Horrific Connecticut school shooting: Is posting the Ten Commandments at school really the problem?

14 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Today there was another horrific school shooting. AP reports in the article, AP: 27 Dead, Including 18 Children, At Sandy Hook School Shooting In Newtown:

Twenty-seven people, including 18 children, have been killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to the Associated Press.

The report cites an official with knowledge of the situation.that there are at least 20 shooting victims. Many of the shootings took place in a kindergarten classroom, sources said. One entire classroom is unaccounted for, sources said. http://www.courant.com/news/breaking/hc-police-responding-to-incident-in-newtown-20121214,0,3969911.story

Here is a partial list of school shootings from the last 20 years:

CNN) — Here is a list of some violent incidents at U.S. schools over the last 20 years:

February 27, 2012 – Chardon High School, Chardon, Ohio. Student Daniel Parmertor, 16, is killed and four others wounded when student T.J. Lane opens fire in the school, authorities say. On February 28, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, dies from his wounds, and Russell King Jr., 17, is declared brain-dead. On March1, T.J. Lane is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two of attempted aggravated murder and one of felonious assault.

October 2, 2006 – West Nickel Mines School, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Charles Roberts IV, 32, goes to the small Amish school and takes at least 11 girls hostage. Five girls were killed and six others wounded. Roberts then killed himself.

November 8, 2005 – Campbell County Comprehensive High School, Jacksboro, Tennessee. A 15-year-old student opens fire on a principal and two assistant principals, killing one of them and critically wounding another, authorities said.

March 21, 2005 – Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. Jeff Weise, 16, kills his grandfather and another adult, four fellow students, a teacher and a security officer. He then killed himself.

March 5, 2001 – Santana High School, Santee, California. Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, kills two classmates, a 14-year old and a 17-year old, and injures 13. Williams is sentenced in 2002 to at least 50 years in prison.

April 20, 1999 — Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.

May 21, 1998 – Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon. After killing his parents the previous day, 15-year old Kip Kinkel returns to Thurston High armed with a rifle. He kills two students in the school cafeteria, a 16- and a 17-year old. He is sentenced to 112 years in prison.

March 24, 1998 – Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, ambush fellow students and their teachers, killing five. Johnson is incarcerated in a youth facility and released on his 21st birthday in August 2005. Golden is released on his 21st birthday in May 2007.

December 1, 1997 – Heath High School, West Paducah, Kentucky. Michael Carneal, 14, opens fire on a school prayer group, killing three girls. He is serving life in prison.

February 2, 1996 –– Frontier Junior High School, Moses Lake, Washington. Barry Loukaitis, 14, takes a rifle to school and kills two classmates and a teacher. He was sentenced to life in prison.

May 1, 1992 – Lindhurst High School, Olivehurst, California. Eric Houston, a 20-year old dropout, returns to his old high school and kills a former teacher and three students. Houston is sentenced to death.

February 26, 1992 – Thomas Jefferson High School, Brooklyn, New York. A 15-year old shoots and kills two other students. The shooter, Kahlil Sumpter, was sentenced in 1993 to between 6 2/3 and 20 years in prison. He was released in 1998. http://fox8.com/2012/12/14/history-of-school-shootings/

See, Time Line of Worldwide School and Mass Shootings http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html#ixzz2F3UWDwnB

At the Anti-Defamation site in the article, The Ten Commandments Controversy: A First Amendment Perspective:

In the majority of cases considering official posting of the Ten Commandments, the Court has extended this prohibition. In its 1980 (Stone v. Graham) decision striking down a Kentucky law requiring that a copy of the Ten Commandments be posted in every public school classroom, the Court said:

The pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one’s parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day.

The Court recently issued two decisions concerning official display of the Ten Commandments with differing results. In McCreary v. ACLU of Kentucky, the Court considered county courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky. Similar to the Stone decision, it again recognized that the Ten Commandments is “… an unmistakably religious statement dealing with religious obligations and with morality subject to religious sanction.” The Court ultimately decided that the displays were unconstitutional because their history and context demonstrated a clear religious purpose and intent on the part of county officials.

In Van Orden v. Perry, the Court considered a forty-year-old granite Ten Commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds – one of seventeen monuments on the broad plaza. Reaching an opposite result, the Court decided that this display is constitutionally permissible. However, Justice Breyer, who cast the deciding vote in the case, characterized the display as “borderline” and found that it served “a mixed but primarily nonreligious purpose.” Significantly, as with the McCreary decision, a majority of the Justices indicated that displays in public schools likely will be unconstitutional. In other situations, a display or posting’s location, history and context will be critical in determining its constitutionality. http://www.adl.org/10comm/print.asp

There are pros and cons of posting the Ten Commandments or any other statement of values.

The blog TresSugar posted a good summary of the pros and cons of posting the Ten Commandments:

PRO 1

Our government was based on religious principles from the very beginning. The 10 Commandments are the foundation of our moral government.

CON 1.1

Having religious principles does not mean that they wanted to use the government to force religion on the country. The ratification of the constitution by the states was held up because it didn’t have a written list of basic rights that couldn’t be taken away. The very first line in the Bill of Rights reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. After these were assured only then was the constitution ratified.

PRO 2

Since the court outlawed prayer, the nation has been in steady moral decline. Former Secretary of Education William Bennett revealed in his cultural indexes that between 1960 and 1990 there was a steady moral decline. During this period divorce double, teenage pregnancy went up 200%, teen suicide increased 300%, child abuse reached an all-time high, violent crime went up 500% and abortion increased 1000%. There is a strong correlation between the expulsion of prayer from our schools and the decline in morality.

CON 2.1

If you go back the other way in time, do you find higher morals in slavery, or our treatment of Indians, or more recently, Jim Crow laws in the South, or official discrimination against women or children being used as cheap labor?

CON 2.2

The Census Bureau reports that 63 percent of the population claims church membership, a figure that has remained virtually unchanged since the 1960 census.

CON 3

The BILL OF RIGHTS was designed to protect the minorities basic rights from the majority. In the case of religion “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. It says its against the constitution to prohibit free exercise of religion. Free is a key word here, state supported religion is not “FREE EXERCISE” its “FORCED RELIGION” and that is prohibited.

PRO 4

Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., a cheerleader for the measure, reportedly said that if the Ten Commandments had been posted at Columbine, the shootings would never have taken place.

CON 4.1

The boy who shot six of his fellow students in Barr’s home state of Georgia had attended a church service the night before.

CON 5

The book of EXODUS has two completely different versions of the 10 Commandments. EXODUS 20 and EXODUS 34. One Commandment that is common to both versions is keeping the Sabbath. In EXODUS 35 Moses tells the people that those who break the Sabbath, even lighting a fire in their homes, should be put to death. Will this Commandment teach our kids about ignoring inconvenient rules?

PRO 6

All that we would like to do is give the kids a foundation for moral behavior. This is not an evil conspiracy, its an attempt to make things better and safer for all kids.

CON 7

“This is about the government playing favorites and saying Judaism and Christianity are the appropriate religions and everyone else is wrong,” explains Peter Eliasberg, an ACLU attorney. “That’s not moral guidance, it’s dividing the people on the basis of religion.”

CON 8

The 1st Commandment says “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”. I believe some reasonable people might consider this “establishment of religion”. http://religions-of-the-world.tressugar.com/Pro-Con-Ten-Commandments-posted-schools-6229083

In the attempt to eradicate all vestiges of religion from the public square, this society has thrown out a good deal of the values and moral principles which are the glue that holds a society together. Note the time line of school shootings after the 1980 Stone v. Graham case. Values education in schools should be a part of the curriculum.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Resources:

Teaching Values in School: An Interview with Steve Johnson http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v13n1/interview.html

Integrating values and ethics into post secondary teaching for leadership development Principles, concepts, and strategies http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/for-current-faculty-and-staff/strategic-plan-folder/prof-ethics-study-team/Appendix%20C%20-%20Ethics_Begley.pdf

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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