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Religious Education

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A kindergarten teacher of 27 years in Columbia, TN, has decided to retire rather than accept her school board's ultimatum of leaving her church.

Sandra McCarthy and four other teachers at Columbia Academy Christian school were told by school officials that, under a board resolution, they would lose their jobs unless they signed a pledge to end their relationship with a local church where musical instruments were used. Columbia Academy is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, which historically has not allowed musical instruments during worship services.

Two of the teachers reportedly resigned and took new positions, while two others accepted a compromise agreement allowing them to attend their church except on occasions when music is played there.

McCarthy said she was torn by the decision but opted to move on. “There’s been a lot of prayer and I’m open to new opportunities,” she said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to retire.”

19 Comments

Ah, there is noting like a loving and compassionate "Christian" with a little authority!

King David is said to have been a man after the Lord's own heart. Read II Samuel 16:14 as to how David worshipped the Lord as he returned the Ark of the Covenant of God to Jerusalem. It's worth noting that David worshipped, on this occasion with dancing and the sound of the trumpet.

David's leaping and dancing before the Lord was expressive of joy and praise to God. David's dancing (described in 2 Samuel 6:14) was a form of religious rejoicing, an expression of joy on the occasion of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. King David and all the house of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouting and with trumpets, and David danced before the Lord. He took the place of a slave at the head of the procession to express honor to Jehovah God. His willingness to be the Lord's bondslave shows the true purpose and intent of his worship.

What people need to understand that while many churches tout themselves as Christians, they in fact are not. True Christians are believers of the Bible. The Church of Christ, even though it has the name Christ in it, has some very disturbing rules and beliefs that truly contradict what is said in the Bible.

So I would hope before people starting passing judgement on Christians they would do some research to truly know what they are passing judgement on. A good website to visit for apologetics and apostasy is www.carm.org


Well, what should one expect? When you work for an organization that is religious, it is perfectly reasonable that they require you to worship their way and believe the things they believe. One wouldn't expect a Buddhist to be teaching at a Catholic school. While this may seem repressive, the district is within its rights, and this is just the type of thing one can expect from an organization that is founded on the extremely dubious belief that there is some sort of supernatural supreme being.

I teach at a Catholic School; out of around 33 teachers and aides, there are three Protestant teachers and a part-time music teacher from Taiwan, who isn't Christian. I do think that any new teachers and staff will be Catholic. Also if the teachers with children at the school want a discount in tuition, they have to join the school's parish church.

I have to agree with the school. Although I disagree with their religious perspectives, it is their school, and I can understand their desire to have all people involved in their children's influence hold the same perspectives.

Religious belief is a personal matter. The only thing the school should be able to insist upon is the activity and actions of employees while involved with school related activities. Even Brigham Yioung University does not require faculty to not smoke or drink, but only wile on campus.

God is not concern about music to become closer with him. How do you treat others and and how you live a Christian life is what he is concerned with. The church should read what happened with people who isloate others because of rules and regulations. He may say, "I knew you not". Where is diversity!

Tina's comment about true christians believing in the Bible is the crux of the matter. Intelligent people can disagree on interpretations of these documents. If we are to believe that the earth was created in 6 days a few millenia ago we have to suspend much experience and observation. But if its open to an interpretation, then difficulties arise. This idea of interpreting is the reason we cannot lend the power of the state to religious organizations in the form of tax dollars that are raised from others that interpret their world/beliefs differently. The whole concept of government sponsored "faith based initiatives is anathema to freedom of choice and expression as enumerated in the Constitution. If one dollar of public funding goes to this school then the government really is liable to suit for those issues of discrimination. I can't see any way around such a delicate matter. Who will "interpret" whether your beliefs are the correct ones for you to have certain jobs or be able to vote in an election or any of the other rights we hold dear?

Congratulations to the teachers who left the school rather than their church. The harmony of birds singing at the break of dawn is music; the croaking of frogs on a summer night in the country is singing; the howl of the Owl in the forest is a form of singing; it stops a baby from crying, and causes a child of God who is totally involved in praise and worship to cry with tears of delight, joy, and gratitude. If I can view a sunset on a horizon and it brings tears to my eyes or be soothe by the sounds of the ocean waves--which is a form of music by nature, why must I leave my church to work in a school that is suppose to have as its biblical foudation, the inspired Words of God simply because we worship with music? The one whom God sets free is free indeed. You go! Doors will open for those whose motives are right. No one has the authority in America to tell another how they must worship in order to teach children to enter the diverse world and be successful among believers and non believers.

It has always been my experience that music is the language of the soul for good or bad. How sad to limit the personal agency of teachers in the name of religion when Christ's teachings are so directly opposite of that.

So are we critical of the religious views of the church running this private school? What happened to tolerance?

If it's OK to be critical of someone's religious views, perhaps we should have more articles critical about other kinds of views. Where does it stop?

It's all about freedom folks. The Board running their private school has the right to hire anyone they want. If the teachers don't like it, they can leave, and the parents can leave and the church can elect a new Board.

What I don't get is how easy it is for faith bashers to spout their hateful rhetoric. Is this really an article about Religious Education or just a prompt for religious hate speech?

How about an article about the church that sends its members to the local school several times a year to do gardening because local school funding cuts took away funds for grounds maintenance?

How about another church sending members to schools to provide recess coverage so teachers can do some planning and have a much deserved break?

Those articles might be worthy of a Religious Education title. This story educates no one.

If you work for a religious school, you have to go by their religion. If they believe that the color PINK is sinful (ie. the Amish) then if you wear that color, expect to be fired. No matter if you can find a bible verse pointing to the fact that the Virgin Mary wore it...it doesn't matter whether you can interpret scripture for yourself...if you participate in an authoritarian sect, expect to have your every action scrutinized. Work for public schools, where RELIGION isn't dictated, or sanctioned...where freedom to worship on Sunday, or Saturday...is still respected, but not discussed.

Why is this a problem (or even a news item)? Why shouldn't a private school with a religious emphasis desire that its faculty and staff be fully aligned to the school mission?

This is an excellent example of why government should not subsidize religious institutions.

Generally, religious entities have a right to set their own personnel and other policies, but if they accept government subsidies, taxpayer funds should not be used to discriminate against personnel based on religion.

We have seen what government-sanctioned religion has accomplished in the middle East. Thankfully our founding fathers spared us that with constitutional protects which separate government and religion. But our democracy and constitution are dynamic instruments whose promises are up to us to keep.

The teachers are employees. The school has decided that to be employed at this school, this is the recent criteria regarding employment. Your options are either to find another job position or join the church. It has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with who and what type of employee they are going to keep or hire within their organization.

While I am not a weekly church-going Christian, I am a believer and I do try to practice my early Sunday school lessons on a daily basis. I do not agree that any organization has the right to tell someone what religion they must believe in or participate in; however, if you work within a school that is based upon a religious doctrine then I feel that they have a right to expect that their employees are in agreement with those religions beliefs. If not then the employer has the right not to hire you and you have the right to not accept the position.

He who sings prays twice!! tell applicants that only those of that religion will be accepted. Once you have the job you shouldn't have to make that decision. Praising God makes you sing. I would walk, and quickly, had this been my situation

I have to agree that this is a rather sad testament that this is even a 'news item' in the first place. We have to understand that "Freedome OF Religion" is not to be confused with "Freedome FROM Religion".
As a former Catholic School Teacher, currently Catholic Publc School Teacher, I do agree with the school's action. Being a religious school does not mean that they should only require that teachers Act Christian while on school grounds anymore than a public demand that a pedaphile refrain from pedaphilia only while on school grounds. Yes, that is harsh, but the analogy is correct. Religion and Faith is how we are supposed to live.
I do not personally believe that non-Catholics should teach in Catholic Schools, it blurs the lines and the mission to evangelise.
In the same way, though I do not agree with the Church of Christ position on music and dancing, I support their call to that their teachers not be members of churches that are contrary to thier teaching.
A comparable position would be for a teacher in a Catholic school to be a member of a church or organization that supports abortion or birth control, it would definitely be within their rights for the board to insist for that teacher to quit, resign or otherwise come into conformity with Church teaching.

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