In the direction of common sense, Part II

In response to “In the direction of common sense” entry, a reader named School District Voter noted that, “Of almost equal moment to the Declaration of Independence was the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Jefferson in 1779. The statute established the separation of church and state and the principle of religious toleration: “Almighty God hath created the mind free… all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do …the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time…”

While it’s not economical to include it here in its entirety, it is important to note that the statute ends with this action. “Be it enacted by the General assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, not shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. Indeed, “All men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

History tells us that the founding fathers held diverse views. Instead of allowing differences to divide and defeat them, they found common ground. They found common sense within the harmonies of their arguments. Today, “argue” carries a negative connotation like fight or struggle. But argue simply means to support your point of view with evidence.

As parents, as educators, as a community invested in its youth, it is our responsibility to share the tools and skills for argument. We are free to profess and argue our beliefs. Are we preparing the next generation to exercise that freedom, to know the fullness of history, to profess their individual beliefs and to argue for them?


One Response to In the direction of common sense, Part II

  1. School District Voter says:

    As the sound and the glare of the July 4th fireworks soften and dim, I reflect on lessons learned from our open discussion of board policy on controversial issues. Our board policy committee is commended for opening the books on potential curriculum purchases, inviting our community to sit in on a social studies discussion. These boardroom discussions have prompted engaging conversations throughout our community, bringing parents into the boardroom who have never attended before, and taxpayers who have never had interest in curriculum purchases before.
    Mr. Rigano first ignited this spark of interest in constitutional studies by promoting an essay writing contest for children to choose to participate, working with their teachers and parents to compete for the prize of a Kindle Fire. The children’s presentations to the public, and Mr. Rigano’s recognition of their personal achievement, created such an emotional warmth among children, parents, and teachers, in celebration of common interests– love of family, faith, freedom, and life-long learning adventures in pursuit of happiness, being all that we can be. Special thanks to Mr. Rigano and all board members, school staff, teachers and our good neighbors, whose hard work and expertise make learning experiences for our school children productive, happy, and fun!

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