The dirty word in school: Religion

Kristen Hamilton

Like many other writers, I too am a selfish typist. I write about things that strike me emotionally and cognitively. Things that I can relate to in this vast world are the things that I feel the most comfortable with.

Sometimes, however, my fingers are forced to tap out words that do not grab at my heart strings. Recently, while being asked to write a paper about religion in the education system, I will admit (although not to my professor) that I was dreading this task.

I grew up with a mother that prayed daily, was loyal to God in every way, and you better believe that on Sunday morning I was sitting front and center in that church with her. We were barely able to pay our bills just like everyone else in the 1980’s, but guess who always had a Sunday dress and a pair of tights and dress shoes for Sunday school? I did.

Churchgoing in my youth was as unspoken as brushing your teeth every day. You simply did it and the option of sleeping in on a Sunday morning was as uncommon as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I stopped going to church in my adulthood. Like other absentee churchgoers, I was too busy, I had two small children, and I couldn’t find the time for it. I worshiped, instead, from afar.

After delving into the task of writing this paper that I had put off until the last minute (although, once again, I wouldn’t admit this to my professor), I developed an interest, a deep interest. I decided to ask my son questions that I assumed everyone knew the answer to. I asked him to tell me the name of the first book of The Bible. His response? “I don’t know.” When I asked him to name the 10 Commandments, he could only give me one of them. I asked him to name at least one of the 12 apostles and he couldn’t even tell me a single name. He has never heard of the Sermon on the Mount.

The purpose of church when I was a young girl was to not only educate me on facts and scriptures from tThe Bible, but to also teach me memorization. Memorization for the purpose of passing this knowledge to my children.

The essay that I dreaded writing had become an eye-opening experience that led me to a certain reality. How can we send our children into the world as citizens without arming them with education regarding religion? How are they to interact socially with people of different religions while never having an understanding of their life and beliefs?

We are living in a multidenominational world where we know nothing about each other and are unable to have educated conversations much less understand what presidents and politicians are saying when they quote the Bible. Did they use the quote correctly or did they use it only to gain a vote? We can’t possibly know because we no longer know the information ourselves.

I learned that we need to educate our children about why our ancestors did the things that they did. We can’t teach our children moral values without teaching them where those values came from. There is a difference in teaching the contents of the Bible and invoking religious beliefs. We can’t understand our country and government without an understanding of what the Bible says.

The Protestant country of the past is now a country where our neighbors are Muslim, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. How can we relate to our neighbors of different beliefs when we can’t even relate to our own history?

Kristen Hamilton