God, Schools and the Constitution in the Bible Belt

[post by UptheFlag]

Here in Pearl,MS, a very bible belt suburb of Jackson, a 17 year old female
high school student is suing the County School Board over separation of
church and state.  The high school has allowed Christian students to hold
a number of come to Jesus Christ and Christian prayers at school assemblies.
It is alleged that students were required to attend.

The school superintendent says they are student led and, therefore, not
school sponsored and within the guidelines of the Supreme Court.  The
American Humanist Association is representing the student.  They say because
the teachers take their classes to the assembly to receive a Christian program
and asked to say a prayer it is a violation.

Moreover, an elementary parent in the same county has filed a complaint.  The
School Board permits ministers to come into schools at lunch time and visit with
the kids.  Recently, a minister approached a Muslim child and told her Christian
friends to pray for her because she would go to hell.

Are these violations of the First Amendment?  The Board is arguing that it
is “free speech.”  They claim they are following the Constitution on free speech
and the guidelines of the Supreme Court because the events are not school
sanctioned.  They maintain that their policies are in order.


12 thoughts on “God, Schools and the Constitution in the Bible Belt

  1. Only in the Bible Belt, my friend! Wow! I’d imagine that the girl who brought the suit and her family have to watch their backs closely due to the ‘love of Jesus’ there. Any burning crosses in the yard lit by hooded men who sing in the church choir on Sunday morning?

    1. Anne- I’m not sure where you live, but I’m under the impression that ‘rules’ are different in The Bible Belt than elsewhere in the United States.

      1. I’m in Arkansas, less than half a day’s drive from this school.
        Illegal is still unlawful, even in the Bible Belt. Fortunately, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center is willing to take a case like this to the Supreme Court if necessary. If local judges are too concerned with their poll numbers to do the right thing, higher courts will reverse them.

        I wrote about the case on Patheos.com when the story first broke: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/04/another-high-school-student-makes-a-stand/

  2. The ministers coming to lunch is maybe more concerning to me, especially
    telling this little girl that because she is a moslem she will be going to hell…

    1. That statement is what will prove that proselytizing is going on. It’s child abuse, and for an adult who has no legitimate business at the school in the first place to say it to her means that the school in not acting in the best interest of its students. That adult should never have had access to that child on school property.

  3. As an Ohioan (way-north!) I find this story disgusting. Absolutely vomitus. My wife and I tutor at our local public school and would be unthinkable for a preacher to not only enter the school but to have access to the students during the school day. Unthinkable.

    What the hell is the mindset down there in the Bible Belt? Have the people there given their brains over to the shysters completely- even permitting their children to be brainwashed in an educational setting? ESPECIALLY. In an educational setting??

    Move North, my friend, and breathe some pure air.

  4. The problem is these ministers think and believe that they do have
    a “legitimate” interest to be in the school, i.e., the saving of children’s
    souls. If they can proselytize the U.S. military academies and the
    armed forces, a public school is no different in their faith belief mantra.
    The Supreme Court by allowing student led “proselytizing” has opened
    the door for abuse, the line between free speech and religious preaching.

    Recently, I went into a school in this same county, a middle school, to
    pick up my granddaughter for a doctor appointment. As you walk into the
    office there was a table with the “HOLY BIBLE” and a candle on it. When
    I asked how that was possible, I was told the students put it there to remind
    students that god is everywhere. The next day she was greeted in the
    cafeteria by a group who said they needed to pray for her grandfather.
    She came home angry at me for embarrassing her at school. M_R brings
    up a valid point re the fear of intimidation; it is there.

    1. The idea of proselytizing in military academies and the Armed Forces is far-removed from doing such in schools with children. By the way, re that Muslim student in the cafeteria: did any of his/her classmates object to the ‘going to Hell’ statement by the preacher? Were they savvy enough to know that such was wrong or were they so brainwashed by Jesus that they believed it was true?

      Kids these days [up here at least] are pulling away from the religious and moral beliefs of their parents. The gay/lesbian lifestyle is no big deal here and atheism is regarded as just one more belief in the grand pool.

      Are the kids down there already completely brainwashed?

  5. Short answer, YES!

    My friend, were we doubting what our parents and nuns taught us day in
    and day out in elementary school? Of course not! Did we miss mass
    much on Sunday? Did we get ashes on Ash Wednesday? Did we get
    our throats blessed with candles? Did we get married by religious ministers? Did we bring our children up in the religion of our parents?
    Did we graduate from religious universities? Did we have religious burial
    for our good parents? Seems like our religion went long after elementary
    school.(OMG! there I go being Jesuitical lol).

    1. Yet that was an entirely different time, century, millennium ago. I’m talking about now, 2nd decade 21st century. Is Mississippi stuck in that old time capsule? Is THAT the problem??

  6. It’s just not MS or the bible belt or the deep south. Here is a story from Lexington, KY. A 17 year old
    female track athlete was assigned the No. 666. She refused to wear that
    number for religious reasons. She “didn’t want to risk my relationship with
    God…” by wearing the mark of the devil. She was disqualified. What was
    that you wrote about kids being “brainwashed”?

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