Inspired By Ohio’s Religious Study Bill for Pupils, I Made an Education Plan For My Daughters

I’m going to keep both my daughters, 8 and 10, home from school two mornings each week. On those mornings, I’m going to educate them on core ideas and values that my wife and I share, and then we’ll demand that the school provide the children full academic credit for the things they learned while they weren’t at school with the rest of the students. It’s our right, you see? Here’s what we’ll do:

On Tuesday mornings, I’ll be teaching my girls all about alternative medicine, because I want them to become well-versed in the art of magnet-healing and aromatherapy.

On Thursday mornings, my wife will teach the kids cleromancy (the casting of bones) — and her favorite, dowsing.

That’s our plan. Do you like it?

I ask because members of the Ohio House of Representatives are considering a bipartisan bill that will let public high schools give students time off for religious instruction. These students, despite missing as much as a fifth of the regular curriculum, will receive credit toward graduation for religious lessons taken during school hours but outside of school.

It’s a loophole thought up by terribly oppressed creative Christians after the Supreme Court ruled, in McCollum v. Board of Education, that a state’s mandatory education system may not be used to aid in the teaching of religious doctrine, and that it’s illegal to use tax-supported school buildings for such a purpose.

So parents and schools had to think of something, and lo and behold, they did! Schools — public schools — began accommodating the wishes of pious parents by allowing children to take religious instruction in non-public buildings during regular school time. Parents’ homes will do nicely, and for group lessons, something as simple as a converted (ha!) bus parked just outside the school can serve as a classroom.  The Supreme Court, in Zorach v. Clauson, ruled 6-3 that that’s no problem. “The public schools do no more than accommodate their schedules to a program of outside religious instruction,” the Court said.

Of course, for the religious students, that means substantially less time learning English, math, geography, and so on. Consider it a small sacrifice to please the Lord. says that if the Ohio bill becomes law, the state will join only South Carolina in offering school credit for outside religious classes. (Wikipedia, on the other hand, claims it’s happening pretty widely in Utah and New York too, and that nationwide, these so-called “released-time programs” involve some 250,000 students.)

I don’t happen to live in any of those states, but if I did, you wouldn’t want to discriminate against my deeply held beliefs in dowsing and cleromancy, would you?

And please don’t say that those things aren’t like religion. They are widely referred to as divination, which clearly has the root divine in it. We’re talking about truths revealed by supernatural forces here. Don’t you dare mock and dismiss what I believe in my heart.

If worst comes to worst, and the authorities cruelly insist that my family’s profound beliefs are in fact not the equivalent of religion, we’re going to have to go to plan B. We’ll still take our girls out of school two mornings a week, but we’ll teach them the tenets of our religious faith. My wife practices Winti and I am a committed follower of Urglaawe.

Our Muslim neighbors, meanwhile, are excited about the opportunity to religiously instruct their children during schooltime, too, and will teach them, per the Koran, to strive for a world where Sharia is the standard of justice.

The Wiccan couple across the street is also on board, but I don’t really know what they’ll teach their kids. Probably some poppycock. Between you and me, those guys are weirdos.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Beth

    Why does it have to be Ohio…I’m writing some e-mails tonight to my reps.

  • Kevin

    As a Utahn I think our states religious education is a bit different than that proposed by Ohio. Students are allowed to miss 1 period of school a day (in a 7 period course, it gets weird – at least to me – for other schedules), but they do not get school credit. That being said, the number of credits required for graduation quite nicely, and I am sure completely coincidentally, line up to the 6 period schedule often adhered to by LDS students. The studying takes place off campus, but The Church(tm) NEVER has difficulty acquiring property right next door to the campus. Ostensibly other religions could take advantage of the time (called released time) to do the same but I don’t think they would get the favorable property acquisition opportunities.

    • b33bl3br0x

      To be fair, my high school also had a 7 period course schedule when graduation requirements only required a 6 period course schedule. They actually changed it to 7 period days between my freshman and sophomore years. I don’t recall all of the justifications given for it but I know that off campus excursions for 1 period of the day were not allowed. I recall that there was a problem that under the 6 period day honors students were unable to participate in fine arts and practical arts classes because there were 6 honors classes (math, 2 sciences to be picked from bio, chem, and physics, history, english and foreign language), this also caused a problem with state mandated courses such as P.E. (which you had to take at least one year). There were also talks about making the class that was basically a study hall accessible to more students.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    As an actual Heathen, I’m both offended and amused by your mockery.
    Carry on, sir, and give those Christians what for!

  • captain_picard

    As an Ohio public school teacher, I can tell you that this is terrible. First of all, having students arriving at school late on certain days of the week–well, I can tell you there’s no room in any budget for extra buses to pick these children up, not to mention the logistical headache of keeping track of their excused absences. Even the bus just off of the property would be incredibly annoying, as at my school students are not allowed to leave the school building, and therefore the building can be locked with controlled entrance. The administrative staff have better things to do than deal with however many kids trying to enter the building and get to class partway through the morning. Just thinking about how annoying it would be to have kids regularly missing my class and asking for their work and turning things in late makes me want to shoot myself in the face.

    On a side note, if you’re going to practice divination, you really need to go all the way and learn haruspicy.

    • smalltownamy

      In Indiana, teachers are being rated on student test performance. Is Ohio doing the same? How are teachers to be held accountable for the test scores of students who are only in class part time?

      • captain_picard

        That is a GREAT QUESTION. Students have to be absent a certain number of days to not be counted in the numbers, and I believe that’s full days, not counted by specific classes. So these students would be disadvantaging themselves and their schools. Bad for everyone.

      • jc

        Starting next school year, yes.

        • NewDawn2006

          If such is the case, teachers, and their union, should be raising hell. They shouldn’t be held accountable for scores when the state isn’t even requiring students to attend school.

  • Jenn

    In Southern Idaho, every high school parking lot is either across the street or adjacent to a Mormon “seminary”. LDS students leave public school to get their religious education, each day. I don’t believe they get school credit, but they are allowed to leave campus. Most schools have a “zero” hour for this purpose, so students have an opportunity to get all their classes in. It is seriously bizarre that, while I’m sure “all religions” have the opportunities to buy those properties, only the LDS church has such disposable income? or are privy to information before a school is built? Because I have NEVER seen any other religious building near a school. Only LDS… so how could any other “religious education” take place during school within school periods? When growing up, I just rolled my eyes at the audacity and silliness of needing religious education every day of the week?? Now, as a parent, I think, “how is this allowed?” and “those poor brainwashed children….”.

    • Sue Blue

      I noticed this in northern Nevada, too. The public schools in Spring Creek (just east of Elko) all have huge LDS churches literally right next door. In fact, the churches overshadow the modest school buildings. I heard that the kids in these schools get a “time out” during the day to get Mormonized – but definitely not Catholicized or Lutheranized or Baptized. Northern Nevada is more Mormon than Salt Lake City.

  • Dennis Blankenship

    What of you converted a school bus, adorned it with all the christian trappings, parked it right next to the christians outside the school, and within it taught atheism, while mocking religions? Sounds like a plan!

  • anniewhoo

    Whatever happened to Sunday school? Or Wednesday night bible study? Historically, that was enough time to teach all the nonsense necessary to keep the kids in the flock. And if this bill passes, what next? Will they want to take funds from the public school system to help pay for these classes that count for school credit?

    On another note- Terry Firma: Is that a pen name, or do you just have super cool parents?

    • smalltownamy

      Don’t Jewish kids go to Hebrew school to prepare for their bar/bat mitzvahs – usually AFTER the regular school day?

      • Feminerd

        Yeap! I went to Hebrew school on Sunday mornings (which was religious instruction), and the synagogue when I was young also had Tuesday and Thursday night Hebrew language classes. The idea was that by the time you hit Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you’d be fairly fluent in modern Hebrew as well and be able to actually maybe understand your Torah passage a little. This was all after school, mind you; it cut into homework time some, but it certainly wasn’t during school hours! The very idea!

        • Nate Frein

          Shit, when I was a freshman I had to spend four hours every Wednesday night in my confirmation classes…plus 20 or so hours community service. Then go home and do homework.

          • Feminerd

            We never spent so long (well Sundays was 3-4 hours, but not weekdays). School was important; very important. Education was emphasized, doing well in school was emphasized. The attitude seemed to be that this was additional education, but it could not be allowed to interfere with our “main” education. We would learn more than our peers (another language), but by God we wouldn’t learn less!

          • allein

            Four hours?! Yeesh! My confirmation classes were an hour a week (also on Wednesday, iirc..). We even voted to take the summer off between 8th and 9th grades and finish up in the fall. Clearly we were a dedicated lot.

            • Nate Frein

              It was 13 years ago, so I don’t remember as much as I should. I know we had a worship service to start, which I think ran somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour, then we split up into our classes. That might have been two or three hours. It was a long night…i’d get home around nine or ten.

              Funny story: My first teacher kicked me out after the second night for “asking too many questions”.

              • allein

                Oh jeez I feel old now…mine was 24 years ago. We just met one evening a week, like 7 or 8:00. Our minister taught the class and there were maybe 15 or so of us (it was pretty much just an extension of our middle school youth group). Started at the beginning of 8th grade, took the summer off, started back up in September and had confirmation in November.

                • Machintelligence

                  You feel old? Mine was over 50 years ago. In Chicago all of the Catholic kids (usually families too poor to afford the parochial school tuition) got off early on Wednesday afternoons by an hour or so. Protestants with class in preparation for confirmation got the same “privilege” in 8th grade. Nothing in HS though.

    • Artor

      I believe that’s a pen name. Rosetta Stone had cool parents!

    • Tor

      That was enough for me. My Mormon neighbors, however attended before-school seminary every morning at 7:00. I felt very sorry for them, as I was not a morning person.

    • Terry Firma

      Nom de guerre. Thanks for noticing! ;-)

    • Alice

      Hey now, there’s no such thing as too much Jesus! *cough* religious indoctrination *cough* Which is why some Christian parents home-school their children and yap about the Bible every waking moment.

  • aoscott

    I’ve always been confused by this, since I never see it in writing, but isn’t it “if worse comes to worst”?

    • smalltownamy

      It is.

    • Tor

      Someone should of told Hemant.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        should have.

        • Tor

          You lose three snark points.

          • baal

            But think of the up points for Grammar!

    • Terry Firma

      They’re both correct. “If worst comes to worst” is older; “If worse comes to worst” is a bit of a newcomer but is probably already as prevalent and therefore equally acceptable.

  • cipher

    This is great, ’cause we aren’t lagging behind enough already in science and math.

  • Drew M.

    Woah. It’s like a perfect storm for propagating ignorance.

  • mikary

    I attended the Jewish release-time program in NYC in the early to mid-70s when I was in elementary school. (I don’t recall release-time being available in junior high or high school.) It was one day a week (Wednesday). We left class at about 2:15 and were taken in a bus to the synagogue and church (for the Catholic kids) about half a mile away. We had to provide our own transportation back home afterwards.

    I don’t think we received academic credit for attending release-time, and I don’t think the teachers presented any new information or gave exams during this time. One day a week, less than an hour before the end of the school day.

  • baal

    Sounds like a teaching nightmare. Also, I’m not sure how Ohio schools are funded but in Texas, the school is only paid per student head per day. This bill would mean a drop is school funding (in Texas or similarly situated State).

  • Alice

    This is ridiculous. If they MUST do this, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to do it after school.

  • NewDawn2006

    And people wonder why our education system is shit. I can’t teach evolution without being put through the wringer, but these assholes can remove them from school to teach mythology? Isn’t this what Sundays are for?!?

    • NewDawn2006

      As a FL public school teacher, if this ever happened here I would quit. This is insanity.

  • Malcolm McLean

    It’s not really a good analogy.
    A typical Christian religious education session for children would go like this: read the parable of the Good Samaritan. Then write an account of someone you know who has acted as a “Good Samaritan”.
    So it’s pretty legitimate in secular education terms. The gospels are an important and interesting text. The anomaly is that they are not studied in American high schools, because of a very restrictive interpretation of one ruling. The writing assignment would be unexceptional in an English class. Whilst there is an inherent ideological bias in it, it’s no stronger than in other subjects (children aren’t going to be asked to identify negative ways in which African Americans influence American culture, reasons girls shouldn’t study academic subjects at school, arguments in favour of cigarette smoking, etc).
    Aromatherapy, on the other hand, makes empirical claims about medical effectiveness which can be shown to be false. That’s not the case for the Good Samaritan. Jesus may not have genuinely uttered that parable, but that can’t be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. Good Samaritans may not be rewarded for their deeds in heaven, but that can’t be demonstrated either.

    • Feminerd

      I’m not Christian and never was, but I will say I never, ever had to write an essay during my religious instruction time. We talked about things like that, sure. But writing? Nope! We didn’t have homework like that because it could and probably would get in the way of our actual schoolwork.

      • Malcolm McLean

        You’re Jewish aren’t you? Jews have a different educational tradition. One obvious difference is that texts are studied in the original Hebrew, whilst most Christian denominations use translations. So the language barrier to Jewish religious studies is high.
        The lesson I’ve described would be typical and unexceptional for British Christian religious education at school level.

        • Feminerd

          Well, we studied translations, of course. Yeah, Orthodox education is all in the original, as is yeshiva (seminary), but most Conservative and Reform groups don’t study it in the original. So as long as you trust the translation, there’s no reason you *couldn’t* write an essay on the lessons contained in some story or other. You couldn’t do a deep textual analysis, but I doubt 10-year-olds ever do that much anyway. I mean, who even teaches younglings that the Good Samaritan story was totally a swipe at the Jewish mainstream (Samaritan being a fringe sect at the time) and that, coming from the most anti-Semitic gospel, it’s not actually a super nice story?

          • Malcolm McLean

            We have “Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman” jokes. In the first century there was equally a tradition of “Cohen, Levite, Yisroel” (priest, kind of priest, regular Jew). However the Samaritans took the name “Yisroel” as well (just as today “Israel” can mean “the Jewish people in mystical union with God” or “a political entity in the Middle East”).
            So what was going on? Very interesting. But not a suitable topic for younger children. The fact that the bad characters are Jewish clergy is usually skated over, though it is there.

    • Baby_Raptor

      The Gospels might be “important and interesting” to you, but there are millions of people out there who completely disagree. Speak for yourself.

      Your entire last argument is just bias. Jesus cannot be proved to have existed. Pretty much none of the claims the Bible makes can be proved. So why should we be using it over things that *can* be proven as legitimate? Because a majority of the people in the country claim to think that the book is good?

      Well, a lot of people claim aromatherapy is good, but you threw that out on its ass.

  • Lindsey S.

    Here in Utah, LDS students can get released time during school hours to receive religious instruction at an LDS seminary building, which is usually right next to school grounds. I don’t know of any students of any other religion being able to go receive religious instruction, as far as I know only LDS seminary is allowed. This is, I am pretty sure, unconstitutional, or at the very best legally ambiguous. I don’t think students get credit towards graduation from seminary classes here though, at least that’s what my friends who took it tell me.

    • JohnH2

      It is not just Utah but a wide range of states. Universities as well generally have an Institute nearby, though for Universities there are often other religious groups with similar buildings. The church has college level classes at the Institutes, which for some colleges can be turned into college credit, the high school seminary usually doesn’t count for credit (I am not sure if it ever does or not). I am fairly certain that any religion that wished to would be able to set up their own such program and that the state would be required to respect that program; I know that the LDS Church is not the only one in the nation to have such things.

      • Lindsey S.

        True. But how many other religions own a seminary building directly next to the school? At nearly every single school in the state? At my high school, the seminary building was 15 feet away from the main school building. Anyone looking at it would assume it was part of campus. If a student of another faith wanted to set up time for religious instruction, they would probably be able to, but they would have to go pretty far away from campus to get to the building and wouldn’t be able to do it within a single school period, so if they want extra religious instruction they’d probably just have to do it before or after school hours, whereas the LDS seminary building can be easily walked to within the 5-minute period between classes. And on the paperwork for class registration, students can sign up for LDS seminary, but it is not stated anywhere on it if there is an option for non-LDS religious instruction time.
        It’s a blatantly biased and legally ambiguous system, and in my opinion public schools shouldn’t offer special released time for ANY religious instruction during school hours. Leave religious instruction at home or in church where it belongs, and let public schools focus on teaching things that are actually relevant to school.

        • JohnH2

          “but it is not stated anywhere on it if there is an option for non-LDS religious instruction time.”

          No one has probably set up such an option so it doesn’t exist, a nice catch-22; It might be a good idea to petition for more transparency for the students so they can know what other options are available and how to create other options for themselves.

          The church buying up land around schools and constructing at its own expense seminary buildings is not biased. The public school doesn’t focus on seminary and doesn’t teach seminary, that is done on church property. I am sure any other religious institution could likewise buy up land and construct such a building at their own expense if they wanted to.

  • frankbellamy

    There’s a critical case in this line that is isn’t mentioned above, Moss v. Spartanburg County School District Seven (4th Cir. 2012). All Zorach said was that it was ok to let kids out o school for religious instruction. Moss took the extra step of saying it was ok to give academic credit for the religious instruction. The catch is that Moss wasn’t a Supreme Court case, it was decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. And Ohio isn’t in the fourth circuit, it’s in the sixth circuit. If this bill passes, I would love to see it challenged in court.

    • Mackinz

      As I did not know this, here is an upvote to get this noticed more.

  • pezza

    It’s funny, but in Australia, religious instruction during school hours is unexceptional. Our populace is far less religious than the US, we have an openly atheist, female and unmarried Prime Minister (although not very popular) and the religious people are not as openly combative with trying to thrust religion down your throat.

  • kenofken

    Hey now, don’t be hatin on us Wiccans, too much! We’re some of the best allies you’ll ever have in the fight for separation of church and state. I have never met, or even heard rumors of, any Wiccan or other neopagan who truly wants to have their religion officially underwritten or taught on public time. We press these claims only as a way to deny Christian dominionists their true agenda, which is to have a de-facto state religion in the guise of “religious freedom.”

    Errant decisions and flukes aside, the law says government can’t favor one over another. You either have to keep religion out of government spaces, or you have to allow equal access. I think we, and atheists, agree on that point. In no case is government supposed to referee which system is weird versus virtuous.

    Believe it or not, the mere entrance of Wiccans into these cases often shuts the dominionist down. I’ve seen this in public prayer cases many times. A court tells the local yokel village board they have to allow Wiccan prayers, and all of a sudden they decide prayer before meetings wasn’t such a good idea after all. We force them to unmask their real agenda.

    Are we weirdos? Yeah, many of us are, but there’s a few odd humanists and atheists prowling the sci-fi conventions and other venues, you have to admit. But so what? One of the few core concepts that made this country anything special is the idea of live and let live. We’re also much more than our living stereotypes. We have the folks with funny names and clothing who are lost in magical thinking (and frank delusional disorders). We have a lot more who are working in your schools and hospitals and police departments and offices who are as mundanely suburban as any of you. More than a few of us are practicing scientists! (And yes, we accept evolution, completely).

    • Terry Firma

      My reference to Wiccans being “weirdos” was facetious — I’m sure you guys are no weirder than any other believers!

  • Sabio Lantz

    @ Terry Firma:

    I think an important question is “Why do we have Public Education” — is it:

    (a) a guarantee that people who can’t afford an education still have access to it


    (b) a guarantee that the government can educate people all the same way and inculcate them with thing they think are best for them.

    All views have pitfalls, we have to choose the least dangerous, of course.

    • Nate Frein

      How about (c):

      We as a society recognize that our children require a minimum of education and training in order to make informed decisions about life that not only impact them but the rest of their society; from choosing how they vote to how they drive.

      It is therefore incumbent upon society to educate it’s children, not simply for the benefit of the children, but of the entire society.

      • Sabio Lantz

        Funny — I thought the children had parents. I didn’t know societies could copulate. The children are their parents’, not societies (read: yours or anyone else’s).

        • Nate Frein


          If you think the children grow up in a vacuum consisting of them and their parents, you’re an idiot.

          The parents are responsible for the children for about 20 years. After that, they become society’s problem.

          So yes, they are “society’s children”.

          • Sabio Lantz

            As long as we are name calling, “Society’s Children” is a sick, deluded way to think. Well, perhaps there are a few kibbutzim that still use this ideology. Of course they don’t grow up only in a vacuum, but it is not the force-of-law that should determine who their peers and teachers should be.

            Look, maybe less parents would pull their kids out of public school and throwing them into religious schools to be thoroughly indoctrinated if they were permitted some time to teach their ideas and then the rest of time in public school. This ways, those who would normally be totally isolated (your fear) would actually get a far better mis. Besides lots of folks who can’t afford private school feel cheated of schooling their kids like they’d like. This would be an option for them. The more people feel empowered, the less likely they are to form reactive groups.

            You sound like one of those folks who feel: “elected officials (read:slimey politicians) know what is better for us than we could possibly know. We need them to tell us what to do.”

            Am I wrong?

            • David Kopp

              Maybe fewer people would be illiterate and actually educated on the constitution and history if they stopped lying to their kids about this being a “Christian” nation and insisting on taking time off of actual education for reiteration of superstition?

              Believe whatever you want. School time belongs to science, facts and evidence that are universal. Or do you propose balkanization of all education disciplines? Allow parents to choose flat earth or round earth, aether or space, geocentrism or heliocentrism? Whatever we “feel” really hard goes in education, right?

              • Sabio Lantz

                If the government swings Christian, then you are screwed because you just gave the government the right to tell your children what to think.


                • Nate Frein

                  This is completely non-sequitor, and completely unsupported by current social trends.

                  If anything, you only prove yourself wrong: The government shouldn’t be teaching what to think at all, but merely how to think critically.

                • Anat

                  Yes, that’s why that separation of Church and State thing is so important. And not letting kids out of public education for religious activities is part of it.

                • David Kopp

                  So you don’t think much of the First Amendment, eh?

                • Sabio Lantz

                  @ David Kop: Your comment shows your are not reading my statements but are being reactive. Go back and read, then ask an more informed question and I’d love to respond.

                • Sabio Lantz

                  Oh, David, you could always read a few of my blog posts if you care to understand my position. Or if you have a coherent position, make a blog and put it up for folks to read. I am very straight forward about my positions.

            • Nate Frein

              No. I think the state of our elected officials is partly due to the lack of education we’ve been giving our children.

              Our education needs to be secular because our society is secular and if we are to teach our children how to function in our society, their public education needs to match that.

              This is no different from requiring children be vaccinated.

              • Sabio Lantz

                So, should the schools teach us what to think about guns, abortion, democrat/republican, diets and more? Are you against private religious schools — that is educating SOCIETIES’ children the way you think is wrong.

            • kenofken

              Just doing some back of the napkin math, I’d say you’re wrong, or at least not seeing the whole picture. American states are required to deliver, on the high side, 1,000 hours of instructional time in school each year. If we subtract out the 8 hours kids are supposed to sleep (an unrealistically high estimate), that leaves 4,844 hours a year in which parents can deliver religious indoctrination. That should be more than enough time without encroaching on the school days.

            • allein

              if they were permitted some time to teach their ideas

              They have plenty of time to teach their ideas – outside of school hours like any other extra-curricular activity. When I was a kid other kids went to religious studies – Hebrew school, CCD, whatever – after school. I went to Sunday School most weeks. Why do they need to be excused from school for it?

              • Sabio Lantz

                So this is an education time management thing, or principle. Would you agree to two hours? How about letting kids out to do physical education at home and if during that time they want to teach religion too then OK. Is your argument really time allotment is it a smoke screen because you really plan to say “No” anyway, because you know what is best for another person’s kids?

                • allein

                  My question is why should certain kids be allowed to skip part of the legally-mandated school day on a regular basis for religious instruction? There is plenty of time outside of school for that. It seemed to work quite well for people when I was growing up.

            • Baby_Raptor

              Yes, you’re wrong.

              I don’t care what people with fake persecution complexes feel. Religion should not be taught in public, secular schools. Ever. In any form.

              *Facts* are taught in schools. Things like math, English, history, ect.

              Religion is not fact. Some people may think it is, because they believe really really hard, but that doesn’t make it so.

              Further, what sect of what religion would you have them teach? How would you go about accomplishing this? Would you assign specific teachers that would have to go out and learn the stuff? Would you just have preachers from the various sects come in? Are you just gonna let the parents do it?

              And why are you okay with the way that this entire idea just pisses on peoples’ rights?

              And, no. I don’t adhere to the idea that all politicians always know best. I’m a Bisexual, gender-fluid woman who thinks I should control my own sexuality, so that should say all that needs said there. But I *do* think that there’s a very specific reason that church and state should be separate, and that the politicians who wrote that idea into the Constitution DID know what was best.

              • Sabio Lantz

                Baby Raptor:

                It seems you are not reading carefully. I am a secularist too. I don’t want religion taught in public school — in fact, I have fought it several times in my kids’ school — and still am.

                Actually, I was forced out of teaching genetics at a State College because I refused to stop teaching evolutionary principles — go figure. The head of the dept was a Creationist.

                Maybe that will help folks understand my position. I suggest you go back and read my original comment.

            • smalltownamy

              Parents have all kinds of time to teach their kids about religion outside of the school day. I see nothing in your argument that supports pulling kids out of school for religious education.

            • Andrew Kiener

              Yes, you are wrong. There is no “e” in slimy.

          • Sabio Lantz

            Ah, “steward”! In religious circles, the real owner is God and we are god’s servants — stewards of his property (including children).

            In Marxism, the government is the master. In Communism there is not individual property, we are all stewards for the State.

            I don’t want to just change masters.
            So it appears we disagree in our political philosophy.

        • David Kopp

          So children aren’t people that will become part of society? They’re simply parental property? Interesting.

          • Sabio Lantz

            Adults become part of a lot of different societies. We have laws and contracts to handle things once they get there. There is danger in all paths — you must chose the least dangerous path.
            Yes, kids are parental property — that is the way nature made it. Sorry.
            There are Sci Fi films exploring your scary option.

            • Nate Frein

              No, children are not property. They are individuals under the stewardship of their parents.

              You make me sick.

        • Houndentenor

          and they can teach their children whatever they want. Just not on school time.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And then when kids start failing classes because they’re never there and are missing half the work, we’ll hear screams of “persecution!”

  • Steve Frank

    I don’t know how it works in NY now, but when I was in middle school (about 40 years ago) the Catholic kids left school early, via school bus, to go to “church schoool” towards the end of the day – one day a week.

  • JA

    As soon as the Xtians realize that the Muslims, Wiccans and whatnot are also doing it, they’ll suddenly not support it. I’ve shared this video a couple times already, but I think everyone should see it (begins ~2:30). Granted, time off for religious study isn’t the same as sending home backpack mail, but I think it works here.

  • Mairianna

    I don’t get it. Kids are in class – what, 6 or 7 hours a day, and religious fundies can’t educate them at some other time of the day? It has to be during school hours????? I gotta write to Senator Sherrod Brown RIGHT NOW!

  • mikeb666

    Ahhh! Well I guess if they pass this, Ohio won’t be adding any evil scientists and will stem the flow of aethists into the world, and once again, Satan will have a set back!! SMIRK!!! LOL!!!!

  • Tobias2772

    I can’t speak to the “new” Ohio law, but “released time” programs have traditionally not stolen time from other subjects. The students choose the out of school program as an elective and are allowed to leave school to attend the class elsewhere. It’s a shitty idea which I opposed vehemently here in SC, but it doesn’t steal time from other subjects and it doesn’t happen at all except a handful of students. In SC, we require 24 units of which 7 or more are electives. Something like this would be only one.
    Of far greater concern are the incredible number of xtian schools which are indoctrinating kids with mythological bullshit under the guise of xtian education. More than 50 such schools use Abeka or AIG currculums in SC. Before you scoff at education in SC, I dare you to do some research on your own state.

  • Cold_Harsh_Truth

    You can always be honest and tell them you’re teaching your kids the values of pop culture and television since that’s the truth of it. You mock people who get their moral code from religion without realizing that you have your own religion. You believe you’re moral without influence yet you would believe in any pop-liberal opinion. You’re convinced that your stance on polarized issues, mere facets of cultural engineering, make you “moral” when the fact is that you’ve merely chosen the more popular of two untruths while the higher truth is held above your head. This is a culture of death and hyper sexuality and you believe it is the pinnacle of human achievement. You think you write compelling articles but it’s just the same old pathetic shit. There is nothing dynamic about trashing faith. There is nothing moral about pop culture. There is nothing of value in your work.

    • Edward

      How do you know what is going on in Terry’s head!?

    • egarae

      Being an atheist or agnostic is not having a religion. Being honest about science isn’t a religion. See those people are happy to shift when they are proven wrong. The believe in things that are real. You want to have faith? Great but it is belief in what cannot be proven that defines faith. It doesn’t require disbelieving what HAS been proven. Which is what all this ludicrous stuff is. You trust in science- you are using a computer. You use god- by acting for him.

  • Robert L. Schreiwer

    As a leader of the Urglaawe faith, I have to say that I found your blog post to be amusing and enjoyable. Thanks for the exposure. :)

  • Rilian Sharp

    Why don’t they just homeschool?

  • egarae

    I know this is a bit alarmist– but seriously. We can’t compete in STEM, we are falling behind in innovation and education which will in fact hurt our national security with billions of people who aren’t our fans and compete for everything and we are going to PURPOSELY make our work force dumber. Really?