Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle has deleted her Facebook post adocating a reading of proverbs in the public schools. Riddle had proposed that proverbs would be a good replacement for the unconstitutional public prayer in the schools.
Formal prayer has been taken out of our schools. How about this idea? Read from the book of Proverbs from the Bible. Proverbs is a book of wisdom. Proverbs is in the Holy Scriptures for Christians and Jews. As for other religions – the wisdom won’t do them any harm.
That leaves the impression that Riddle has never read the Constitution, or at least the First Amendment. The First Amendment does not forbid prayer, just the establishment of religion. Prayer in the schools gives preference to one religion over another as forbidden by the First Amendment. Reading the proverbs does the same thing. Riddle cannot figure that out, which is as basic an understanding of the Constitution as it goes.
Beyond that, Riddle fails to respect the religious belief of anyone outside Christianity and Judaism. Suggesting that others should listen to the proverbs everyday because “the wisdom won’t do them any harm” displays arrogance and a lack of respecting other’s beliefs. If Riddle suggested that reading “wisdom” from the Koran or Bhagavad Gita was appropriate, then she could claim some intellectual consistency. Fat chance of that happening.
Riddle wrote that she opened a “fan” page on Facebook because her friends reached its limit of 5,000 on her main page. After the last week, she has decided to cancel the fan page and set up another page that requires one to be a friend. The problem, as Riddle writes, is all the hate that her comments generated on Facebook.
Hateful people who do not live in our area, not in our state and many not even in our country keep my posts filled with foul language, hateful comments and far to the left arguments that have nothing to do with what we do here in Texas. I will be shutting down this page and opening another FB page that you can friend. I will announce the name of it so those of you who want to friend me there can do so. I have been saddened by the hate and contempt of most of these folks. Many of them have been hateful & use foul language. It is obvious many in our country do not hold the same values we do here in Texas and in our district. Many do not believe in God and hold contempt for those of us that do. Having an argument with someone in another country about the fact that I am a Christian or read abusive language or insults from someone from another state or country is silly.
Some of the comments against Riddle were hateful and served no purpose because of their profanity. Yet Riddle bears responsibility for suggesting an idea that is intolerant of other faiths. Did she really believe that having non-Christian and Jews listen to the wisdom of proverbs would be accepted as a great idea? It seems so.
In another post that she deleted, Riddle said that she thought this idea would generate a “healthy” and “open discussion.” Anyone of any religious belief, whether it be Christian, Muslim or atheist, who suggests that any matter of personal conscience should be taught in the schools is way out of line. Schools are for knowledge, not personal beliefs.
In an even more bizarre suggestion in the same deleted post, Riddle claimed that she proposed the reading of the proverbs to reduce teen pregnancy.
My friend Mary – a teacher — not as conservative as I am – has mentioned how many of her students have no foundation of faith and are having babies at 15 – plus so many other problems. She has stated that with no foundation in faith these kids are adrift. Knowing how sensative (sic) folks are about prayer and etc. I thought a simple reading of Proverbs – a book of wisdom – would be helpful.
Riddle believes that it is the purpose of schools to teach faith. Fortunately, not even the state of Texas is going in that direction. That an elected official cannot get it into her head how blatantly unconstitutional her idea was raises serious doubts that she understands how government should work in a society where everyone has freedom of conscience. Unfortunately, Riddle doesn’t get that.