May 24, 2006

The Seekers

It seems I am not the first person slightly intrigued by the article currently sitting on the top of right now, describing the evangelical Christian group Seekers, which has clubs at a number of New York City high schools.Southern Appeal's QD takes a stab at the First Amendment issues involved, while emeritus Viewpoints Editor Phoebe Maltz provides her own take, which I find particularly interesting because she describes her observations of the group from while in high school at Stuyvesant (the specific Seekers chapter that the Times profiles).In terms of the First Amendment issues--including freedom of speech/expression, and a separation of church and state in public schools--I am generally of the stance that schools should allow students to express themselves as they desire, as long as they would do the same for all student groups (and thus, maintaining a separate church and state by not sanctioning a single religion, and upholding the rights of students to freely express themselves).Schools are legally recognized as different than general public domain, so I can see where things could get tricky for a clearly evangelical group such as the Seekers. In such a case, it then becomes an issue of allowing the group the freedom to express itself (of which evangelism is an essential aspect), and providing an indoctrination-free environment for students. I'm certain this would be less of an issue in high schools (Stuyvesant in particular), than it would be at lower levels when students are younger, less educated, and obviously more susceptible to just about any argument that comes along.