This is no Klanboro
We are writing to express our concern about your article on Weekday Religious Education in Waynesboro.
While we are saddened that Mollie Bryan received what she calls "hate mail" in response to her controversial column in the Staunton newspaper, to print her quote that "I wouldn't be surprised if I got a cross burned in my yard" was needlessly inflammatory and suggests a community vastly different from the one we call home.
You also did Mollie Bryan no favors by publishing this accusation, as it exposes her ignorance of the community in which she lives, one that has rejected the Klan's message on more than one occasion.
If 50 percent of the children who attend Weekday Religious Education do not attend church, then perhaps their parents' motivation for sending them to the classes is something other than religious dedication. Maybe they recognize something that most of the article's interviewees don't– that the Bible has had a large influence on our Western culture.
In fact, we heard a Biblical reference made in a Disney movie our children watched today. To not know what the Bible says is to be culturally illiterate– so many works of art and literature draw their text or inspiration from passages in the Bible. And it is precisely because of the "separation of church and state" that these children must leave the school premises to receive this complement to their education.
Briefly stated, the concept of WRE is legal, well supported in the Valley, and a useful part of a well-rounded curriculum. Students are not forced to attend, nor are they routinely harassed for not attending. If the residents of Charlottesville do not choose to have WRE, that is their prerogative. By the same token, if the residents of the Shenandoah Valley do choose it, then do not force your judgments upon them.
Marc and Sherri Allen