FFRF Finds Church/State Problems at Georgia School


The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to school officials in Houston County, Georgia detailing more than a dozen instances of problems with church and state in that school district. The letter (PDF) includes documentation of those problems, including these:

After researching the many complaints, FFRF emailed a July 12 letter to HCS general counsel William Jerles, delineating the various violations. Among the reported violations are:

• 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.

I expect the school to blow off the letter, which could easily lead to a lawsuit.

Comments

  1. d cwilson says

    And when they lose in the courts, they’ll dismiss enforcing the Constitution as the work of “activist judges”.

  2. eric says

    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.”

    What an amusing description. I love the obliviousness in it:
    Jesus’ perfect world where evil still lurks.

  3. otrame says

    The Left Behind books are quite possibly the most badly written books ever published in America. Ever.

    Still, I have no problem with them reading Left Behind as long as they also read Fred Clark’s page-by-page analysis of the books, describing what Fred believes is not only truly horrible story telling, but also truly horrible notions of sex and gender and truly horrible theology. Fred is a Christian and believes that theology is blasphemous. Note, he would join me to fight to the death to protect the right to publish The Worst Books Ever Written.

    As for the rest of it, nail them to the wall. Breaking the law is okay if it’s your religion? I don’t think so.

  4. DaveL says

    I guess you haven’t read the Twilight series.

    Which was, coincidentally, also listed on the recommended “Summer Reading Program” document.

  5. meursalt says

    Did anyone else read the “Evidence” enclosures of the letter? Many of the meeting minutes detailing devotional prayer came preformatted in Comic Sans. Very nice of them to save us the trouble!

    Also, unless I’m mistaken, this is the same case that Ed covered a couple of times last year. At the time, it got a lot of local media coverage (even in neighboring States), including brief interviews with faculty. As I recall, they were utterly unrepentant. They were proud of their violations and seemed determined to push the envelope as far as they could. They (I can’t remember if it was just students or if coaches were involved, which I know makes a big difference) even prayed on camera for the news crew during football practice. These violations are so embedded in the local culture that, IMHO, nothing short of a court decision is going to make a difference.

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