MS School Holds Mandatory Christian Convocation

The American Humanist Association has written a letter to the public school system in Jackson, MS on behalf of a teacher who was forced to attend a convocation that was little more than a church service. The Appignani Humanist Legal Center informed the school that such behavior is blatantly unconstitutional.

Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the Jackson Public School District in Jackson, Mississippi, on behalf of a teacher who objected to the overtly religious nature of a mandatory convocation.

The letter states that on Aug. 12, 2014, the district hosted a compulsory assembly for public school teachers at the Mississippi Coliseum. A Christian reverend was invited to give the opening prayer at the event. His remarks included Christian prayers, a church-themed call and response with the audience and specific references to Scripture, such as Psalm 23 and 1 Corinthians 4:5. The three hour-long convocation also included other speakers, many of whom made references to Biblical passages, “Lord” and “God.”

“Given the numerous cases holding that prayers and sermons at public school-sponsored events violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, it’s shocking that the district would include such blatantly religious practices at a compulsory convocation,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

“When public schools get unnecessarily involved in supporting sectarian prayer at educator events, they disregard the rights of teachers of other religions and those of no religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

The letter demands that that the school district offer assurances that it will cease to include religious elements in future events, especially convocations.

You can read the letter to the school here. And you can read the inane reaction of locals on this article in the comments.

Willie Varnado

Any teacher uncomfortable with being exposed to practices of faith, we should be uncomfortable with them teaching our children. Our children need more faith-based exposure (home, school, church, community) to turn around what we see happening in our streets. We complain but fail to realize that the answer to what ails us is Jesus Christ.

Yvette Lanier White

So get up and walk out during the prayer. If there is something that bothers you at home, do you not change the channel? Geez woman, common sense does not prevail anywhere anymore. Why are you teaching?

Rick Wallerich

I remember going to school as a kid and each day we started off the day with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Well, that’s not allowed anymore. So sad how this Country has changed.

Vedia Givens

Taking God out of School is why our children are BAD now. We got spankings it did’nt kill us. if parents would want there children to be good then Pray with them.

Peggy Mcalpin

Our children need to have GOD at school,we as Christain need to stand up for what our children learn if she was uncomfortable she should get her a job somewhere else not at our schools we don’t need her there,maybe you should be a atheist leader.May GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!!

Sounds like they need to stop teaching religion and start teaching logic.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • D. C. Sessions

    It can’t be unConstitutional, and I can prove it:

    1) God gave us the Constitution.

    2) It can’t be against God’s Will for us to forbid teaching God’s Truth.

    3) Therefore, the Constitution allows us to teach God’s Truth.

  • Erp

    I did a bit of searching. Jackson, MS has the largest Jewish synagogue in Mississippi with about 200 families and also has a couple of masjids so it isn’t as though it is just atheists who might be upset.

    Also the school district’s policy on staff ethics has:

    “Restraint from using school contacts and privileges to promote partisan

    politics, sectarian religious views, or selfish propaganda of any kind”

  • chirez

    I love the way that last comment uses a blessing in caps as an attack. I can’t help picturing someone screaming it from their doorstep.

  • dugglebogey

    To be completely clear, their opinion is this:

    “If you are not a christian in America, YOU DO NOT COUNT. YOUR RIGHTS DON’T MATTER. YOUR OPINIONS DO NOT MATTER.”

    In fact, we’re just lucky they let us stay here.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Our children need more faith-based exposure (home, school, church, community) to turn around what we see happening in our streets.

    Clearly, what we need is God in our streets.

    Also, I got trapped in a church once, and suffered from faith-based exposure. I nearly died! True story.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … the public school system in Jackson, MS …

    Big deal. Just imagine what it’s like in Tupelo, or Laurel, or Tishomingo County, or Yazoo City…

  • Chiroptera

    Our children need more faith-based exposure (home, school, church, community) to turn around what we see happening in our streets.

    You know, for people who make a big deal about “free will,” they sure make a lot of effort to keep their kids in all-Jesus-all-the-time boxes.

  • raven

    Mississippi is one of the most religious states in the USA. It is also one of the poorest and rates very high in any and all social problems.

    Explain to me again, what god has done for Mississippi? As someone once said, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make stupid.” They’ve got that part down pretty well.

  • Johnny Vector

    Our children need more faith-based exposure (home, school, church, community) to turn around what we see happening in our streets.

    And what is it we see happening in our streets, Yvette? Oh look, here’s some stuff:

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/mscrimn.htm

    Hmm, what we see is crime of all sorts decreasing steadily for the last 20 years. Violent crime, all combined together in one exciting lump, is as low as it’s been since about 1970. Murder, if you average over say 3 years, looks like it’s at a lower rate than at any other time on that table, which goes back to 1960.

    That’s what you want to turn around, is it?

  • Michael Heath

    Ed concludes:

    Sounds like they need to stop teaching religion and start teaching logic.

    If that pervasively happened, I predict religion would die within no more than several generations.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Faith-based exposure? Was the writer a Catholic priest?

  • Kevin Kehres

    @9…Well, to be fair, we do seem to be having an epidemic of black kids being shot by cops and “neighborhood watchers”. Surely, that’s what she’s worried about…right?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Explain to me again, what god has done for Mississippi?

    He’s graciously saved them from the perils of wealth, the corruption of heretical ideas, and most of all he’s shortened their sentences in this vail of tears so that they can get to their Eternal Reward much sooner.

  • howardhershey

    Rick Wallerich is lying or his kids go to a non-public school so he doesn’t know. There are, at most, 5 states that do not mandate the Pledge of Allegiance in their public schools (the number has only gotten smaller). MS is not one of the five. This claim that kids do not Pledge the flag anymore is a common right wing canard. What they mean is that schools cannot now *force* kids to make the Pledge (that’s right, the Canadian exchange student and the Jehova ‘s Witness kids do not have to Pledge to the flag because of a court case brought by the Jehova’s Witnesses shortly after WWII — they refuse to pledge to any secular entity)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    I hope Vedia Givens and Peggy Mcalpin, in particular, aren’t teaching kids how to read or write.

  • iknklast

    Sounds like they need to stop teaching religion and start teaching logic.

    And spelling.