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Second-Class Citizens in the Classroom: Promoting Religion in Public Schools Is Hurting Our Family

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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 06:45 PM
Original message
Second-Class Citizens in the Classroom: Promoting Religion in Public Schools Is Hurting Our Family
For about five years now, my family has been speaking to the principal of New Heights Middle School about how we do not appreciate all of the Christian overtones in the school and the outright blatant push for students to become Christians. Because we are not Christian, my son has been bullied and teachers and school staff have told us that our beliefs are wrong and that we should get right with God.

There have been many assemblies, concerts and other activities over the years that have had the emphasis on Christianity. For example, earlier this school year, the school held a Christian worship rally during an assembly. A minister gave a sermon to students. A Christian rapper named B-SHOC performed a number of religious songs, and students were asked to fill out a form saying that they had accepted Jesus. Though the school has defended the assembly by saying it was voluntary, students were told that if they did not attend, they would have to spend the afternoon in the in-school suspension room. Teachers have ordered my son to copy essays stating that he believes in God and thanks God every day. Christian religious symbols hang throughout the school.

We are tired of enduring this. As non-believers, it makes us feel like second-class citizens in this school because we are not Christian. We are not anti-Christian by any means. We are not anti-religion. We, like the founders of our country, believe in the First Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the Establishment Clause. We value our right under the Constitution to hold whatever religious beliefs we want, or none at all, without interference from the government.

We do not feel that public schools should be teaching religion other than in an unbiased way for historical or academic purposes. Public school teachers and staff definitely should not be promoting prayer in class or school events. Religious education should take place at home and in places of worship. Not in a public school. In this school, there are not just Christian students and families. There are people who hold other beliefs. We do not try to push our beliefs on anyone and we do not want others religious beliefs pushed on us. The school district is promoting Christianity and violating the law. It has got to stop!

http://www.aclu.org/blog/religion-belief/second-class-c...

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. WTF?
For example, earlier this school year, the school held a Christian worship rally during an assembly. A minister gave a sermon to students. A Christian rapper named B-SHOC performed a number of religious songs, and students were asked to fill out a form saying that they had accepted Jesus. Though the school has defended the assembly by saying it was voluntary, students were told that if they did not attend, they would have to spend the afternoon in the in-school suspension room.

So it's "voluntary" yet anybody who doesn't "volunteer" is essentially punished?

I wish him luck with his lawsuit but it's Virginia so he's got about as much of a chance as a gay person--essentially zero. His better option is to move.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Notice how quiet believers are on this blatant constitutional violation.
Are you surprised? I'm not.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. They are so often so silent in the face of all the evidence, it's not THEIR ..
form of Christianity!

(Silent except when they fear atheists are attacking their own beliefs).

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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. They can't spin it as bigotry against religion.
At least that's my opinion, anyway.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I think it's South Carolina, Jefferson, SC
Here's the ACLU press release with a link to the video.

http://www.aclu.org/blog/religion-belief/shoc-king-disr...
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. My bad
I Googled "Chesterfield County School District" and one in VA popped up. I missed the one in SC. At any rate, I don't expect them to have any more luck there than they would in VA.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. No big deal, just wanted to add a link or two more from ACLU. You're correct...
This is NOT going to go down well in South Carolina, either.

Personally, I guess I was lucky enough to grow up in an area of the country that respected the law of the land, and did NOT mix the religious beliefs of the local multicultural community into the school building at any time. The worst and only isolated incidence of that I ever had to endure was a teacher who would read the Bible once or twice a week, when he felt the class was straying away from godly behaviors. That was his last year before retirement, and he refused to remove his Bible from his classroom. No one in class cared enough to challenge him, as he was otherwise a respected teacher.
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
4. Video link of one in school during school time religious event here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVaMjeTaNDM

"New Heights Middle School in Jefferson, South Carolina commits a serious violation of the 1st Amendment's Establishment Clause by holding a Christian Rally featuring Evangelist, Christian Chapman and Christian Rapper, B-Shoc. In the video B-Shoc claims the event converted 324 students.

The ACLU believes that religious education should be done by families and religious communities - not public schools.
Learn More: http://www.aclu.org/religion

The ACLU made this video using footage believed to be taken by the organizers of the event.

The ACLU blurred some faces in this video to protect the identity of minors."

Presented to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
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deacon_sephiroth Donating Member (315 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
5. THIS is the point, and it is made, made made made made made
A couple days ago, Mark Charles, advocates some pretty heavy things, and the defensive cadre of "true christians" were quick to call attention to it. FINALLY a single individual that ACTUALLY said the things they have accused all atheists of thinking/saying/doing without evidence. But there it was, the prophesied one, had come at last, and there was indeed weeping and gnashing of teeth and much chastising from the other atheists.

MEANWHILE... every... single... day, and often more than once in a day, we find glaring examples of large groups of (OBVIOUSLY not "true") christians, doing the very things we atheists accuse them of doing/saying/advocating.

It's called evidence, and it's more than isolated incidents, it's more than a trend, IT'S A CULTURE, an entire culture that pervades and perverts our nation, our government, our media, our schools, our very future and THAT is what I have a problem with. You want to know what's wrong? Why Atheists like me have a problem, why we can't just shut up and go away? That's why, every day that's why.

I almost forgot this article also leaves itself open to one of our favorite sarcastic comments, and I nearly let it pass me by... *ahem*

"Those poor poor persecuted Christians... they are just so persecuted."

Tell me why is it so laughably obvious, how lame claims like that are, that I can, and do lampoon them under thier own examples every single day of my life now. It's almost too easy, and it's not doing anyone any good, it's not going to make anyone wake up around here or anywhere else.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
7. When I see the ACLU calling out problems like this...
...I think about renewing my lapsed ACLU membership. It's still a tough decision, however. I'm having a hard time forgiving them for Citizen's United.
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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
10. oops
Edited on Tue Dec-06-11 10:45 AM by edhopper
wrong thread
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Sal316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
12. What this school is doing is unacceptable. Period.
Good on the ACLU for filing a lawsuit.
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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. I'm very happy that you agree.
:toast:
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Do you think any Christian in that town will stand up and say that to
the school board and the Principal? If so, I'd have a little more respect for some Christians who have guts like that.
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Sal316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. In SoCar? Not sure, I'd say it's 50/50.
..but I do know some pretty liberal preachers and theologians in that area. I'll have to ping them and ask if they've heard about this.
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