Kicking Baal Out of Schools
You live in the United States. In the Constitution, it says that congress can make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
One of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, described this amendment as a “wall of separation between the church and the state.”
You go to a state-run public school, which must conform to this Constitutional maxim.
First Day of School
It’s your first day at this school, having arrived in a new town after moving.
You get on the bus and are driven to school. The bus parks, but the door hasn’t opened yet. The bus driver is sitting there, silent.
A student in the very front stands up. She is wearing a strange conical hat.
“All who worship Baal Hadad as master and lord, raise your hand in reverence!” she shouts. All of the other children raise their hands and look around.
Several notice that you’re not raising your hand, and begin to whisper and murmur to one another. Soon, everyone is talking about you, and looking at you like something is completely wrong with you.
You really want to leave. Why isn’t the bus driver opening the door? You stand up and walk hurriedly down the aisle.
“Let me off,” you shout at the bus driver.
“Of course, you’re not captive,” says the driver, and opens the door for you.
You go to your first class. The bell rings for class to start, but the teacher is sitting silently at her desk, reading.
Like on the bus before, a student up front, wearing a conical hat, stands up and addresses the students.
“Let us now sing praises to Baal Hadad, king of the heavens!” he shouts.
He begins to sing. The other students join him. You don’t want to be a part of this.
You get up to walk to the teacher, who is still reading silently. As you do, the other students stop singing, and stare, aghast that you would interrupt the worship. They give you horrible looks and scoff.
You ask the teacher to be excused.
“Of course,” the teacher says, and gives you a pass to read in the library until the lesson begins.
You come back 10 minutes later, and the teacher has already started teaching. You rush to take your seat.
This happens in several subsequent classes. Sometimes singing, sometimes a creed recital, sometimes a prayer, sometimes a “meditative moment of silence.”
Similar things happen at lunch.
You go to an assembly. Same thing.
Each time, no school faculty is directly involved. They just sit silently while the students lead the Baal-worship. And each time, when you ask to be excused, you’re allowed.
This is a horrible state of affairs that clearly violates that “wall of separation” of which the Jefferson wrote. This town of Baal-worshipers is transparently and cynically incorporating Baal-worship into their public school system by using a “back door” of “periods of inactivity” + “student-prompted actions.”
You decide to hire a lawyer and try to put a stop to this.
The resolution is that if public school faculty has reasonable knowledge that a student plans to perform religious rituals for reasons other than pure, curricula-driven education, they have to stop it. Otherwise, they are giving official permission, even if it’s veiled under the auspices of “faculty passivity” and “student freedom.”
The Supreme Court hands down this decision.
To violate this decision is to violate the Constitution.
The Social Aftermath
The incorporation of prayers and worship and creeds to Baal disappears at your school.
Now, instead of getting dirty looks from students for asking to be excused, you get dirty looks from students and their parents.
They blame you for “kicking Baal out of schools” and falsely complain that the school has “banned prayer.”
State-run institutions should not be complicit in the worship of deities, because not everyone believes in those deities.
As Christians, we should be passionate about making sure that everyone is treated with charity and equity, and not attempt to force our beliefs on others through state-run institutions.
Prideful shows of allegiance, intimidating social pressure, and ostracism do nothing but sow resentment and discomfort in non-believers. This is trivially obvious when you craft an imaginary situation in which you’re in “their shoes.”