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Sep 16 2013

School May Be Caving on Praying Mother

As the new school year starts, the public schools in Concord, New Hampshire is caving in and allowing a mother who spent months preaching to students on the steps of the high school as students arrived to continue doing so, though it may be that she has to do so silently.

Lizarda Urena has resumed her morning trips to Concord High School to pray for the safety of the students, but she is now praying in silence after school officials told her this summer she would have to stop.

Urena, the mother of two students, returned to campus last week and has been signing in as a visitor and staying for 10 to 15 minutes every morning, said David Bates, a former state representative from Windham who has championed Urena’s right to pray on campus. Last Tuesday, Bates went with Urena to the school, where the two signed in at the main office and then went to the “outdoor classroom” at the school’s front entrance where they prayed in silence. Urena did not return a request for comment yesterday…

But school administrators have not made a definitive decision as to whether Urena can or cannot pray on campus. Instead, they will monitor her actions on a daily basis to see if they are in line with the campus visitor and religious policies, Rath said.

“We continue to work with her on a regular basis about how she can come and go from the high school in ways that respect both her ideas and our ideas,” Rath said.

Praying silently is better than what she was doing last year, which was really preaching rather than praying. But I don’t see why this should have anything to do with religion at all. If she has no business to conduct at the school, if she isn’t there to pick up her children, attend a public event or have a conference with a teacher or administration, she should not be there at all. Schools have never been designated public forums during the instructional day, either traditionally or by designation, so it is a perfectly appropriate time, place and manner restriction to say that you cannot be on school property if you don’t have business to conduct there.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    I wonder if they’d let me stand there silently wearing nothing but a soiled rain coat?

  2. 2
    freemage

    Now is the time for someone to request the right to go in at the same time she does and make a silent blessing on the school in the name of the three-part goddess, or maybe Vishnu.

  3. 3
    trucreep

    You could give Talos’ blessing, but then you’d have to worry about the Thalmor :/

  4. 4
    Erk12

    God must somehow be closer to the school than her house, because it seems he can’t hear her praying when she’s at home. Because this is about god, right? It’s not about her making a public display. No, it couldn’t be that.

  5. 5
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    I’ll stand there silently with a bowl of pasta, giving out free samples of His body in His Noodly Appendage’s name.

    Ramen.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. — Matthew 6:5-6

    Ain’t it funny now these Talibangelicals seem to use their Bibles only for thumping, and never for reading.

  7. 7
    theschwa

    @3
    Concord, despite its name, is not a signatory to the White-Gold Concordat, so you should be safe. Perhaps learn a Thu’um or two, just to be safe.

  8. 8
    eric

    @4: God obeys the inverse square law. Your best defenses against him are time, distance, and shielding. Practice your ALARA!

    ;)

  9. 9
    blf

    Ok, so what would happen if a Muslim, say, unrolled a prayer mat and prayed, silently, every day on the steps (presumably facing Mecca) ?

    And, when finished, simply rolled up her/his mat and left. Silently.

    I rather suspect there would be a number of panties in a twist…

  10. 10
    grumpyoldfart

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Christians in Concord regard Irena as a bit of a ratbag. “But hey; she’s keeping our religion in the headlines so let her do whatever she wants. If things go wrong we’ll disown the silly bitch.”

  11. 11
    otrame

    I wish I lived nearby. I would sign in as a visitor and ask her ” What part of Mathew 6:5-6 don’t you understand?”.

  12. 12
    eric

    Ok, so what would happen if a Muslim, say, unrolled a prayer mat and prayed, silently, every day on the steps (presumably facing Mecca) ?

    Oh, we all know the answer to that, don’t we?

    1. The school would try and stop only the non-christian.
    2. In response to a legal challenge, they’d attempt to split hairs between the cases (Ms. Urena is the mother of two students, Ms. Islam is only the mother of one).
    3. When that didn’t work, the administration would stop the practice altogether. The Principal would be sure to give a public communication that subtly supported the christian, and let the communty know that they’re only preventing both because they can find no legal way to discriminate.

  13. 13
    kantalope

    What about commercial speech rights – certainly I should be allowed to inform the students about products they may need. Like credit cards and unlimited access to the internet!

    It’s Free Markets people! Just like Jebus preached in First Ronnieisms 81-85.

  14. 14
    busterggi

    And when the day comes when she ‘hears’ Jesus tell her to kill all the students because they refuse to be saved….

  15. 15
    dcsohl

    Erik12@4, I bet she has the same problem I do… I get lousy cell reception at my house. If I need to phone the Almighty, I have to step outside, or else my prayer gets all broken up and he can’t understand my imprecations. I learned my lesson after trying to call His wrath down on George W Bush, and instead he lit my front hedge on fire.

    So, really, the school may be the best place for her to do her thing.

  16. 16
    Donovan

    I went to Concord High. They have an open campus policy that creates a bit of a blend with the local community. I think practically the present situation works best. It would just be too difficult to keep her away if they started encouraging more covert behavior. It’d be better to give her enough rope. Still, very troubling. I see no difference between her, a cultist, or an Amway representative. Get your unsupported claims the fuck away from vulnerable children.

  17. 17
    Matt G

    Praying silently. In other words, loitering.

  18. 18
    sezme

    Forget the prayer nonsense. I want to know what parent names their kid “Lizarda”. Anybody wanna bet on how her classmates teased her? No wonder she’s a god botherer – I would be too.

  19. 19
    ashleybell

    I say let her stay and let her pray openly and aloud. She would then forever be remembered at reunion gatherings as ‘ that crazy lady on the steps’. I can’t imagine better PR for atheism than that! I do however feel bad for her kids at that school. That has to be super humiliating.

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