Friday, November 23, 2007
CCHS welcomes the after-school Christian Club
Chess club and dance team are the stuff that after-school dreams are made of, and have long been just a few of the standards in extra-curricular activities. It won't be much longer, then, until we see Wiccas Without Walls or a Satan's Daughters being added to the line-up. This may sound crazy, but under the Equal Access Act that covers public schools, if one student-run club is allowed, they all must be allowed. And so, it's with great pleasure and a greater deal of speculation that CCHS welcomes the Christian Club to its afternoon roster.
The louder debates at CCHS usually surround the topic of personal politics. Although liberals are in the majority at the school, there are a few outspoken conservative students who continue to stand for their beliefs even in the face of a blue state like Massachusetts. The relationship between religion and politics has always been close, but in a public school setting, it's less acceptable to bring up spiritual belief, while personal politics are debated daily in social studies and English courses. However, as one C-C teacher points out, many conservative kids at the high school have begun to voice the hurtful effects of the "liberal shut-out" of Republican and basic Christian values. Thinking about the kids and even the teachers in Concord, Carlisle, and Boston, it's easy to see how voting against gay marriage, for example, could turn a history class or a friend against you. With elections up and running, senior Stella Chen has chosen a key time for Christianity to be brought back into the conversation.
In mid-November, a group was created on Facebook called the CCHS Christian Club, also known as "Living in the Light." The group board clearly stated that the school administration had given permission for the club, they had a faculty advisor, and the date of the first meeting would soon follow. The next day students were discussing the organization at school. Chen says that the club is a way to revive Christian values at C-C. There will be no president of the club, just kids coming together weekly to study the Bible, discuss beliefs, and start outreach programs to the school and the community. Chen hopes this revival of values will end behavior such as the frequent theft from school locker rooms that has become so prevalent in the last few years.
Some students don't want to "Live in the Light," and claim they immediately turned down the online invitation. Teachers also voiced concern that although the club claims to be a place for all religions, Bible study and Christian values do not a friendly forum make. One suggestion was to change the name in order to lessen the shock factor and return to the safe generalizations of public schooling. However, after less than a week, almost 20 students have joined the club on Facebook, and it looks as though there will be a considerable turnout at the first meeting soon after Thanksgiving.
One teacher says, "This could be a good place for a faith-based discussion outside the classroom." Right now the only class with strong religious tones is World Religions, an extremely popular course for upperclassmen that keeps religion on the brain during first semester.
When asked how the club would prepare for or deal with backlash, Chen responded, "We have support from our churches, River of Life Christian Church in Boston and New Life Community Church, to help pray for us, along with our different friends who are also praying. Most of the support we have is spiritual, but it works!"
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito