FFRF Harassing School Districts?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Demanding that public schools stop engaging in sponsored prayer at school events is not harassing, it is simply just a demand. Harassing would be to demand they stop every day in every way until they stop.

However, The New American thinks a simple demand equal harassment. But, this is not surprising coming from them since they are not what you would call a mainstream media source. Their coverage of topics always fall very far to the right.

Here is how they started their article
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues its attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and religious expression as it targets school districts in Mississippi and Kentucky that have held to their long-time traditions of public prayer. 
They apparently misunderstand the phrase, "constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and religious expression". Luckily, we have some some who does understand the phrase.
“Prayer over the loudspeakers at football games is a constitutional no-no,” quipped FFRF spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue…. We’ve given them the law, and the law is incontrovertible. What they’re doing is illegal.”
 Fortunately, I believe the school board reaffirmed their policy of no prayer.

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An Interesting Quote

Saturday, August 27, 2011
I picked up this quote off of Facebook:
“And verily, thou shalt pick and choose which of my laws thou shalt keep and force upon others; for only that which makes thee comfortable or feel a smugness in thy heart shall guide you.” - Doucheronomy 8:17 

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Book Censorship Increasing in Public Schools

Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The American Library Association says the number of reported challenges in the past 30 years has hovered between about 400 or 500, but there are many bans they never learn about. While parents have traditionally launched the lion’s share of challenges, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, an attorney with the association, says she has noticed “an uptick in organized efforts” to remove books from public and school libraries.

The library association reports that this year alone, U.S. schools have banned more than 20 books and faced more than 50 other challenges, with many more expected this fall as school starts. 

A review of the books banned by various schools in the past six months illustrates that eliminating this “objectionable material” actually deprives students of the chance to think and form their own opinions about difficult questions.

List of books banned:

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Citizens for National Security sue Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida DoE

Saturday, August 20, 2011
The nonprofit group claims Florida's governor "purged" the state school board, to undermine public schools and "facilitate the religious indoctrination of children," then pushed through a law that will give a two-member board the power to select school textbooks, with the intent to unleash "unscientific creationist beliefs of fundamentalist religious leaders, who seek to promote their erroneous beliefs on the children of Florida".

The group says Florida SB 2120 takes the power of textbook review and approval out of the hands of large groups with public representation, and puts it into the hands of a 2-member board which cannot possibly be expected to review fairly the thousands of textbooks used in Florida school within 4 months, as required by the bill.

The group claims SB 2120 violates the Florida Constitution's guarantee of a high quality education, and also violated the Constitutions single-subject rule on legislation. It claims that SB 2120 "furthers the governor's goal of politicizing our public schools and potential brainwashing of children in order to share the governor's and his political cronies' support and endorsement of religion, by keeping the overview of textbooks in our public schools a secret, and by facilitating the inclusion of textbooks which advance religion."

Read more here.

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This Won't End Well

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The Cedar Falls, IA Board of Education recently decided to invest more than $60,000 into a Cedar Falls church to house part of the district's preschool program. This act has caught the attention of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and on Friday the FFRF sent a letter and email to Deon Senchina, the board president, detailing their concern with the decision.

"This is exactly the kind of entanglement that the founders of our country did not want to have," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation's co-president. "... This deal is at taxpayers' expense and it is unacceptable in our opinion."

The project which is to pay for ADA upgrades and code improvements to the church, which is next door, has already received district funds for asbestos removal.

The foundation believes the contract violates the Iowa Constitution which states that no person should be "compelled to attend any place of worship, pay tithes, taxes or other rates for building or repairing places of worship."

Superintendent David Stoakes who disagrees says, "To my knowledge there is no basis in fact for what the letter is alleging. Separation has to do with programming, not the facility. We are not going to be propagating any religion in our preschool program."

Apparently, the superintendent has done this in past at districts he previously worked. He also notes that it is common for districts to pay to upgrade property they use like city owned buildings.

Gaylor said the issue goes beyond just the taxpayer dollars, though. She is also concerned that the students will be exposed to religious paraphernalia which will get "mixed up in their minds."

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