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Children should learn about all religions

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Posted: Friday, February 29, 2008 10:00 pm

I am a member of the Interfaith Council of San Joaquin. It is my passion to promote understanding of all religious traditions practiced by all persons of faith.

I am a Buddhist and if you understand Buddhism, you would know that I am an atheist. If you understood Buddhism you would understand that It would be very un-buddhistic to complain or resent or find offense in the use of the word "God." In so doing I would be disrespectful of your spiritual path; your path is yours and mine is mine.

I tried to make my way through all 314 blog responses to "God is part of our America" and found I could not, but in all that I did read, no one person made the suggestion which I propose now: We do not need "God" awareness in our schools, we need religion. We need to teach religious thought to our children in an all encompassing and compassionate manner. Not to proselytize, but to educate and nourish human spiritual nature. Start with the beliefs of the pagans and progress in a respectful manner through the main tenets of every faith. Learn where faiths are the same; learn why and where there are differences.

I suppose there is a parent reading my proposal who will feel threatened that his/her child would be exposed to and might find attractive a religious thought not of that parent's liking.

Gently, I propose such a person take a breath and check from where that emotion is emanating. Is it from the love of their higher being or is it fear of the unknown? Further, I suggest, as a parent myself, that there is no better time to have a real conversation with your child about why you have chosen your path and what fulfillment it brings to your life. Nothing a child learns in school will have as great an impact as you and your daily actions.

In my opinion and experience, knowledge and understanding of other religious traditions brings individual conviction that my own spiritual path is the right one for me and the path of my friends is the right one for them. Accepting our differences does not dilute my faith. It makes me an American.

Gloria Morisaki

Lodi

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