated by George Washington in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation: "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."
And to think I was one of the three wise men in my public school kindergarten Christmas pageant.