Atheists Victorious Again: Public School That Invited Christian Rapper B-SHOC to Perform Settles Lawsuit

You might remember when Christian rapper B-SHOC (a.k.a. Bryan Edmonds) was invited to speak at an assembly at New Heights Middle School in Jefferson, South Carolina this past September. Here’s how that went (the relevant part begins at the 3:04 mark):

Even the New York Times covered the incident and called it part of a trend in which Christians are illegally proselytizing in public schools.

Anyway, last month, Jonathan Anderson (an atheist) sued the district (PDF) on behalf of his son. With the ACLU’s help, there’s finally a resolution to this case. And it’s a good one.

The board of the Chesterfield County School District voted tonight to adopt a proposed settlement agreement that would put an end to the district’s pervasive practice of school-sponsored prayer, preaching and religious activities aimed at students.

… Under the agreement, the district would be subject to a court order, or consent decree, requiring officials to comply with the law in this area…

In other words, the district will make sure there is no more proselytization in the schools.

“The district has done the right thing by acknowledging that school officials cannot use their positions of influence to persuade students to devote themselves to one particular religion,” said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina. “We’re glad that the school has agreed to a reasonable settlement.”

“Every family has the right to instill their own values and beliefs in their children, but in the classroom, every child should be welcomed with the same degree of respect, no matter what he or she believes,” said Heather L. Weaver, staff attorney with the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “Public schools should be focused on providing children with a quality education, not indoctrinating them through religious coercion.”

The school district ultimately gave up on defending themselves for two reasons:

1) It would cost them thousands of dollars in legal fees.

2) They knew they would lose. They know damn well that what they were doing was illegal.

This is their exact statement:

Following legal advice that various practices and events in the schools related to religion needed to stop occurring, based on court decisions interpreting the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Board majority approved the consent decree and order. The consent decree and order recognizes that students and teachers do have rights under the Free Exercise and Free Speech provisions of the First Amendment to pray at school under certain conditions and to participate in other religious activities.

The Board was advised that defending the lawsuit would result in a court-imposed order after many thousands of dollars had been spent on legal costs. The Board wishes to make it clear that it intends to abide by the constitutional principle of separation of church and state, while also recognizing and allowing the permissible exercise of religion by its staff and students and all citizens.

This is why we have to keep the pressure on these districts.

This is why we have to support groups like the ACLU and FFRF.

Because we’re right and they’re wrong. Because we respect the law and they choose to break it. Because we believe public education ought to remain secular and they believe schools ought to function as churches.

Even in South Carolina, they’ve caved in. Students in that district won’t have to put up with teachers and administrators who would rather give a sermon than educate the children.

We have the ACLU and Jonathan Anderson to thank for that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Anonymous

    I like how the complaint says “request for relief”. Usually the ridiculous phrase “prayer for relief” is used

  • Charles Black

    Wait did I read that part right? This guy deleted the video after he put it up?
    It seems he knew that he was breaking the law by endorsing religion in public school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jt.eberhard JT Eberhard
  • Winto_bungle

    that shot of  bshock signing the autographs reminds me of the bit in the bible when jesus comes back to life and starts signing autographs.

    • Klivingston72

      The only “autograph” Jesus signed was each His blood shed for our sins. If you really think he “signed autographs” I pray that you are exposed to the true Word of God. Obviously, you have not been as of yet.

      • Dick Hardings

        Wait… You actually believe in Jesus?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    The expression on the rapper’s face (in the photo) is priceless.

  • Cd1809

    The principal said he didn’t care what happened to him, he just wanted bshock to visit the school? Sounds like he knew what would happen. I hope he is working at a burger king right now.

  • Rich Wilson

    If only Cranston had been this smart.

    I like B-Shoc’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7cAYV_lVNI The message I take is “you can be an asshole and annoy your neighbors with your obnoxiously loud music, ’cause deep down they really like it”

    Kinda like not getting what “no” means.

    • Guest

      Oh, that music was awful. I made it through a few lines and then I could not close the browser fast enough.

      • Klivingston72

        The devil will make you run from the truth, it called “CONVECTION”…….UNLESS YOU ARE EMBRACING IT!

        • nakedanthropologist

          No, dear.  “Convection” is a word that is often used to describe the way an oven works.  Perhaps the truth you seek is some mysterious and hushed space visited by many; this hallowed place is usually referred to as a “library”.

  • Wild Rumpus

    I preferred B-Shoc when he was known as Da Flame from Icy Hot Stuntaz

    “Flame be the hottest shit on the real niggas. flame once got arrested for speeding in a school zone like a mutha fucka. Str8 thug”

    http://stuntaz.cjb.net/

    • Klivingston72

      Praise God for forgiveness! Once we ask for that….it no longer exsist in the eyes of God!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YE3QA6EHYBRX23OLQ6FP5Y6YOM Ben

    Wait, how is this a win? How is this a settlement of any kind? They flagrantly broke the law, and to settle out of court, they declared they will do better not to break the law in the future. What?! No one lost their job. No one was reprimanded. No one is going to visit the school so that students understand why what the school did was wrong.

    Imagine if someone broke into my car, and when standing in front of the judge, said that he promised not to break into cars anymore, so he was off the hook. If this school breaks their settlement and does it again, what happens? They would have broken the law in exactly the same way as they did this time. They would be subject to another lawsuit, except that this previous case would be inadmissible.

    The principle said that he didn’t care what happened to him. Fine. If principle Thoreau wants to break the law, he should accept the consequences. He should at minimum be fired. I can’t believe that the plaintiff accepted this “settlement”. It frustrates me that this sets a precedent for schools to break the law and hurt kids while getting no more than a finger wagging from the secular community.

    • Eskomo

      Settling out of court does not mean there is no punishment or future repercussions. It means both sides agreed to a fair solution before a trial occurred.  Fines can still be imposed, and future activities can still be monitored. I haven’t seen the final outcome.

  • Anonymous

    I especially liked how the “rapper” boasted that he gets pulled over by the police in order for them to invite him to their church. Certainly puts a new spin on ridin’ dirty.

    His incompetent techs then proceed to set off the fire alarms by filling the gym with smoke-machine smoke. He then boasts about how the firemen will be begging him to come rap at their church. Cause if I know one thing about fireman in rural South Carolina, it’s that they love white-boy praise rap.

    I hope the fire department billed this lunatic for the call.

  • Watlz707

    at 4:00, the principel apparently said, “i dont care what happens to me, so long as these kids know about eternal life.” Really Like they don’t know about it already?

    • Klivingston72

      A person after the heart of God will never (in this lifetime) come to the full understanding of His glory……and surely we cannot truely understand eternal life. Otherwise, atheists would not exsist!

  • Nude0007

    I just worry that the teachers and whoever else is in power will still take every opportunity to promote their faith.  They’ll just use different, more sneaky methods. They don’t believe it’s wrong and that they should be allowed to proselytize all they want, so I bet they try to find ways to continue their “mission”

  • Josh__nguyen

    I hate this. This is basically forcing religion on young children with big shiny objects and singers. And if they dont they do not get to enjoy all this? No hell no. The principle should face the consequences and take it like a man. He even said he doesnt care what will happen. Justice needs to be served an a true settlement must come.

  • Anonymous

    Victory tastes so good! CHEAH!

    • Charles Black

      Unfortunately many more battles await us so we can’t afford to become overconfident.
      Just ask the Japanese in WWII.

    • Klivingston72

      The “Victory” was won on Calvary!

  • Thefirebelow

    I do worry a little about the student who is the son of the man who brought the lawsuit. Even the statement of consent seems to draw attention to the man’s name and that his son is a student there.

    • Klivingston72

      I worry about their salvation. However, even this unfortunate event did cause more people to hear The Word of GodA. Moreso than if the silly lawsuit never happened. See, that is the way He works……He will turn a “mess” into a MESSAGE! Glory to GOD!

  • Katt Leandraa

    despite the negitive many people say hes spreading. he has inspired alot of the youth to join in and make positive music. Like this group here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUvwWj3coWY&feature=plcp&context=C31578f0UDOEgsToPDskLC6e4ju8pEbKY7ZXNlrJvc

    • http://www.facebook.com/jim.moury Jim Moury

      Why do you consider that positive? It would probably appeal to a xian audience but it would be inappropriate for a school sponsored event.

  • Clare

    What a shame.

  • Llamasfur

    i liked him better when he was still an Icy Hot Stunta

  • Klivingston72

    I pray that each and everyone of you are exposed soon to the Truth, and that is the WORD OF GOD. God’s love covers all our sin. Not to be used as an excuse to cause harm or do wrong; however, God is full of mercy and grace. All the things He offers are positive and cause NO HARM. My son is 18 years old and since a very young age has allowed God to guide him. Having worked in ministry now for years and seeing the true annointing of God on his life saddens me that much more for unbelievers. One day we will all stand face-to-face and answer for our lives. When people prevent others from hearing the Word of God, they will answer for that too!

  • Klivingston72

    God loves each of you…..ALL OF US! Atheists and otherwise. From the bottom of my heart I hope and pray that each of you come to know Him, BEFORE you have to face Him.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      ‘have to face Him’?  If he loves us so much, then why the negative tone about having to face him?

      I know, I know.  Analogies about a child being punished by a parent, and not wanting to disappoint the parent.

      Nothing my son could do could make me want to see him tortured.  Nothing.

      How much torture do you think it would take to make Patrick Henry take back his famous demand?

  • Hope

    It’s interesting how you can be athiest or agnostic and fight against the very thing you don’t believe in, but in hard or sad times, you ask why would God let this happen. It’s not a religion, it’s a belief. It’s not a ritual, it’s a relationship. One day, I hope you can experience that one unexplainable moment in your life and then truly understand who God is. You accept and believe in Buddha, Mohammed, and satan, why do you choose to not believe in Christ? Do you ever pray, but your not sure to whom you are exactly praying? You might want to be careful with that. May God be with you, even though you choose to not know he’s there


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