How many church/state violations does one public school district need to make before even other Christians start saying they’ve gone too far…?
Well, let’s see what’s happening in the Mt Vernon Independent School District in Texas.
There are religious messages on the walls, like this one from Ronald Reagan:
“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”
There’s also a (likely misattributed) quotation by Thomas Paine that says: “Reputation is what men and women think of us, character is what God and angels know of us.” Paine, you probably wouldn’t guess from the quotation, was a Deist.
What about this wall of Christian crosses in a kindergarten classroom, some of which have Bible verses printed on them?
What about this list of “Bible Verses for Teachers” that one high school Spanish teacher has up on her classroom wall?
That list includes Ephesians 3:16-17: “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
What about this t-shirt sold at Mt. Vernon Elementary that says “FAITH — Family — TIGERS” with the “T” in “FAITH” replaced by a cross?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s attorney Sam Grover sent a letter to the district recently documenting all the problems and urging the district to put a stop to all these endorsements of Christianity:
“Given the variety and pervasiveness of the violations reported to us, we recommend that the district not only address the specific violations reported here, but also make an effort to educate all district employees about their obligation to remain neutral toward religion under the Establishment Clause,” the letter concluded.
“We have rarely seen such a collection of egregious state/church violations in one school district,” commented Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “This is religion run amok, targeting a captive audience of young students, including elementary school students. All of these religious mottos, symbols, posters, bible verses and Christian T-shirts should be removed immediately.”
This would never stand if the district was pushing Islam or atheism on students. For the same reason, it shouldn’t be allowed with Christianity. That’s not an anti-Christian argument. It’s pro-neutrality and it’s best for everybody in the schools.