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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:33 AM

My son was forced to pray at a school-sponsored event; sucks to be agnostic in a Christian culture

So, here is the good news: My son attends an amazingly good inner-city school. The even better news: The school this year started an incredible chess program. In its first-ever appearance at the state tournament, his school brought hone four trophies, including two first-place trophies. My son was undefeated in five matches and his team was one of those that won the state championship in its category.

So far so good, right? Well, it is and I am very proud of my son and his classmates. The chess coach is amazing at what he does. But there is a problem.

I have known all along that the chess coach - arguably one of the best chess instructors in the country - is a serious holy roller. It's obvious. But frankly, I never had a problem with that till now.

At the chess tournament, the coach insisted on ending each of several team meetings with a prayer. And we are not talking simple, non-specific requests for blessings from the Almighty.These were prayers of the "in the name of Jesus Christ" variety. My son, knowing how I feel about such things, kind of squirmed.

I did not want to disrupt the event, but I complained to the assistant coach, who said he would give the coach a head's up about by feelings. That should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. The coach continued. And not only did he continued, but it got worse. At one point, when a couple of boys were not paying adequate attention to the prayer, he warned them that "there would be consequences" if they did not bow their heads and participate the next time.

My wife was at home and, when she heard about this, she was not as discreet as I was. She called the coach on his cell phone and (in her diplomatic way) asked him to cut it out. But he didn't.

The weird part (to me, anyway) was we I appear to be the only parents who objected to this. And I am sure the other parents will look at us now as the "party poopers." And, oh yes... did I mention that we are the only white parents in the whole group? That's going to be a complicating factor - at least I fear it will.

So, this sucks. I am taking this up with the school principal. But I don't expect things to go well.



114 replies, 7143 views

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Reply My son was forced to pray at a school-sponsored event; sucks to be agnostic in a Christian culture (Original post)
LuckyTheDog Feb 2013 OP
leveymg Feb 2013 #1
LuckyTheDog Feb 2013 #2
leveymg Feb 2013 #3
Walk away Feb 2013 #6
Lionessa Feb 2013 #80
jberryhill Feb 2013 #87
leveymg Feb 2013 #94
Lionessa Feb 2013 #97
leveymg Feb 2013 #98
Lionessa Feb 2013 #99
leveymg Feb 2013 #109
Lionessa Feb 2013 #95
jberryhill Feb 2013 #4
LuckyTheDog Feb 2013 #5
jberryhill Feb 2013 #21
Bluenorthwest Feb 2013 #8
laundry_queen Feb 2013 #12
Lionessa Feb 2013 #100
LuckyTheDog Feb 2013 #9
jberryhill Feb 2013 #22
CreekDog Feb 2013 #76
jberryhill Feb 2013 #77
CreekDog Feb 2013 #78
jberryhill Feb 2013 #79
CreekDog Feb 2013 #81
jberryhill Feb 2013 #82
CreekDog Feb 2013 #83
jberryhill Feb 2013 #84
CreekDog Feb 2013 #85
jberryhill Feb 2013 #86
Starboard Tack Feb 2013 #89
jberryhill Feb 2013 #93
TheKentuckian Feb 2013 #113
Dreamer Tatum Feb 2013 #7
LuckyTheDog Feb 2013 #13
primavera Feb 2013 #57
rgbecker Feb 2013 #10
Lionessa Feb 2013 #102
Tyrs WolfDaemon Feb 2013 #11
Skidmore Feb 2013 #20
Tyrs WolfDaemon Feb 2013 #58
Drale Feb 2013 #32
Tyrs WolfDaemon Feb 2013 #46
Daemonaquila Feb 2013 #14
jberryhill Feb 2013 #25
LiberalFighter Feb 2013 #71
ybbor Feb 2013 #30
demwing Feb 2013 #37
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #15
jberryhill Feb 2013 #31
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #40
jberryhill Feb 2013 #53
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #56
jberryhill Feb 2013 #63
riderinthestorm Feb 2013 #69
aptal Feb 2013 #61
jberryhill Feb 2013 #64
aptal Feb 2013 #67
demwing Feb 2013 #39
RussBLib Feb 2013 #16
me b zola Feb 2013 #17
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2013 #23
me b zola Feb 2013 #26
vduhr Feb 2013 #75
jberryhill Feb 2013 #28
sinkingfeeling Feb 2013 #18
av8r1998 Feb 2013 #19
Daemonaquila Feb 2013 #35
av8r1998 Feb 2013 #41
randome Feb 2013 #47
AzDar Feb 2013 #24
TlalocW Feb 2013 #27
Ian David Feb 2013 #29
Dustlawyer Feb 2013 #66
EC Feb 2013 #33
firehorse Feb 2013 #34
stupidicus Feb 2013 #36
Coyotl Feb 2013 #38
Ikonoklast Feb 2013 #42
proud2BlibKansan Feb 2013 #43
jwirr Feb 2013 #44
demwing Feb 2013 #45
Bad Thoughts Feb 2013 #48
logosoco Feb 2013 #49
Orrex Feb 2013 #50
bobclark86 Feb 2013 #51
proReality Feb 2013 #52
primavera Feb 2013 #54
cecilfirefox Feb 2013 #55
Gman Feb 2013 #59
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #60
leftyohiolib Feb 2013 #62
ChoppinBroccoli Feb 2013 #68
ChoppinBroccoli Feb 2013 #65
hunter Feb 2013 #70
SemperEadem Feb 2013 #72
NightOwwl Feb 2013 #73
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #74
Starboard Tack Feb 2013 #90
NightOwwl Feb 2013 #96
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #110
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 #88
Lars39 Feb 2013 #91
coldbeer Feb 2013 #92
Rider3 Feb 2013 #101
hrmjustin Feb 2013 #103
Taverner Feb 2013 #104
LuckyTheDog Feb 2013 #107
DrewFlorida Feb 2013 #105
appleannie1 Feb 2013 #106
WinkyDink Feb 2013 #108
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #111
NightOwwl Feb 2013 #112
roody Feb 2013 #114

Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:38 AM

1. Make a call to the Board of Ed and find out what the system's policy is.

Then, call the coach yourself, and tell him you don't want to escalate, but are prepared to do so if he doesn't respect the religious differences of his students.

Sorry you're forced to face this.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:43 AM

2. The coach knows how we feel...

... and I do plan a follow-up conversation with him. But I also want to speak with the principal because she has a responsibility here.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:49 AM

3. Find out what the policy is, first.

You'll have a lot more leverage if there is one. If there isn't, go to the next Board of Ed meeting and relate your story.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:05 AM

6. I have to agree. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with "top down"...

otherwise people can get nasty.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:03 PM

80. Better yet, if the son is agreeable,

 

have him NOT bow his head, have him OBVIOUSLY not pray. Let the coach put forth his "repercussions" and then sue him and the school.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #80)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:50 PM

87. Creekdog begs to differ with you


Apparently, at least one DUer thinks that is a really bad idea.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #87)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:52 PM

94. I agree that's not a good idea unless the boy is strongly committed in principle, no matter

what the practical repercussions in terms of conflict with his chess coach and potentially some of the the other kids. Even if this is something HE wants to do, this shouldn't be done casually. I would find out what other options there may be, and I would consider them carefully.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #94)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:02 PM

97. Please note, I started with, if the son is agrreable and had the sense to read and note that the OP

 

keeps her son well informed about all aspects of this issue and their repercussions as she is aware of them. In no way does she give the impression she has him under any kind of disillusion or "cuz I said so" type of life.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #97)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:07 PM

98. I wasn't disagreeing with you.

I would kinda appreciate it if the OP were to respond to my question about whether he's checked into what the school policy on this sort of thing actually is.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #98)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:10 PM

99. Actually, why should the OP answer? This is federal law, not f'ing school policy.

 

Whether it be the coach or the school screwing up, it's needs to stop, even if no one ever complains, it needs to stop at a public school, particularly if it is Xian specific as opposed to a moment of silent prayer. So in two ways it breaks the law. First it shouldn't be forced, and second it shouldn't favor one religion over another.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #99)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:51 PM

109. Yes, I know there's a federal law that applies to this, but so does school policy more immediately,

unless you're suggesting litigation under the 1984 federal Equal Access Act.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #87)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:00 PM

95. Oh please keep your pettiness to yourself, don't try to bunch me in with your CD obsession.

 

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:53 AM

4. "My son, knowing how I feel about such things"

The coach's behavior is thoroughly inappropriate and wrong.

Completely absent from your story is any hint of self determination on the part of your son. He seems to be a cameo player in what is essentially your drama. We know how you feel about it. We know how your wife feels about it. We know that your son squirmed, but in anticipation of how you would react. We also know what your wife did and said, and what you plan to do and say.

It is, of course, entirely your prerogative as parents to take this up with the school and with the coach. Also, since missing from your account is any indication of your son's age, maybe having him address situations in his own life is something that he's not ready to take on.

If the team made it to the tournament, then this has been going on for a while and your son hasn't been telling you. He's obviously decided he'd rather play chess than make waves and, from your account, knew there would be a problem when you found out. I feel badly for him now that he's become a pawn in a game between others.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:59 AM

5. My son is 11 years old

I don't really expect him to stand up to the 45-year-old chess coach entirely on his own.

My son has told me that this had not been typical of the coach's behavior before this. Also: I have attended many of the chess practice sessions and never witnessed this before. My feeling is that, away from the view of school officials, the coach decided to let it all hang out.

My son told me that the whole thing made him uncomfortable. I think he would have told me otherwise if it had not. He is the one who told me about the "there will be consequences" remark. I was not in the room for that team meeting.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:08 AM

21. Personally...

Passive resistance doesn't require anyone to "stand up" to anyone else. Having walked out of a student assembly in high school which was sponsored by a religious group, and having calmly told the vice principal why I was doing so in what was essentially a dare for him to do something about it, I found the experience to be empowering and liberating.

I have no idea what your son thinks about the situation, and for all I know he may feel trapped between two strong personalities here. However, the course I would take is to refuse to pray, take the consequences, and then tell the coach, again perfectly calmly, that what I have learned about his faith is that it is coercive and vindictive and thank him for convincing me I never want any part of it. Setting up a "fight" and using the technique of shaming instead of fighting can also be done in parallel, as my next move would be to sue the school out of existence.

I'm also curious to know whether this is a charter school. And is this a school-sanctioned club, or a volunteer activity on the part of the coach?

IMHO, 11 is a perfectly appropriate age for your son to be the primary driver of the response here and a perfectly appropriate age for him to develop the connection between his own conscience and actions without you taking control of the situation out of his hands. The age difference is not an issue here.

By the same token, I would not profess to be competent to tell you what you should do.

Again, totally IMHO, but I think your son's best move is to make the coach punish him. Then, the coach is going to have to address the redressable consequences of HIS actions.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:10 AM

8. You know, the same sort of thing holds true for other crap 'coaches' do, like being homophobes.

The child- repeat, child- who wants to fit in or play a certain game being subjected to bigoted crap on the part of adults in charge might be subjected to racism as well. Your notion that adults at school get to do things to children who are on their own is scary. Parents must not intervene with this, you say, it is up to children to fight adult bigots?
What if the coach was a racist? Would it still be up to a child to confront that, and if the child did not, well, then the coach should not be bothered by parents?
Your theory is that if the bad adults pick the right child to exploit, the bad adults win, because children must deal on their own with adults in power, without help form parents?

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:18 AM

12. +1 nt

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:11 PM

100. +2

 

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:15 AM

9. I also should mention...

... that I have exposed my son to Christianity. We have attended church with my father and mother (separate churches; they are divorced).

Once, when my son went to stay with my father for a week during the summer, I allowed my dad to enroll him in a Christian day school that went on for a few hours per day, five days in a row. When I did that, I talked for a long time with my son both before and after the experience. I have tried to make it clear that I am not antagonistic toward Christians or Christianity and, ultimately, it will be up to him to decide how he feels about it.

But I do have a problem when an authority figure outside the family decides to appoint himself the spiritual adviser of my son.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:10 AM

22. That's neither here nor there

What you do with your family is your own business. Still, I count the word "I" in your writing on the topic, which should be about your son and what he wants, a lot.

Your son is obviously a good chess player, and he's been handed a game to play. If he's a better chess player than you are, then he may have a better view of the strategic situation.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:40 PM

76. it's already been explained that the kid is 11, why are you being dense about this?

people post these experiences and you are just ready to call BS on them even when there is no cause to do so.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #76)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:44 PM

77. "call BS on them"


I'm not sure what thread you are reading, but I have not called BS on anything. An 11 year old chess champion is certainly capable of thinking things through quite well.

In order to precipitate a situation in which the school and the coach can be suitably sued to an inch of their life - which IMHO they deserve - then the kid should refuse to pray.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #77)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:45 PM

78. an 11 year old chess champion does not necessarily know when to listen/not listen to a coach

who is an authority figure.

you can be so dense about things when you really dig in, as you're doing now.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #78)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:53 PM

79. Oh, cool another thread about me and how dense I am

I love threads that are about me.

An eleven year old is certainly well able to know his religious beliefs and not participate in things contrary to them. But the OP gives no indication of what his thoughts or feelings on the matter are, and the discomfort is cast in terms of how he thought his parents would react. I'm just going on what is written there, and it says much.

I also have some tangentially related experience in stating directly to a school coach, without getting exercised about it, that his behavior would result in legal action against him and the school. (That situation involved leaving an injured child - mine - unattended in a locker room.)

But, hey, let's talk about me. I'm a much more interesting topic, I assure you. Lets detail all of my personality flaws and how much better I would be if I were more like you.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #79)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:32 PM

81. then why did your child allow themselves to be left injured in a locker room?

why did you have to get involved?

see?

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #81)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:33 PM

82. Because he was unconscious

He had passed out, and was left unattended.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #82)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:38 PM

83. you say this thread isn't about you but you will nitpick the poster

and make him seem like a fool and selfish for not agreeing with you.

and you'll post two dozen messages to do so.

that's how you roll.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #83)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:43 PM

84. I called nobody a fool

And I don't even disagree with the poster.

Can you explain what it is the poster and I disagree about?

We both agree that the coach is doing something wrong and illegal. As the situation is one which involves his son, I am curious to know what his son thinks about it, primarily.

Are there any other personal characterizations in which you would like to engage?


"It is, of course, entirely your prerogative as parents to take this up with the school and with the coach."


I agree that "prerogative" may be a word which many people do not understand, but I specifically said that however he deals with it is entirely and properly up to him.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #84)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:45 PM

85. you keep saying that it's inappropriate for the father to get involved

because an 11 year old knows when they should and should not take on their coach and a father has no say in that.



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Response to CreekDog (Reply #85)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:48 PM

86. What does this sentence mean to you

"It is, of course, entirely your prerogative as parents to take this up with the school and with the coach."

I would love to know what that means in your universe.

Your characterization of my response is entirely inaccurate.

You know, CreekDog, I was recently admonished by someone else on DU not to speak for them. So, please, since you are incapable of understanding my point, I would suggest you do the same. I wouldn't want to think you a hypocrite. I do not "keep saying" anything of the sort.

Yes, whenever I wish to condemn someone, I always say "it is entirely your prerogative" to do something.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:02 PM

89. I went through a similar situation with my daughter.

Sounds like you've dealt with the situation very well until now. Personally, I wouldn't make such a big deal about it. Explain to your son that bowing one's head makes no difference, nobody can be forced to pray and the world is full of freaks and freaky things. He's a smart kid and will figure it all out. Just a part of growing up.
Instead of getting all bent out of shape, look at the positive side. Inner city school, chess club (that's the context) and giving those kids some religion is probably not the worst thing that could be happening to them. And I say that as an atheist. Remember, it's all about context.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #89)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:06 PM

93. "He's a smart kid and will figure it all out."


Aw, now you've done it... Incoming!

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #89)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:08 PM

113. I sorta agree. Prayer is direct communication from person to deity one cannot be made to do such a

thing but he should not be coerced to even pretend such either.

If the boy is offended then he shouldn't stand for it and should have your support or if he doesn't himself really care then the previous advice is strong. He can bow his head and consider it a moment of silent reflection and a period of acceptance of the beliefs of others even if they lack the mental and spiritual maturity to display the same tolerance that he a pre-teen has already learned.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:08 AM

7. Sounds like the coach needs a talking-to

Obviously he's a great coach, but the prayers need to stop. Pretty cut-and-dried.

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Response to Dreamer Tatum (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:19 AM

13. You see, that's the awkward part

The awkward part is that this coach really IS great at what he does. I want him to continue teaching chess, but quit the proselytizing.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:09 PM

57. I'm doubtful it would come to that

If he's good at what he does, it's hard to imagine the school summarily firing him for just one aspect of his behavior that doesn't specifically bear on his job performance. I would imagine that the school could give him a talking to. If he's enough of a zealot that he's willing to ignore warnings from his employer and continue evangelizing, then I don't care how good a chess teacher he is, he has no business working in a secular school.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:16 AM

10. These folks will help you if you need it.

http://ffrf.org/

I've been getting their publication from my brother....it comes in a plain white wrapper!

Lots of good stories about kids taking on the Man.

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Response to rgbecker (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:15 PM

102. SecularStudents.org is also a good one.

 

http://www.secularstudents.org/

I actually met one of their representatives at a meeting in Phoenix, they seem like a great group for student issues.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:17 AM

11. The Vikings had a form of chess that they enjoyed playing

I would be tempted (I wouldn't actually go this far - at least not at first) to have my kid mention this and ask that the coach honor those origins. To do this, the prayers should be to Odin, Tyr, Thor, etc.


On a more serious note, I hope that you and the Mrs can get this coach to back off. No kid should be forced to pray just so they can participate in an activity they enjoy (Obviously I mean a non-religious activity).

If you like, I can pray to Odin to have his wolves haunt this coach's dreams.



In case your interested, here is the viking chess set (I gave my dad one a few years ago)


http://www.norseamerica.com/catalog/item/4962003/4990410.htm









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Response to Tyrs WolfDaemon (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:07 AM

20. Oh, I am so sharing this with my daughter.

Her son is very into Viking lore now.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:11 PM

58. If they have an iPad, there are one or two games that are similar

to the Norse game. I have enjoyed the Tablut game they have and I think there is a free version and a dollar version.


I hope your daughter's son has fun learning about the vikings and our lore.

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Response to Tyrs WolfDaemon (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:28 AM

32. Chess originated in India during the Gupta Empire

between 320 and 550 C.E. and I'm pretty sure they were not Christian at all and had never even hear do Jesus Christ.

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Response to Drale (Reply #32)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:46 AM

46. That just means there are more gods that should be honored!

I'm sure everyone left their own little twist as the game moved from country to country.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:20 AM

14. There's always a choice, and sometimes it's not something that can be done nicely.

I had a couple holy-roller freak teachers when I was a teen, and believe me - even a student can put her foot up their ass and end the crap. Look I respect that you're trying to deal with it through the principal and up the chain, but you've got a 50/50 chance. This is where you need to be calling the ACLU, the media, etc. as well.

But unfortunately, your son is best equipped to end it. I was one of those students who didn't just squirm, but made the statement over and over. "There will be consequences?" "Really? And what are they? I don't pray. I don't do your god. And I'm not going to pretend."

Yes, I really did the equivalent as a kid. I had a teacher go full red-faced ballistic at me in front of the class, and I stood there (heart pounding) with a poker face and crossed arms. After he was done, I looked him in the eye and said "This is school, not church. I'm not a christian, and I 'm not going to be." He looked like he was going to start another freakstorm, but then it just went out of him as he saw 30 heads watching the incident, and glints in 30 eyes looking him up and down like a hurt gazelle among a herd of lions, and he did the calculation about the next 6 months of media coverage, parental complaints, school board meetings, and awkward silences in the teachers' lounge.

Yes, it's rough being an agnostic kid, but as they say, it gets better. That is, it gets better if you learn to speak up knowing your parents will back you if some SOB tries to give you detention for standing up to forced religion. I had to deal with two religious bully teachers this way, and I dealt with 3-4 others who weren't as bad and avoided the full-out confrontation, but I was the one who had to do it.

Good luck. I hope you can take care of this, but you'll probably have to bring in some big guns and your son will probably have to take a personal stand - parents alone can rarely have the kind of effect that a student speaking up can have.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:15 AM

25. "parents alone can rarely have the kind of effect that a student speaking up can have"


Exactly.

Setting up a conflict between the adults is essentially drawing battle lines and digging trenches. Forcing the coach to confront his behavior internally, and deal with the hypocrisy of his action, is best done by forcing the "consequences".

it gets better if you learn to speak up knowing your parents will back you if some SOB tries to give you detention for standing up to forced religion

Yep. Make the guy administer the "consequences", and then he has consequences of his own to face, and that sets up the internal conflict on the coach's side of the board.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:05 PM

71. Especially if it is in front of witnesses of your peers.

When the other side is not ready for conflict it makes it easier to throw them for a loop and the consequences can make them light headed.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:27 AM

30. I did the same, and I went to Catholic schools

I used to play the devil's advocate all the time. I especially did so when the RTLers came into the classroom. I always asked them difficult questions regarding the safety of a 12-year-old having a baby due to rape and such, and would continue to press them after their canned response. I may have not changed the speaker's mind, but I'm sure it had an effect on the other students. I took great pride in my position, and this young man could as well.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #14)


Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:25 AM

15. Good luck with this. Waiting for the usual DU crew to chime in with "its just a little prayer"!!11!!

and telling non-believers to just suck it up and ignore it. Or my fave - that prayers/religious stuff at school or government sponsored events is no big deal....

Kick and a rec for more eyes on your story.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:27 AM

31. I doubt you'll see that here


As you seem not to appreciate the distinction between being forced to participate and not being forced to participate. If the coach wants to pray with willing students, and this kid can do whatever he wants during that time, that's a different scenario from having threatened "consequences" for non-participation.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #31)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:36 AM

40. So school coaches are allowed to pray with students before games?

That's not what I've understood. Various groups like the FFRF and the First Amendment Center both indicate otherwise but I'm willing to be educated differently.

I see the problem as twofold - the coach praying, and the coach telling the kids that there will be consequences if they don't pray. I don't care to understand the nuances of distinction - both suck imho.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #40)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:04 PM

53. On their own meter, they can, sure


Can the coach go to church on Sunday with kids who also go to that church on Sunday? Sure. It's not as if what he does on his own time is of any consequence.

If it is a required activity which is made a part of participating in the tournament, that's another story entirely. The coach can't make it part of the activity. If the coach and like minded students want to go off and pray somewhere, they're free to do so.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #53)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:08 PM

56. This was at a school function and he was acting in a teacher/coach position - not his own "meter"

as far as I can tell.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #56)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:29 PM

63. If you are asking about the particular situation described in the OP

I have already said it was inappropriate and wrong.

If you were asking about the particular circumstances described in the OP, then I don't know why you would ask if I thought it was okay. I already said it was not okay upthread.

I was under the impression that the question you posed in this subthread was a broader general question of whether a coach, under any circumstances, could or could not pray with students.

So, no, the circumstances described in the OP are clearly well over the line, wrong, and indefensible. If your question is whether there are any circumstances under which a teacher/coach may pray with students, there certainly are.

Your question was "So school coaches are allowed to pray with students before games?" That's a broad, general question. Let's say a team is at an away game in a distant city. Arguably, the coach is in his supervisory capacity at all times. However, if prior to the time that any of the students are required to be attending a pre-match coaching session or otherwise engaged in the activity, the coach can certainly pray and do so with any students who desire to do so.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #63)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:45 PM

69. Thanks for the clarification! nt

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #53)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:23 PM

61. This is my question also...

I mean his he forcing him to pray? Will he be kicked out if he doesn't? I highly doubt it...

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Response to aptal (Reply #61)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:36 PM

64. The coach threatened unspecified "consequences"


So, yes, the coach is coercing him to pray.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #64)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:38 PM

67. Ahh, sorry I missed that part in the post.

Ok, there should be action taken against this Coach immediately IMO.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:35 AM

39. Riiiight, because that is EXACTLY what you would expect at DU

the bastion of Christianity

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:26 AM

16. If you feel strongly enough about it, contact the FFRF or ACLU

The FFRF, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, is looking for cases such as this, especially if the prayer was "forced." It sounds to me like a violation, but of what I am not sure.

http://ffrf.org/

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:33 AM

17. I'm a believer who is angry that this happened to you and your son

I wish that this crap of praying in school would be dropped, it just seems like a mechanism to bully people from other faiths or non believers. I am sorry that this happens and if were up to me it wouldn't.

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Response to me b zola (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:11 AM

23. Same here

Ask the coach how he would feel if someone who was coaching his children in a public school was a Catholic who required everyone to pray the rosary or a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist who required everyone to repeat the nenbutsu or a Muslim who recited verses from the Quran before every match.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:20 AM

26. Yeah, we know what would happen

...those same people who demand prayer in school would pivot on a dime to cry that those evil others are trying to indoctrinate their children.

I was taught by my devout Catholic parents that a person's religious/spiritual beliefs are private, and only con men wear their religious beliefs on their sleeve.

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Response to me b zola (Reply #26)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:40 PM

75. I totally agree.

I have always said the same thing - it's personal. I also see many Christians who seem to not only be trying to convince others to believe, but themselves as well, including my sister. The frequency with which she and some other Christians mention their beliefs sounds more like they are not so sure themselves, so saying it over and over, out loud convinces them it's true.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:24 AM

28. The problem is...


Those are easy questions for a "true believer" to deal with.

I've dealt with this type more times than I would have preferred. The short answer is "Those other faiths are wrong. Mine is right."

The "true believer" type does not see these situations as analogous, since he cannot view the situation objectively in the "what if the shoe was on the other foot" manner. Dealing with that question is trivial, when you are coming from the position that your faith is an absolute truth. Sure, the coach would agree that he would object to his kid being forced to participate in rituals of faiths which are wrong. But his faith is not wrong. Ergo, there is no problem with what he is doing.

A much better approach is to ask the coach whether his witness for his faith is consistent with his faith itself. Along the lines of:

"I don't know much about your faith, but do I correctly understand that your faith is one in which people who don't believe are forced to participate and punished if they don't?"

That takes the dilemma away from the OP and his son, and places the fetid stinking mess of this guy's assholery right back into his own hands.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:33 AM

18. I thought only 'student intitiated prayers' were allowed at sporting events.

Call the local ACLU and see if the coach is violating the state law.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:02 AM

19. A fellow agnostic

 

I tend not to get upset about it.
Since I am agnostic, I can stand to be respectful.
My suggestion would be to have your son RESPECTFULLY tell the coach that praying to Jesus and bowing his head is against his personal religious beliefs. FWIW I would expect the same of a Jewish, Hindu or Muslim parent.

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Response to av8r1998 (Reply #19)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:30 AM

35. It doesn't pay to be respectful to a bully.

It's one thing to inwardly roll your eyes and let it be if it's a mostly inoffensive situation, such as a moment's silence before a practice. When it rises to the level of bullying, where students are told there will be consequences unless they act a certain way during a coach-led prayer, you have to respond to the bullying with force, the only language a bully understands.

Nobody has ever stopped a bully by asking them to stop, ignoring their behavior, or running to teacher.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #35)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:37 AM

41. Very True

 

I don't disagree with that.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #35)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:50 AM

47. I understand there are similarities but I would disagree that this behavior merits disrespect.

The coach is an adult. Fighting an adult head on simply means he will harden himself against you and, perhaps, take it out on the kid next time.

I would agree with the original sentiment about being respectful but firm that the son will not be doing this again.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:14 AM

24. Sucks that a child should be put through this nonsense, but keep in mind that it is the

Coach being an inconsiderate asshole, not you. Sometimes these god-botherers are so convinced of their 'righteousness' that they don't care that their actions may be harmful, or possibly unconstitutional...even to those with whom they are charged to protect and instruct.

"Dear Jeebus...please save me from your followers."

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:22 AM

27. Oh, Lord...

Please blind our opponents' eyes to the power of our strategically placed knights, forgive us for castling as well as those who castle against us, and let us not be deceived by, 'Fool's Mate.'

TlalocW

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:24 AM

29. If the coach can offer prayers, then so can the kids. How about a prayer to Satan?

Father Satan, I call to you from the deepest parts of my heart, I praise your name with every breath of my body, I worship you with every fiber of my being.

You have shown me what true strength is. You have shown me what true love is. Out of the darkness you came to show, me the true light.

My master, my father and my friend what a great gift that is.

Hail to the King!

http://inpraiseofsatan.webs.com/prayerstosatan.htm

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Response to Ian David (Reply #29)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:38 PM

66. This is what I always say to the school prayer crowd. Sure lets have prayer in school!

Just don't get upset when that nice Kindergarden teacher has her class pray to Satan! It makes their heads explode!
Here, I would let the boy tell the teacher that he will sit out the prayers, but let the coach lead the others in prayer. Then, if the coach wants to force the issue, the boy should decide if he will let it go and continue to play, or raise a stink to have this bullshit stopped at the risk of losing the coach.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:29 AM

33. Put it back on the coach and ask

him if it does any good for a non-believer to pretend to go along and pray? A true believer should say no, one has to feel it in their heart or something like that...so would it be better to have a prayer with everyone sincere in that prayer or to have a non-believer cancel their prayers because of no faith? I'd think a true believer would then excuse the non-believer from their prayers to keep them pure. Of course I suspect this has become more of a power struggle at this point rather than belief/non-belief.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:29 AM

34. I'm an athiest and had to pray in school. It was not that big of deal, didn't damage me.

There's just some shit we have to do and put up with, its a part of life. I look at it as training for growing up. IMO not a battle worth fighting over if other things make the school worthwhile.

And frankly as a kid, it didn't have that much impact, it was just this boring repetitive thing we all had to do, no different from memerizing math multiplications.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:32 AM

36. that's BS

if they can't be compelled to participate in this http://www.dese.mo.gov/schoollaw/freqaskques/pledge.htm it makes no sense that they should be pressured to participate in prayer as part of a school sponsored activity.

The coach doesn't have a leg to stand on, and apparently the foresight chess otherwise cultivates is lacking or ignored by him in this instance, because he'll easily get his butt kicked over it.

It's really the chess equivalent stepping into the "Fool's Mate" in terms of who will win this "game". He's just betting that no one will make the right "move".

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:35 AM

38. This is too important to not give the holy bastard a taste of the hot coals of hell

Put his feet to the fire and make the system straighten him out!

This is one of the things wrong with the USA. This is how wars begin, holier-than-thou'ers thinking they are right and can do no wrong with the Lord guiding them!

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:40 AM

42. DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT!

Just in case you didn't get it the first time, DOCUMENT time, day date, who was in attendance, who witnessed the events when and where they happened.

Each and every time, document these instances.


School boards wilt under proper documentation of their employee's wrongdoing.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:43 AM

43. Is this a public school? Or a private school?

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:44 AM

44. That is how I learned to oppose prayer in school. In 3rd grade Joseph Mc Carthy (sp?) died and

our teacher made us pray for his soul. Unfortunately many of us were not Roman Catholic so we were taught that you do not pray for the dead. Plus in my case my parents would have prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for his death. In case you do not know who I am talking about it is the commie hunter who held the hearings in DC in the early 50s. My family hated that idiot.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:45 AM

45. "there would be consequences" Truly?

OK. Push that button. Lets see what the consequences are...maybe he'll get lucky, and the consequences will be free ice cream.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:50 AM

48. He cannot compel participation!

I do some volunteer teaching at my son's elementary school. Much of it has to do with the connection between music and regional social history. I'm not Christian, but I wanted to introduce spiritual songs related the Civil Rights movement. What was explained to me is that religious practices, etc., can be demonstrated, but students cannot be asked or required to participate in them. This state leans conservative, but I think it still shows where the chess coach crossed the line by asking the kids to pray and then introducing penalties for non-participation. Those ground, I believe, may a very clear, very direct complaint that is less complicated than separation of Church and State.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:50 AM

49. It seems like the coach is good at teaching chess, but has forgotten it is not a religion class.

It has been some years since I played chess, but I don't recall prayers being part of the game.
So he is stepping over the line with this itself.
But for him to suggest there would be "consequences" for not participating in a prayer is way out of line.

If the coach is a good Christian, as he must see himself, he can pray for his students in his own time, but he has no authority to make prayer part of teaching and coaching a chess team.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:53 AM

50. You should also fight to have the bishops removed from play

The school has no business empowering those religious warriors.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:59 AM

51. A couple town and county boards still pray before meetings where I am.

I don't bring it up half because a) I don't really care (It's my personal quiet reflection time and people leave me alone), but b) I work for a newspaper and I need somebody else to make it an issue before I nail them on it. Unlike the paper in Westchester County, journalists shouldn't be the story. Too bad nobody actually goes to the meeting of the all-Republican boards around here. I do my job too well.

Ask your son how he feels. 11 year olds can and do have opinions on such things. That's about the age I quit Boy Scouts because I figured out I was pragmatic agnostic all on my own. Oh, and the next issue of Rolling Stone spent a lot of time on the uber-gay bashing. That made the decision easy for me.

If he doesn't like it (and not because you don't like it), I'd say find the policy, contact the school board, and if necessary, call the ACLU. A tape recorder or video camera would also help (you're a proud mom/dad combo, you should have your iPhone or camcorder ready anyway ).

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:03 PM

52. As a fellow agnostic, I wish you the best of luck. n/t

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:04 PM

54. A toughie - that really tests the strength of one's convictions

If the school receives public monies, you're on solid legal ground for complaining about it. But someone such a visceral, emotional - as opposed to rational - commitment as this zealot appears to have cannot be relied upon to take criticism in stride and not retaliate against your son in some way. Do you know if other members of the chess team are similarly discomfited? I spent a few years at a Catholic school as a kid and the overwhelming majority of us resented the religious overtones of the place. Since it was a Catholic school, there wasn't much we could do about it, but almost all of us would have loved to be freed from the imposition. If there were other chess team members who also resented the whole prayer thing, perhaps you could contact their parents and get them to sign on to a joint protest letter. There's strength in numbers: if there were other parents complaining, the instructor would have a much harder time retaliating against multiple team members.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:06 PM

55. Send a detailed e-mail to both the Principle, Superintendent, and maybe even a few Board members-

Trust me, it'll light a fire up someone's ass pretty quick.

Keep us posted, I'd like to see what the resolution is. Its inconceivable to me that some people think their right to practice their religion includes deliberately, knowingly, and willfully indoctrinating other people's children.

Freaks.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:15 PM

59. Aside from the illegality of the prayer

You should let your son determine his own beliefs. He's at the age where he's going to do that anyway. Rebelling against your parents' beliefs is a rite of passage.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:17 PM

60. yawn

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:25 PM

62. like GOD really gives a shit who wins a chess game

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #62)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:39 PM

68. To Borrow A Ricky Gervais Line...........

............God is too busy giving AIDS to babies in Africa to worry about a high school chess game.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:37 PM

65. As For Myself, This Is What I Do When Faced With Those Situations

First of all, for purposes of full disclosure, I'm not a religious person. I'm not an Atheist, but I have a healthy disrespect for pretty much all forms of ORGANIZED religion. Whenever I'm at an event where a prayer is being conducted (I actually had this happen yesterday--I was attending my nephew's baptism at a Catholic church, and I find the Catholic sect to be particularly ridiculous with all their dogged adherence to meaningless ritual), I simply refuse to take part. I don't make a spectacle of myself; I simply don't participate. I don't fold my hands or bow my head or "go through the motions." I just remain silent out of respect for the "believers" around me, and I look the person conducting the prayer right in the eye, as I would for anything else he/she said. In my experience, this is the best way to handle things. Just my opinion based on my own life experiences. No need to start a Holy War. No need to call attention to the fact that you're not conforming or demand that the others do as you do. Just follow your own path.

I understand your frustration. I went through a similar "moral dilemma" last year when I found out my 5-year-old son was being asked to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (I have a major problem with any kind of loyalty oath, especially one being forced on a 5-year-old child--it smacks of indoctrination). At the end of the day, I decided that my raising a stink about it would only cause more problems than it would solve, especially since children that age have no idea what the words mean anyway. When he gets old enough to start making his own decisions about such issues, I'll encourage him to do the exact same thing: follow his convictions while respecting others' beliefs at the same time.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:57 PM

70. My mom was a Holy Terror in such situations.

In this modern world the coach might have had a restraining order filed against her.

One of my fears when my wife and I were married was that my mom would make a scene at our large Catholic wedding. When I was a kid our family was banned from some churches. Teachers and school staff were always solicitous of her religious views which included sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance and avoiding public prayers in any venue but a church community.

We ended up as Quakers because my mom could openly discuss her conversations with God at meetings and everyone would listen respectfully, nod politely no matter how over-the-top she was, and then move on. In religions with a hierarchical structure negative commentary during a Pastor's sermon is not well accepted.

I'm still a little scarred by my mom's disruptive behavior in schools and churches when I was a kid, and it's not a family tradition my siblings and I carried on. But all our kids know that religious faith is something that comes from within and they are free to accept or reject religious beliefs as their own free will guides them. We've raised a fine bunch of heretics, agnostics, and thoughtful atheists. Our family discussions about religion do not turn into the kinds of warfare I experienced as a child where the so-called adults in the family went flying-crockery-knife-wielding insane during religious holidays. I still can't be happy at Christmas... I dread the holiday even though the religious wars are long over as older generations passed on and we began to avoid conservative branches of the family who considered themselves defenders of their One True faiths.

What i did learn from all this was that by the age of ten I could stand up to a hell of a lot of abuse from religious fanatics of all stripes and I was always confident my mom would back me up against any religious authoritarianism because she strongly believes one must accept religion by one's own free will or it means nothing. My mom was like having my very own Holy Hand Grenade in reserve and this made me confident enough that I never had to use her against people like your son's chess coach.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. -- Matthew 6:5


School principals and teachers knew I'd be sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance and that my mom had zero tolerance for prayer in school from the first day I was enrolled and it was done because they didn't want to have that uncomfortable face-to-face discussion again.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:16 PM

72. I would ask the coach exactly

what kind of consequences will there be? That your son won't play? If he's as good as he is, then why would he jeopardize the whole team by forcing your son out? Not only will that impact the team, he will then put himself out on display for his coersive behavior.

Forcing a child to do something that goes against what their parents allow is abuse. Period. The coach is not your son's parent: you are. This has absolutely nothing to do with religion and everything to do with abuse. Religion has nothing to do with playing chess.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:18 PM

73. You yourself say

the school is amazingly good, the chess program is incredible, the coach is amazing at what he does.

On the other hand, the coach ends some (not all, some - your words) with a Jesus themed prayer.

To top it off, you are the only white parents.

If you go to the principal, you could end up causing rifts between not only your son and the coach, but also between your son and his classmates, between you and the other parents, between you and the coach. And although you say this is for your son, I'm still not totally convinced.

In this life we need to choose our battles. If this is one you choose, then go for it. But do be aware you may be turning what appears to be an extremely positive experience for your son into something negative and ugly. My suggestion would be to tell your son to use that prayer-time to think about whatever he wants to think about.

I'm not religious but I prefer not to label myself. Labels can be very restrictive, as we can end up trying to live our lives through the filter of those labels.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:36 PM

74. My advice for what little it's worth

 

I am an athiest.

The question is this: does it REALLY matter? You have to answer this for yourself. My answer is not yours.

Is it worth potentially blowing away your son's chess club activities by, at the very least angering this teacher? And further, potentially causing you son problems with the other kids at school?

If the answer is yes, then go nuclear. Don't mess about, call an attorney and follow his or her directions.

If the answer is no, then talk to your son and blow it off. If it makes you feel better, remember that your son is going to have to deal with this nonsense his entire life. From coaches wanting to pray over him to Presidential inaugurantions filled to overflowing with prayers and shout-outs to god. It sucks, it's infuriating, and it's how it is. Not saying don't make waves, but even here on DU a huge number of people are passionate believers in god.

Myself, I'd probably talk to my kid and, without any pressure one way or the other, and find out what he wanted. Whatever decision he makes, praise him for his maturity and carry on.

Good luck!

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #74)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:04 PM

90. +1 Good post.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #74)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:01 PM

96. Exactly the point I was trying to make.

Is it really worth the possibility of ruining a wonderful life experience for her son in order to prove a point?


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Response to NightOwwl (Reply #96)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:54 PM

110. It might be. It's not an easy choice. :) -nt

 

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:55 PM

88. I went to public school in Texas in the '60s.

They prayed over EVERYTHING. Every morning over the PA in homeroom, before every game, before every choir concert ...

I was in the a capella choir, and our choir trip involved traveling up to East Texas and singing at probably every Baptist church along the way. I was a Methodist at the time, so not even an atheist or agnostic (or Jewish), but I never could figure out why only Baptist churches or churches at all, for that matter. I think we did sing at Sam Houston College, but all that singing religious songs at churches .... gah, I'm still disgusted almost 50 years later.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:05 PM

91. Get video proof, especially of the "repercussions" threat, and raise the roof.

The boundaries keep getting pushed precisely because no one stands up to this type of bully. The coach may erroneously view himself as irreplaceable because his team wins, but what is this type of coaching teaching the kids?

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:05 PM

92. I was your son in 1953

I just started school and never seen a flushing commode before. WTF!!
magic! Overwhelming! We said the Lord's Prayer in the morning. I, as
a six-year old was thinking WTF!!! These classmates can't be
believing this shit?
A couple year's later Dwight added "under God" to our allegiance!
WTF!!
I knew this before i was ten years old. I am now an ordained
minister. And I still wonder WTF!!!

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:13 PM

101. It does suck.

I believe in the separation of Church and state, and I'm a Catholic. I don't want to put my beliefs on anyone else.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:20 PM

103. I am so sorry this is happening.

This coach does not seem like a christian at all but a bully. I would never force anyone to pray with me who do not want to. This coach should be fired from his job.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:22 PM

104. Call your local ACLU

 

Nothing like lawyers to get someone's attention

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Response to Taverner (Reply #104)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:38 PM

107. I actually have a pretty good contact at the state ACLU... BUT...

... I hope I don't have to take it that far.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:24 PM

105. Best of luck with that!

I am always amazed by the ignorance and arrogance of people who try to force their religious beliefs on others.
It sounds as though this chess coach is not going to stop unless he is made to stop by the administration or courts.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:29 PM

106. You have grounds and could get the school in a world of s**t

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:39 PM

108. MAN UP and INSIST that this (ILLEGAL, if a public school) practice STOP IMMEDIATELY.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:54 PM

111. A skirmish ignored today

becomes a war tomorrow, and war lost by next week; nobody knows that, and makes the most of that, like the minions of theocracy.

I can understand why you might not want to fight. I was not an atheist, but a Jehovah's Witness, back when the local Catholics were PISSED that this bunch of upstarts dare lure Latinos. How dare they, Latinos were and are the chattel that pays the bills, especially the Cadillac the priest drives!

However, I saw how every time some parent was shamed into shutting up, they got headway. It got so bad that my school district was 512th in new jersey, last in the STATE, and a large part of that was because the churches did their best to make sure that all their kids went to Catholic school. Let us not forget, these people want public education GONE, as it is the only place that will allow students to learn FACTS that clash with their FEARS.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:38 PM

112. Doing right versus being right.

I found an article that might help you see things in a different light. I'm not begging , but I really hope you take the time to read and reflect on the content before making a decision.

The next time you KNOW you are right about something with a spouse, significant other or anyone whose viewpoint opposes yours, consciously back off the need to BE right. Even as that Im right about this! feeling wells up inside your chest, catch it and stop yourself from reacting this time.

Instead, consider if there is truly a reason to even pursue the issue at all: will resolving the difference really lead to an important benefit, such as preventing accidents, improving health, making or saving money or the like? If so, consciously remind yourself to proceed softly and kindly this time remind yourself (and tell the other person!) that you are pursuing this discussion gently to achieve the desired benefit, not to have to be seen as right.

Chances are, though, that like most such situations, your need to be right is mostly an ego thing. The potential benefits of the other person seeing you as right dont equal the stress, the erosion of peace and happiness, that can occur to demonstrate you are right. In which case, just back off your egos desire to prove you are right at all. This time. Let it go with your spouse, significant other or whoever you are in disagreement with. Let them believe they are right. And watch and evaluate your own reactions to letting them believe they are right.


To be right implies a need for others to recognize you as such to be proven right, seen as right. Again, it emanates from the ego and is vastly different than doing right, which has no need for external recognition. Doing right has no need for others to know you are right.


http://www.intenseexperiences.com/being-happier.html

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:24 AM

114. Is he praying that they win?

That would very trite and selfish. He should pray for world peace.

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