Washington State’s Bremerton High School has been in the news over the past week because assistant football coach Joe Kennedy was leading his team in prayer after games until he finally got called out on it:
This sort of religious promotion tends to go unchecked in districts where Christianity is already rampant. Usually, a football coach who thinks he can lead kids in prayer is just the tip of the iceberg. If you look more closely, you’ll find more church/state violations.
Jennifer Chamberlain is an employee of that high school and has a son in the District. In an essay that must have taken a lot of courage to write, she documents her own upbringing in the local schools and makes a plea to the people in the community:
I remembered the racial and religious segregation, but I was not prepared for the hold Christianity had in the public school system. Upon arrival I first noticed how large the churches were. They dwarfed our high school.
Word got around the school that I was an atheist. Soon the rumors were that I was a Satanist. I was bullied and harassed daily but my resolve didn’t change.
My hope for my Bremerton High family is that we can come together and support each other, rather than support a brazen choice to violate a Supreme Court ruling. I do not want to see anyone lose their job, yet I may be writing this letter at the risk of losing my own. But these are things that have to be shared and I cannot stay silent.
I am not against prayer, God or Christianity. I am against the entanglement of religion in school. Countless others have fought for and sacrificed for this law while marching up the steps to the Supreme Court, facing adversity many can’t imagine.
This shouldn’t be controversial. You don’t have to be an atheist to support church/state separation. But in many places where Christians are in the majority, they pretend public schools are just extensions of the local churches. And they will treat you as a heretic if you dare oppose them.
The only way that will ever change is if more people like Chamberlain are willing to criticize the illegal actions they see in the District.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)