Friday, May 27, 2005

This Makes me SICK!

Indiana Judge Prohibits Parents from Teaching Religion to their Child

Marion County Superior Court Judge Cale Bradford handed down a ruling that prohibits Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, from exposing their son to "non-mainstream" religious beliefs and rituals.

Mr. Jones and Ms. Bristol practice a matriarchial belief system that worships nature, and regards living things as sacred.

"It is upsetting to our son that he cannot celebrate holidays with us, including Yule, which is winter solstice, and Ostara, which is the spring equinox."

Read The Indianapolis Star's article online at


Do we live in a democracy based on freedom of religion, or are we a veiled theocracy?

(For the definition of Theocracy click here:)

Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein both rejected the notion of an interactive Patriarchial God. Should they have been allowed to do this?

Do Native Americans have the right to worship using the matriarchial model of Mother Earth?

Can we say that a religion is wrong because it is not mainstream?

Was it justified for the Romans to persecute the Christians during the period when it was a non-mainstream faith?

Religious diversity is not restricted to Jews, Muslims and Christians. It must also include the Asian Religions, Afrocentric Religions, Ancient European Religions, Native American beliefs, and yes, even Satanism and Athiesim.

The United States is currently diseased with religious hypocrocy.

Either we decide to act as an open democrocy based on freedom of religion, or we pick one sect, and make it the offical doctrine of the state, throw out the constitution, and become a dictated theocrocy.

That's my opinion. What's yours?


HawkOwl said...

"Veiled" theocracy?? I didn't think there was anything veiled about it.

And I don't know any Natives who "worship using the matriarchal model of Mother Earth." Of course since it's a personal thing with no dogma, everyone's mileage varies. Most Natives I know are actually Catholic or Anglican. The "non-mainstream" ones address prayers generally to the Creator or the Great Spirit as a male.

Personally I think the judge has a point. People who choose to adhere to one particular name-brand religion should probably have the integrity to take the bad with the good, rather than send their kids to a school of another religion to take advantage of the superior education. I think he doesn't have a point in that this kind of personal ethics can't be mandated by the state. Either way, it doesn't surprise me at all that such a thing would happen in the States.

So, that's my opinion.

Seems I always disagree with you. Maybe I should stop reading your blog. :)

Kelley Bell said...

I dont really think we disagree much at all Hawkowl. We just focus on different sides of the cube. And thats a good thing.

I am not suprised that most Native Americans you have met are christianized. For several generations the whites forced these children from their homes, stole them away from their families and put them in boarding schools where they cut their hair, gave them christian names, and punished them for speaking in their native tounge.

Massive forced assimilation.

And you are right, the judge does have a point, kind of...but there are lots of families where one parent is christian the other a jew (or whatever mix of two) and the children are taught the principles of both religions.

Offering a child a broad base of knowlege and experience is a good thing.

HawkOwl said...

Kelley, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but when you say "most Native Americans you have met" it sounds to me like you think I've met a handful in passing. In reality, I live in a Territory where white is the ethnic minority. Most of my friends and coworkers are Native, Inuit or Metis. I haven't had a non-Native boyfriend since 2002. So I have a fairly large sample.

Again our views on assimilation will differ since you're in the States. As for here I can tell you that many of my friends went to residential school, where they were not molested and received a much better education than in the half-board public schools. Those of my friends with the best work ethics, coincidentally or not, are the ones who made the most of their residential school experience. Yes, some kids were abused and molested, but that is by no means unique to Native kids in a white-run school.

Here we have daily aboriginal language news broadcasts on the radio. Most Native women I know still speak a Native language fluently. Many speak it as their first language, and English as their second. My last three boyfriends' mothers all spoke English with some difficulty, and all three boys were raised speaking a Native language at home. One of them can still carry on a simple conversation in his Native language.

There is more language loss among the young men than the young women; I believe this is because the young men are more likely to leave home and move south, where even Native-language speakers speak a different language than up here.

The loss of Native languages up here is really happening in this generation, because people no longer speak their Native languages at home. In Nunavut, on the other hand, kids are still fluent in Inuktitut. Down south as well, the Native languages are much more lively.

Many Native people here still maintain some of their "traditional" ways, such as fiddling, jigging, Native arts and crafts, storytelling, hunting and trapping, fishing, etc. Practically none live entirely off the land, and no matter how much of their living is from this type of activity, they all use "white" technologies such as skidoos and guns.

Among the young Native people I know, the only demographic that really bemoans the loss of "traditional" skills is young men who can't fit into the work force. And no, this is not for lack of training or opportunity. In fact they have more access to funding than white people, many companies have priority hiring policies, and even those that don't can't afford to pass up a qualified worker, as we have such a labour shortage. They just lack the work ethics to show up to work day after day. This is not unique to Native people, but the ability to sit at home bemoaning the fact that they don't know how to butcher a caribou is. And it really annoys those Native people who do work and succeed.

The reality is that what is called Native "culture" up here is really more the skills associated with a hunting-gathering existence. There is little tradition of arts of any kind, partly because the living conditions are so harsh that there is little time for arts. If they were not "assimilated", these people would still be living in primitive conditions, and they essentially know this and do not feel any desire to reject "white" ways.

Ok, so that was a digression. My point, granting I have one, is probably: don't idealize the Natives, or their religion, too much.

Kelley Bell said...

Point taken.

But I stand firm on my original point:

The United States of America has an opportunity to be unique among all nations.

We are The Great Melting Pot. We are the only nation in world history representing a mixture of all ethnicities.

We claim to be a democracy, founded by a brave group of people who fled from religious oppression.

These founders would have all perished if not for the nurturing of their Native American hosts.

That being the case, it seems to me incredibly disrespectful for our nation to create laws that do not support ethinic and religious diversity.

It is through respect of these principles that we will become a shining example to the world.

Kelley Bell said...

Update: the appeals court reversed the judges decision citing state law that allows parents full discression in the religious education of their children.

Hooray for the appeals court!

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