A Back Door for Religion in Schools

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Reading Carol Bragg’s Providence Journal op-ed titled “Nonviolence transforms R.I. school” might make one wonder how its topic could be considered anything other than an establishment of religion in a public school:

Broad Rock Middle School in South Kingstown has embarked on an ambitious mission to become a model school based on Martin Luther King’s philosophy of nonviolence. The inspiration came from Robin Wildman, a fifth grade teacher at the school who has taught about nonviolence for 15 years. Observers have remarked that they can feel in her classroom the respect, compassion and community she has built with her students.

Wildman accomplishes this by spending the first three weeks of the school year teaching nonviolence lessons, to establish the framework for how the class will operate for the remainder of the year. She says it is time well spent. The outcome is more time spent on teaching, and less on discipline.

Really, substitute a single name and it’s crystal clear that we’re talking a religion, here:

Education in Jesus’ method of nonviolence does this and more. It teaches respect. Encompassing the teachings of Jesus, it promotes love over hate; justice, forgiveness and reconciliation over revenge; respectful dialogue over rancorous debate; and positive, peaceful action over inaction or violence. The Broad Rock initiative has the potential to give young people skills they need for happy, healthy relationships throughout their lives. In addition, it will empower them to play an active, productive role in their communities, state and nation.

The article’s mention of non-profit organizations that are now being brought in proves that this isn’t just one teacher’s technique, but an organized cultural movement beyond the school’s walls.  The only conceivable difference between the cult of “nonviolence” and a religion is that the cult doesn’t go so far as to claim any real existential foundation for preferring its teachings over any other.  But teachers are still telling children what they should believe about the world, how they should interact other people, and what they should value.

Only a society enveloped in a fog of dim confusion could fail to be outraged at the notion that a secular humanist appropriation of Christianity is perfectly fine in a public school, while schools must be forbidden across the country from allowing any expression of genuine Christianity.  This is another example of the ways in which progressivism constrains allowable actions in a way that gives it an advantage as a proselytizing faith.



  • Rhett Hardwick

    I think that all that needs to be determined about Catholic schools in Rhode Island was decided in the 1920’s. It has a name I cannot recall, the “something Incident”. The case arose in Woonsocket and grew from the bitter rivalry between the Canadian French and the Irish over control of the Catholic church in New England. I recall as a kid that many Catholic schools were still “French” operated/staffed by the Dominican order (the same order that gave us the Inquisition).

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