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It is important to teach about religions

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Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 10:00 pm

Thank you for your recent articles on the new imam at the Lodi mosque and the official opening of the Sikh temple.

The hateful e-mails in the News-Sentinel on Nov. 19 clearly show that some people need to be educated on these subjects. Thank you for doing your part to accomplish that.

As a history teacher, I would also like to respond to the concerns some parents have about the subject of Islam being taught in the seventh-grade history book.

The state of California mandates that world history be taught in sixth and seventh grades. During the course of sixth and seventh grades, students learn about Christianity (both Catholicism and Protestantism), Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shintoism and many other religions, including the ancient religions of the Inca, Maya and Aztec peoples.

It is simply not possible to teach history effectively without understanding the many impacts of religion. Many wars have been waged for religious reasons. Many people have fled their homelands in search of religious freedom or to escape religious persecution. Governments have been established in the name of religion; other governments have been overthrown for religious reasons.

Given the fact that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, and given world events, it is in the best interest of all of us to better understand each other. Like Christianity, Islam is a religion that teaches brotherhood and charity (The writer who called the Sikh temple a Muslim compound might be surprised to know that Islam is more closely related to Christianity than it is to Sikhism). Those committing acts of violence in the name of Islam do not represent Islam any more than the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity.

With people writing in who believe that Native Americans were not the first people here, who do not know the difference between Muslims and Sikhs, and who deny that we all have ancestors who were immigrants, it would seem that education is our only hope. Please continue to publish articles that help to enlighten us all.

Kristine Leach


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 2:48 am on Mon, Dec 3, 2007.


    Kristine: I'm actually surprised by the low turnout of the "ignorant, racist brigade". I guess when a letter written as well as yours, is hard to attack without looking like a complete idiot, even for the "loud-minority" in Lodi. Good article!

  • posted at 5:39 am on Sat, Dec 1, 2007.


    To be fair, the year should be divided 4 ways to give the Atheists a quarter.

  • posted at 12:34 am on Sat, Dec 1, 2007.


    Why don't we just divide the year into thirds? Each major religion, Christianity, Judaism and Islam gets an equal amount of time to try to sell itself to the kids. Then, at the end of the year, let the students decide which one is right for them.

  • posted at 6:40 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    Daniel......how many present or past students converted to Islam because of this book? We cannot rewrite history religously or not. Schools are for learning about the world outside of a little town of 60,000 pop. If that involves teaching customs, languages, mores or religions then that's what the schools are for. Someone eventually is going to start banning books or burning them. Do we really want to go there?

  • posted at 5:44 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    Do you, personally, think it is OK to murder babies if God tells you to?

  • posted at 5:42 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    Now therefore KILL EVERY MALE AMONG THE LITTLE ONES, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

  • posted at 5:41 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    What, specifically, did the Midianite children do to the Israelites that justified their murder?

  • posted at 3:28 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    As for today, Christians live under the New Covenant, which Jesus established through His sacrificial death and resurrection. It is interesting to read the accounts of the Old Testament and learn of the absolute evil, perversion, and confrontational nature to God that preceded their demise.

  • posted at 3:10 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    The Old Testament documents times when groups of people were in direct rebellion to God and a threat to the Jewish nation. Only after many chances and much time did God command the destruction of these groups. His command was for a specific time and specific place, not a universal permission to kill, but to preserve the Jewish nation from their enemies. Interesting reading to learn what these people groups were up to before God decided to unleash His wrath.

  • posted at 2:45 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    Kristine Leach: I have seen the textbook. Numerous pages devoted to Islam, if not a couple chapters. There is a difference between giving students insight into a religion, and actual teaching of a religion.

  • posted at 2:43 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2007.


    Kristine Leach: Reading your letter, at first I thought it was about a pleasurable article on the Sikh temple. You ought to get together with David Moore, who promises one political position and then reveals the opposite line of questioning when the victim is on-camera.

  • posted at 2:38 pm on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    As you can tell from some of the replies, the Mother Ship will be making another pickup in Lodi this weekend. They've been rather busy around Lodi lately.

  • posted at 1:09 pm on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    You are mistaken. Selling your daughter as a sex slave is clearly spelled out with dos and don'ts in Exodus chapter 21.

  • posted at 11:07 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    The Old Testament is full of God Sanctioned violence.Just look at numbers God got mad because the Midianites tricked a couple of Israelites into worshiping Baal so he had them kill every Midianite man, woman and child except for the virgin little girls who he allowed the men to keep "for themselves".

  • posted at 10:42 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    The Bible NEVER speaks of ways to sell your daughter as a sex slave in a positive light!! Please tell me where you found that in the Bible. I'm sorry that when you read your Bible you don't see the love that God has shown to his creation since the beginning of time.

  • posted at 8:46 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    I think you have not really read your Bible in awhile. I recall stuff in there about it being your duty to kill your neighbor if he does not honor God, stoning to death woman and children for various disobedient acts, procedures for selling your daughter as a sex slave, etc. The Bible and the Koran are both filled with violence and calls to violence--they reflect the culture of ancient times when they were written and the ancient peoples' understanding of God. Most believers have come a long way from that.

  • posted at 8:41 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    The study of religion in that textbook series takes two years. There is far more page space given to Jewish/Christian/Catholic/Protestant than to Islam. get your facts straight. Talk to a sixth grade teacher. Most of the Christianity/Jewish stuff is in the sixth grade text--the kids actually are supposed to cut and paste Bible verses and there are many illustrations of Bible stories and the Ten Commandments.

  • posted at 5:05 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    Kris, the fuss wasn't about the teaching, the fuss was about the disproportionate amount of time and space given to islam and the dearth of same to Christianity. Teaching religions in the public schools pre-supposes a fair presentation of all those covered. This was not the case. Oh, yeah Leonard, straighten your tin-foil hat you missed your target again.

  • posted at 3:22 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    So, as a Christian, do you support the death penalty?

  • posted at 2:19 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    I disagree with your statement "Those committing acts of violence in the name of Islam do not represent Islam any more than the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity." the Koran clearly orders the Islamist to violence in no uncertain terms. The ones promoting violence in the name of Islam are the ones who are following the Koran most closely. The Bible orders Christians to love, never violence.

  • posted at 1:29 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    One difference is that Muslims are afraid to report their fanatics, whereas Christians aren't afraid to report the KKK as you mentioned.

  • posted at 1:24 am on Thu, Nov 29, 2007.


    This is a good letter Kristin but I am afraid that you have made yourself a target for every bigot, idiot, racist and moron within the city limits. These people treasure their ignorance almost as much as they treasure their hatred and they will defend both at all costs.


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