Here’s another school that is blatantly violating the Establishment Clause by putting up displays of the Ten Commandments in every classroom. Muldrow High School and middle school in Oklahoma have them up and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have sent a letter demanding that they be taken down.
Reportedly, according to sources inside the school, a student sent a photograph of the plaques to the foundation.
“On the advice of our attorneys, I am unable to make any comments at this time,” Flanagan said. “Once we get some resolve to this matter I will make a full statement.”
Flanagan could not say if or when the plaques would be removed.
“Right now we have some hard issues to face and some hard decisions to make,” Flanagan said.
The unrest in Muldrow is drawing attention from state legislators.
“A majority of teachers and students didn’t agree with the Freedom From Religion Foundation letter, so they contacted myself and Senator Mark Allen. After talking with numerous Christian organizations and constitutional lawyers, it became clear that the superintendent and local school board has no choice but to remove the plaques if they want to avoid a lawsuit,” State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, said.
When even Republican members of the Oklahoma legislators are telling you you’re breaking the law, you should probably listen to them. The school board is consulting with their attorney, who should tell them that they have no chance of winning the case if they don’t relent. But you know how these things go. The churches have quickly mobilized to get people to support the displays and they’re blathering on about this having something to do with freedom of religion.
“It’s Christianity under attack within our own country,” said Josh Moore, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Muldrow, Okla. “The irony can’t be missed by anyone who’s lived in this country or grown up in this country.”
Same old stupid rhetoric.
But hundreds of students have decided to stand up and defend the plaques by launching petitions and raising awareness on social networking sites. And lots of folks around town are wondering why a Wisconsin-based organization is concerned about the affairs of Muldrow, Okla.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” student Chase Howard told television station KHOG. “One person kind of put it out there on Twitter. A couple of us hash tagged it and asked people to get it trending. After that it just caught on.”
Benjamin Hill, 18, is one of the students who signed the petition. He said he understands why non-Christians might be upset over the display, but he said students should have the right to express their faith.
“I’d really like it if they would leave the Ten Commandments up,” he told Fox News. “I think they should allow the expression of religion in school.” Pastor Moore told Fox News that the local interfaith ministerial associated printed 1,000 t-shirts emblazoned with the Ten Commandments – and many students plan on wearing the shirts to class.
I bet you don’t think they should allow the expression of religion in school. I bet you only think they should allow expression of Christianity in school. Put up a single plaque with verses from the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita and this purported love of religious expression would become screams of “TERRORIST!” This has nothing to do with students expressing their faith; the students didn’t put them up, the school did. This is government expression. That should be obvious to anyone who isn’t braindead.
Hemant has an interview with the student who filed the complaint, who is a very courageous young man. I have no doubt that, now that his identity has been made public, he will become the target of bullying, intimidation and death threats. I’ve been in touch with Gage and he has told me already of some hate mail sent to him.
Update: The FFRF reports that the schools have removed the Ten Commandments plaques, but there was a school board meeting on Monday night which will undoubtedly bring calls to put them back.
Update #2: The school board meeting was actually quite a bit calmer and more reasonable than these things usually are:
Many attendees arrived in vehicles upon which Christian slogans were written or posted. Many wore clothing proclaiming their religious beliefs. Many teens attended, wearing black “Don’t Quit for Christ” T-shirts. Several elderly attendees clutched Bibles. Attendees’ ages ranged from infant through senior citizen.
Muldrow First Assembly of God Senior Pastor Shawn Money, a representative of the Christian Muldrow Ministry Alliance, told school officials, “We understand the last two weeks have been very difficult for you. We support you. We’re praying for you. … We know that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments in public schools for religious purposes. … We disagree.”
Many audience members called out “amens.”…
The hundreds present at Monday’s board meeting were calm and respectful, even applauding Richardson after he delivered news many would have preferred not to hear.
Chambers’ voice choked as he told the audience the board wished it had another alternative, but removed the plaques rather than spend taxpayer money for costly legal fees that would be incurred fighting to keep them.
But there was more than a bit of the usual idiocy:
Freddie Gauntt of Fort Gibson said he attended “to help stand up for our beliefs in God.”
He asked why one or two persons can change things in a Democratic society.
“It should have gone to a vote of the community. It upsets me that the federal government has a set of guidelines that are not godly in nature,” Gauntt said.
You should move to Iran. They’re all about keeping the government “godly.”