Dear Rep. Segal,
I was reading up on the new ‘religious absence bill‘, HB 4454 a bill that you have sponsored, and I was wondering if there was anything in that bill that contained protections/exceptions for secular/non-religious children who might miss school for non-religious reasons to be able to still not have their absences counted against their ‘perfect attendance’ status?
There are many legitimate agencies, organizations, functions, celebrations and activities that are secular that students may wish to attend or participate in, so I would hope that somewhere in the bill there is protection for these students also.
I strongly believe in the freedom of religion, and I also believe in the freedom FROM religion. I have no problem supporting a bill like this so long as there is also a section that protects secular students along with religious students. By leaving secular students out of this bill, it is giving preferential treatment to that of organized religion, and I really do not think that is the right thing to do, nor is the role of the government. It appears as if government is taking a side in the religious debate and giving special privileges to those of faith and to me that is VERY wrong.
I understand that life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean we have to go as far away from fair as possible. I think by allowing secular students the same rights to have excused absences for secular events/activities is helping to bridge that gap and bring things closer to fair and equal as possible.
I am writing this because I believe you are a one of the few open minded and fair politicians that we have and I know that with this bill you mean well, but as a secular person; it appears to give special privileges to those of faith as opposed to secular individuals and we both know that whenever one group of people is treated different than another, you have inequality and oppression and I hope and I do not think those are traits that you stand for.
Please consider drafting or adding some sort of clause that would protect secular and non-religious students also.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, I would be glad to be of assistance.
Battle Creek, Michigan
*A version of this letter was sent to Rep. Segal via email and facebook on May 2nd, 2013