Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Schools teaching, not indoctrinating, students on Islam

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To the Editor:

Claims that the public schools in Tennessee are indoctrinating children by teaching too much of any religion are a logical fallacy at best. Webster defines indoctrination as, "to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs."

The only indoctrination happening locally, is spurred by poorly-supported claims that our predominately Christian local teachers are indoctrinating Islam. Citizens outraged over the minor teaching of Islam are claiming too much influence is paid to Islam and not enough on Christianity.

In reality Tennessee's state standards for social studies and history, which can be found by Googling TN state standards, are built around Christianity, as is the Western World. There is an entire section devoted to the origins and central features of Christianity including monotheism, the belief in Jesus as the Messiah and God's Son, the concept of resurrection, the concept of salvation, belief in the Old and New Testaments, the lives, teachings and contributions of Jesus and Paul. Christianity is not indoctrinated in our schools; it is taught because it is the faith of so many and it is our history.

The Islamic World and Islam are also included in Tennessee's state history standards. Details of the religion's history and beliefs are provided and tested for retention. Islam is the second largest religion on Earth. Most of our foreign policy for the past 30 years has been centered around the Middle East. Is learning about the religion of a billion people a bad thing? No. Learning about different parts of the world is education, and through education we become better citizens that influence this great land.

Islam is not being indoctrinated in our schools; it is being taught (some would say mentioned) because so many people on earth are Islamic and it is a part of our World's history. Remember what the patriot founding father Benjamin Franklin said: "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid."

Riley Phillips

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