Religious Freedom Day 2007

Chuck Colson, the former chief counsel to President Nixon who was jailed for his involvement in Watergate, is now working with prison ministries.

He also writes a column for the Christian Post. In this week’s column, he writes about what we should do for Religious Freedom Day on January 16, 2007. He states:

In too many cases, Christian children in public school classrooms are being forced to act like atheists. After all, that is effectively what is happening when they are told not to talk about Jesus, not to sing about Jesus, and not to write about Jesus.

Two points here.

First of all, no one is stopping Christian students from talking about Jesus, singing about Jesus, or writing about Jesus. If anyone was, the ACLU along with many atheists would be on the side of the Christians.

Secondly, why do Christians so often think that not mentioning Jesus is equivalent to atheism?

It’s the same argument they use when discussing the Pledge of Allegiance–when atheists want to remove the words “under God” since the phrase wasn’t in there to begin with and we don’t believe in God. Christians act as if this is a malevolent act against their faith as if taking the phrase out amounts to atheism.

If we atheists wanted to indoctrinate the schools, you would think we’d want to change the pledge to say “One nation, under no God, indivisible”… obviously, no atheist is trying to do that.

Anyway, Colson goes on to say that “many public schools are denying students’ rights to freely express their faith…”

I’ve never heard of one instance of that.

If one existed, again, atheists would be among the first to say it’s wrong.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this much interest was placed in students’ actual education…?

So, for the record…

Christian students, you can believe whatever you want even at a public school. Read your Bible, go convert your classmates, start a Christian club after school.

Atheist students, you can believe whatever you want even at a public school. Read your Harry Potters, smile and nod when your evangelist friends try to convert you (or just tell them you’re not interested and then tell them about logic and reason), start an atheist club after school.

That’s religious freedom for you.

Colson, are you happy?

[tags]Chuck Colson, President Richard Nixon, Watergate, Christian Post, Religious Freedom Day, Christian, atheist, atheism, Jesus, Christianity, ACLU, Pledge of Allegiance, under God, education, Harry Potter[/tags]

  • Greg

    By Colson’s logic our American flag must be atheistic too since it doesn’t have a picture of Jesus on it! Here we were all along saluting and pledging this symbol of atheism.

  • Richard Wade

    Hey, are any atheists doing anything for Religious Freedom Day?
    It’s next Tuesday. I feel kind of left out. Maybe we could march holding blank signs, or get together to not worship.

    Or maybe start an intelligent, positive conversation with a religious person about mutual concerns that doesn’t descend into an attempt on either side to convert.


  • Debbie

    In 1999, the State of Washington created the Promise Scholarship program. This program was designed to provide financial assistance to economically needy, academically gifted high school students who attend college in Washington. The program’s funds are made available to all qualifying students and can be used at any accredited institution in the state.

    Joshua Davey was awarded a Promise scholarship in 1999. He satisfied all the programs requirements: he graduated from highschool in the top ten percent of his class, his family met the financial criteria, and he chose to attend a private college located in Washington. Nevertheless, when Joshua declared a major in theology, the state refused to disburse the funds.

    The American Center filed a lawsuit in federal district court arguing that the state’s discriminatory disqualification of Joshua from receipt of Promise Scholarship funds solely because he declared a degree in theology violated his constitutional right to freedom of religion

  • Debbie

    This is another equal access case in which the ACLJ is fighting on behalf of a group of citizens who applied to use a public park for a National Day of Prayer event. The city officials agreed to let them use the park for free but charged a fee for use of the amplification equipment. This fee is waived for other similar groups. Our clients were singled out for unequal treatment because of their message. Following its decision in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, the Supreme Court vacated a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against our client and ordered the trial court to reconsider the case in light of the Good News Club decision. Finally, after six years of litigation, on November 20, 2003, the federal district court held that the City of Tucson’s discriminatory treatment of Mr. Gentala based on his religion, must end because it infringed upon his right to equal access to a public park.

  • Debbie

    The ACLJ filed suit when Tausha Prince, a sophomore at Spanaway Lake High School in Spanaway, Washington tried to set-up World Changers, a student-led, student-initiated Bible club. School officials refused to allow the club equal status with other student clubs because it was “religious.” A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court decision and ruled that the school district had violated Prince’s constitutional rights. The appeals court determined that the school district violated the Equal Access Act of 1984 and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment when it failed to permit the Bible club to have access to the same benefits given to other student groups – including access to the school’s public address system. The school district appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the Court denied review in October, 2003.

  • Debbie

    (1) A high-school senior in Illinois was told that her proposed statement for a yearbook was too religious and could not be submitted as written. After we sent a demand letter to the school attorney (along with numerous telephone calls), and after the student drafted another religious statement (in order to satisfy a word limit), the statement was accepted and will be published in the yearbook later this year.

    (2) A high-school senior in Washington wanted to write a religious children’s book to satisfy the school’s senior project program. The project proposal was denied because the school policy requires that senior projects be sectarian and not religious in nature. We sent a demand letter to the superintendent of schools and learned today that the student will be able to proceed with his religious book. (The school has asked for additional time to consider how best to revise the guidelines.)

  • Debbie

    This is a very troubling development that could drastically affect the mission and operation of churches and non-profit organizations,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which is opposing legislation in the House and Senate. “This legislation – being pushed by House and Senate leadership – would place severe restrictions on the free speech of pastors and others who communicate about the moral and political issues of the day. By classifying these organizations as ‘grassroots lobbying firms,’ the churches and non-profit organizations would be under a tremendous burden by being forced to register and report to the federal government. This legislation violates the First Amendment protections afforded to these organizations. This is bad legislation that could become bad law.”

  • Debbie

    he abortion provider wants Washington State’s Board of Pharmacy to modify its conscience clause.

    Planned Parenthood wants to make sure pharmacists “won’t intimidate or harass a patient” by opting out of dispensing a controversial drug. Karen Brauer with Pharmacists for Life International says that language would apply to pharmacists who explain to customers that the ‘morning-after pill’ sometimes acts as an abortifacient, and they won’t distribute it on moral grounds.

    “The purpose of this set of regulations is to make it impossible for a pharmacist to refuse to dispense this, or any other drug, that could be used to kill a human early in development.”

    Brauer says Planned Parenthood wants pharmacists who take a stand for life to dispense or quit. That puts all pharmacists between a rock and a hard place.

    “It makes the entire practice of pharmacy untenable. It removes the pharmacist’s ability to help the patient to have appropriate drug therapy.”

    Frank Manion with the American Center for Law and Justice doesn’t want pharmacists treated like machines.

    “Part of the insidious nature of what’s going on here is the fact that they are completely removing the professional, the judgment area of a pharmacists role, from the pharmacist, in effect turning them into robots just saying, ‘here you are.’ You have this license you must dispense anything that anybody asks for.”

    According to Brauer, Washington pharmacists aren’t in favor of Planned Parenthood’s changes.

  • txatheist

    So many posts and I’ll just touch on some of the points. There are schools that also disallow gay/lesbian/heterosexual clubs on the basis of religion.

    There has to be a limit on what kids can put in year books. Can one kid be a member of a certain church and write god hates fags? How about writing Jews are going to hell for denying JC? Islam is a false religion?

    The kid in Washington is now going to have to realize that some atheist kid is going to write a book on how to think rationally concerning god and some theists may object.

    Free speech of pastors is so they can retain their tax-exempt status. I’m all for taxing the churches and letting them have free speech.

    Have the pharmacist dispense birth control is not altering his/her ability to be a good pharmacist. It is getting them to realize that they are not on a moral high ground to decide what prescriptions women should get. I think it’s quite arrogant that a pharmacist is going to tell a medical doctor that the prescription is in error. If it’s negligent then report the doctor but the pharmacist who doesn’t believe in providing full range prescriptions is like having a doctor that doesn’t believe in blood transfusions or surgery.