Last month, we learned that Mountain Peak Elementary School and Longbranch Elementary School in Midlothian, Texas both had religious plaques hanging near the entrances. They had been there for 17 years:
Dedicated in the year of our Lord 1997 to the education of God’s children and to their faithful teachers in the name of the Holy Christian Church
Soli Deo Gloria
It’s so obviously not legal, but it wasn’t until the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to district officials that they at least covered them up with duct tape while deciding their next steps. (The tape was quickly ripped down.)
One attorney for the Christian Right tried to defend the plaques (in a way he never would if they mentioned Allah) and suggested the schools keep them up because FFRF didn’t have the guts to sue:
Hiram Sasser, with the Liberty Institute, says the Constitution also forbids government hostility against religion.
“This type of religious censorship just because it happens to have religious references is really hostility to religion, and that kind of hostility should not be tolerated,” he said.
Sasser believes the school district shouldn’t back down before there’s a lawsuit.
“They probably are not going to bring a lawsuit, and until they do, there’s no reason to do anything with the plaques,” said Sasser.
Last night, the Midlothian ISD school board met to decide what to do: Remove the plaques or risk being sued?
If you listened to the ignorant masses who showed up for the standing room-only meeting, it was very apparent they saw these plaques as a promotion of Christianity, not understanding that that’s exactly why the plaques needed to go.
The Rev. Bennie Leonard of Liberty Baptist Church said neighbors have been holding prayer meetings and rallies to support the plaques.
“We’re just wanting to practice our faith here in the Bible Belt, and being able to express our faith is very important in this community,” Leonard said.
But the public schools aren’t a place for Christians to practice their faith. That’s what churches are for. It’s that simple.
So what did the school board decide?
It’s Texas. What do you think they decided?
… the Midlothian ISD school board vowed to keep two religious plaques uncovered for the foreseeable future.
“We don’t plan to take any further action to cover them up again,” said president Todd Hemphill. “Just rest assured, we are doing what we can as a school district, a public school district.”
So the plaques are still there. They’re still uncovered. There’s no plan to remove them or cover them up.
It’s time for a lawsuit.
I’m not sure who made the initial complaint, but if you have a child at those schools or work in the district, I hope you’ll step up. Feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like to be a part of this case.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)