- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

How many parents have pleaded with their child to read? Anything? In Knoxville, Tenn., a 10-year-old chose to spend his recess time reading the Bible with fellow classmates. In the opinion of most sensible observers, the studious boy represents a refreshing departure from usual grade-school behavior. Instead of bullying, fighting or other typical recess pastimes, Luke Whitson was reading. But his choice of literature has stirred the constitutional and cultural sensitivities of a public school principal.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, Karns Elementary School Principal Cathy Summa “abruptly interrupted certain fourth-grade students while they were in the midst of a Bible discussion during recess, demanded that they stop their activity at once, put their Bibles away and, from that point forward, cease from bringing their Bibles to school.” So, the Pentagon buys Korans and prayer carpets for Islamist terrorists, but a fourth-grader isn’t allowed to read the Bible during recess? What wonderful ways our society condones stupendous hypocrisy.

The Knoxville school system argues that recess is not “free time,” during which, apparently, students are considered out of the classroom environment and allowed to engage in harmless pursuits, like playing, gossiping and — yes — reading. An ADF attorney representing Luke and his parents said, “Our position is the Constitution says yes to Bible reading and discussion outside class time. The principal and other school officials have contended that recess is not free time. We disagree.” One of course must wonder when a student can enjoy “free time,” if not during recess.

On a national level, the principal’s zealotry is a sad, but inevitable, consequence of decades of butchering the constitutional clause — which isn’t in fact in the Constitution — that separates church from state. It’s a fine mess that liberal activists have made for us: Defend the right to practice all religions — except Christianity. They fight to fund government agencies that support artists who dip the cross in urine or splatter Mary with cow feces, but call upon the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions whenever a Koran is accidentally “kicked.” It’s unfortunate that young Luke has received such an early lesson in liberal intolerance.

One needn’t be a Christian to appreciate that Luke and his friends were — during their “free time” — reading about themes well ahead of the average course work of a fourth-grader. It far surpasses the intellectual demands of, say, Harry Potter or Tom Sawyer. So, we say to Luke, read on — grown-ups don’t always know as much as they think they do.

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