"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Friday, July 13, 2012

And I Thought Giles Was Bad....

Hemant Mehta just blogged about a situation in Georgia, where Houston county schools were caught violating the constitution several times over. In most cases that I've read about, there were only one or two claimed violations of the constitution. According to the FFRF's press release, Houston county schools has violated the law in an extraordinary number of different ways:
• Prayers at other school events, such as assemblies, ceremonies, and school council meetings.
• Administrators encouraging teachers to pray.
• Teachers admitting, with pride, that “we (the teachers) did hold hands and have a prayer around the kids. It was lovely.”
• School alma mater songs endorsing religious belief over nonbelief.
• An HCS recommended “Summer Reading Program” including the violent Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye which has been accused of being anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. The school described the books: “Jesus Christ has set up his perfect kingdom on earth. Yet evil still lurks in the hearts of the unbelieving.” Recent studies show that 25 percent of people under 30 are nonbelievers.
• Religious imagery, such as bible quotes, on school walls and websites.
• Schools partnering with churches in close and troubling relationships.
• Mandating attendance at religious ceremonies such as baccalaureate services.
Based on my previous reading on situations like this, a lawsuit will likely result. And Houston county schools will undoubtedly lose, taking money away from their students. As Hemant notes, if the school district were smart, they'd stop with this altogether. On the other hand, if the district were smart, they wouldn't have egregiously violated the law in this way in the first place.

I have a friend who is a high school teacher and I asked her how she felt about the situation. She stated, "being in an environment as you described would make me very uncomfortable. I think that folks in school should be free to share their beliefs if they have them, but there is a very fine line between expressing your beliefs and imposing them on others. If people can't do one without the other, than they shouldn't be talking about it in school." She also stated that, "And no one has money to spare to fight a lawsuit, that is true."

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