Intelligent Design in Science Class?

I just learned about this Missouri House Bill 1227. A Missouri legislator is trying to pass a bill which would introduce the idea of intelligent design in public schools, without discrimination.

Missouri Representative, Rick Brattin is proposing Intelligent Design/Creation be required teaching and given equal time in every science classroom in Missouri, including college level classes, prohibiting families from making their own choice. This will also require the schools to spend money on new text books on or including Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design in the Science Class? Is that a contradictory statement to anyone else?

I will be honest here, I didn’t know what intelligent design was until this very moment. I am not the most political person in the world. Until this blog. I have decided that I need to be mindful of what is going on around me. Especially when it comes to my child’s education.

Punky isn’t quite a year old and we have a long way to go before I really need to be concerned, but seriously? If we pass a law that allows intelligent design to be taught in science class, we are allowing religious teachings to be given to our children.

I have said before that I have no qualms with people who are affiliated with a religion. I have nothing against those who go to church or follow the teachings of the Bible. It’s just not for me. The repercussions of religion, the church and most people I come in contact with have been more negative than positive. I have made up my own mind in this and I hope to allow Punky to make her own mind up as well.

If this is taught in schools, a place of academia … where is the respect for other beliefs in a public environment. Look, if a child wants to pray individually, more power to them. If a child wants to read the Bible in the library on their spare time, sure go for it.

But, when did it become appropriate to tell my child they must do that too?

What about those kids from Jewish homes? From Muslim homes? I’m not even talking about Atheist or Agnostic. Let’s think about other religions for a moment. The United States is a melting pot of all sorts of religions and cultures. School should be a safe place to blend all those into one harmonic place to learn things. Learn academic things.

If you want your kid to learn intelligent design, great! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. That’s what you take your children to church for. Or am I confused?

I am the first person to say that there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God. There is not one way to know which theory of the way the world was made is correct. However, to introduce a religious based story to a school environment is wrong. When children are impressionable and should be taught these things at home.

How am I to help my child make up her own mind, when teachers at school will be telling her how to think, how to act. It’s just another way for religion to be forced upon my unwilling child. I’m the parent here. I pay the taxes for her education. I should get a say in what they teach her. Not to mention, that this bill will allow my tax dollars to not only facilitate the religious teachings of my child, but also pay for the new books that are required.

What’s wrong with leaving religious teachings in church? Any religious teaching. I don’t care if you want to teach your child about these things. I’m just requesting that you respect the fact that I may not want my child taught the same things. Your truth is not my truth. If I wanted her to be taught these things I would take her to church.

I’m appalled that this is even a proposed bill right now. I’m even more concerned that there are other states out there that have already passed a similar bill. I have already signed the petition to say no to this in our schools.

This is just the sort of thing this blog is actually about. My journey to finding out things that may affect the way I parent my child in regards to all sorts of topics. In this case, religion.

Respect my right to parent and teach my kid as I see fit when it comes to anything religious based. How about we keep science as science. The things that have definitive answers. Again, I’m not saying God does or doesn’t exist, but unlike the things they teach in science class, there’s no way to prove or disprove. Let’s leave that in Sunday school.

A New Kind of Coming Out

I have in the last few months, implied that I was Agnostic. Never have I said it out loud to anyone that I may come in contact with.  Family and friends may have gotten the hint, or they may not have. Unlike coming out as a lesbian, this was not something I could just show up with a partner on my arm and it was obvious.

Being Agnostic is something you have to announce. Well, it’s not really anyone else’s business, but there’s not a handshake (that I am aware of) or a pin to affix to my lapel to say, “I’m Agnostic.”

It’s also not something that I just want to bring up in polite conversation. I tend to steer clear of the topics of politics, religion and sex when I am talking to family or people at work. Some of my close friends know the truth about my doubts. They know that I am still searching for answers that I am not sure of.

While I didn’t grow up in a religious home, my parents and grandparents are indeed religiously affiliated. They are like most of society that I come in contact with. That’s okay. I don’t shun the religious. I don’t judge them. As I hope they don’t judge me.

So, here I am, bringing my religious beliefs, or lack thereof and doubts out in the open. I am having a new kind of coming out. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time. Last time I came out, my family was torn apart. My father didn’t speak to me for six years, and while this has been rectified, it’s not something that is easily forgotten.

This blog is my new life. My attempt to raise a morally conscious, kind-hearted child.  My navigation of religion and parenting and how to do it without damaging my kid. My partner and I are raising our daughter without religion.

When I said that to someone recently they remarked that I was going to allow my ‘prejudice’ to influence my daughter’s beliefs. This struck me as incredibly worrisome. My main goal is not to influence my daughter’s choices. I want her to be who she wants to be. I have come to realize I don’t know how to do that without indoctrinating her one way or another.

The comment really struck a cord with me. It made me re-think my parenting strategy. My partner and I have thought this through and we have discussed the fact that neither of us really believe in the teachings of the church. We both feel that the church has brought heartache to our lives growing up and has left us both feeling ashamed and evil.

My goal in raising my child is not to teach her that religion is evil. Or that religion is bad. I have no desire to tell her one way or another that God is real. I want her to respect other people’s beliefs. I want her to explore other people’s beliefs. I want her to expand her knowledge and be curious. I want her to question everything.

I want my role in her life to be open communication. About anything. This doesn’t include just religion. It means sexuality, relationships, education, self-esteem, everything! I want my child to come to me and ask me questions. I want to have discussions with her. I want to be honest with her and say, “I don’t know the answers. I can’t give you the answers.”

My partner and I are very different in our beliefs. Atheist and Agnostic are very different. However, we both understand the benefits of letting our daughter learn on her own. Explore on our own.

So, to those who love us and those who know us: We love you all, no matter your religious affiliation or not. Regardless of your beliefs and your political lean. No matter your relationship status, your gender, or your lifestyle.

I plan to help our daughter love people equally and accept people with an open mind and heart. I know my partner and I are both interested in raising our kid without religion, but that doesn’t mean without morals, boundaries, and love.