Was reading about a challenge at Mahablog asking readers to find examples of religious persecution, in response to the periodic whining of the right that Christians are categorically persecuted. This comes up alot with the latest buzz about their accusations of the "War on Christmas". Mahablog and Preemptive Karma have both issued challenges to anyone that can think of examples of persecution. Now we are not talking about activists that perform certain actions for which they are responded to by another act. i.e. jail. (The St. Patrick's Four come to mind)We are talking about what they describe as persecution simply for being Christian, violated as innocent believers in a faith.
The challenge did not speak to other faiths and acts, for example against Mosques especially after 9-11.
It got me thinking about a recent group that I know who recently attempted to get equal access to High School students to provide information about alternatives to the military. They wanted to present some alternatives to military service.
Now at first this idea does not seem to fit with religious persecution, and in other posts I have not really linked them together. This has been an issue though that we have been working on in my community, with mixed results.
But given the fact that many of these activists are Quakers, it seems relevant to bring up the dilemma of the non violent student and their rights to information. The rights of recruiters for the military are protected by the "No Child Left Behind" Act. Schools stand to lose funding if they refuse to turn over data and provide access. But for a student whose religious views exclude such considerations, what is being done to make sure that they have access to information?
Certainly we have seen rights issues in education on a variety of matters, from disabilities to economics. We have seen groups complain about Christmas, Halloween, and related festivities. Why not about imposed information that reflects only some spritual views??
Actually, at a recent presentation by Catholics, Methodists, Quakers, and Unitarians, I learned that students of these faiths would in general ALL be compelled to object to this war on the basis of their teachings that set standards which have not been met by Bushco. ("Just War" theory, etc.)
Has a student challenged the right to access, to information, to guidance and counseling? On what grounds can a group be refused admission to present things like Americorps to help students pay for college? It seems that the current state of things not only harms the pacifist student who has the right to their religious perspective but also those that cannot afford college and need assistance with options. Who provides such options? When people try, they are often refused. On what grounds?
What do others think of this?

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