High School Teacher Sues Her District After They Tell Her to Stop Proselytizing to Students

Joelle Silver, a science teacher in the Cheektowaga Central School District in New York who also doubles as the faculty sponsor for the school’s Bible Study Club, has no idea where to draw the line between being a public school teacher and being a representative of her church.

Prompted by a student’s complaint to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, here’s a portion of a letter (PDF) Silver recently received from her superintendent:

… the District received a complaint letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (‘FFRF”), dated June 7. 2012, concerning your classroom. I arranged for you to be provided with a copy of the complaint letter shonty after I received it. I also initiated an investigation into the allegations contained in the FFRF’s June 7th letter, which was carried out by my administrators. That investigation confirmed a substantial number of the allegations made by FFRF.

Wow. What did they find in her classroom?

You’ll want to sit down for this…:

  • A poster reading: “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin… wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” – Psalm 51:2,7
  • A poster reading: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; My God, my strength, and whom I will trust.” – Psalm 18:2
  • A poster reading: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” – Psalm 19:1
  • A poster reading: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted, His splendor is above the Earth and the heavens.” – Psalm 148:13
  • A poster reading: “Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
  • A drawing of three crosses on a hill, depicting the crucifixion of Jesus.
  • A poster featuring this quotation by President Ronald Reagan: “Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience… without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure… lf ever we forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”
  • A “Prayer Request” box covered with Bible verses and other religious messages
  • Sticky notes on her desk that have even more religious messages.
  • A “humorous” poster of an antique phone that reads: “It’s for you… Good morning. This is God… I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a good day.”

Silver also invited Dr. Luther Robinson, MD to speak to her Anatomy & Physiology class last spring and his slides included two with Bible verses on them — something Silver would have known about since she told the school she reviewed his materials in advance.

Furthermore, as the Bible Club’s sponsor, Silver broke the district’s rules by allowing the club to put the Prayer Request box in her classroom. Religious clubs (and atheist clubs, for that matter) must remain extra-curricular at all times.

Oh, that’s not all. A follow-up letter from FFRF indicated Silver tried to guilt-trip the student who ratted on her:

The student also said that Silver told students in the anatomy class that whoever had reported her to the Freedom From Religion Foundation lacked integrity and character and was akin to someone who had cheated on the final exam, [FFRF attorney Rebecca] Markert wrote in her follow-up letter.

Back to Superintendent Dennis Kane‘s letter:

… it is my conclusion that you are using your publicly funded classroom to express your personal religious beliefs to your students, including but not limited to your apparent belief in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible as the word of God, and to advance Judeo-Christian principles.

(Can you imagine what the response would have been like if Silver were Muslim, with Koran verses lining her walls? Or an atheist, with quotations from Christopher Hitchens greeting students each day? It’s only in situations like these, with a Christian proselytizer, that we even have to debate whether or not this should be allowed.)

Kane told Silver she needed to immediately take down the Christian propaganda and refrain from being anything-but-neutral with regard to religion. She could wear a cross on a necklace if she wanted, but that’s about it.

I think Kane was being incredibly generous by only giving her a warning. She broke so many rules, it’s a wonder she still has a job.

It all leads to one question: How on earth is Silver a science teacher? How did Silver respond to the overwhelming amount of evidence showing her promoting Christianity to her students?

First, she removed the items from her classroom.

Then, she filed a federal lawsuit against the district (PDF) with the help of the American Freedom Law Center.

Among her arguments:

  • One of the school’s social workers has a picture of a rainbow on her door with a message that says “Acceptance practiced here” and no one tells her to take that down. (So telling gay students they won’t be treated like shit is the same thing, apparently, as preaching the Gospel in the classroom.)
  • The school is illegally pressuring her to stop being the faculty sponsor for the Bible Club. (Actually, they’re telling her they will remove her as faculty sponsor ONLY if she continues to promote the group’s beliefs in her science classrooms.)
  • The sticky notes with Bible verses on her desk are entirely personal and not an example of proselytizing. (If this were the only violation, I would argue she could get away with it. But, together with the other examples, it just shows her inability to keep her religious beliefs to herself.

In summary, she knows what she’s doing is wrong, but she’s going to argue that other teachers do it, too… even though that’s not actually true. The district isn’t anti-Christian; they’re anti-getting-sued. They’re asking of Silver the same things they would ask of anyone else promoting their faith on the taxpayer’s dime.

But Silver thinks she’s being persecuted (because, you know, Christians have it *so* rough):

Silver said, “I believe that my First Amendment rights were violated last June when I was asked to do some things regarding taking some posters down and to censor my speech in the classroom. As a Christian and as an American I feel it’s incredibly important to fight to protect the rights that people have died to give them.

No one died so that Silver could preach to students who have no choice in the matter.

You don’t need a judge to decide this matter. All you need to do is ask a fifth-grader who read page one of the Constitution.

(Thanks to James for the link)

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.

  • Blasphemous_Kansan

    “All you need to do is ask a fifth-grader who read page one of the Constitution.”

    Sadly, “Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” is a question of which citizens of drinking are are commonly on the wrong side. So much to the point that it’s a TV show!

  • C Peterson

    She was generously given the opportunity to correct her infractions. When she loses this lawsuit, as seems almost certain, I’d like to see two things. First, that the judge require her to pay all legal costs, including the school’s. Second, that the school fire her for insubordination.

    • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

      If I knew anything about how to write a lawyer letter, I would file an amicus curiae brief expressing exactly those sentiments.

    • http://twitter.com/WriterWriter Lady Julie d’Glencoe

      The school’s administration will have to go too, as it seems reasonably clear they overlooked obvious infractions.

      The upshot of all this may be the American “freedom” (how do they get away with THAT?) Law (um..) Centre will be exposed as the purveyors of religion and discrimination they are.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Or championed as the great defenders of the persecuted Christians, Freedom, and Eagles.

        The down side of winning a case like this is that it just convinces those with the martyr complex.

        I bet she runs for school board. And wins.

        • Carpinions

          The zealots with the hard-on for martyrdom and their persecution complex look for these fights on purpose. They wear their BS on their sleeves so they can start a fight where none need be if they would just agree to live in a civilized society. But no, they have to be passive aggressive about it because if they aren’t, they’re not fightin’ the good fight. If I were in a math class, as an atheist it would be way out of bounds for me to have quotes from people not remotely in that field especially if they are even remotely ideological, or quotes not related in any way to that field, showing. It’s a non sequitur, and the more obvious the separation, the more it beggars the question if there is a motive at work.

          • Houndentenor

            Exactly. If a Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim was similarly trying to concert their children they’d have a meltdown. But if they do it, then it’s okay.

        • cutencreepy

          Our local school board has a member who is the local baptist church pastor. I went there once, just to see what it was like. He told his entire congregation that school is horrible and is a waste of time since they took religion away from education. He also said that the only good secondary education there is anymore is the local “bible college”.

        • Stev84

          Elected school boards are a big reason for dismal state of the American education system. It’s so easy to run for them that they attract a lot of idiots. And since it doesn’t take much money, effort or votes to get elected, the Religious Right has targeted them early on as the beginning for their takeover of the political system.

          • C Peterson

            I sit on a charter school board (and have for the last 10 years). Ours is a very well run school, highly constrained by policy. It works. But that said, I agree with you completely. There’s nothing I’d like to see more than the loss of local control of schools. But until then, people with our views and ideals can have great positive impact by seeking seats in local government, including school boards.

      • C Peterson

        There may well have been some negligence on the part of the school administration, but it’s clear that once the problem was pointed out, they acted promptly and forcibly to correct the matter. I certainly wouldn’t advocate punishing the administration in a case like this. Indeed, I think it would be counterproductive: why would any school administrator seek to remedy a problem like this if they are going to be fired in any case?

        • Houndentenor

          Agreed. Yes, there may well have been some negligence, but I can understand why someone would not want to risk their career by taking this on. Even if you win, you lose. Other school boards will know what happened and in most of the country you’d be SOOL applying for a new job.

      • berberine

        As someone who works in education, I wouldn’t be so fast to want the administration to go. Our principal tries to pop in all the classes, but doesn’t always have the time to every week. She has an incredible amount of shit to deal with every day and I can assure you, what signs are in a teacher’s room isn’t a top priority when you’ve got kids screwing around in the boys bathroom resulting in broken windows, a kid selling pot and pot paraphernalia in school, bullying and harassment of another kid and the funeral of a student who committed suicide. That was just this week.

        Since the principal is part of the administration, they rely on others to let her know what’s going on because she can’t be everywhere all the time. Our school also doesn’t have a vice principal. The principal is it. While I don’t believe she is the perfect principal, who is? She tries her best to keep up on everything going on in school.

        Now, in this case, if the administration knows and does nothing, then yes, they should be held accountable. It appears that, as soon as this principal was notified of what the teacher was doing, she took action. We can debate what the teacher’s punishment should have been, but, until you’ve actually tried to do a principal’s job, don’t just assume that they’re ignoring things.

        Eight years ago, the junior high I work in had a portrait of Jesus hanging in the building. One parent met with the superintendent, explained why it was illegal, and George Washington now hangs where Jesus did. It wasn’t anything malicious. The portrait of Jesus had been there for 50 years and most people didn’t think anything of it.

        I suspect that no one thought about how damaging all these Bible verses were, or how many were there, until FFRF notified the school.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=877040626 Scott Imbeau

      I have a third thing I’d like to see happen. She should have to pay the school district back the money they will spend on lawyers for this stupid law suit so that no child is punished for her arrogance.

      • http://twitter.com/xieish cool dr money

        That’s…. what… “require her to pay all legal costs, including the school’s” means. I… I’m speechless.

        • Aaron Harmon

          The fourth thing that should happen is that she should be sent an invoice for all the money everyone had to spend, and then required to pay it.
          The fifth thing is that it should cost a bunch of money.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=877040626 Scott Imbeau

          That’s what I get for skimming, I guess.

    • Burmey

      That’s insanity. You’ll be ruining someone’s life over posters. Merely take them down when she loses the lawsuit. Don’t fire her unless her teaching is compromised after the lawsuit. Jeeze.

      • SpaceCaptainWarlock

        Except she was given the opportunity to comply with the rules of the district. Instead, she chose to sue the district. If anyone is ruining her life, it’s her.

        • Dave. M

          She DID comply by removing all the material. Her lawsuit is a separate matter, and I don’t think you’re legally allowed to fire someone for filing a lawsuit.

          • C Peterson

            That’s unclear. If the judge decides it’s frivolous, I’d say there’s a good chance she could be legally fired. And should be.

            • Guesty Guest

              You clearly haven’t the foggiest about the standards for fining a legal claim frivolous, nor how remote the chances of that happening actually are.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jay.kanta Jay Kanta

        She doesn’t deserve a job teaching children if she can’t understand that her religion doesn’t belong in the classroom in the first place. She should be left destitute.

        • baal

          She should not be left destitute. Poverty is awful and not an appropriate punishment proselytizing. Proportionality matters.

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            Poverty is awful, yes. But where do you draw the line? This argument can be used against pretty much any infraction that it a terminable offense.

            • baal

              I’m ok with her being fired. People get fired all the time for less. –

              Jay Kanta’s comment calls for her to be destitute as well. That’s living under bridges and such. I save that type of punishment for folks like Rush Limbaugh and Eric Cantor – people of means who work to take money away from people who really need it. proselytizing just doesn’t have the same impact.

              • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                Oh, I must’ve glanced over that last sentence. Yeah, that’s not right.

          • MichaelBrice

            Agreed, that particular punishment does not ‘fit the crime’, maybe something biblical would be more appropriate in her case, say stoning or being ripped apart by bears.

            (sarcasm/humour alert)

          • Guesty Guest

            Tell that to those breathless idiots above who think “make her pay ALLL the court costs!” is within a mile of proportionate. The hate, it frotheth over the corners of their lips.

            • Baby_Raptor

              How is it not? The courts often have the losers cover all the court fees. It’s SOP. Are you just whining this time because you happen to agree with the person that would be paying?

      • C Peterson

        Being fired should not ruin her life. She has been offered the chance to change and bring her classroom and teaching style into legal compliance. How many chances should she have? Now she is engaging her employer in a frivolous lawsuit. Terminating her employment is ENTIRELY appropriate.

        This isn’t about posters, it’s about a grave Constitutional violation and actual injury to students. Clearly, her teaching is already compromised.

        • Houndentenor

          I’m sure some “Christian Academy” will offer her a job.

        • LeftyLewis

          there are also a LOT of christian schools out there.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        Durga, you people are so frakking dense. what part of “there are more religions than one, and the one that is your version of christianity” don’t you understand???

        she’s not a martyr. she’s not a victim. technically- and it’s only because of people like you that she’s not in jail for it- she’s an unconstitutional criminal. she’s pushing *her* religion on students who have NO CHOICE but to sit in her classroom as a condition of graduation. she was given every break a lousy employee could ask for to conform to the law. she didn’t.

        i wonder what sect/cult of american christian you are (cause i know you must be). how would you like it if your kids were forced to recite passages of the Koran every morning? or pledge allegiance to Mou Tzu? or give blood to Satan’s school altar in order to get lunch vouchers? or bow down before the Triple Goddess while having mandatory orgies before spring break?

        you’re thinking, “but that’s absurd! the horror!” and yet you can’t see why worshipping a guy tortured to death to elevate martyrdom to “divine” born of a “virgin” is equally ridiculous. i’m sorry you’re on the lower side of the “average IQ” scale. it must pain you.

      • rx7ward

        Bull. She can always get a job at a Christian charter school, etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30319652 Tim Lehnerer

        I’d say her teaching was already compromised long before she filed suit. The district is better off without her and her students stand a chance at actually learning some science if she leaves.

      • Lee Miller

        I think she’s demonstrated her character by a) having all the posters etc. in the first place, and b) filing a lawsuit when instructed to follow the law. Who would want her teaching their children?

      • Baby_Raptor

        No, Fuck that. She knows the law…It’s basic civic knowledge. And she chose to flout it anyway, because she thinks her Jesus is more important than peoples’ rights.

        Further, she had a chance to just quietly forget the entire thing ever happened. Instead, she decided to throw a hissy fit and sue. The district is wasting money on her now. She should be fired over it all.

    • Fred

      You surprise me C Peterson. I really don’t see how you can fire someone for insubordination when they are complying with your request. All she is doing is seeking legal judgement on a disagreement she has with her employers. (she doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but thats besides the point).

      • C Peterson

        “Not having a leg to stand on” is basically equivalent to a frivolous lawsuit. And I believe it is both legal and appropriate to fire an employee who is judged to have filed a frivolous lawsuit against her employer. I hope the school asks the judge to make such a ruling.

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          Unfortunately, while the case law is relatively clear, it seems at least uncertain enough to not be completely frivolous — I’d guess five-to-one odds on it surviving summary dismissal.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Snake65 Christine Snake Dizard

            Please specify what part if it is uncertain?

            • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

              Primarily, how religious the judge hearing the case is.

              Secondarily, what legal standards need to be met for districts to restrict teachers, and whether these actions are (say) least restrictive means.

              There’s also the question as to whether the existing policy that allows other teachers personal display of non-religious inspirational posters (perhaps of the “Hang in there” variety) makes the prohibition of her religious-message posters viewpoint discrimination.

              I’d suggest reading through the PDF complaint that Hemant Mehta linked. I don’t think it will survive appeal, and is unlikely to prevail even in the district court, but it seems to hold together better than the typical brief from Orly Taitz — which is about how bad a claim has to be for summary dismissal. There are cases where the federal courts have held that school’s concern for avoiding accusations of establishment of religion do not justify inhibiting the free speech and association rights of employees — OUTSIDE the school day, even on school grounds. That difference is critical; however, it seems close enough to leave the question of the degree of allowable restriction during the school day not utterly frivolous.

    • ruth

      In the US unless there is a specific law to the contrary each party pays their own legal costs, whether they win or they lose.

      • C Peterson

        What law? Judges regularly require losing parties in civil suits to pay legal costs.

        • Guesty Guest

          “Regularly” is quite a stretch. It is actually a controversial practice that many judges openly despise, and is not levied lightly, and definitely not levied against an individual person of modest means suing (even mistakenly) pursuant to a constitutional right.

        • IslandBrewer

          It happens less often than not. And in most civil suits, there are typically (depending on jurisdiction) certain minimum standards of negligence that the defendants have to show on the part of the plaintiffs to get any legal costs paid.

    • Guesty Guest

      So, lemme see if I get this straight, your brilliant plan is for the district to engage in an illegal retaliatory firing in response to a suit, and ask the judge to bankrupt her just for awesome sauce. Well that’s just cracker jack. You’re a mighty brain trust.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        In so far as the lawsuit is an exercise of her due process rights, and in so far as she has a “good faith” belief she is in the right, firing over the lawsuit would appear to fall in the general category that the courts have found unlawful retaliation.

        However, I’m not a lawyer, and my quick search on Google doesn’t turn up case or statutory law that clearly covers this particular case. I expect it’s out there, though.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience

    I’m having trouble withholding a rage scream right now. Which of course would be turned into “tsk tsk, atheists, why so angry?”

    Ten thousand thundering typhoons what does it take to not tell some kids that they’re not as deserving of dignity and respect as other kids. How hard can that be? For a TEACHER !

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Wow

      Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done in love.

      is rather ironic. So, taking the advice of 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 is “[lacking] integrity and character”

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        “Silver, who teaches biology and anatomy and has been with the district for seven years, got rid of the material.”

        I wonder how she handles evolution.

        • Mitch Swineherd

          That’s the scary question.

          • http://twitter.com/WriterWriter Lady Julie d’Glencoe

            Agreed! It seems to me one must have the subject matter in hand, and that one much agree that the subject matter one teaches is fact in order to be hired to teach said subject. This situation is a failure on so many levels but certainly on the part of the district who hired her and who didn’t have “you must be qualified” as a criteria for her being hired.

            This doesn’t say Ms. Silver isn’t a great teacher, only that she is definitely in the wrong environment.

        • meekinheritance

          It didn’t mention if she’s a mother, so I guess we can only hope she’s, um… keeping that to herself.

        • Barbara

          Probably like my science teacher in high school: deny, deny, deny!

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Mine was: ignore, ignore, ignore! (In Canada, go figure)

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          Interestingly, she appears to have absolutely no course materials up on her school website page. The site-wide robots.txt file means there is no archive.org history for what might have been there earlier.

  • ggsillars

    Establishment Clause Blues got you down? Try filing a snowball’s-chance-in-Hell lawsuit.

  • Ryan Jean

    This seems pretty darn cut-and-dry. Unless she gets a judge of the “Fan of Roy Moore” variety, this won’t survive summary judgment, and even then it would have trouble surviving for very long in actual litigation. She will inevitably not take it well, and will probably flame out to a sufficient degree to warrant immediate termination of employment, at which time she will go on the Christian Martyrdom circuit like John Freshwater.

    • Carpinions

      What I really don’t get is why these people don’t just find a job in one of those religious schools in the first place and call it a life, because they’ll have a job permanently unless they royally screw up. People like Freshwater probably see it as an opportunity to do just as he and now Silver have tried – get the “unwashed in Jesus” masses converted. But seriously, if you are someone of this stripe, you are straight-up begging for a fight because you can’t know or think it won’t happen. That’s the whole premise behind fallen humanity! That they will ridicule and mock “God” but the Christian must speak the “Word” no matter what. The lengths to which this woman went are openly poking secular law in the eye.

      I really wish these zealots would just go find a church to spend their life behind doors in, because doubtless there are others like this out there and no one is speaking up until a brave young person like a Jessica Ahlquist or Silver’s student does and nearly gets run out of town for telling truth to undeserved power.

      • baal

        I was wondering if she isn’t an intentional plant. You hardly need to get the text books to say creationist bull shit if the teacher will do it willingly.

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        Two possibilities: 1) It’s a matter of trying to be “in the world” while still reaching out and promoting “godly values” to students who may not be “churched.” 2) Private schools often don’t pay as well.

  • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

    I’m angry about the wasted space. So much room to put of cell diagrams, electron microscopy photos, DNA diagrams, things that would enhance her students’ learning and sense of wonder.

    • Quintin van Zuijlen

      And if she really needed quotes from religious men, Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” would have done.

    • Barbara

      EXACTLY! How bizarre that a teacher wouldn’t want to dedicate as much wall space as possible to the subject she’s teaching. She has been doing a great disservice to her students by presenting them with such a mediocre learning environment. There are so many unemployed science teachers who could put her to shame.

    • bernardaB

      As a science teacher, does she follow the school’s and the State’s curriculum, or does she refuse to teach certain aspects of science that go against her beliefs? If the latter, that alone would be enough to fire her.

  • The Captain

    I’m getting real sick of these christian law organizations that constantly sue and push the meme that government employees can never be held accountable to constitutional restraints on the government since they are individuals. In effect they are trying to use the constitution to circumvent the constitution.

    Under this legal philosophy the only thing that becomes illegal in regards to establishing a state religion is acts of congress. So in reality what this means is that congress (or state legislators) could not pass a law saying only christians could be hired at the department of education, but if the individuals working at the department of education only wanted to hire christians that’s their personal “right” (this is also why they are against anti-discrimination law). The same goes for school curriculum, if the state lays out a curriculum that is secular in nature, the christian legal thinking is that the teachers personal freedoms allow them to teach a religious class that requires all students to follow the teachers religion for said class since doing otherwise somehow violates the teachers religious freedom. It’s frankly a rather dangerous philosophy that boils down to finding ways to use the rules of government to force others to practice their religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.rooney.39 Gary Rooney

    Who was monitoring her classroom before this all came up. Her department head, vice principal, principal never saw anything wrong with the way the room was decorated until receiving the letter for FFRF. It sounds to me as if they’re are more than one guilty party at this school.

    • http://twitter.com/WriterWriter Lady Julie d’Glencoe

      Sounds like there is a certain level of complicity there, you’re right to say.

      • GordT

        Well, given they’d probably get sued for making her take the stuff down it’s not surprising the School Administration wouldn’t pick a fight

      • Stev84

        More likely a certain level of “We don’t really give a fuck”

  • http://twitter.com/TreeroyWoW Keir

    I suggest replacing the biblical teachings with Carl Sagan quotes.

  • http://twitter.com/WriterWriter Lady Julie d’Glencoe

    She does not seem to understand that her First Amendment rights do not supercede those of her students, who are protected by the same constitution, which establishes separation of church and state.

    She’s within her rights entirely to invite kids to her church, as long as she does that off school grounds. Otherwise, Ms. Silver, should you be reading these comments, grow up and be a truly patriotic American by honouring your country’s constitution AND your students.

  • gmorris44

    Oh please, somebody post this exact same story but change all the bible references to the Koran – then we’ll see outrage by all the hypocrites.

    • http://twitter.com/WriterWriter Lady Julie d’Glencoe

      EXACTLY.

      From the perspective of a Canadian, this particular detail – that christian Americans fail so utterly to see – is the most ironic.

      A point though: if the references were to passages in the Qu’ran, they’d no longer be ‘bible’ references…

    • Crazy Russian

      They realize that. They just don’t care. When a LA or MS (I don’t quite remember) official realized that their bill to promote religious schools makes them promote Islamic schools as well, she was forced to admit that she doesn’t support that. Anything to promote Christianity, all else be damned.

      • nakedanthropologist

        It was Louisiana – ah, that was a great day. I love it when the fundamental hypocrisy of dominionists is exposed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tommy.ferrugia Tommy Ferrugia

    This is awesome. Everyone imagines that the moment they claim ‘First Amendment’ that they’re automatically afforded carte blanche to assert any nonsensical garbage their delusional mind comes up with. A public educator is required, by state law, to teach the approved curriculum. Teachers do NOT have freedom to instruct their students in any manner, and on any subject, they deem appropriate. This woman is free to hold bible-lessons from her home or apply for a position with a Catholic school. However, public school students are there to learn FACTS, not begin indoctrination into cults that worships invisible ghosts in space and mythical figures. Religion has no underlying evidence to support its propositions and, therefore, is wholly inappropriate for a science or history course.

  • Octoberfurst

    Oh goodie, another Christian with a martyr complex. How dare the school say she can’t proselytize to her students! They’re oppressing her and taking away her FREEDOM!!! Waahh, waah, waaah! But I’m sure many Christians will rally to her cause. Of course, if she were Muslim and doing the same thing she would be out on her ass in a heart-beat and no one would think anything of it. But since she loves Jesus—well that means she is being persecuted! Man the barricades! Sound the trumpet! Christian privilege is being challenged! Oh the horror! The horror!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527982303 Jonathan Arthur

    Christians who feel that the world should be based on their crazy beliefs are not going to stop performing baloney like this – unless the law doesn’t move an inch and society has nothing but contempt for such exclusive thinking. Since religion seems to have all sorts of societal protections, local support and wink-wink bending of the constitutional rules in every part our “Christian Nation” (like our fearless Christian presidents praying at every turn), it’s going to be a bit more complicated to end this foolishness. Fighting Christian warrior teachers is one thing, Christian holy-roller legislators are the real problem – chipping away, chipping away until this is a government-sponsored Jesus-loving nation. Firing this religious scofflaw is only a high-profile tip of the huge sacred iceberg that is sinking us as a modern, civilized country.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527982303 Jonathan Arthur

      Looking at what this woman’s doing, I find myself uttering the right’s burning question, the ostensible reason for all the law-jiggering, whether it’s religion in the schools, or drugs, or grown-up movies, or even atheists’ influence in general – “What about the CHILDREN??!!??”

  • biff

    I like the adminstrator’s take on it the best: “if one side doesn’t sue you, the other side probably will”

    • baal

      Because both sides are equally likely to win? It’s clear that she views teaching her god is right up there with teaching science and equally clear that she’s violating the law.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    It would be really nice if the judicial system had some way for the school district to say “We just want to do the legally appropriate thing, but we’ve two groups each threatening a lawsuit if we don’t do it their way. How about the courts let them sue each other, with the loser paying any monetary judgement and the court notifying us what course we should take?”

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The school district has a duty to make sure the teacher is following the law. If they fail in that duty, then they should be sued. The fact that a teacher is going to sue them for enforcing the law doesn’t absolve them of their duty.

      It’s not like staying out of it is somehow neutral. Staying out of it is allowing the teacher to violate the rights of the student to go to school and not be told that they have no virtue because there is no prompting of their conscience.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        However, the district also has a duty to least restrictive means on the teacher’s exercise of her rights; and there is a material controversy between the FFRF-backed student and the AFLC-backed teacher where the boundary between rights of teacher and students lies, and thus what course duty dictates to the school.

        I would prefer a system where the typical judgement of “one dollar, plus $100,000 for lawyer’s expenses” came from the budget of the AFLC or FFRF, rather than the underfunded school district.

        • Baby_Raptor

          The teacher’s rights are not being stepped on in any way. At all. She’s breaking the law. She’s the one stepping on peoples’ rights.

          Your concern for her exercise of her rights is misplaced. Please focus it where it belongs: On the kids whose rights she’s trampling.

          • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

            Yes; I agree that the teacher’s rights are not being stepped on in any way, that she’s breaking the law, and that she is the one stepping on peoples’ rights. Nonetheless, she DOES have rights to religious exercise; and ergo, the district a duty to least restrictive means — that is, they need to allow her all the free exercise that does not interfere with her job, and the due process (which she’s getting) when there’s a controversy about which has precedence. Merely because she’s breaking the law by attempting religious exercise in unlawful ways, does not take away her rights.

            And my concern is on the kids — whose school districts are likely to have more of their budgets go to lawyers fees as a result of such lawsuits (EG: defending against the teacher’s baseless suit here; defense legal expenses will not be reimbursed by the teacher or AFLC if she loses), and less to improving the students’ educations.

            I’d prefer that the school not end up with a bill, especially a bill for doing the right thing, as they will now. It would seem better if the bill would end up paid by those promoting the wrong — in this case, the AFLC.

            Of course, in uncertain cases, the FFRF prefer to risk defending a few that will deservedly lose rather than leave undefended some that would deservedly win; so, the FFRF would end up paying a few bills, as a side-effect. However, since the FFRF is far more often on the correct side, it would be far fewer than those where they would win. A larger concern is that there would be other side-effects on the landscape of US litigation.

        • RobertoTheChi

          She is breaking the law. Ever heard of it?

          • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

            See reply to Baby_Raptor.

  • fargofan

    It must be nice to have a public school class as your captive audience. Or should I say captive congregation?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=634089357 Tara Dawes

    Honestly, she shouldn’t even be allowed to teach science. Crap like this is why I’m highly considering the possibility of homeschooling – it’s pretty sad to think you can’t send your kids to a public school and expect them to get an actual scientific education.

    • Houndentenor

      Or anything else. It would be just as bad if she had done this in math or English or Spanish class.

  • Carpinions

    Have fun getting creamed in court, Silver. The judge is likely to physically remove you from his courtroom himself after all of that leniency. Kane should have fired her. Man alive, I went through 12 years of private Catholic education as a kid and I don’t think a one of my classrooms had that much god-bot crap hanging about. Silver does this in a public school and thinks she’s in the right? And this woman was a SCIENCE teacher? They might as well have hired David Barton to teach that class.

    • TnkAgn

      No, David Barton would be teaching a “history” class.

    • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

      My boyfriend attended Catholic school and reports that religion only came up in Religion class. Sometimes I wonder if students at a Catholic school would actually encounter less proselytizing than those in a public school in certain parts of the country!

      • Nox

        It would probably be assumed that they are already catholic. You’d probably not hear much that contradicts catholic doctrine in a catholic school. But they’re not going to try to convert you.

        Which is probably a part of why Silver didn’t just decide to get a job at a catholic school in the first place. She wanted to be a missionary instead of a teacher.

        • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

          Well, yes, but you’d probably hear less about religion overall. When I read these stories of how much Jesus is infused into some Bible Belt public schools, it seems like Catholic schools might actually be more secular, strange as it may seem.

          By the way, do we know Silver’s denomination? I can’t imagine that she’s Catholic. This type of missionary zealotry screams fundamentalism to me.

          • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

            Ah, I think I answered my own question. I found her Facebook page, and she’s super-evangelical fundie.

            https://www.facebook.com/joelle.silver

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Thanks Anna, now I have to cleanse my eyes with bleach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbwQ0Wy3ljQ

            • nakedanthropologist

              After spending my childhood in a Catholic school, it was my observation that bible quotes weren’t common – we didn’t have any posters or whatever. There was religion class every day, but that was about it. Officially, the RCC accepts evolution and the big bang theory, so you don’t have the same type of problems like you do with fundies – we had other problems ;-).

          • MelissaLitwin

            Certainly some “Christian” schools aren’t nearly as religious as some public schools. St. Mark’s is a private all-boys school. I think it’s Episcopalian, but I’m not sure. Anyways, its student population is over 20% Jewish (my dad went there, actually) and according to him, even in the 1970s religion pretty much just happened in religion class.

      • MichaelBrice

        I live in Calgary (Canada), years ago my ex had her kids enrolled in a catholic school as she believed the quality of education was superior to public school. It was, and trust me, there were a lot of non believers/non catholics who enrolled their kids in catholic schools. My ex was from Hong Kong and was a rice christian, as was her dad who ‘became catholic’ back in Shanghai in the 40′s.

        As Anna’s bf experienced, religion was in fact only taught in religion class, although (and bear in mind this is Canada) kids could actually opt out of religion classes, and the morning prayer.

  • TnkAgn

    As a retired public school teacher and 1st Amendment hobbyist, I first doubted that the bible-versed pad sticky notes on the desk should be included in the district’s allegations. If Ms. Silver were to keep a bible on her desk, for instance, which she consulted before and after school, and even during her prep time, that would probably pass muster with the courts.

    Then I considered that the whole purpose of sticky notes to a teacher is that they are used to make comments – which are passed on to students, fellow teachers, and parents. The bible verses on the sticky notes would have the effect of proselytizing anyone who gets one. So, the seemingly innocent sticky notes do pose legitimate evidence against Ms. Silver. The posters, the drawings, the “prayer request box” and all the rest are egregious violations of the Establishment Clause.

    I have seen too many instances where school districts, plainly in the right, drop disciplinary actions when confronted with law suits. I hope Cheektowaga Central S.D. has the backbone to follow through. Ultimately, Ms. Silver should be looking for work among the local parochial schools, where she is a much better fit. Sh has no business as a public school teacher.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Kudos! Well done! and Thank You! to the brave student who notified the FFRF. If he or she is still sitting in that class, he or she is having to bathe in that teacher’s resentment sprayed daily over all the students, just to get to him or her.

    You are the one who showed integrity. You are the one who took inspiration from one of posters. You stood true to what you believe, were courageous and were strong, and acted in love, since you were helping to protect the freedom of all the students.

    May your life go well.

    • Barbara

      Concurred! This student has a bright future ahead of him or her.

    • kkoto

      I suppose this is anonymous enough. Thank you, this made me cry (in a good way). I’ve been seeing a lot of hatred everywhere else and people complaining in my school. Nice to know someone besides my family thinks I did something good.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I can’t possibly tell you how much your action means to me. I wish I’d had more courage to take on a teacher when I was your age- and it’s not like I was shy about standing up to authority, I just didn’t pick my battles well.

        Be safe and know you’ve got a TON of people all over this country thanking you. Yea, a lot of people hating you, but that can’t be helped.

        • kkoto

          My dad is the reason I had the nerve to report her. He’s extremely supportive and encouraging and I’m glad to have him around. Had he not been there to nudge me in the right direction, I would have been too nervous to speak up.

          Thank you! I’ve noticed on a lot of the local news sources, the comments are shifting to ones in support of the school’s decision and the nut jobs that were attacking me are creeping into the shadows. I don’t know why so many people wanted to know my identity so badly, it’s not like investigating me would change Miss Silver’s posters.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            That’s probably because as word spreads, more support is coming from afar. Secularists are geographically diverse, but the internet erases that. The internet allows us to be a community and have our voice.

          • nakedanthropologist

            Have you read much about Jessica Ahlquist from Cranston, RI? She had a similar situation going on, and certain people wanted to know her identity so they could threaten her. Myself and many others think you’re doing an incredibly brave thing – that teacher was wrong, and its not easy to stand up to social pressure (especially when it involves looking the other way via Christian priveledge). Personally, I think you’re doing the right thing keeping your anonymity – safety first, and all that jazz. Let us know if there’s something we can do to help, okay?

          • RobertoTheChi

            You have a bright future ahead of you. You did the right thing. Remember the haters are most likely just as goofy as that teacher and aren’t worth your time.

      • freemage

        kkoto: Assuming you actually are the student in question (this is, sadly, the internet), kudos to you. Yes, there’s a lot of folks out here in the wider world who applaud your integrity and strength of character. As for that quick edit… good fnord. “Anti-vax”, in particular, is one of those things that should absolutely disqualify someone from being a science educator.

        • kkoto

          Understandable. I can’t talk about it at school, so being able to debate and talk to people over comments anonymously helps. Thank you!

          I agree. Considering there is so much out there saying it’s absolutely not true, you’d have to be incredibly dense to still believe it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xzong.pauli Xzong Pauli

        @kkoto:disqus hopin u r actually the student in question. What makes you think you been hated??? you r dead wrong. im sittin in the other part of the world, Australia, reading this and having a laugh with my mates about what kinda shit students have to put up with in America and trust me WE R ALL PROUD OF YOU! i bet if there was a poll, you’d get overwhelming approval for what you did and kudos. dont be ashamed mate, we r with you. you did the right thing. think bout it, ppl like you paved the way for others and you believe THAT. good on ya.. keep it up!

      • MelissaLitwin

        Go you, kkoto! Good job on standing up for what’s right and constitutional.

      • Guesty Guest

        You stood up for what’s right. Most people don’t, even–or especially–when they know what needs to be done. That right there sets you head and shoulders above the pack and is a testament to the quality of your character.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001984873204 Kathleen Flick

        You’ve got moxie. Gumption. Courage. B*lls. A spine. The world needs more people like you :-).

        Sometimes that’s a lonely road. Continue to be strong.

      • nakedanthropologist

        You are doing great. Kudos and much love to you!!!!

      • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

        You are doing a great service to your community. And most likely there are, and have been, many students in your school who also were made to feel uncomfortable by the illegal proselytising but were afraid to say anything. People like you have a ripple effect for the better.

      • RobertoTheChi

        I know it’s easier said than done, but hold your head high and know that you did the right thing. Remember those people who are going crazy over this are people who have imaginary friends and aren’t worth your time. I can only hope my child is as brave as you are when she grows up. Stay strong and see how much support you have here and elsewhere.

        This teacher is a nutter. She should not be teaching in a public school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Andi.Aicha.Poole Amanda Rose

    She’s so hell bent on her supposed freedom’s, she’s forgetting about the childrens freedom from her religion. Hope this lawsuit dies in the first round of hearings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1370311919 Daniela Gonzalez

    Why is this person teaching biology? So many other fields would kill to have an overarching theory. Psychology wishes; anthropology wishes. Not to disparage those two great fields, but the only grand theory they have pawns off of biology’s evolutionary theory. You can’t have people like this teaching biology!

  • fridaysmyday

    There is no case here, she will lose, what a waste of time. She didn’t even sound confident when the reporter was interviewing her.

  • Greg G.

    She should check out the Freshwater case in Mount Vernon, Ohio to see if she wants to be a martyr that badly. The Panda’s Thumb has covered the case from the beginning.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    Interesting that this happened in New York, not the Bible Belt. The area seems to be near Buffalo. Just from a brief look at the demographics on City Data, it seems an unlikely place for such an evangelical teacher. With 74% of residents reporting a religious affiliation, 77% of those are Catholic. Only 6% are members of evangelical churches.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      In the Bible belt, the overreach would be more common, but more rarely trigger a reaction. In upstate NY, the rarity of such teachers is counterbalanced by the likelihood of the overreach triggering of response — and eventually making the news.

      There’s more than a few Catholics around who remember the historical problems that the Catholics have had with protestant overreach in public education, make the challenge of the teacher’s misbehavior less surprising. Jewish could be another demographic possibility; they’re a much smaller minority, but almost universally disapproving of Christian overreach in schools. And of course, the 26% apparently unaffiliated and the large fraction of such that tend to be secularist would seem to imply a significant chance there.

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        Oh, yes, I totally agree. The less evangelical the environment, the more likely that such abuses will be brought to light. I live in a county with similar demographics, although mine is even less affiliated (44%) and more politically liberal, but it contains about the same percentage of Catholics. There’s no way a teacher could ever get away with something like that here.

    • ReadsInTrees

      I visited the Bible Belt once since coming out as an atheist. I was weirded out enough just by seeing the Ten Commandments on the wall of a Dairy Queen. I’m glad I didn’t visit any schools…

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        Wow, Dairy Queen? I can just imagine what might be going on in local schools. Where I live, you see religious messages on people’s cars and in front of churches. And you can find religious merchandise for sale in stores like Hallmark. But other than that, things are pretty secular.

        • ReadsInTrees

          Me too. I’m in Maine, and mostly it’s just on cars, church signs, online commenters, and merchandise…On the wall of Dairy Queen was pretty strange. That was North Carolina, in case you want to know where to avoid.

  • grrbear

    The TV news report was noticeably biased in the teacher’s favor, playing a quote from the AFLC but nothing from Freedom From Religion, and not putting the story in its proper context but portraying the school as a victim of interest groups’ lawsuits.

    • beentheremyself

      our family was portrayed poorly in the media this past fall when we called on the aclu to get youth ministers removed from school cafeterias in our district. quotes were taken out of context, as was how we found out about the ministers presence in the first place. that seems to be the way the media works…unfortunately. kudos to the kid & family that took this on this science teacher & her posters….they did the right thing when so many were either oblivious or unwilling.

  • The word of GOD

    What’s wrong with trying to have God a part of schools?? God preaches good morals and lifts people up with His light. All those who don’t believe in God will not be forgiven for their sins… they will be cast down to the fiery pits of Hell. You want your children to rot in the fire?? If they take up the mantle of God they will be forgiven. For my fellow Christians, if you agree with me please visit my page: People Against Sin and Evil on facebook. No gays, blacks, mexicans allowed on their please.

    • Antinomian

      Prove your little god exists, even littler man. Just one shred of physical evidence.
      Have him go to a VA Hospital and heal the amputation on at least one deserving veteran. This veteran can even be caucasion and a “true christian” like you.

      As for your bigotry…. Well everyone knows, you can’t fix the stupid.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Ah, ain’t Poe’s Law a wonderful thing… really need a snark tag here, apparently…

        • Paul Julian Gould

          You do realize, don’t you, what Landover Baptist is about, don’t you? Let’s not be as humorless as those that the Landover (and Betty Bowers) poke in the eye…

        • Antinomian

          Go to his little website and find some snark. Then get back to me…

          • Paul Julian Gould

            If that site’s for real, then I do owe you an apology… I glanced through it and pretty much saw what I’d expect on Landover’s site (which is a spoof on things like this)… if that crap on his page is for real, then he’s a glaring example of why I don’t do Facebook any longer.

          • Paul Julian Gould

            I’ve seen comments on his page that remind me very much of the right-wingers that think the character Stephen Colbert plays on his show is “one of them…” and the Landover site plays it very straight… I’m sure there are real people like those which it spoofs… I really, really do hope this fool’s page is like that… if not, this country’s in worse shape than I think it is… and that’s saying something…

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Re: “God preaches good morals and lifts people up with His light.”

      Really? Are you sure? I can think of lots of things God has done which are not morally good and are not examples of “light.” A very small sampling:

      Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (1 Samuel 15:3)

      So they made war against Midian, just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed every male…. And Moses said to them, “Have you spared all the women? … Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. (Numbers 31:7-18)

      How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock. (Psalm 137:9)

      Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Let’s not get so outraged (rightfully so, I’ll admit) that we miss the sarcasm and snark in our anger… a glance at the page will give you a clue…

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          Sorry, didn’t check. I usually do but didn’t this time. Woops.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      You really can’t argue with someone who attends Landover Baptist Church.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        At least someone here got the joke…

    • Carmelita Spats

      You crack me up…I want to join your church…I’m Mexican of German descent…Is that ok? You know…WHITE Mexican…Here’s a creepy Jesus that can be worshiped at your Landoverian outpost…He’s got chest hair!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      “No gays, blacks, mexicans allowed on their please.”

      Nice to know in advance — I’ll be sure to tell all decent folks to stay the hell away from you.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Wow… you obviously missed the snark… Before you get so outraged… google Landover Baptist and Betty Bowers…

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Eh, so I did.

          • Paul Julian Gould

            We all have our hot-button issues (got quite a few of my own, I assure you)… it’s easy to react, and I’m guilty of such…

    • TheBlackCat13

      The Poe is strong in this one…

  • kaydenpat

    Good for those students who spoke out against Silver’s evangelical activism in the classroom. Totally inappropriate and hopefully her case will be dismissed (and not settled).

    Would the American Freedom Law Center defend a Muslim teacher who engaged in similar conduct to Ms. Silver? Of course not. In the world of Christianists, the First Amendment is only for Christians.

  • Jim

    As an American, she should keep her views to herself. This is her workplace, not her house, some things you can’t mix.

  • Oj

    Atheist and unbelieve is what grants people the right to do wrong without inhibitions, but I can tell you that at least this teacher is encouraging Her Kids with The truth of God and Christianity, over the emptyness of the unbielievers who wants freedom of religion, but you are in a Christian country, founded by Cristian people who where the founding fathers of our nation, If you don’t believe that’s your problem, but I think this generation needs more of God than this new ‘freedom’ that is false in every single way, the mos free you think you are, actually brings forth your true bondage from things that you don’t even know off, but there’s one way, one truth and one life and that is Jesus, know the truth and it will make you free, God Bless You all, and the doors of heaven are open if you decide to choose your ways of believing and living

    • Baby_Raptor

      “As the United States is not in any way founded on the Christian religion…”

      That is in the Constitution. The truth WILL set you free, but only if you have the IQ and balls required to actually believe it. If you’re too scared of anything different than you to actually try, then sit back and shut up. Nobody wants you here.

      Keep your god to yourself.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Er, no. Treaty of Tripolli

        • Baby_Raptor

          Which is part of the Constitution. All Treaties are. Your point?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            I have to admit that was a new concept to me. So I’ve been looking around, and I don’t see anything that says treaties are ‘part of the Constitution’. I do see that the ‘Treaty Clause’ says

            [The President] shall have Power, by and with Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…

            But the measures required to amend the Constitution are quite a bit more strict, including the approval of 3/4 of the states.

            A treaty is binding legislation in as much as it might affect US citizens, but it’s not “part of the Constitution” from what I can tell (and my US civics is self taught, I’d be happy to be corrected with a citation).

    • MelissaLitwin

      Heehee, nice one! It goes well with the Landover Church above.

      Oh wait, you’re actually serious. You’re not a Poe. In that case, I suggest you look up “doublethink” and try again on why freedom is slavery, slavery is freedom, and Christianity is the One True Way except every Christian does it differently.

      • nakedanthropologist

        We’ve always been at war with East Asia, don’t cha know.

    • Paul Julian Gould

      Hmmm… nope… Bless you, too, and may you have your eyes opened to the fact that there are plenty of moral people that recognize no supernatural… and plenty such as myself that do, but see the world differently from you… morality needs no supernatural being, and for those such as myself, morality just is… and the supernatural is a side issue.

      • nakedanthropologist

        Right on.

    • nakedanthropologist

      Yes, yes. That’s right. May the thousand-armed heavenly Kannon bless you too. Sigh.

    • RobertoTheChi

      I have my fingers crossed that you’re a Poe. Either that or you’re a goddamn nut…

    • ReadsInTrees

      It was founded by white people and is mostly populated by white people…..would you say then that it is a white country and only white people have a voice?

  • DougI

    Just another case of Christians demanding special rights and treatment otherwise they’ll cry ‘persecution’.

  • http://twitter.com/JeremiahBailey Jeremiah Bailey

    I hope she isn’t a biology teacher.

  • beau_quilter

    In fighting to “protect her rights” with a lawsuit, she apparently forgot that God explicitly told her, “I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a good day.””

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      But God SENT her the AFLC!

      (No, I’m not serious.)

  • http://twitter.com/Balstrome Mike de Fleuriot

    Can you imagine what the response would have been like if Silver were
    Muslim, with Koran verses lining her walls? Or an atheist, with
    quotations from Christopher Hitchens greeting students each day?

    It might pay us to have an atheist teacher do that and fight it like a Christian would. Get the FFRF involved to stop this atheist teacher from doing this. Later this could be used as an example why religious views should not be introduced in a classroom. It would be a bonus I think for FFRF and atheism in general. And yes, the religious would believe it, because they are that way.

    • allein

      That would be an interesting experiment..

  • dan

    And…she’s teaching… science!!! When I taught science my room was too full of bones and aquariums for this crap or the space filling mundane motivational posters i see in so many class rooms. have the kids make posters and 3-D displays, much more motivational.

    • ReadsInTrees

      Makes me wonder if some Christians become science teachers specifically to infiltrate the field and spread their anti-science around.

  • SengaRich

    Check out the website for Ms. Silver’s attorneys! From the webpages of the ‘American Freedom Law Center’ -

    “For good or ill, the battle for America’s soul is being waged in the courtrooms across America, pressed forward by secular progressives and sharia-advocating Muslim Brotherhood interests.”
    “AFLC engages the enemy with offensive ‘lawfare’ to defend our national sovereignty and to fight stealth jihad in all of its forms.”

    Seriously? These are the principles of her legal representation?

    Okay it seems Ms. Silver is seeking celebrity and the AFLC is using her and this unwinnable lawsuit as a means to generate some business.

  • TheCraftyTrilobite

    This teacher is part of a large campaign using lawsuits to shove Bible Clubs into curricula. See http://www.thegoodnewsclub.com/ .

  • LoudGuitr

    I would hope that the judge refused to hear the case. Specious litigation and obviously in violation. Too bad she won’t bear the district’s legal bill.


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