***Update***: The plaque has been taken down.
If you’re eating lunch in the cafeteria at Fort Chiswell High School in Virginia, look around and you’ll find this sign on the wall:
OUR FATHER: WE THANK THEE FOR THIS FOOD. BLESS IT TO THE NOURISHMENT OF OUR BODIES AND OUR LIVES TO THY SERVICE. AMEN.
Besides being religious, it’s just wrong. Students should be thanking the cafeteria staff that prepares and serves the food. They’re the ones who did the work.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, tipped off by a local resident, has now sent a letter to the Wythe County Public Schools urging them to take it down. It’s not even the first time this district has ignored the wall of separation between church and state. In 2017, an identical plaque was found at Spiller Elementary School. That one was removed after FFRF’s intervention. Now the group wants to ensure the district removes the plaque permanently, along with any other religious materials, and is asking school employees to familiarize themselves with constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools.
“This religious display is particularly inappropriate, given that over a quarter of Americans are not religious,” FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson writes to Superintendent Scott Jeffries. “The display alienates those students, families, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school.”
Students don’t need a daily dose of brainwashing with their mid-day meal. There’s no reason for this sign to stay up, just like there was never a good reason to put it up in the first place.