My Elementary School Didn’t Teach Religion and I’m Not Going to Kill Anyone

Aside

It was two in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. Naturally, I decided to resort to the internet.
Then this pops up on my news feed:
Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 3.42.54 PMMike Huckabee set me off. I couldn’t believe he was saying this. Actually I couldn’t believe he was using a massacre to bring up yet another religious debate. I could understand why people were expressing their opinions on gun control since this was a horrific shooting, but bringing religion into this was taking it a little too far.
And then I got a little more upset, because right under that link, I read a comment that said, “Agreed!!!”
Oh, that pissed me off. I could go off on a rant about what Huckabee said, but I’m not going to because I want to stay neutral and I don’t know anything about his childhood.

My anger at Huckabee’s statement is not necessarily a political one. I’m upset about what Mike Huckabee said because my childhood proves otherwise.
My elementary school never enforced any set of beliefs on its students. There were children who weren’t raised religiously at my school. There were also Christians and Jews at my school, and everybody got along. We were good kids. Despite not being educated in Christianity (I’m just going to assume Huckabee is pushing for that particular religion being taught in schools because, well, he’s Mike Huckabee), everyone I know who went there turned out fine. And do you know why? Because my school taught a certain value heavily.
Peace. For the majority of my academic life, there was some part of the lesson plan that was designed to guide students away from violence and remind them to embrace the many differing facets of the world. There were so many concepts of hate that I had no idea still existed until I got to high school. On my second or third day of freshman year, I heard somebody use the word “beaner” for the first time and thought, “these kids are terrible.” I had no idea racism was still so bad. I had no idea people could disagree on things so heavily.

Since my high school was Catholic, every student had to take multiple religion classes. But did it make a difference on our actions? I don’t really think so. We were still people, and teenagers at that. Who were we to carry on sinless lives? People at my school had sex. I’m sure a baby or two was conceived there. We had parties. My school was known as the druggie school. A girl got raped at my school, and a few years ago, a student was expelled for threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot our principal.

Is it because we were taught about Christianity? No. It’s because we are people. Sin is inevitable. Even the Bible says so. Remember that, Mike Huckabee? These things are going to happen regardless of what the school system teaches. Anyone has the potential for violence, no matter his or her set of beliefs. Activities that fit under the sin category are going to exist no matter what. They always have, and they did in the days before religion was around.
Of course, people also have the potential to be good, and that definitely isn’t limited to what set of beliefs they adhere to or what kinds of things they are taught in school. Just because people aren’t educated in religion doesn’t mean they’re horrible people.
If you don’t believe me, then you should visit a Montessori school and see for yourself.

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Official Release Statement

Aside

It’s official: I’m getting out of here.
My somewhat instantaneous decision to go apply for the Austria program worked out really well, and on June 29th, I will be en route to Munich (I’m assuming it will be June 30th by the time I land, so I won’t be flying directly to Austria until then.)
It has only very recently occurred to me that this is real. I won’t be sleeping until 2:00 or working a job I have zero passion for this summer – I’ll be breathing the world’s purest air and learning about expatriate writers in the Alps and running off to another country every other weekend or so. I also plan on getting fat, because if I’m going to spend six weeks in a country with some of the world’s best food (and its neighbors), I might as well put on some weight. Apparently there’s a cheese road that runs through Austria. Hopefully I’ll be writing all the time, but I think living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world will give me plenty of encouragement to press my fingers against a keyboard or take a pen to paper. I know people who are going, and they want to travel around Europe just like I do. I want to spend weekends in Vienna, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Or maybe Slovenia, or Croatia if it isn’t too far away. The point is that I’m going to go somewhere.
This trip is coming at a very good time for me. I’m very desperate to get away this summer – lots of issues are popping up in my circles of influence, and I’m dying to evade them. Some of my relationships have gone haywire. I’m also terrified that I’ll somehow end up a deadbeat.
At home, I have drugged out friends, a baby, and a father in the middle of his mid-life crisis to deal with. Thankfully, though, I get to spend six weeks focusing on literature, traveling, and eating as much as I can. Going away might not be a permanent escape from the stress I’ve been experiencing, but at least I have the chance to get away.
I guess there really wasn’t as much on my mind as I expected to type out. Just know that I’m excited.