Cranston High School West Votes to Keep Prayer Banner

***Update***: The Facebook link mentioned below has been fixed.

A couple of months ago, Cranston High School West in Rhode Island was making news because of a certain banner hanging in its auditorium:

Our Heavenly Father.

Grant us each day the desire to do our best.
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically.
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers.
To be honest with ourselves as well as with others.
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win.
Teach us the value of true friendship.
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.

Amen.

The banner had been up for over 50 years, and people were finally starting to complain about it. At the time, the school board voted to “research the issue further.”

That time has come and passed. The school board has made a decision.

And it’s the wrong one:

After more than two hours of impassioned discussion, the School Committee voted Monday night, in a special meeting, to keep and potentially defend the prayer in court.

The vote also applies to a second banner at Hugh B. Bain Middle School.

The vote was 4 to 3. School Committee members Andrea M. Iannazzi, Frank S. Lombardi, Paula McFarland and Michael A. Traficante voted in favor. Voting against were Stephanie A. Culhane, Janice Ruggieri and Steven Bloom.

Congratulations, Cranston. Your school board just voted to throw away thousands of dollars in litigation because they can’t keep their religion to themselves.

Who needs teachers, music, sports, or a K-6 honors program when you want to cram god down students’ throats?

“I say we fight the good fight,” said Peter Paolella, a Cranston High School West graduate whose children attend the city’s public schools. He urged the School Committee to keep a prayer at Cranston West, even if that meant going to court. “America needs a hero. Let’s be the hero.”

A real hero would be looking out for the children, not the local ministers.

As JT Eberhard points out:

What the school board is doing is illegal, no question. They are not standing on principle unless that principle is insisting that they are above the law, which is a terrible example to set for the students in their charge. Responsible adult citizens who disagree with our laws should work through the system to change them legally instead of violating them. If everyone got to pick and choose which laws to disregard we would be well on the road to anarchy.

Not only has the committee conveyed that ‘lesson’, they seem to be sharply implying that students cannot pray unless commanded to do so. I would think the religious denizens of Cranston would be livid about that position, but none of them seem to be.

Despite all this chaos, sophomore student Jessica Ahlquist has been a force for reason. She started a Facebook group called “Help us remove that prayer from Cranston West High School” and has been incredibly articulate about why the banner should come down:

… the prayer, critics say, stands in direct violation of the country’s laws.

Cranston West sophomore Jessica Ahlquist said, “In America, we have the right to believe or not to believe.”

“This prayer endorses religion. It endorses a specific religion,” said Ahlquist, who is an atheist. The prayer, she says, “is discriminating against us.”

For “a majority to say that you can take away a minority right, it’s wrong,” Ahlquist said. “It’s also un-American.”

Bravo. Somehow, she’s one of the few people in that school who know the laws in this country.

The ACLU in Rhode Island is going to sue. The law is on their side, so this should be entertaining to watch. It’s too bad the students are going to suffer because of the school board’s irresponsible decision.

(via Atheism Resource)

  • Tam Hunter

    I do not like religion in schools but I find no problem with this banner

  • http://forthesakeofscience.com Michael Hawkins

    1) Couple of, Couple of, Couple of. Get it right. 2) I think the most surprising part of this is that it’s in New England.

  • Joy

    I really wish we didn’t even need to have these conversations. I grew up in Georgia and I never once had a religious issue growing up at school (admittedly in an Atlanta suburb, not a rural area, but still Georgia and definitely part of the Bible Belt). It’s really not that hard to understand the First Amendment, and this school definitely needs to read it.

  • JD

    I wonder if no one complained because people often don’t pay attention to old trinkets placed on school walls. Defending it in that way is an appeal to tradition, and the tradition in question isn’t legal.

    I can’t help but think that the ACLU money is better spent on some other fight, but that’s their choice. I guess they really can’t back down because they’ve made the first request.

  • Claudia

    It’s tiresome that this fight has to be waged time and again, but such is the nature of these fights. I’m already starting to detect a tinge of fatalism in these folks. Before there was an air of defiance where they seemed unaware that the law was not on their side. Now it’s “fight the good fight”. They are at least now aware that the law is not on their side, but believe they are on the moral right side so are willing to stand on (misguided) principle.

    Eventually, the loss of time and money to districts will be so automatic, so ingrained in their minds, that they’ll not bother fighting. It’s going to be a pain in the ass to get there, but we’ll get there eventually.

  • Christine

    Rhode Island is overwhelmingly Catholic, and the churches in Cranston have been encouraging their members to attend the school committee meetings on this issue and to speak in favor of the prayer banner.

    At the meeting Monday, many of the pro-prayer people (the vast majority in the room) said that the prayer was secular and therefore legal. Then they quoted bible verses. Some of the speakers recalled fondly that back in the day that the prayer was put up, students would start the day by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

    Keep in mind that this has always been a public school.

    One of the arguments against taking the prayer banner down was that it would mean that the school was establishing atheism as the school religion, and silencing the free speech rights of believers.

    The small group of students who got up to speak in favor of taking the banner down, and of church/ state separation are very courageous. They spoke rationally, articulately and with conviction in front of a large group of zealous adults with an opposing view.

    The school committee made the wrong decision here. The banner should come down, and this public school should be neutral about religion. This neutrality benefits all students, believers of various faiths and non-believers too.

  • Annie

    That’s a pretty big wish list of a prayer. Take away “school prayer”, “Dear Heavenly Father” and “Amen”, and you would actually be teaching students to find these qualities within themselves, instead of asking a god to pass them out like free movie tickets.

    I don’t know about any of you, but if I broke the law, while doing my job, I am sure I would be fired.

  • Aimee

    The same sentiments could be stated without the “please God helps us” mumbo jumbo. It would be a lot better that way anyhow. I would not personally have a problem with the banner, but its one of those things that can pile on and add up.
    Alternate banner:

    As a students at Cranston High, we aspire to:
    Each day have the desire to do our best.
    To grow mentally and morally as well as physically.
    To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers.
    To be honest with ourselves as well as with others.
    To smile when we lose as well as when we win.
    To value true friendship.
    And always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.

    (I took out the ‘be good at sports’ bit because it seems out of place)

  • http://ohmatron.wordpres.com Custador

    I love the word “Unamerican” – it’s such a No True Scotsman argument. Much as I wholeheartedly agree with this atheist student’s sentiments, it’s been my observation that promoting Christianity and blatantly discriminating against non-Christians is very, very American indeed.

  • Andrew

    I agree that the banner needs to come down but the argument that opponents to the law should “work within the system” and not challenge the law doesn’t hold much weight with me. Civil disobedience is and should be viewed as a legitimate way to test a law by bringing it to court. Civil disobedience has been an important tool for the progressive movement so I think it’s disingenuous to criticize our opponents for employing it. 

  • http://newestnewsynews.blogspot.com/ Andrew Hall

    Rhode Island is home to a fairly active Catholic church (note that they don’t have gay marriage in RI). I’m not surprised that they’re having this issue.

  • Raised Godless

    This bit from JT Eberhard is rather significant:

    If everyone got to pick and choose which laws to disregard we would be well on the road to anarchy.

    It seems that Christians are more than comfortable picking and choosing which of their god’s laws to follow, so certainly they’re above the law of mere mortals.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @Annie/Aimee:

    Yea – that list has no reason to be purely religious. Take out the religious affectations and you’ve got a pretty good list of things to aspire to for high school students.

  • ACN

    Agreed with Kev and Annie.

  • TychaBrahe

    I can’t find the Facebook group. Has it been removed?

  • http://theehtheist.blogspot.com The “Eh”theist

    1) I wonder if the offer had been made to buy a replacement banner with a “non-prayer” version of the text instead of the threat of litigation if all of this might have been avoided. The one in the picture is looking somewhat ratty and a few well-placed words about “recognizing the diversity in today’s student body” might have won them over to making a minor text change.

    2)I’ve got no proof for this, but my theory is that they continue to go to court to see exactly where the dividing line is so that they can build right up to the line. Much like the prayer law in Illinois found a combination of words that the court found acceptable, setting a precedent for future initiatives, each of these cases potentially does the same, allowing believers to continue with the status quo without thinking the issue through properly.

    Those few believers I’ve discussed the idea of separation with “get” the idea quickly with thought experiments putting other faiths or denominations in a majority position. Perhaps some creative educational activities might help spread the message.

  • http://www.youtube.com/aajoeyjo Joe Zamecki

    That sign doesn’t just endorse religion, it enforces it. They’re working hard to keep it in place, in a school, and that’s their attempt at forcing religion on students there, and they’re succeeding.

    Every single student and teacher at that school should be made aware of how insane religion is, starting with official government religion, like this. I would urge the Freethinking students there to become extra vocal about it. If the Christians can put their opinions anywhere they want, surely our people can speak out against those opinions – right there as well.

  • http://reverendredmage.blogspot.com Reverend Red Mage

    @Tycho:
    No, it’s up. Try your search again.

    Jessica was on our show last night for an hour-long interview. I’ll post another comment once the show archive is posted.

    Thanks for this entry, Hemant. The school board says the vote was a gamble, but it’s a shame that they didn’t realize thaat it’s a losing one.

  • exe

    Is there some sort of “Christian jihad against the US Constitution” movement going on? I’m hearing more and more stories like this.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @exe:

    I think it’s because more atheists are becoming vocal about the blatant ignorance of our Constitution and what the amendments mean. We’ve got a voice now that’s stronger than before thanks to the Internet and advocacy groups and secular societies (like the SSA and COR.)

  • SwedeLad

    Very shocked to see this is happening in a New England state. New England is the most secular part of the country.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    @exe:

    Christians would say that there’s an atheist “jihad” against God and Christian beliefs and values going on in schools and the government. There are people who still lament over the fact that people are (rightfully) taking God away from government and schools.

    They just don’t get it.

  • The Other Tom

    I feel strongly that the school board members who voted to illegally endorse religion at the school should be held personally liable for violating the civil rights of the students.

  • Robert W.

    Let me get this straight- a banner that has been in this school since it was founded, made by whom we don’t know (maybe students themselves), that no student is forced to look at or recite, offends one student by its mere presence and despite the fact that hundreds at the school want it to stay, the ACLU brings a lawsuit and the school district is viewed as wasting time and money? Love that liberal logic.

  • ewan

    school board members who voted to illegally endorse religion at the school should be held personally liable

    English law has a (little used) concept of ‘Malfeasance in Office’ that seems to exist in US law too. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it could be argued that board members voting to do something they know to be illegal is exactly that.

  • http://gorillaatheist.wordpress.com/ Gorilla Atheist

    Take off the “School Prayer” and “Amen” and maybe note it as “Poem” and I’m fine. It is literature, but to anoint it the “School Prayer” is wrong, as it implies a sate-sponsored religion.

  • ewan

    offends one student by its mere presence and despite the fact that hundreds at the school want it to stay

    So your argument is that a majority should be able to ignore the law on the rights of a minority provided that the majority is a really big majority?

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @Robert W:

    The school board could, yknow, read the first amendment, realize that having the prayer up is a violation of such and vote unanimously to remove it and maybe do like Annie, Aimee, Gorilla Atheist, and myself said – replace it without the specific wording relating to religion and save the money fighting an unwinnable court fight to put back into the school for things related to education.

    Like Ewan said – the majority cannot impose its will on the minority in a democratic society. Even if 1 out of 10,000 students was offended, it’s still breaking the law. It doesn’t matter who is offended, it’s being held in a place of honor and is quite explicitly a statement against those who hold no beliefs.

  • Matto the Hun

    It can’t be a very good school if they studied the matter and still came to the wrong answer.

    It’s really sad that kids are not being taught how our government works. That our democratic republic does not work simply on majority rule. The minority has rights and you cannot over rule those with a simple majority vote.

    Pathetic.

    Not to endorse vandalism, but let’s imagine what would happen if “God” was stuck out and “Allah” was written over it.

    The answer is obvious of course:
    1) People would go ballistic and act like a pack of rabid shit throwing monkeys ( I like this as it would also reveal that the school board is “standing up” for their religion to the exclusion of any others, that it isn’t only a matter of belief vs. non belief)

    2) If there is a Muslim student in the school, many of the “good” Christian kids would ostracize and possibly even physically harm that kind
    (a good reason not to endorse this, aside from vandalism being wrong)

  • David H

    “…the majority cannot impose its will on the minority in a democratic society. Even if 1 out of 10,000 students was offended, it’s still breaking the law.”

    Let’s be clear. The majority CAN impose it’s will on the minority (we do it all the time), just not in areas prohibited by the constitution. Students being offended is not the issue. It is simply the state, endorsing one religion over the other. And I agree with all those who said it’s a perfectly fine list of goals, but if they aren’t willing to take the god part out, then we know that the religious endorsement is actually more important to them than the actual behaviors.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    @David H:

    Right – should have said “the majority should not be able to impose its will on the minority”

  • http://www.pbase.com/jfinite Justin Bonaparte

    I was gonna say something, but ewan summed it up nicely.

  • Enrico

    Aimee’s post above is spot on. I thought similarly. There are excellent qualities to aspire to in that prayer. Simply remove the “god” parts and they have a truly inspirational mantra for EVERY student irregardless of their religious or non religious affiliations.

  • TheBlackCat

    I don’t see why it should matter that this goes to court, it is not like the school board themselves are going to suffer financially from this. All the money comes out of the pockets of taxpayers and no matter how the case turns out they get to look like heroes to like-minded people (which are obviously the only sort of people whose opinions they value). It is a win-win situation for them no matter what happens. You seem to be operating under the mistaken assumption that the school board cared about education.

    One of the main points of civil disobedience is that you accept the personal cost, fines or jail, for your actions to show that you think the cause is worth it. If the school board members were willing to pay the legal costs and any result fine themselves, then that would be a legitimate case of civil disobedience.

    But the school board will not suffer in the slightest from this. There is no cost to them from this action. The outcome is already decided. This looks less like a protest and more like grandstanding.

  • Douglas Kirk

    I agree with the personally liable idea going on here. If a policy making elected official signs their name onto policy that is expressly prohibited by law; they should definitely have to cover the court costs for the organization if it is challenged and struck down.

    And Robert W.:

    It’s not about being offended; it’s about the constitution and what is legal and illegal. I don’t care how much everybody loves school endorsed prayer, that doesn’t make it any less a violation of the establishment clause. That’s the same as saying belief makes people feel good, therefore god exists. It doesn’t make any sense.

  • jolly

    The school board should have asked their insurance company who will pay for the lawsuit. That is why the school will drop this eventually.

  • ACN

    Let me get this straight- a banner that has been in this school since it was founded, made by whom we don’t know (maybe students themselves), that no student is forced to look at or recite, offends one student by its mere presence and despite the fact that hundreds at the school want it to stay, the ACLU brings a lawsuit and the school district is viewed as wasting time and money? Love that liberal logic.

    It has nothing to do with being offended. It has only to do with being an breach of the establishment clause. The length of time that it has been there should not have anything to do with it. The ratio of students who want it to stay to those who don’t is also irrelevant. You should not be adjudicating civil rights by simple majority votes.

    I trust that you’re not trying to shift the issue here to offense intentionally, but this is a line of argument I’ve seen many times from christians who are trying to defend establishment clause violations. Instead of focusing on the actual first amendment issue, they try to shift focus to “that nasty ACLU” and those easily offended atheists. Pastors can be especially guilty of this, because it allows them to tell a story about an event that stokes a fire of “religious persecution” in their flock.

  • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

    Get the school to post this version instead:

    Our OS, who art in CPU,
    UNIX be thy name,
    Thy programs run,
    Thy syscalls done,
    In User, as it is in Kernel.

    See what the reaction will be.

  • Vas

    Does anyone have/know where to find a better picture of the prayer banner. I can’t quite make out the graphic at the top. I can see wings and clouds but can’t tell what the wings are attached to.

  • Vas

    Find one of the subcommittee meetings on Youtube here…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX3iJuOyekA&feature=related

  • Blacksheep

    It’s not about being offended; it’s about the constitution and what is legal and illegal. I don’t care how much everybody loves school endorsed prayer, that doesn’t make it any less a violation of the establishment clause. That’s the same as saying belief makes people feel good, therefore god exists. It doesn’t make any sense.

    The cool thing about human passion, no matter the view, is that laws have never stood in the way of wanting what we want. (The French excel at this). There were laws against black people eating in restaurants, but people didn’t like the laws, so they disobeyed them. And it led to ammendments to the constitution. And do you know what the rednecks running the state said? “It’s not about being offended, it’s about what is legal and illegal.”
    If anyone can appreciate that, it’s regulars on this site. Nothing is more American than to take the stance, “Make me.” I would keep the prayer up until I was forced by a court to remove it. Why? because my community likes it. And when the time came, I would respectfully comply with the law.
    Didn’t you guys watch Clint Eastwood films while you were eating vanilla ice cream?

  • Freemage

    Blacksheep:

    The problem with that line of reasoning is, as noted, the school board is not actually going to suffer the consequences of their “civil disobedience”–the kids and taxpayers are. The school is going to have to pay the following:

    1: Litigation costs to their own attorneys, unless they can get the TMLC to jump in on their behalf (in which case, I can guarantee they’re going to lose, even in front of a slightly sympathetic judge–those guys have a lousy track record).

    2: Damages to the students. While not high, the judgement will likely include some damages for violating the student’s civil rights.

    3: Opposition legal costs. With a slam-dunk case like this, the ACLU is almost sure to be able to recoup their own expenses on this.

    Personally, I think someone should have attended from the ACLU, and made the following comment:

    “We would like to thank the school board for their upcoming donation to the ACLU’s legal fund. It’s through willful disregard of the Constitution–and the subsequent awarding of legal fees–by schoolboards that we are able to support our staff of attorneys. Of course, since the school board members voting for keeping the banner aren’t going to actually pay the dead-lock certain settlement, I suppose we really should be thanking the taxpayers who will be charged the cost of the school boards Quixotic efforts.”

  • Blacksheep

    Freemage,

    “We would like to thank the school board for their upcoming donation to the ACLU’s legal fund. It’s through willful disregard of the Constitution–and the subsequent awarding of legal fees–by schoolboards that we are able to support our staff of attorneys. Of course, since the school board members voting for keeping the banner aren’t going to actually pay the dead-lock certain settlement, I suppose we really should be thanking the taxpayers who will be charged the cost of the school boards Quixotic efforts.”

    I hear you – I honestly do – but for the sake of healthy debate, i think people said the same exact thing about a whole bunch of things over the years, and they didn’t worry about legal costs.
    Ending slavery, the emancipation of women, equal rights, gay rights, etc. were all thought to be Quixotic efforts by many, usually efforts that broke the law.

    In this case, maybe the dire financial condition of schools and the importance of focusing on education trumps anything else, I’ll give you that.

  • Robert W.

    ACN,

    It is about being offended in order for the person bringing the suit to have standing. Someone has to claim that they have been offended in order to claim a violation of their civil rights.

    I understand that civil rights aren’t determined by the majority. That wasn’t my point. My point was the notion that the cause of the district spending money is the school board when in reality it is the fabricated offensive by one student wanting to make a point.

    Now we don’t know this, but what is the banner was made by and placed by the students who went to school there fifty years ago? Would it still be such a clear cut case of a violation of the establishment clause?

  • walkamungus

    @Vas: The wings seem to be attached to an Aladdin-style lamp, presumably a “lamp of learning.”

  • Freemage

    Blacksheep: Keep in mind, this was a 4-3 decision. Assuming the board is representative of the community, then, nearly half the district is being forced to pay for this effort. The school board should at least be forced to admit, in public, that they have been forewarned about the expense and just don’t care. That might make those opposed to the waste a bit more self-aware about how to stop it from happening.

  • Douglas Kirk

    @blacksheep:

    Freemage beat me too it, but I just want to say that I definitely support the “make me” stance. You would have found me arguing just as hard against prohibition and for its repealing when that amendment was passed were I alive.

    I just think that pushing policy that violates the constitution (not just a blue law or a jim crowe legislation, but the highest law of the land, a law that we have an entire branch of government to secure) should make the person pushing the policy liable for the court costs instead of the public institution that they make the policy for. They’d have to foot the court bills if they were selling booze after WW1 after all.

    Robert W. seemed to think that the only reason the banner is an issue is because one person took offense. It’s not of course; it’s because it’s a violation of the constitution. I wanted to hammer that point home.

    If people want to change the law I’m all for that, and I’ll certainly be fighting to keep the constitution as liberal as possible.

  • Vote Josh

    First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    @ Robert W

    Unless the school allows a banner for Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism (and all other religions, regardless of whether any adherents live in that region), it is a violation of the aforementioned first amendment (you know that wonderful thing that allows us to even have this conversation) simply because it asserts one religion over the others in a public school.

    You are viewing this issue as something of minor importance, simply because (I’m guessing) you are a Christian. You are inherently biased on this issue (which isn’t bad, obviously I am biased towards no-religion). But that bias prevents you from seeing the greater issue, the violation of the first amendment.

    Another simple solution to this whole debacle is to allow the students to form an after school club in which they can hang the banner for that duration and talk about their religion, which is completely legal.

  • Liokae

    Listening to the meeting itself… holy crap, some of these board members are ridiculously self-righteous. One of them is actually bringing up “but why does your right to not believe get to interfere with my right TO believe”, immediately after calling the person who brought it up to the ACLU a coward for not being openly public with it.

  • CanadianNihilist

    This is so stupid. They know they’re going to loose. Why throw the money away?
    Obviously I’m not from the USA but it is to my understanding that what they’re doing is unconstitutional.
    After they loose this I hope those that voted in favor of it are removed from their positions for costing the school thousands of dollars.

  • ckitching

    Robert W: Let’s try reductio ad absurdum on your defense of this.

    Let me get this straight- a prayer that has been recited in this school since it was founded, that no student is forced recite (they will stand in the hall if they choose not to participate), offends one student by its mere presence and despite the fact that hundreds at the school want it to stay, the ACLU brings a lawsuit and the school district is viewed as wasting time and money? Love that liberal logic.

    Still OK? Let me take it further:

    Let me get this straight- a Catholic scripture class that has been held in this school since it was founded, that no student is forced to attend (they can skip this class and spend the time in detention hall as long as they have prior parental approval), offends one student by its mere presence and despite the fact that hundreds at the school want it to stay, the ACLU brings a lawsuit and the school district is viewed as wasting time and money? Love that liberal logic.

    At what point are people allowed to oppose government supported sectarianism? Here’s my liberal logic — it doesn’t matter how many people want something, or how relatively minor it is. Stealing $20 from someone does not suddenly become legitimate when you discover your victim was a millionaire. It doesn’t become right just because all your neighbours support it.

  • Robert W.

    Vote Josh,

    I’m glad you quoted the first amendment. Too many people think it says freedom from religion when in reality it says freedom of religion. In order for this banner to be a violation of the First Amendment it has to be shown that by placing it at the school, the district is endorsing Christianity. Its mere presence, with nothing more, depending upon its origin, may not be enough for that to be the case. Pursuant to the Supreme Court not every reference to religion needs to be purged from the public square.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondom, Kevque Futurum

    @Robert:

    It doesn’t say “freedom of religion” either.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

    This has been determined to mean that government cannot show the appearance of respecting one religion while disrespecting others or those that do not have a religion. It’s a direct response to England’s state-sanctioned religion. The Founding Fathers wanted America to be a free country where you can choose your religion and the government has no say in the matter. THIS is the freedom from religion and the separation of church and state part.

    or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    And this is the freedom of religion part.

  • Blacksheep

    Douglas Kirk,

    Freemage beat me too it, but I just want to say that I definitely support the “make me” stance.

    My understanding of Freemage’s stance is that generally people should not try to buck the system if it costs the taxpayers money.

    I agree that that opinion is practical, but if it were true I would put the responsibility (in this case) of wasting money on the single offended person who decides to make an issue ouit of it, knowing full well that a fight will ensue.

    I would rather let the system work as it was designed to.

  • Robert W.

    Kev,

    Good point. It doesn’t exactly say freedom of religion, but it does say nothing shall prohibit the free exercise thereof.

    All to often people who oppose religion cite the First Amendment as something that protects people from religion without including the part about protecting religious freedom.

  • Freemage

    Blacksheep: Not quite. My point is that elected school board officials are, in fact, answerable to their constituents. Making those constituents aware that the board is using their tax monies on a doomed fight (one which will, in fact, financially support the very group that they oppose so strongly) is a perfectly valid tactic in trying to bring the officials to obey the laws of the land.

    Now, possibly, the constituency, overall, will support the effort to defy the law, even at the wasteful cost. So be it. At least then, I’m less inclined to feel sympathy for them when their taxes go up to pay for the court case and settlements.

  • Rich Wilson

    @Robert

    Love that liberal logic.

    My very conservative atheist grandparents disagree with you. From heaven of course.

  • allison

    I’m an atheist and strongly feel they need to remove that banner.