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Another School With Ten Commandments Displays

Here’s another school that is blatantly violating the Establishment Clause by putting up displays of the Ten Commandments in every classroom. Muldrow High School and middle school in Oklahoma have them up and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have sent a letter demanding that they be taken down.

Reportedly, according to sources inside the school, a student sent a photograph of the plaques to the foundation.

“On the advice of our attorneys, I am unable to make any comments at this time,” Flanagan said. “Once we get some resolve to this matter I will make a full statement.”

Flanagan could not say if or when the plaques would be removed.

“Right now we have some hard issues to face and some hard decisions to make,” Flanagan said.

The unrest in Muldrow is drawing attention from state legislators.

“A majority of teachers and students didn’t agree with the Freedom From Religion Foundation letter, so they contacted myself and Senator Mark Allen. After talking with numerous Christian organizations and constitutional lawyers, it became clear that the superintendent and local school board has no choice but to remove the plaques if they want to avoid a lawsuit,” State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, said.

When even Republican members of the Oklahoma legislators are telling you you’re breaking the law, you should probably listen to them. The school board is consulting with their attorney, who should tell them that they have no chance of winning the case if they don’t relent. But you know how these things go. The churches have quickly mobilized to get people to support the displays and they’re blathering on about this having something to do with freedom of religion.

“It’s Christianity under attack within our own country,” said Josh Moore, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Muldrow, Okla. “The irony can’t be missed by anyone who’s lived in this country or grown up in this country.”

Same old stupid rhetoric.

But hundreds of students have decided to stand up and defend the plaques by launching petitions and raising awareness on social networking sites. And lots of folks around town are wondering why a Wisconsin-based organization is concerned about the affairs of Muldrow, Okla.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” student Chase Howard told television station KHOG. “One person kind of put it out there on Twitter. A couple of us hash tagged it and asked people to get it trending. After that it just caught on.”

Benjamin Hill, 18, is one of the students who signed the petition. He said he understands why non-Christians might be upset over the display, but he said students should have the right to express their faith.

“I’d really like it if they would leave the Ten Commandments up,” he told Fox News. “I think they should allow the expression of religion in school.” Pastor Moore told Fox News that the local interfaith ministerial associated printed 1,000 t-shirts emblazoned with the Ten Commandments – and many students plan on wearing the shirts to class.

I bet you don’t think they should allow the expression of religion in school. I bet you only think they should allow expression of Christianity in school. Put up a single plaque with verses from the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita and this purported love of religious expression would become screams of “TERRORIST!” This has nothing to do with students expressing their faith; the students didn’t put them up, the school did. This is government expression. That should be obvious to anyone who isn’t braindead.

Hemant has an interview with the student who filed the complaint, who is a very courageous young man. I have no doubt that, now that his identity has been made public, he will become the target of bullying, intimidation and death threats. I’ve been in touch with Gage and he has told me already of some hate mail sent to him.

Update: The FFRF reports that the schools have removed the Ten Commandments plaques, but there was a school board meeting on Monday night which will undoubtedly bring calls to put them back.

Update #2: The school board meeting was actually quite a bit calmer and more reasonable than these things usually are:

Many attendees arrived in vehicles upon which Christian slogans were written or posted. Many wore clothing proclaiming their religious beliefs. Many teens attended, wearing black “Don’t Quit for Christ” T-shirts. Several elderly attendees clutched Bibles. Attendees’ ages ranged from infant through senior citizen.

Muldrow First Assembly of God Senior Pastor Shawn Money, a representative of the Christian Muldrow Ministry Alliance, told school officials, “We understand the last two weeks have been very difficult for you. We support you. We’re praying for you. … We know that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments in public schools for religious purposes. … We disagree.”

Many audience members called out “amens.”…

The hundreds present at Monday’s board meeting were calm and respectful, even applauding Richardson after he delivered news many would have preferred not to hear.

Chambers’ voice choked as he told the audience the board wished it had another alternative, but removed the plaques rather than spend taxpayer money for costly legal fees that would be incurred fighting to keep them.

But there was more than a bit of the usual idiocy:

Freddie Gauntt of Fort Gibson said he attended “to help stand up for our beliefs in God.”

He asked why one or two persons can change things in a Democratic society.

“It should have gone to a vote of the community. It upsets me that the federal government has a set of guidelines that are not godly in nature,” Gauntt said.

You should move to Iran. They’re all about keeping the government “godly.”

Comments

  1. says

    Even a local minister had to face the facts … more or less:

    Pastor Shawn Money, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Muldrow Ministerial Alliance told 5NEWS he would love to see the plaques put back up, but also understands the school district’s position.

    “We’re glad that they were here for 20 years, but now they had to come down,” Money said. :We felt like that first, we needed to tell them that we do support them and understand that they had a hard job and that we’d been praying for them. But secondly, we wanted to go on record saying that we believe in the Ten Commandments. We believe they are important.”

    http://5newsonline.com/2013/05/13/muldrow-school-board-ready-to-address-ten-commandments-issue/

  2. Taz says

    It upsets me that the federal government has a set of guidelines that are not godly in nature

    The Constitution?

  3. doublereed says

    Hm… you know, this has the effect of teaching kids and students about the establishment clause. I guess that’s a good thing, but maybe the discussion would veer toward persecution complex. On the other hand, it might give people a better understanding of freedom of religion.

  4. says

    “It’s Christianity under attack within our own country,” said Josh Moore, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Muldrow, Okla. “The irony can’t be missed by anyone who’s lived in this country or grown up in this country.”

    I’m pretty sure he either doesn’t understand the concept of irony, or he is admitting something about Xianity that he didn’t mean to say.

  5. says

    ‘It should have gone to a vote of the community…’

    Ahhh. The mating call of the Comfortable Majority (♫ Mobmob mobmob! Mob rule! Mob rule! ♫). It must be Spring.

  6. DaveL says

    “We know that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments in public schools for religious purposes. … We disagree.”

    Guess who wins?

  7. gshelley says

    Pastor Moore told Fox News that the local interfaith ministerial associated printed 1,000 t-shirts emblazoned with the Ten Commandments – and many students plan on wearing the shirts to class.

    I wonder if any of the t-shirts were worn in school, and if so, if the people who were allowed to wear them realised they weren’t being oppressed.

  8. Doug Little says

    Oh how weak their god is, having to be constantly reminded of its existence with public displays every where they go.

  9. Doug Little says

    GDad @4,

    Yeah I was thinking the same thing. I’m sick and tired of people throwing around terms like irony when they don’t understand what it means. Another one is Ad hominem.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    Doug Little @ # 9 – Well, you wouldn’t have any problems with that if you weren’t so – little!

  11. D. C. Sessions says

    I wonder if any of the t-shirts were worn in school

    I’m thinking that there should be shirts with Arabic lettering on it that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Admittedly it would take a very brave student to wear it.

  12. vhutchison says

    The posting of the Commandments were brought to the attention of FFRFn by a male junior student at ther high school;; he should be commended for his courage, knowing that he will likely undergo lots of harrassment from other students and the community in general. I have nominated him for an award given by a state organization that recognizes constitutional heritage.

  13. mobius says

    Clearly Mr. Gauntt has never encountered the concept of “tyranny of the majority”.

  14. Doug Little says

    Oops – I guess my # 10 really only counts as an ad nominem…

    I thought ad nominem was reserved for anything the National Organisation for Marriage says.

  15. Johnny Au Gratin says

    Instead of relying on “mob rule” or “tyranny of the majority” in Oklahoma, they should just let David Frizzell and Shelly West decide the issue. It makes about as much sense, they being the reason God made Oklahoma. In fact, I may have to ask her friend Jose Cuervo to help me get these songs out of my head.

  16. says

    #16: Their arguments are usually ad nauseum.

    I’ve read comments about this issue on Huffington Post. One of third of the comments in favor of the X-Coms say that they are the foundation of our government and the basis of our Constitution. But whenever I or anyone else asks for clarification, or proof, or examples, there is never a response.* I guess it must be a secret.
    *One man asserted that the proof was all in the appendix of the Constitution. He wouldn’t tell me where to find this appendix. I need to get that decoder ring now.

  17. martinc says

    I know, I know, it’s the poor guy’s name, and it’s not his fault, but … ‘Senior Pastor Shawn Money’? With a name like that, surely he should have his own televangelical show!

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