Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gotta Keep Em Separated...religion and the state university

As a somewhat conservative person, I do appreciate that freedom OF religion doesn't mean freedom FROM religion. But I do draw the line at abuse. And I see signs that things are going towards that in many sectors to a large degree. I am a Catholic as are my husband and children. We live our faith but allow others to make their own choices which I think is fair. We also happen to live in the shiny beltbuckle of the Bible Belt, sporting the former largest Baptist Church-now demoted to number two by the renovated facility in Houston. While most of these people are harmless, there are a number that are not only harmful, but downright offensive with their attitudes. Case in point would be the issue between my daughter and her dorm hall director. The hall director is a Conservative Baptist Christian American in that order. Her staff meetings became prayer sessions and her Girl's Night Out became Bible Study. On the surface, these aren't harmful, except that my daughter chose not to attend due to a class conflict and a general uneasy feeling. So all the women on the staff were expected to go to church, the same church, the hall director's church. When my daughter didn't show up, their were cold shoulders tossed and catty jibes. This is a STATE university. Also, as part of their "Christian" duty no doubt, girls were expected to babysit the hall director's baby. When anyone balked, their rating went down. My daughter's wing won hall of the year for the past two years, yet when she tried to switch dorms for next fall due to the pressure to conform, her rating mysteriously went down and she didn't get a bid to work. Despite being RA of the year. Despite having the highest GPA on staff. Despite working while sick, handling everything from drunk coeds to fights. And all because of the vindictive hypocrisy of her hall director. I don't begrudge anyone a chance to worship as long as it doesn't impact me, but more and more religion is being used as a hammer to pressure public institutions to bend to the will of a religious minority. This isn't the first time we have had a run in with a well-meaning alleged Christian. While in elementary the head of the local Baptist Sunday School's daughter told my child she was going to hell. When I approached the mother that such things were certainly not kind, she agreed but then SAID THE SAME THING TO ME! What kind of "church" teaches such vile opinions to children? We point fingers at groups such as the Taliban and AlQuada that preach a sermon of hatred and worship death, but when someone in charge uses their misplaced authority to keep a college student from working-losing them their income and their residence, then something is VERY VERY WRONG. My daughter is tired of fighting the fight and wants to finish out the term and go away, but if things went down the way I think they did, then there are some serious lies in her employment record, and they need to be cleared up before she signs off on anything. Has anyone else dealt with such things at a STATE UNIVERSITY???? Now at Baylor or Abilene Christian, I could possibly see it, but that is the very reason she chose a STATE UNIVERSITY.....seriously.

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