MS School Violates Consent Decree in Prayer Case


You may recall that late last year the public school system in Rankin, Mississippi agreed to a consent decree to settle a lawsuit over mandatory school assemblies that featured prayer and preachers. It only took a few months for them to violate that decree:

The American Humanist Association filed a motion of contempt on Wednesday against Mississippi’s Rankin County School District for its failure to adhere to a federal judge’s order banning Christian prayers at public school assemblies.

According to the Associated Press, the student who filed the original complaint against the school reported that the school has carried on with public prayers in spite of the ruling, which was handed down in November of 2013.

In an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, the student, a senior at Northwest Rankin High School, said that a countywide honors program on April 17 featured an opening prayer by St. Mark’s United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Rob Gill.

“The prayer was Christian in nature and made a specific reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said a statement released by the AHA. “Students were asked to stand and then bow their heads for the prayer. Students were also told to wear ‘church attire’ to the event, which was held days before Easter Sunday. The American Humanist Association contends that the public school district’s actions unconstitutionally endorsed religion and coerced students into participating in a religious observance.”…

AHA is asking that the district be forced to pay civil contempt fines of $1,000 each for the school district and Northwest Rankin Principal Charles Frazier. The affidavit also asked the court to impose a $20,000 fine on all future violations of the November court order.

It’s incredible to me just how relentless the Christian right is to impose their religious exercises on others. Why can’t they just worship themselves as they see fit and let others do the same? Why do they feel the overwhelming desire to make sure everyone else has to participate as well? Oh, right — Christian privilege. They feel they have a divine right to dominate the country.

Comments

  1. zmidponk says

    Students were also told to wear ‘church attire’ to the event

    You know, this could turn out to be quite amusing, given a brave enough student – they turn up nude, and, when challenged, they explain that they don’t actually go to church, so, for them, ‘church attire’ is actually nothing at all.

  2. dingojack says

    I was thinking of a group in random attire (a scuba suit, a tutu, a suit of armour etc.), when asked they would say: ‘Well, I don’t go to church so I haven’t idea what ‘church attire’ is’.
    Dingo
    ——–
    Or how about a frock? It’s ‘church attire’, all the priests in Catholic churches seem to wear ‘em. ;)

  3. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    It’s incredible to me just how relentless the Christian right is to impose their religious exercises on others. Why can’t they just worship themselves as they see fit and let others do the same? Why do they feel the overwhelming desire to make sure everyone else has to participate as well? Oh, right — Christian privilege. They feel they have a divine right to dominate the country.

    From a political perspective, I wouldn’t have a major problem with conservative Christians who seek and support leveraging government power to pray to a captive audience. But only if they were honest that such behavior violates the religious freedom rights of others rather than their false claims they are supporters of the DofI and U.S. Constitution. They would have more credibility if they transparently conceded their ‘great mission’ is more important to them then supporting a free society that protects human rights equally. Such an attempt to leverage government power to proselytize would be a politically defensible position if they went one step further as described below.

    From a moral perspective I hold conservative Christians in great contempt on a number of counts. One relevant point here is their effort to spread what they assert is objective truth while energetically avoiding any scrutiny that falsifies their claims. What other large group in the U.S. so energetically avoids and denies reality? I see no close seconds; and yet they ironically distinguish themselves by claiming they alone possess that which is objectively true.

    I realize some concede faith is a premise of their beliefs when promoting their “truth”. However that’s a dodge. Go to any conservative church and you’ll here dozens if not hundreds of lies. Most revolve around framing a premise as if its unassailable fact when there’s no evidence that fact is true.

    Of course honestly stating a conservative Christian position would be a lengthy awkward clumsy endeavor. E.g., “The authors and editors of the Bible have the Jesus character claiming he rose the from the dead. We should note that there’s no empirical evidence Jesus is a single historical entity, that he was crucified, that he died, and that he then rose from the dead. That’s what we believe in spite of there not only being no evidence, but all empirical findings discovered to date provide no rational reason to believe a figure from that time could die and then come back to life three days later.”

  4. dingojack says

    How about turning up in full church regalia (mitres, funny hats, beards, incense shakers, robes), They surely won’t object, right?
    :) Dingo

  5. dingojack says

    Hercules – surely that makes them witches, being ‘sky-clad’ and all.
    :) Dingo

  6. Trebuchet says

    You know, this could turn out to be quite amusing, given a brave enough student – they turn up nude, and, when challenged, they explain that they don’t actually go to church, so, for them, ‘church attire’ is actually nothing at all.

    We just rewatched the 2013 Christmas episode of Doctor Who. In the Church of the Papal Mainframe, nudity is mandatory.

  7. caseloweraz says

    Heh — what Dingojack said (#4).

    Or maybe just a simple cassock. CM Almy sells a simple, mostly cotton* cassock for a mere $110. They say it’s common attire for lay ministers.

    *Mostly cotton? Does that mean it’s a mixed-threads garment?

  8. marcus says

    Ed “Why can’t they just worship themselves as they see fit…”
    Oh they do, trust me, they do.

  9. says

    How do you expect Christians in this country to maintain their persecution complex if they don’t do something to be persecuted for every now and then?

  10. Childermass says

    Church attire? Which church? If they don’t specify I will will have to pick our own. How about Unitarian Universalist? Shorts and a Darwin t-shirt and you are good to go.

Leave a Reply