Ouch. It literally turned my stomach to write that title, but that is the exact attitude that some self-proclaimed Christians exude. They judge non-Christians, homosexuals/gays, single mothers (never the fathers of those out-of-wedlock babies), and anyone else who does not fit into their definition of a Christian. Never mind that simple and straight-to-the-point verse that says: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ (Matthew 7:1) Simply stated: Remember when you point the finger, three are pointing back at you. But sadly, not very many people are willing to openly judge the decision of the Cherokee County Board of Education to continue holding commencement ceremonies inside a church even though Jewish students have expressed their discomfort with the venue selection. I have a few issues with the board’s decision and the lack of support shown for the impending graduates as well as former Jewish students who missed their graduations because they were held in churches…
1. Did our country decide to do away with the ‘separation of church and state’ thingy and someone forgot to click ‘Send’ on the memo? If not, then why are publicly funded schools showing favor towards one religion (Christianity) by holding a school-sponsored (and funded) event inside a facility owned and operated by said religion? I sat through a Christian prayer at a publicly-funded school board meeting, where no recognition was given to any other religion. Is that not showing favoritism?
2. We encourage our kids to go to school, work hard, and earn good grades to prepare for college or other post-secondary plans. A high school graduation is the pinnacle of 13+ years of rules, early morning classes, uninteresting subjects/teachers, and overbearing education bureaucrats, yet some kids will miss that ceremony because they are not in the Christian ‘clique.’ As a student, I’d be pretty pissed. As a parent, I would support my child’s decision not to attend. But those two things are not enough. Oddly though, I doubt that any board of education in the bible belt would even seriously consider using a synagogue, mosque, or whatever as the venue for a high school graduation. Not a snowball’s chance in hell….
justification excuse provided by the board is that other venues are too costly to rent for graduation ceremonies. During these tough economic times I can understand the need to tighten the purse strings, but someone will loosen them enough to pay the costs associated with renting the church. OK, so maybe the cost argument was a bad lame attempt to mask their lack of respect for Jewish students’ First Amendment Right. Perhaps to avoid conveying an attitude of apathy, the board could have decided to find a venue interested in a tax write-off (afterall, K-12 schools are non-profits) or they could have even opted to charge for tickets above the normal allotment of three per student. Maybe those options make too much sense…
I am not naive. I know that you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but this entire ‘discussion’ could have been avoided if the board, parents, and students of Cherokee County addressed the issue when it first arose several years ago. Usually, to avoid a repeat problems in the future most well-meaning people address them when they occur. Instead, the board would rather face a lawsuit (funded by tax payers), willingly accept the fact that well-deserving (Jewish) students miss their graduations, and reiterate what I have said time and time again: We still have a very long way to go and we ARE NOT living in a post-racial/religious/gender identity or anything-else society.
Monise, who is
stealing imitating the style of her friend Jose Vilson and ending her blog with this thought: If she doesn’t stop fussin, cussin, and carrying-on like a heathen, she will be waiting on ‘Stand-by’ for her seat in heaven. Amen.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
As I was laying in bed listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show’s tribute to Dr. King, I got that feeling again. I have always wondered what it would have been like to live during the Civil Rights Movement. Sometimes I even joke that I did and was reincarnated as the me I am today. I have always been a
little outspoken smart-ass or loud-mouthed Yankee, as I was ‘affectionately’ called by some southerners when I first moved to Georgia. I would just smile and giggle on the inside because I knew they were jealous of my fearless and opinionated nature. They were not raised to have the same level of self-confidence and strong moral compass as I, but I did not blame them for that. So anywho, I got to thinking last night as I scrolled through my Twitter timeline. Several people started posting or retweeting those ‘What would Dr. King say about….’ blog links. I thought, ‘Oh lord, here we go.’ But I guess people need a way to direct traffic to their blogs, right? There was one title that caught my eye….I believe it had something to do with education. Of course, I didn’t read it because, well, it’s the same ish regurgitated from last year and the year before. But here’s the thing…Dr. King would not keep saying the same things about education/employment/housing discrimination. Know how I know? Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington, etc. At some point, they stopped talking and started acting either through walking, sit-ins, or all-out boycotts. What happened to that level of commitment to the cause? Why do we insist on talking to the-powers-that-be when they have shown us, time and time again, that they are not the least bit interested in what we have to say? Why do we listen to people such as Diane Ravitch, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Davis Guggenheim, and any person of privilege who has profited from the poor state of Black and Brown education? Better yet, why would we even entertain anything a former insider has to say when s/he was completely silent when on the inside? I thought the whistleblower had more power when they blew the whistle while still working within the corrupt entity? No? Ok. But I digress….
So today I am not doing anything out of the ordinary. Nope, because the other 364 days of the year I make sure that I teach my children to carry themselves in a respectful manner, whether at home, school, or other public places. I teach them that no one, regardless of race, has the right to mistreat/disrespect them, teachers and other school officials especially. Most importantly, I teach my kids that they have the right to go wherever and dare to dream whatever their little hearts desire. Why should today be any different? These lessons have obviously missed a great number of the people with whom I have come into contact. I can’t fix them or change their upbringings. All I can do is be grateful for the sacrifices (as in lives lost) made so that I could actually sit in classrooms next to (not behind) little White girls and boys. No longer am I relegated to the back of the bus or separate entrances into restaurants or movie theaters. I have voted in every presidential (and almost every local election) since the age of 18. All of those privileges required sacrifices. Not talking, roundtables, CNN specials, NBC townhall meetings, movies about fictitious characters who NEVER visited the hood, or power-hungry media whores claiming they care about kids whose mouths they taped shut. Nope. All of those privileges came by way of action. Doing. Marching. Sitting-in. Crippling a city’s public transportation system. So until someone needs help organizing a massive school boycott, y’all can miss me with that ‘What would Dr. King say’ stuff because he would have already gotten the ball rolling on the (education) changes we were supposed to see after 1954.