The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to school officials in Houston County, Georgia detailing more than a dozen instances of problems with church and state in that school district. The letter (PDF) includes documentation of those problems, including these:
After researching the many complaints, FFRF emailed a July 12 letter to HCS general counsel William Jerles, delineating the various violations. Among the reported violations are:
• Prayers at other school events, such as assemblies, ceremonies, and school council meetings.
• Administrators encouraging teachers to pray.
• Teachers admitting, with pride, that “we (the teachers) did hold hands and have a prayer around the kids. It was lovely.”• School alma mater songs endorsing religious belief over nonbelief.
• An HCS recommended “Summer Reading Program” including the violent Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye which has been accused of being anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. The school described the books: “Jesus Christ has set up his perfect kingdom on earth. Yet evil still lurks in the hearts of the unbelieving.” Recent studies show that 25 percent of people under 30 are nonbelievers.
• Religious imagery, such as bible quotes, on school walls and websites.
• Schools partnering with churches in close and troubling relationships.
• Mandating attendance at religious ceremonies such as baccalaureate services.
I expect the school to blow off the letter, which could easily lead to a lawsuit.