Texas School Reverses Decision, Will Stop Bible Reading Over PA

The superintendent of the White Oak Intermediate School District in Texas has reversed his initial decision not to do away with the daily reading of Bible verses over the high school PA system. He now says he will end that practice, but is refusing to discuss it publicly.

Superintendent of White Oak schools Michael Gilbert says they will no longer read scripture during the morning announcements at White Oak High School. This decision comes after a formal complaint was filed with the school by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Sam Grover, a staff lawyer with the foundation, says the practice of Biblical readings is not only offensive to non-Christians, but against the law.

“By infusing morning announcements with Christian ideology, the principal was isolating the students within his district that aren’t Christian. That’s wrong, in addition to being illegal.”

Gilbert declined interview requests, but gave a brief statement via phone saying, “We will no longer cite chapter or verse from scripture.”

He’s also shut off the comments on his blog, where he initially made his rather arrogant announcement that the Bible readings would continue. Sounds pretty cowardly to me.

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  • gshelley

    If I’m going to wildly speculate, I imagine he got the complaint, said no, then was informed by someone higher up, or some legal representative that he would lose and the settlement probably wouldn’t be covered by insurance, so was forced to change his mind.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Sounds pretty (though belatedly) well-advised on a legal basis to me.

  • moarscienceplz

    “We will no longer cite chapter or verse from scripture.”

    So, quoting the Bible can still happen, as long as they don’t mention which chapter or verse it came from?

  • abb3w

    I’d strongly suggest these clowns should still be watched closely. The wording of the statement might only signify that they will no longer cite the chapter nor verse for the scriptures they read; and when saying it “will come from a variety of sources”, they mean they might be reading from Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John, or….

  • anubisprime

    Absolutely…religiotards so moved as to violate intentionally a law enshrined in their own constitution…will have no difficulty circumnavigating the problem.

    And a Superintendent of a school will know very well it is a breach of the separation edict, as well as the teachers, it is not a vague arcane and tricky little legal loophole that no one understands, if not he has no business being a Superintendent and they have even less business being teachers..

    They see it as a challenge to their delusion, and their ego will broach no interference in their circle jerking, it is what they do!

    They will probably wait until they think no one is looking and reintroduce it under another format and nothing, neither law nor rationality, will stop their heavy breathing in righteousness, that is pretty much guaranteed!

  • Francisco Bacopa

    I think they should still have Bible readings, but that I should be the one who gets to pick the readings. The school would be about 50% atheist after a year.

  • bmiller

    I can only imagine the horrors that will befall this school now. I mean, having the Principal drone blandly random Bible verses over the PA must be the only thing keeping the school under control, amirite? LOL

  • whheydt

    Sounds like someone woke up and smelled the lawsuit…

  • Larry

    Itz TYRANEE!!! Xtians rights to read the bibble are being infringed! Da childrenz can no longer receive the WORD o’ GOD! Gwad is gonna smite the US! Itz Nobama’s fault!

  • caseloweraz

    It seems the administration of WOHS has always been thin-skinned. One comment on Dr. Gilbert’s 10 March post reads:

    As a former student of WOHS I disagree that this faculty holds a “neutral” manner when it comes to christianity. It was something that was always present and especially in the mornings when Mr. Noll spoke to us. I held the same concerns as the anonymous student but was too afraid to speak out against a PUBLIC institution who gives their students detention and SAC for criticizing it on social media. If the scripture reading continues then you must also recite from ALL religious doctrines not just the one you all hold so dear. If your institution was private then there would be no one able to question your actions, but for a PUBLIC school to be reciting religious texts directly goes against the decision made by the Supreme Court in “Abington School District vs. Schempp” I implore you to stop seeing this through the eyes of a “christian brother” and see it through the eyes of an un-opinionated school official who is bound by the law when it comes to giving the next generation an education that is without bias towards one religion or the other.

    A comment after that was more congratulation for Gilbert, and also (disturbingly but ambiguously) referred to “handing out new testaments to the kids again” (emphasis added.) It’s not clear if this was done by the school or by a private party. Either way it’s wrong. What’s not clear is how extensive the favoring of Christianity went.

  • eric

    when saying it “will come from a variety of sources”, they mean they might be reading from Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John, or….

    “Hey, what sort of religion do you play in this joint?”

    “Both types, mister, Old Testament AND New Testament.”

  • doublereed

    To be fair, people would probably demand that he continue to fight and waste taxpayer dollars if tried to open a discussion.

  • neonsequitur

    My guess is that the superintendent has been gagged as a damage control measure.

    It’s about time; he’s done enough!

  • Michael Heath

    Ed reports:

    [Michael Gilbert’s] also shut off the comments on his blog, where he initially made his rather arrogant announcement that the Bible readings would continue. Sounds pretty cowardly to me.

    Cowardly yes. But I’ve yet to encounter even one conservative Christian capable of confronting inconvenient facts and directly responding. Avoidance, denial, and misrepresentations are a requirement of fundamentalism.