21st Century Culture Clash Begins in Cranston
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
The prayer references “Our Heavenly Father,” and as I stated a few weeks ago, in today’s politically correct world everything is OK except being a “conservative” or in this case historical. The prayer wasn’t erected by right-wing nutjobs seeking to infect the student population with that vile religion Christianity, but has been in place since the school’s inception. I’m unsure if I’ve stated this within these pages before, but the Constitution protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Most of the founding fathers were some form of “Christian” and using religion as a basis for political thought was not uncommon nor disparaged as it is today. And so, even as recent as 1963 – when Cranston HS West opened - the general public believed it worthwhile to call on “Our Heavenly Father.”
Fast-forward 50 years, and the debate going on at the School Committee meeting is a debate I believe we are going to have over the next 10-20 years. Last century the culture wars centered on gender and race whereas the 21st century culture wars will be waged over religion and its place within our public discourse.
Most liberals do not like that many proponents of marriage don’t want to see it redefined because of their religious beliefs but have no problem standing alongside them to help the poor, needy, and/or downtrodden. It seems that their religious beliefs are OK, so long as they agree with a liberal worldview.
Let me be clear, I’m not advocating for a theocracy but asking you, dear reader, why must someone check their religion at the door when it’s inconvenient to the public discourse and perhaps out of step with majority/politically correct thinking? It appears unfair at best, schizophrenic at worst.
In my opinion, that’s why Mr. Paolella was calling on people in the room to stand up for the prayer. The prayer is part of the history at Cranston HS West and for Mr. Paolella enough was enough. For him, he was unwilling to stand idly by while yet another “institution” was attacked by those more concerned with not offended than understanding the meaning behind the prayer and why it’s important to Cranstonians.
And I can hear some of you readers right now saying, “Come on, Don! We’re a secular society stop trying to throw this religion down our throats!” I won’t disagree that we are many degrees from the time when religion was the fabric of public and private life. Still, I’m asking you to pause just for a second and consider two things:
- What harm is done by keeping the prayer?
- Why was the prayer posted in the auditorium in the first place and what, if anything, would you suggest as an alternative to the prayer?
I’m curious to hear some of your answers and, I’m surprised the majority of members on the school committee voted to keep the prayer. Perhaps it is a signal that the ACLU and their kind are not going to kill off every tradition many Americans hold dear?
Honestly, I think it’s only a matter of time before what many traditionally call American is no more and in some cases outlawed. Mr. Poelella is calling for heroes and I want to let him and others know, I’ll be right by your side fighting the good fight. However, the cynic in me says the fight will be long, will be arduous but will eventually end in defeat.
But for one night in Cranston, tradition faced off against political correctness…and won!
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