children praying and reading bible in classroom
Students will receive school credit for the religious courses.

Should public school students be allowed to legally skip class in order to attend off-campus religious teachings? 

Increasingly, the answer is yes. 

Oklahoma is the latest state to greenlight the controversial practice – lawmakers there have just passed a law permitting school children to leave class to attend hour-long religious studies up to three times per week, earning credit for school along the way.

Critics say that such laws are blatant attempts to circumvent separation of church and state laws and inject Christianity into schools, while proponents say it's an important opportunity for students to safely live out their faith values outside the classroom. 

Meanwhile, other religious groups may be looking to take advantage of the policy, too. Let's dive in. 

Released Time Courses

Earlier this month, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 1425 into law, which will mandate each district legally allow students to “attend a course in religious or moral instruction taught by an independent entity off school property.”

Called “released time courses” by the bill, these religious courses will be “no more than three class periods per week or a maximum of one hundred twenty-five class periods per school year” and will require parent/guardian approval and cannot be funded by or taught by school personnel.

Notably, students will receive class credit for these off-campus courses taught by unmonitored instructors who are not required to have any type of teaching degree.

Every Day is Sunday School?

Despite clearing legislative hurdles, the Oklahoma law was mired in controversy from its introduction.

Critics asserted that the bill – and others like it – are not-so-secret attempts to circumvent laws prohibiting the teaching of Christian dogma in the classroom. They allege that by placing it outside the classroom, but during school hours and eligible for school credit, this arrangement amounts to an endorsement of Christian teachings by the state. And, critics argue, we already have a day reserved for teaching kids about faith: Sunday.

Still, the bill has myriad supporters, including many parents and politicians in Oklahoma’s state senate. “This bill is about respecting the religious liberty of Oklahoma parents, and ensuring that it is parents who direct the moral and religious instruction of their children,” explains bill author State Rep. Clay Staires.

A Growing Trend

While Oklahoma is the latest state to allow these released time courses, they're not the first. In fact, the movement for off-campus religious instruction is growing fast.

Behind many of the bills introduced in state legislatures is an Ohio Christian nonprofit called LifeWise Academy. The group is also responsible for running the off-campus religious programs that participating students attend. 

The stats behind the trend might be surprising to some. This year, LifeWise operated 331 programs in 13 states. Next school year, the group expects to grow those numbers significantly – projecting to hold off-campus Christian classes in 520 locations in 23 states.

Currently, some 31,000 American students attend LifeWise program, but founder and CEO Joel Penton says they're only just getting started. Penton explains the group's goal is to eventually be available to “50 million public school students nationwide.”

With legal wins in states like Oklahoma and Indiana, and future wins expected in Georgia, Nebraska, Mississippi, and Ohio, LifeWise may be well on its way to achieving its goal. 

"I don’t feel like it’s any different than having satanic clubs for after-school programs or dungeons and dragons or anything that omits Jesus or religion of any kind from them. So I feel it's equal," says local parent Meegan Clark.

Nevertheless, a prominent faith activism group is throwing a cloven-hoofed wrinkle into the whole plan.

Satanic School Credit?

The First Amendment requires all faiths be treated equally, meaning these state laws cannot single out the right to skip school for Christian lessons – only religious lessons in general.

The Satanic Temple is hoping to test the limits of that loophole, vowing to teach their own classes for school credit:

The Satanic Temple's Hellion Academy of Independent Learning (HAIL) is officially coming to Oklahoma! Governor Kevin...

Posted by The Satanic Temple on Saturday, June 8, 2024

What do you think of the new Oklahoma law, and the growing movement to let students skip regular classes for religious instruction?

Is this an attempt to inject Christianity into schools, as critics suggest, or should religious freedom allow for off-campus faith learning? 

92 comments

  1. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

    Religion of any persuasion should be left to the parents and/or student to pursue instruction concerning spiritual enlightenment in our homes and churches. State education should be free of religious services and activities with only moments of silence for each individuals spiritual proclivities during scholastic pursuits. Schools should focus on secular instruction and life skills, the humanities, history, career objectives, civics, mathematical theories and formulation, and the various sciences to mention only a few. Our education system should practice and insure both the freedom of and from religion.

    1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

      Good list, Jim.. Might I add handwriting, balancing a checkbook, spelling and grammar, critical thinking, home economics, the arts, physical education, public speaking, programming - you know, useful stuff for functioning in an earthly society. If mom and dad want to add talking snakes, virgin births, and magic apples, that's their business. I'd suggest the Golden Rule instead - courteous, clear, concise.

      1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

        I would add Formal Logic in all grades and also Hypothesis Testing in the higher grades.

      2. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

        Absolutely, BH! Indeed! Skills as innocuous as penmanship prove to be of incalculable benefit in numerous applications. Hear! Hear!

      3. Justina Lee Black's Avatar Justina Lee Black

        Satanic religion teaches unlawful actions such as murder and pedophilia so it should not be allowed in schools or anywhere in the nation and world

        1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

          Satanists teach neither murder or pedophilia.

        2. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

          Actually the Bible teaches a lot of murder, even encourages mass murder but see Leviticus for a start.

          Also, the KJB says absolutely noting about pedophilia except that it appears to approve of it as long as the girls are virgins.

          "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites ... And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males ... And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones ... And Moses was wroth with the officers ... And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. Numbers 31:1-18"

          also Judges 21:7-11

          and "if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant ... If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed ... If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. Exodus 21:7-10"

          doesn't look too good either.

          BTW, no satanic teachings I have read approve of either murder, rape, or pedophilia, some people just made that up and other people believed them.

          So, will the kids be given heavily edited bibles? If so, who does the editing?

          Yogi Berra once said "you can learn a lot just by watching"

          I suspect he would agree with me that You can learn a lot just by reading!

          (BTW, that is not a cartoon bear but a famous baseball celebrity. The cartoon character was named in honor of the baseball coach, although I don't know if he appreciated the honor. I DO KNOW that Buzz Lightyear was named in honor of Buzz Aldrin, not only did I interview him once (the astronaut, not the cartoon) but Dr. Aldrin usually carried a bobble head of Buzz which he placed on lecterns.)

          Be careful when reading my posts, I tend to default to teaching when given the opportunity, there is so little taught in schools these days I am so often disappointed.

      4. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

        IMHO, I’m not so sure “Christian” Conservatives would go along with the “critical thinking”. It kinda goes against their grooming of kids.

      5. White Owl's Avatar White Owl

        Comment removed by user.

    2. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      You are 100% correct. But in practice this is not the case. In the US our schools are failing students, parents and society miserably with no signs of things improving. Teacher are being fired and quitting in record numbers. And funding for schools was just drastically reduced. Christian-fascists are doing everything they can to accelerate the destruction of our schools as par of the Christian Wedge Strategy and Project 2025. These Christian-fascists are scaring the **** out of Christians and non-Christians.

  1. Alexander Arends's Avatar Alexander Arends

    I think it would be much wiser to get away from this, and suggest parents have their children get their religeous/moral education after hours.

    1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      For millennia, Sunday School was enough, with other church services on Sunday and one day during the weekly evenings.

      1. Deborah D Phillips's Avatar Deborah D Phillips

        Actually this statement is not correct. In Oklahoma, the Bible State, prayer was daily, in the morning, just after the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember this from K-6th grade. Furthermore, discussions of biblical advice was openly given if students brought up anything to do with God. This ended at the same time bussing began.

      2. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

        Just for the sake of some accuracy I checked and Sunday School appears to have started in England about the same time the colonies broke away from the British Empire.

        That isn't quite thousands of years (millenia) even though the actual official start of Sunday School on Sundays is not clear.

        It is pretty clear it didn't start millenia ago which would be before the year zero of the Christian calendar. But even just a thousand years ago would be long before Martin Luther was even born.

        Sorry to inject actual facts into a discussion of religion but trying to give a recent movement or activity more legitimacy by suggesting something has been around virtually forever is not playing fair.

  1. Stephanie A Willey's Avatar Stephanie A Willey

    The Bible should only be in read public schools as part of a comprehensive and unbiased comparative religion course of study. I doubt students would or should be allowed to skip class to read a classic Issac Asimov novel, War of the worlds, or 1984. Why would the Bible hold a different distinction ? I think it's only right to read our Bible on our own time.

  1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

    Which of these Christian denominations should be taught? Which bible?

    Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Restorationism. Protestantism includes many groups which do not share any ecclesiastical governance and have widely diverging beliefs and practices. Major Protestant branches include Adventism, Anabaptism, Anglicanism, Baptists, Lutheranism, Methodism, Moravianism, Quakerism, Pentecostalism, Plymouth Brethren, Reformed Christianity, and Waldensianism. Reformed Christianity itself includes the Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, Evangelical Anglican, Congregationalist, and Reformed Baptist traditions. Anabaptist Christianity itself includes the Amish, Apostolic, Bruderhof, Hutterite, Mennonite, River Brethren, and Schwarzenau Brethren traditions. Within the Restorationist branch of Christianity, denominations include the Irvingians, Swedenborgians, Christadelphians, Latter Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, La Luz del Mundo, and Iglesia ni Cristo.[

    1. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

      Great example of what we get into by allowing religion to enter state-sponsored or public schools.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    This is wrong and I don't care what religion it is. Off school instruction must be taught or supervised by school personnel. To have untrained people teaching during school time is unacceptable. And since it is only some students that will be involved this suggests special privileges to them. Wrong.

  1. Donald J Rothschild Jr's Avatar Donald J Rothschild Jr

    Religious instruction should NOT be taught within the public school system period. You can have after school instruction if so desired but to let children out of school early to go off school property is wrong and dangerous. Who is responsible for the transportation of the child from school to the religious school? Who is paying for the transportation ? How can this count as school credit when those of non Christian faiths don’t have access to their own religious education for the same credit? The list of what’s wrong with this is endless.

    Religious education begins at home and that is where it should remain, or at the faith’s own facility. And NO public dollars should be spent on it.

    Separation between state and church should remain intact. Remember that.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Sorry but there is NO separation of church and state. The Constitution was ratified into the supreme law of the land in 1787 and the first mention of this myth was fifteen years later in 1802 in a letter from Jefferson to his Danbury Conn Detractors. By the time Jefferson penned the letter, you would be required to have a constitutional amendment to have this placed in the Constitution and according to the Supreme Court archives as well as the US Library of Congress, no such amendment was ever made nor passed by the Congress and sent to the states.

      And before you try and claim the SCOTUS made the decision, sorry that wont wash either. Under Article 3 of the Constitution it says NOWHERE that they have the right to interpret anything and the 10th Amendment clearly states that unless the Constitution specifically gives you that authority, then you dont have it and never will.

      So now lets see you try and claim the authority to overturn all of this historical law and fact.

      1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

        It has nothing to do with the constitution and everything to do with children's education. Okalahoma requires 165 days (3 weeks less than most other states require) of school, or 1080 hours of learning.

        Students can leave up to 3 times per week for a one hour "class", for a total of 3 hours per week missing school. Which classes do they miss? Reading? Writing? Science? And what about travel time? Half an hour to get to the "instruction site", one hour of "instruction" and another half an hour travel time back?

        That's now 2 hours per day X 3 days = 6 hours lost per week. 1080hrs / 165 days = 6.5 hours per day or ~33 hours per week - 6hrs "instruction" = 27hours in school. Students will be missing 18% of their school week just so kkrischins can feed nonsense and hate into the minds of children.

        Oklahoma ranks 46th in the nation for Child Well-being and 49th for EDUCATION. Once again Oklahoma proves it fails better than just about any other state in the country.

        Apparently they want to be first in the nation as a state theocracy. kkkris chin kristofascists make another attempt to have their state (honestly really, who cares about oklahoma other than in principal) and country run by sharia law.

        1. Deborah D Phillips's Avatar Deborah D Phillips

          Christians, as you so purposefully spelled wrong to cause hate, do not spread nonsense and hate. In fact, just the opposite. I will forever stand in my faith of God and the Bible, but truly recognizing different faiths and beliefs. It’s called faith in understanding. To see comments such as this tears at my heart as I would never do what you just did to another faith or person.

          1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

            Oh please, DD if you can't see how the kkkristofascists are trying to theocratize our country it's only because you are one of them and therefore see no wrong nor evil in what they all (and you) want to accomplish.

            Your so-called kkkristofascists want to keep women at home, pregnant and subservient to men. They want to remove a woman's ability to govern her body as she sees fit. They want to tell parents how to live and how to raise their children (religiously and specifically, their version of religion). They want to deny science, restrict medicine, decide social and cultural norms in ways that suit and please them, to the exclusion of all others. And finally, if you have a problem understanding what I'm writing (and I'm writing slowly so you can understand me) then please, as an adult for help

        2. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

          JJ How dare you bring math and logic into such a discussion? (Good analysis by the way.)

          A sign of disrespect? I rather thought you were being respectful by not using a term which would offend the people who always object to criticizing a religion calling it out by name.

          Of course JJ didn't misspell Christian. It was a polite way of saying something else which apparently not everyone knows about.

          Christofascism is a term created by a libertarian theologian back in the 70s when she saw how militant some Christians were becoming even back then as, according to her, they were losing power and control.

          ""[w]e fear christofascism, which we see as the political direction of all attempts to place Christ at the center of social life and history" and that "[m]uch of the churches' teaching about Christ has turned into something that is dictatorial in its heart and is preparing society for an American fascism"

          Another term for that is theocracy. That has always worked out so well in history, although the British got away with it for a quite a while and the Russian Empire did even longer both relying on the Divine Right of Kings which is also rule by religion and one the American colonies revolted against.

          It is working out real well today in Iran and elsewhere.

          The problem with a theocracy is that once you insist that God wants things a certain way people who disagree can get quickly dead and the people who hate them feel they are doing gods work.

          It's amazing hos much you can learn just by learning.

          1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

            "...learn by learning." Boy howdy JAM you hit that nail right on the head. Sadly, for far too many, learning stops once the brain washing begins. religion is the antidote to critical thinking

            1. Donald G Magel's Avatar Donald G Magel

              Amen!

        3. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          Sorry Rev but I was not the one who brought up the Separation of Church and state so if the historical and factual and legal statement I made offends someone, sorry to be them.

      2. Nathaniel Robert Hunt's Avatar Nathaniel Robert Hunt

        No separation means my Pagan church can get it's hands into government

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          Yes it can. Down in hialeah florida tried to stop a pagan religion called Santeria because it was using live animals for sacrifice. The state and Appeals Court sided with the city, SCOTUS sided with the Lukuim Babalu Aye Church. So yes even if you follow a pagan reglion, you can still get your hands into Government. There are plenty of Federal Congress members who either give lip service to being a member of a religion or are a practicing member of a "pagan" religion and there are even a few Satanists in Office. Look at their jewelry you should see a few pentagrams on some members

      3. David M Hines's Avatar David M Hines

        Which church is the official government church?

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          There is none, this isnt england

          1. Donald G Magel's Avatar Donald G Magel

            So far, but the Supreme Court has its members moving that way.

            1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

              Nope they are just stopping you from claiming something is in the Constitution when it never has been for over 245 years.

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    Students should NOT be encouraged or allowed to skip classes to read the bible or any other religious book. Let's not lose sight of what schooling is all about. They can use their own time to read whatever religious book is allowed within their own family. Let's get back to teaching and learning about the basics. Too many children in our own country are graduating from high school and are unable to read, understand basic arithmetic, or legibly write their own name.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Fine, then students should NOT be able to leave school to go get ready for field trips (unless they are part of the course of study) nor should any so called school athlete be able to leave school early to attend a game.

      You should be VERY careful in what you say as most of the time it will come back to bite you

  1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

    Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order: “Give me a child until he is 7, and I will give you the man." Something to remember when you notice that most people who have a religion seem to have the same one as their parents.

    I wonder what would happen if kids were given three hours each school week to study science?

    Probably a TERRIBLE idea - just imagine what they might grow up to believe?

  1. Zekester's Avatar Zekester

    If they're gonna give school credit for one religion, they have to do it for ALL religions. I think Wicca, Buddhism and Hinduism should also take advantage of this loophole.

  1. JT Sunrise's Avatar JT Sunrise

    The US has no official state religion like in some countries.The educated white male aristocracy Founding Fathers formed the US federal government for the purpose of taxation and military funding, not to promote any one faith or state religion. But the founders embraced and didn’t object to religious elements in American culture nor should any American. Just not in government. A diversity of faiths was always part of the US culture. Acceptance of this diversity is required to hold the country and government together. Divided we fall. The founders intent in the separation of church and state was to prevent government control of faith. Therefore, the US government should not be in the faith business. Was never intended to be

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Sigh...NO SUCH THING as Separation of Church and state and there is no mention of this myth is ANY official Government Document.

      1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

        Rev. Daniel, I'm sure you are right but I think I know why some people think the myth started with that pesky Constitution.

        ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

        I know words can be twisted, every theologian and lawyer learns that as the basis of all their works, but I suspect a lot of people think "no law" was a fairly unambiguous way of saying the government shouldn't get involved in religion. And vice versa.

        Although some politicians have tried hard to ignore it, I'm fairly sure the Constitution is an "official" government document.

        As always I could be wrong, I often am. It's all that pesky education thing I had. I blame education as do a great many ministers.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          And if its not listed in the Constitution then just how can you claim that its law?

  1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

    It’s a unique solution to get past that pesky public school thing people keep pointing out. If you can’t teach it in class, then hold the class somewhere else. Here’s my question. Do the students that attend these classes still have to pass all subjects in the REAL school? They still need to pass reading, writing, and mathematics, right?

    Here’s what I don’t understand about all of this. What is happening at home that their own children cannot learn this from their parents or at church? Are the parents so busy that they don’t want to teach kids about religion and morality? Either way, I don’t have a problem with this as long as the kids still learn all the other subjects they need to succeed. I can’t help but notice that this is only happening in some of the most conservative states in the country thus far.

    1. Donald G Magel's Avatar Donald G Magel

      This issue is not about the religious education of my children. It is about my desire to have your children "educated" into my religion. Your religion does not matter a twit to me. Mine is the one true religion of my god.

  1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

    Study Science? You good sir, promote heresy. Shame on you, sir. Shame.

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    Good. Why not? If the Christian / Catholic students can leave classes to attend religious courses from their churches, then the parents can send their own kids to the "Satanic Church" courses then, too. Btw, the Satanic Church does NOT actually "worship satan." Instead, they worship knowledge. And many individuals in the group, while they call themselves "Satanists", actually preach the gospel of equality, knowledge, inclusion, respect for all life, and eschewing violence except in cases of self-defense.

    Though I bet the "Good Church-going crowd" are throwing FITS over this group being allowed to do what all OTHER religious groups freely can do.

    Any time the "Church of Satan" has decided to jump in and take advantage of the rights that the, often highly conservative, legislatures have rammed through for churches to take advantage of, all of a sudden that legislation is immediately rescinded.

    This is because they CAN'T top the organization from also taking advantage of it. The 1st amendment forbids it.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    This is a great idea. It helps parents get religious instruction to their children in a way that is convenient. The critics don't actually care about the child or their moral instructions, they simply hate Christianity and don't want it taught to anyone anywhere. Away with them. Our school system and society need classes like these. Since they don't cost the school any money and are not taught by school employees, it's not the business of these critics. Good for Oklahoma!

    1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

      Russel, you’re right. I don’t think it’s a bad thing either, but I don’t think the other parents who disagree with it hate Christians. I do wonder what happens when other religions want to do the same thing. Will they be willing to do that? Will they let other children go to Judaism classes, or Muslim, or as the article said, Satanism? I also worry about what’s going on at home that the children aren’t learning about morality there.

      1. John's Avatar John

        Morality is learned by example. If civility toward your fellow man is not being demonstrated by the parents of kids than there is little hope of their acquiring it on their own. Reading a passage from the bible or any religious book as a means of teaching morality is in my opinion a waste of time. Parents are a child's most important role model. It is through their actions that examples of good morality can be demonstrated and learned. You cannot get that from reading a book.

      2. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        James, thank you for bringing it to my attention that my comment could be understood to be saying that parents who disagree necessarily hate Christianity. In my mind, I was thinking of people who have a knee jerk reaction whenever any religion is mentioned but especially when Christianity is mentioned. I should have been clearer. All bone fide religions should be shown the same respect I think. Today's home environments are busy and chaotic with both parents probably working long, hard hours. They're simply too exhausted to cover these subjects. Anyway, the instructor at the church or wherever the lessons are given should be better prepared to provide instruction and handle follow up questions. At least that's how I envision it. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    2. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

      "This is a great idea. It helps parents get religious instruction to their children in a way that is convenient. The critics don't actually care about the child or their moral instructions, they simply hate Christianity and ..."

      Russel and others had a wonderful idea, it lets a single church denomination show kids that their particular sect and religion is tacitly supported by the government agency which directly impacts almost every young person in the country.

      As long as Muslims or Wiccans, or even Buddhists aren't permitted to use a government agency to give them such obvious support it should work out fine. Loyola would would fight for support having Jesuit priests lead bible sessions.

      Perhaps someone could take an hour or two to show what advances in our daily lives were led by YOUR Bible as opposed to, say, other Bibles, calculus, or quantum mechanics. How about computers and blogs?

      (There are now 450 versions of The Bible and that is just counting the ones in English - there is even a Trump Bible.)

      Silly thought isn't it? Who could possibly object to having one religion push their beliefs on the kids who didn't get enough by seeing their parents get up on every Sunday and go to church? Almost from birth they are shown how "good" people act on Sundays.

      So, who could object?

      Well, every single other religion or even atheists for a start. Who picks which of the 450 Bibles they will use?

      "' A new study from Pew Research finds that the religiously unaffiliated – a group comprised of atheists, agnostic and those who say their religion is "nothing in particular" – is now the largest cohort in the U.S. They're more prevalent among American adults than Catholics (23%) or evangelical Protestants (24%).Jan 24, 2024"

      How loudly would some people scream if, say Utah said Mormon Elders could have three hours every week during regular public school? Or if L.A. passed a law giving Scientologists three hours weekly?

      The usual defense that, as with school prayer those who don't participate aren't bothered by those who do is always from someone who either doesn't remember how quickly Mean Girls or jocks pound on anyone who is even slightly different, or, perhaps refuses to attend THEIR special Bible classes. They will be easy to identify and quickly target. On the other hand, perhaps those who support religion in public school DO remember how quickly the "different" will be bullied.

      But, as always, I could be wrong.

      Merely studying history doesn't mean I can see what ALWAYS happens in theocracies.

      It could backfire.

      I could tell you about the two girlfriends I had in just one University I attended who faked attendance at mass for five or six years until they turned 18 and never set foot in any church for all the decades I knew them. It also applied to the daughter of a church deacon, so it isn't limited to Catholics. My Jewish roommates never seemed to go to Temple.

      That could also explain why so many churches are struggling to get young people to join and stay in the church, which could also explain why there is so much panic to force everyone to obey the laws of one church or another.

      But, as always, I could be wrong. Perhaps it isn't desperation stemming from seeing all those empty pews.

      There used to be a church at the end of my private driveway. No one had used it for 30 years so eventually it fell down. There is one a mile away in a town with about 200 residents. I once saw 3 cars in the parking lot during church.

      There are churches EVERYWHERE here in Central PA but the parking lots all seem to be largely empty except when they hold a bake sale.

      As I always say, I could be wrong, I only rely on evidence (from the Latin ēvidēnt which means that which is obvious or that which you can actually see.)

      Your mileage may vary, especially if you put yor thumb on the scale.


      Some people have asked what good these Blog discussions do?

      Simple, it lets everyone else see what particular groups are thinking whether or not you agree with them.

      I suspect that is their purpose.

      And, no, "hatred" is not what I feel toward many Christians.

    3. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

      Your idea of Christianity is a cudgel used to rob people of their individuality and free will. Thank the gods there are better representations and representatives of Christianity out there than you, Kester. I don’t hate Christianity, I am highly critical of its snake oil grifters and charlatans who try to scapegoat people with one breath, and the pearl clutch with the next. You’ve already proven you’re no scion of morality.

      Oklahoma has laid the grounds for manipulation, indoctrination, and brainwashing. The tea leaves have shown me this will end badly for many non confirming students and people already harassed for being different.

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        James,

        "When leaving your comment, please:

        •Be respectful and constructive •Criticize ideas, not people •Avoid profanity, insults, and derogatory comments"

        Source: The written guidelines at the bottom of every comment before pressing the button to post comment.

        1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

          Russell, that means stop gaslighting entire communities of people, and the people defending them, and insulting people through veiled derogatory comments as well. There’s nothing respectful about 90% of your commentary.

          1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

            No James, I simply state the truth as I understand it. I believe it was Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men who said, "You can't handle the truth." It was a good movie and a great title.

            1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

              No Jester, you speak your opinion as to what you think the truth is, but at the end of the day, it’s still just your deluded opinion based on outdated right wing brainwashing. You can’t handle the truth which is why you cling to your biases and superstitions.

              1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

                Robert, there's a Michael Jackson song one should take to heart, Man in the Mirror.

      2. Justina Lee Black's Avatar Justina Lee Black

        Satanic religion teaches unlawful actions such as murder and pedophilia so it should not be allowed in schools or anywhere in the nation and world

        1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

          Nope that’s just the fruit of Christian hypocrisy trying to blame their own shortcomings elsewhere.

  1. Gene Ray Jones's Avatar Gene Ray Jones

    Hi this is Reverend Gene Jones. I think this a good idea. All children have the right to do it

    1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

      Absolutely correct....well almost. Every adult has that right. Children aren't mature enough to make that decision so they should have to wait until they are 18 and can then decide if a (any) religion is right for them.

      But to the point you're making, 'they' have a right to read the 'bible', JUST NOT ON SCHOOL TIME. Why in the world would you actually want to allow children to leave SCHOOL just to go and read fiction for an hour. Their education (real, actual education) i what's important.

      Your knee jerk response to allow children to skip out on school for religion (kkkristian, of course but what about Islam, on board with that? I bet not) is typical kkkristofascist behavior. Constantly trying to turn this country in YOUR' version of a theocracy.

      Maybe go to the middle east where the whole silly religion thing started and practice your nonsense there. I understand that everyone over there is open minded an accepts all religions

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Seems to me that this is a reasonable compromise to an age old debate. As I read it, it is not a requirement but it is allowed. A reasonable time frame has been set. Parents are able to decide for themselves if they want their child to participate. This is a decent compromise. Peace ✌️

    1. Justina Lee Black's Avatar Justina Lee Black

      Comment has been removed.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

        You need to do a wee bit of reading on Satanism. Xtians would do well to follow these. For xtians it might be added that one should make an effort to rectify one’s ignorance.

        I One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason. II The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions. III One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone. IV The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own. V Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs. VI People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused. VII Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

      2. Brien's Avatar Brien

        Thank you for your reply, First I'm not certain what Satanism has to do with my post. Second, please post your sources for the claims you made so I may educate myself. My post was about finding a compromise to a debate that has lasted far too long, and in my opinion this serves as a starting point. Peace.

        1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

          Is it possible he was replying to Justina who keeps posting the same false claims about Satanism?

          1. Brien's Avatar Brien

            That is whom I replied to. Not Dr. Z but Justina.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    We might as well teach children that the Harry Potter books are real. Either way, it’s a form of mental abuse. It’s no different than children being taught the Qu’ran is real and the truth. Should they skip class to read the Qu’ran?

    🦁❤️

  1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

    A few hours a week is only a drop in the bucket. It would have to be at least 24 hours a day to balance the anti-religion brainwashing given in the public school classrooms.

    1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

      Male bovine fecal matter.

  1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

    If one is allowed, ALL must be straight and simple. The "Christian entitlement" is getting abhorrent when others cant do what they seem to be allowed to do.

  1. Farajallah Michael Yazbek's Avatar Farajallah Michael Yazbek

    They still have to get their Oklahoma Teachers' Certificates, and that background check is a tough one. How many pedophiles will they uncover and how many other sexual predators are going to be teaching that course? In order to be in compliance with the new law each person teaching must be certified with extensive criminal background checks prior to being allowed to work with children. Plus, their curriculum MUST pass state school board scrutiny in its entirety to ensure it's in compliance with current state laws. So panic is not the road to stopping this. Let's see what happens with the state's clearance and approval process. Just saying...Let God do his work first.

  1. Michael Sciulli's Avatar Michael Sciulli

    I think good young students read bible from minstermike this is truth only truth we should read amen

    1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

      Rev. Sciulli NOT a DIG, just sincerely trying to communicate. Is English not your primary language? If not, please let us know, I can cope but currently I have a lot of trouble understanding what you are trying to say. That makes having a conversation very difficult. Translation is very easy. You can post in another language.

  1. Dominique D Sweat's Avatar Dominique D Sweat

    i went through this in hight school

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Students should go to classes to get an education then when the class has finished then if they wish to study religion do it after Don't force religion on children let them make their decision Satanic Church no thanks.Theres enough hatred going on in the world.

    1. Justina Lee Black's Avatar Justina Lee Black

      Satanic religion teaches unlawful actions such as murder and pedophilia so it should not be allowed in schools or anywhere in the nation and world

      1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

        Justina, keep repeating that, eventually you might begin to believe it. Virtually no one else will be convinced by mere repetition of nonsense.

  1. Daniel Todd Kamm's Avatar Daniel Todd Kamm

    I am happy they can read, regardless of the choice of the material. The "Bible" has way more questions than answers and that is the whole point.

    Reading opens up the entire world as we know it and even worlds we don't know.

    Eventually, they will read beyond what they are initially encouraged to, and they will always tread into reading what is forbidden... because as human beings (especially children) we will always do what we are told not to do... that's how human beings grow as human beings.

    Questioning the scriptures is the point ... as is going beyond them (exploring) and gaining experience of worlds outside our comfort zones... again, that's how human beings grow as human beings.

    It's sad when people can't allow themselves or others to question, explore or grow beyond the answers and subsequent constructions (or constraints) they have for the world.

    Thankfully most people do not remain there: humanity demands expansion and growth... most people will find their way out of whatever does not make sense or work for them in the lives they choose to lead.

    The trick is being educated enough to understand that the person standing next to you will have a different take on the world, and is as entitled to it as you are to your take on the world, regardless of it's foundation.

    Which is why so many philosophies come down to one and only one basic tenant... call it the Golden Rule or whatever you want to call it. Treat other people the way you would want them to treat you.

    And I would add, just because I also happen to be a therapist: treat yourself right, too.

    Peace, Out...tk

  1. Rev. Rory's Avatar Rev. Rory

    What can be said about using young children for political purposes? While the adults argue, the children suffer. Church leaders, improve your Sunday programs for your flock and keep them out of public schools. You are creating an entire generation of confused citizens.

  1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

    I absolutely adore it! I will also find where I can contribute $$$ to the cause!

  1. April Camille Berg's Avatar April Camille Berg

    Religion should be taught in school in an objective manner. The same as any other subject. That way, students can learn about different views and make an informed decision about their own beliefs. Respect comes from education. Understanding comes from education. I don’t think pushing a specific religious view on children is a good idea.

    1. Justina Lee Black's Avatar Justina Lee Black

      Satanic religion teaches unlawful actions such as murder and pedophilia so it should not be allowed in schools or anywhere in the nation and world

      1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

        "Satanic religion teaches unlawful actions such as murder and pedophilia" Absolutely FALSE.

        That keeps getting posted but no matter how often it is posted there is zero truth in the statement.

        Satanists do not worship Satan, they picked that name for controversy because they knew it would drive some Christians wild.

        They actually teach the importance of science.

        the Bible, on the other hand, promotes mass murder, child marriage, and says absolutely nothing about pedophilia which the Satanic Church is vehemently against.

        1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

          BTW, there is a Satanic Church group near me. I only learned about them recently. They sued and won the right to have equal time in public school after hours as the Christian Church.

          When there was an apartment house fire across the road from a local Church rectory which damaged a few pieces of siding there were lots of posts from people who wanted to donate to the church to replace the siding.

          The Satanic Church posted on Facebook that they were prepared to donate furniture and other household goods to the people who were burned out of their apartments.

          I don't know any of them but they sound like really terrible people to me.

  1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

    Sure, why not. That way, no one has the right to interfere with kids getting school credit for three hours of neopagan magical instruction every week. Win-win...the teachers have one less student to keep track of for whatever class they skipped to go, and the kids get to have fun.

  1. Larry G McKinney's Avatar Larry G McKinney

    Utah has allowed Mormons to leave middle and high school to attend religious schooling for decades. It’s called Seminary, and most public schools have a seminary building across the street. It’s not for school credit, though, and other religions can do the same if they want.

  1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

    Skipping classes to read the bible? Is this the prelude to the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’?

  1. Walter J. Holbrook's Avatar Walter J. Holbrook

    There should be a time set in all of our lives for communion with the word of God. But to not attend school for religious study is foolishness. You are saying that the trip to the park, the hanging out with your friends, and playing sports on Sunday is more important. I set a time each day to study and reflect in the word wear it is not in conflict with other parts of my life. These are misguided parents and faith leader who have started a process of indoctrination. Put God first in your life. But there is a way to do it. This is why the education level with compared to other countries. The U.S. lacks behind them because of foolishness..

  1. Raymond Furr's Avatar Raymond Furr

    Need to leave over things alone let's bring the school prayers and over things else back into the school like how it's supposed to be like in the 80s in 70s

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    Grooming?

  1. Michael Sciulli's Avatar Michael Sciulli

    I think good read bible students should and rest us to this book bible tells truth from minstermike

    1. John Ash McCormick's Avatar John Ash McCormick

      WHAT?????

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Can my child skip class to attend a Black Mass? If not, this practice is baloney. It's indoctrination.

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