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Is it legal for public school teachers to require students to learn and read extremely religious materials for an English class?

My English teacher gave us an extremely religious Christian story. Sounds like it should've come from the Bible. I hate to tell her, I refuse to read it.

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You don't have to believe in it to read it. For example, The Scarlett Letter portrayed ideals of a strict Puritan society and mythology portrays the religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans, etc. I would gladly read other works from other religions too; I find it fascinating. You don't have to be converted to understand.

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Obviously not. But I don't like this religion. It's hateful and I hear about it everyday seeing as I live with extremist Christians... I refuse to read it, end of the story. I asked if it was legal, not if I should read it.
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I completely agree!
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^ with the answer, not the comment lol.
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It is legal to some degree. If they ARE trying to convert you, then that obviously crosses the line in a public school setting. The Christian religion isn't hateful, that is just a generalization.
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I find it entirely offensive. I'm sensitive to religion, particularly Christianity. I'm not trying to be bias, but I've dealt with a lot of stuff I didn't want to. My family tells me I'm going to Hell and that I need to believe in Jesus and God and the Lord and the Holy Spirit and accept them all into my heart to go to heaven. And then they say, they're trying to "help" me. Sorry, no. I'm tired of hearing about it every day and I'm not going to read a bunch of junk that just further gratifies their cause... (Sorry. Some of this is spite to my step mother and brother and sister because all they do is try and force their beliefs on me, when I disagree with all of them)
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I'm sorry for some of your experiences. I am a Christian, but I have a different view of religion in society. I love all sorts of people-I actually have a few atheist friends, a homosexual friend, and a friend who is Muslim. Just remember not all of us are the same! I'm glad you stick to your beliefs even though you have a very conservative Christian family. Stay strong!
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^^ If I could see more Christians express that sort of tolerance, I wouldn't have those opinions. I only know two Christians (my friends) who I don't see being hateful. :/ But thank you even so, I appreciate that gesture
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Your welcome! :)
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Why what was the thing about that made it religious

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Everything, speaking of the Lord Jesus and God and Satan... I hear enough at home, and I'm tired of it.
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I'm sensitive to religion.
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Not suppose to teach Jesus in schools as far as I thought. She could be fired
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Yeah... What I thought. THanks
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FunnyLittleFrog

If it is read as literature, yes, but if it is meant to convert you no.

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There's a fine line there though, because if a teacher is constantly using religious materials, then even if they aren't blatantly saying "hey you should convert to this", there's still the covert proselytizing going on.
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When I was in college, my English professor assigned chapters of the Bible to read - which promptly led me to drop the class. At the time I still identified as Christian, and even as such found the whole notion completely offensive. Now that I'm a bit older, I would have just gotten through it, but definitely didn't think it was right, outside of an actual class on religion.

Having said that, not sure if it's the same in public schools, and probably depends too on the purpose of the assignment. If you are uncomfortable, talk to your parents, or your school counselor. You could call your school Superintendent's office as well, and ask them what the policies are on using blatantly religious texts as teaching tools.

Keep in mind though, if you have your own beliefs, just reading something from someone else's religion shouldn't change anything. But also agree that it's a matter of principle as well - that they should not be using religious material in class as part of an assignment (again, unless you are actually studying world religions, and went into the class knowing that would be a requirement).

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I agree with this... You bring up some good points. I'm just very offended because I have been living with Christian extremists for the past six months and it's not a happy ride when you're agnostic. I'm sure a lot of this is spite due to those facts, but even so, I'm not impressed with the idea of reading such extremely religious materall..
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The material would need to be reviewed by the board. Most likely it was approved. If you are uncomfortable I would run it by her and explain your feelings.

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I will do so, thank you. (:
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You're welcome , good luck getting out of it! : )
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I'm hoping I can find an alternative......
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It's just a teaching from a story, no need for it to bother you

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I suppose not, but it does anyway. It's not like I don't have my personal reasons.
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I know what you mean, it isn't intended to bother you though, just have a talk with your teacher about how you feel about it, if it's that bad
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You really can't tell some one how to feel or not feel though. If you feel strongly enough, you can't help it sometimes. As far as myself, I hate that!
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Exactly what FunnyLittleFrog said. It's perfectly legal if you're reading it just for the same reason you would read "Lord if the Flies" or "Macbeth". To me, it seems like you're just trying to find any silly excuse to get out of doing your homework.. Just suck it up and read the book.

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It's not a silly excuse to get out of anything. I'm hard-working enough that I don't use excuses to get out of anything. I'm genuinely offended by this notion, due to my personal life and my personal beliefs.
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It's not like I don't have my reasons for being offended.
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I find your comment a little offensive because of how you just assume it's because they want to get out of it? There's much easier ways to get out of it if that's the intention but I really don't think so. It's a perfectly legitimate question. Especially nowadays. There's supposed to be a separation of religion and state but depending on if you're a minor, that matters as well.
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I'm sorry you two feel that way. @Electric, you don't have that much of a reason to be offended. Should Christians be offended when they read Anne Frank..?
@Nicole Are there easier ways to get out of it? Religion is such a picky topic when it comes to public school that it's an easy go-to. Did I ever say I was against the separation of church and state?? Try not to jump straight to conclusions. A book that involves religion does NOT violate that separation. However, if her teacher has the intent to try and convert her students, THEN there is a problem.
You shouldn't just freak out as soon as you have to read something that you don't agree with. Truth is, a LOT of literature has been influenced by religion, so it would be impossible for you to try to avoid every single piece of literature that makes some sort of reference to religion. Just do your homework like everyone else; just because you are an agnostic or because your parents are crazy Christians does not mean that you get special treatment.
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MsStina: You need to do your own homework. You are not as smart as you think you are. In fact it's quite ignorant of you to assume anything. I do not need to ask MY parents anything. I AM A PARENT & MY parents are deceased. They believed in what they chose to believe in what they wanted, so they weren't 'crazy' christians either. MY FAMILY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUESTION OR WHAT I SAID. How dare you be that simple-minded and judgemental. Do you have anger issues because you got so PERSONAL about me because I don't agree with you? I said nothing about/to you in anger or call you names, talk shit about you and your FAMILY!! YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A BULLY. If you had a modicum of decency,life experience, lnowledge, etc. you would not have lost it so easily, got so defensive (maybe you should talk to someone about that?) for no reason other than I disagreed! Take a good look at yourself before you start talking shit about others. ;)
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MsStina, that point is somewhat invalid. Anne Frank's diary isn't about her religion. It's about her experiences during the Holocaust. There's a big difference between those two things. What my teacher is having me read is about exactly what happened to the devil as he was sent to hell. It's not about a Christian person's experiences or accounts. It's about, exactly, what the faith tells the followers happened.

There's a huge difference. I wouldn't mind mild religion in anything I read. But this is different.

And you tell NicoleMilanes not to jump to conclusions when you do the exact same thing saying that all I want is to get out of my homework (which is a huge lie?) How shameful. ): I abhor hypocrisy...

I'm not asking for special treatment, either. My question was: Is it legal? How is that asking for special treatment? AGAIN, jumping to conclusions. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy. ):
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@Nicole Sorry, maybe I should have been clearer (but I figured you would have caught on, considering the information Electric has given). That last paragraph ("You shouldn't...") was mostly directed towards Electric, not you. Why would I say something like that about you or your family, both of which I know very little about? Electric has posted in other comments that she is an agnostic and she has crazy Christian parents.
Again, you should stop jumping to conclusions. You do not have any good reason to call me a bully, or stupid. It seems like you just completely blew up without reason.
@Electric I was not saying Anna Frank's diary was a book about Judaism, but I was pointing out that it INVOLVES Judaism. You cannot really criticize me for comparing it to whatever you're reading because you hadn't told me anything about the book at the point, aside from the fact that it involves Christianity (like the Diary of Anne Frank...).
There's a difference between coming to a conclusion, and jumping to one. Jumping to a conclusion means you're making an assumption without any sort of basis. You smelled smoke and screamed "FIRE!!". Coming to a conclusion is making an opinion based on a sufficient amount of information, i.e. you yell "fire" after smelling the smoke, and seeing the flames. The information I received was that a book involves religion, and because you are agnostic, you refuse to read it. Seems to me like you're overreacting and trying to use a lame excuse to get out of the homework.
I am aware of your question, however I don't see how that changes anything. You think that because a book involves Christianity, and you've had an unfavorable experience with the said religion, you deserve special treatment and should not have to read the book. (FYI special treatment = advantages exclusive to YOU. If you're the only one who doesn't have to read the book, you are receiving special treatment.).
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Well, I used the correct term, considering you obviously lacked the information to COME to a conclusion.

It does not only involve Christianity (because that would not bother me). It is solely ABOUT Christianity, and what happened to Jesus and God and Satan during the day that Satan was sent to Hell. This does not only involve Christianity, but it is solely ABOUT the faith. I have a reason to be offended.

^ For the third time.

And again (for the second time), I am not asking for special treatment, in no way. I am asking if it is legal. I don't want to get out of any work. I want to get out of reading an extremely offensive piece in replace of something that I'm comfortable with. Obviously this could apply to anyone who wasn't comfortable, but nobody else has this problem, so obviously, yes, it would apply to me. That doesn't make anything special to me. You're being just as bias and stupid as you think I am.

For the last time, I am not trying to get out of doing anything. I said to other people just as I'm going to say to you, I want to receive a different assignment that I am not offended by. Not to get out of anything. That is very rude.

If someone told you you had to watch a video of puppies being slaughtered, would you do it? Well, hopefully not, you would hopefully ask for something else or you wouldn't do it at all, because that OFFENDS you and DISGUSTS you, as it should a lot of people... You shouldn't tell me I'm wrong and trying to get out of anything because of my personal beliefs and the fact that I'm just, plain and simple, way out of my comfort zone with this. Don't criticize my choices and, yes, JUMP to conclusions, because you think I'm "overreacting."
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As I said, the comparison was made before you told me anything about the book, aside from the fact that it involved Christianity. And (for the second time, as well) you cannot criticize me for making the comparison for that reason ^.
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I still don't understand why you should be "offended". You're reading a book about something you don't believe actually happened, so isn't that the same thing as reading just another fiction book? It's like this: I don't actually believe in Greek mythology (I'm not sure if anyone does, nowadays). If I had to read a story entirely about Greek mythology, I would not feel offended because it would be like reading any other fiction book.
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You wrote in your description, "I refuse to read it". In other words, you will not read a book that everyone else has to read, i.e. you want special treatment.
If something is exclusive to you ONLY, then it is considered special. Sorry.
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Calling me biased and stupid isn't an argument.
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I don't recall you ever mentioning a supplemental assignment to me, but correct me if I am wrong. Maybe that's something you should have included in your description; you can not blame me for what you failed to include.
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Maybe this didn't come to mind while you were typing it, but comparing Christianity to puppies being slaughtered is offensive, to about two billion people. I can't decide what's comfortable for you, but I just don't understand why it makes you uncomfortable. For one, killing puppies is obviously immoral; killing breaks practically rule 1 when it comes to universal morality. Telling a STORY about how some guy named Satan went to hell is so far from puppies being killed. I don't see any sort of similarities between the two. You may not see it, but you're clearly being overreactive.
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I'm tired of this. It doesn't matter. The point is, I'm offended by it. I don't want to read what offends me. End of story.
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Okay.
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If it's part of the curriculum then yea you have to read it but you don't have to believe it. Trust me, I'm 40 and I discovered that our history books are only written to tell us what they WANT you to know. This educational system is not how you'll learn the truth anyway. Remember to question things, you don't need to be rude about it though!! If it bothers you that much than there should be someone like a guidance counselor or maybe a teacher you like that would be willing to talk to you and you can find out specifically if it is in curriculum and what you can do about it. I'm very curious now though- what's the name of book? Good luck!

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Paradise Lost, I think. And thanks, I'll consider speaking with someone.
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I don't think it's illegal, but religions should not be taught in public schools, which is the reason there are private schools. Talk to your principal about it. But unless your teacher is trying to convert you, it's not illegal.

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Okay. Thank you.
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Just read the dang book, it's not going to hurt you in any way... If you don't believe that type of stuff, why should it bother you?

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Why should it bother me? I'm agnostic, and I live with Christian extremists. I'm constantly being pressured into conversion because they believe they're "helping" me. I've been told I'm going to hell because I believe in gay rights and because I don't believe in Jesus and God and the Lord. I believe in the big bang and genetics and evolution and am constantly told I am stupid because of it. THAT'S WHY it bothers me. I'm tired of being put down because I'm different than them. And maybe it is spite, and maybe it's stupid. But guess what? I'm sick of it, sick of it, sick of it, and I won't gratify their cause anymore than they think it already is. I don't like this religion anymore. I deal with it enough at home, I think school should be my safe zone.
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Well I believe in gay rights but I still know I'm going to heaven, it's just that mindset you gotta have. And I too believe in evolution and all that. But fair enough, excuse me.
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It's at the point where I don't care to believe in Heaven or Hell or anything. Just not worth it. I'm always wrong.
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I understand, and no one is never wrong, so you were wrong about that :P
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When did I say no one is never wrong? :( I'm wrong all the time, I can openly admit that.
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You didn't, but I did. And what's wrong with that? People make mistakes all the time...
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Nothing is wrong with that, I just wasn't sure what you meant.
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No I meant what's wrong with 'supposedly being wrong all the time"...
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Oh... Well because I know I'm not wrong all the time and yet I'm always told I'm wrong all the time because my beliefs differ from theirs.
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Well everyone has a different perspective on things, don't think everyone is going to think your right or wrong.. Just don't listen to those people, and move on.
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You feel like it's pushing a religion on you you can talk to your teacher if she don't excuse u from reading it and let u do another assignment u can take it to higher means like a principal or super intedant but she can't make u read it

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Yes... Thank you. It's very comfortable for me. If she still expects me to read it, I'll try and talk to someone else to get a different assignment.
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The teacher should teach his subject rather than giving religious sermons to his class, and If its the same case with you then you should report to your course coordinator immediately.

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