But we shouldn't be surprised at this. Nor will it be the last. Many who voted President Obama into office hold him in an almost religious awe. The President does little to discourage such thinking. He is so persuaded of the correctness of his views, that anyone opposing him is scorned, vilified, or simply ignored. At his speech to the United Nations, eager to demonstrate the basic goodness of America and its ability to solve big problems, Mr. Obama pointed to his first nine months in office as the example the world should acknowledge and embrace. In the President's mind, he is, indeed worthy of the children's - if not the world's - admiration.
But there's a larger problem here, and it relates to the mission of America's schools. One outraged parent insisted during an interview that political views have no place in public schools. Like religious views, she declared, they should be left at home. Two problems here. First, public schools are inescapably a forum for pushing political agendas and religious views. What else can we conclude about a system that indoctrinates millions of children to believe that religion is not sufficiently important to include in their course of life preparation? Or that concentrates in all its teaching to prepare young people to take their place in the getting-and-spending economy of our secular, materialist society? Religion and politics are being taught - the one by omission, the other by deliberate design.
The second problem is the false separation between religion and politics implied in her answer. Americans may cherish the separation of Church and State, but they must not think that this means politics and religion are unrelated areas. All of life is religious - that is, people pursue their lives within an overarching framework of beliefs and convictions - a worldview - that they embrace by faith and hope earnestly will connect them with ultimate reality and truth. That, friends, is religion. Even secularism is a religion, and to break out "religion" as a formal area of life separate from politics, education, getting ready for life, and all the rest is a false assertion and an unworkable approach. Religion pervades all of life, including politics. Therefore, if we must teach one in the nation's schools, we should teach both.
Meanwhile, the children will continue to praise the one to whom they look for salvation and the good life. At present, President Obama is the only candidate many teachers - and parents - are willing to promote.
T. M. Moore