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reader comments: moment of silence

August 18, 2003
First, I would like to say that Skepdic.com is now my favorite place on the internet. I have a small problem, though, with your criticism of the "moment of silence". It may be naive of me, but when we had those in school as a kid, I never thought I was being told to pray or that it was some kind of Christian observance. Usually it would be after a student had passed away or there was a national tragedy. I would take the moment (if I cared about the reason) to reflect on the situation.

reply: That's why those who invented this stuff invented it. The moment of silence has a tradition and they are trying to take advantage of that tradition.

I think that one's interpretation of what the "moment of silence" is depends on what one has been taught to do in that situation, if anything. If you have been raised to pray for one who has died then that is what you may choose to do. If, like me, you were not raised to do such foolish things, then you may do with the time as you wish.

The sort of position that you take on this would lead one to believe that you are taking the separation of church and state to the point of being anti-religion and are attempting to remove even the possibility of someone praying in school. As silly as religion is, I do believe that people have the right to worship whichever imaginary being that they want to. To have a moment of silence to reflect on a tragedy during which someone might pray is certainly not an endorsement of any religion.

reply: Anyone can pray silently anytime and anywhere. But these folks want systematic, organized, ritualized moments of silence. There's nothing antireligious about opposing any state institution requiring systematic, organized, ritualized moments of silence.

Re-thinking this for a minute, I realize that you may be referring to a daily moment of silence in which case you may have a point. If so, you should make this clear in the article on your website.

reply: You figured it out, so maybe it's clear enough. In any case, this exchange should clarify the issue should anyone else wonder whether I was referring to systematic, organized, ritualized moments of silence.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, if you had the time to do so.

reply: I read them all, except the ones that are very long and rambling. I just don't have time to reply to them all.

moment of silence

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