The Christian Sermon That Public School Students Were Forced to Listen To

Last week, we found out that members of Pinelake Baptist Church in Mississippi seemingly extended the boundaries of their church to Northwest Rankin High School, where they hosted a mandatory assembly all about how students need to accept Jesus in their lives.

After not receiving a reply from administrators, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center has filed a lawsuit against the district and the school’s principal Charles Frazier.

Even more fascinating is the plaintiff: M.B. is only 16, a junior at the high school. Because she can’t file the lawsuit herself, her 18-year-old friend Alexis Smith, a member of the AHA, is helping her out.

I don’t know if you normally read lawsuits, but this is one you want to check out (PDF). It goes into incredible detail about what happened at this assembly. First, they showed a video in which young men talked about how Jesus saved them from their “troubled lives” (one liked pornography!)

And then, on stage, came the church representative to talk to the kids. The transcript of his speech is documented in the lawsuit:

“Each one of us has a story and the story that you guys heard from those guys up there [in the video] is where they used to put their hope in… the first one was in his grandfather. For some of them it was a relationship with a girl or just a friend. For some of them it was maybe it was alcohol or drugs. And that’s where they found hope. But the fact is every single one of those guys that shared there story told you that they came up empty. Because they were broken and because these things are material and they run out and they are of this world.

So maybe many of you struggle with the same things you come from a home in which your parents divorced at an early age… you have a scar in your life and you begin to try to fill it with something of this world and it ran out, it didn’t satisfy you and so you continue to search and you continue to look and it became a greater problem. We are here today to tell you where we find our hope. We find our hope in Jesus Christ.

As I say that I know some of you go, ‘Yeah I know who Jesus is and I’m not really… I’m not about that life.’ And we know it is not cool for us to stand up here and tell you that we follow Jesus. We understand that. But that’s okay. Because we care about you so much that there is no way that we could graduate from high school and have a hope that we believe is for our eternity and not share it with you guys. How selfish of us would that be. That we know there is a life changing hope out there and we not share it with you.

Some of you may not know who Jesus is and say ‘who is this Jesus?’ Jesus was God’s son and he came to earth over 2,000 years ago and for 33 years he walked the earth. He lived a perfect life. Something that no one else has done. He lived a perfect life. See we all in our past, we all have messed up. We’ve all failed. And it is because of this that our relationship with God is [unclear]… there was a gap between us and God because God is perfect and human is not. Then Jesus came knowing the end was in mind and his ultimate purpose to come to earth was to die. Not a normal death. But a death for each and every one of you and a death for me. That was his purpose. See, before Jesus came, innocent blood had to be shed for our sins. There had to be an animal that was sacrificed to atone for our sin. There had to be innocent blood. So Jesus came and he was the innocent blood because he lived a perfect life. He was that innocent blood. See the last few years of Jesus’ life he traveled from region to region and country to country and he had 12 disciples that followed him everywhere. And he talked about the hope he was bringing.

And he did many signs of miracles, he made the… [unclear], the blind could see, the deaf could hear, he would cast out evil demons, he would drive them out. But the people of that day dissed [unclear] who he was even though he did all these things, they still dissed [unclear] who he was because they thought Jesus was coming as an earthly king. They thought he was coming to reign here. And be glorified here. But that is not what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to be last. When he was on earth Jesus came to be last… And so even though Jesus was perfect he was condemned as a man that ought to die. And he was beaten, he was spit on and he was mopped and he was whipped and he was he was nailed to the cross. And when he was nailed to the cross [for] your sins, all your past failures, all your present failures, all your future failures, all my failures were nailed to the cross with Jesus. Then he died. But, see, our hope is not in the death of Jesus. That’s not where we find hope. But our hope comes three days later when on that Sunday morning the disciples… went to the tomb where Jesus was. They found that the stone had been rolled away and in its place was the angel of the Lord and the Angel Lord said he is not here for he has risen. Our hope is in the life that Jesus offers. Because he defeated sin. He defeated death. And he is victorious. And Jesus offers the same life to you, forgiveness, grace, love, mercy and hope for each and every one of us… Before Jesus we were dead in our sin. But Jesus came to give us life. He came to bridge the gap. He laid down his life and the gap between us and God so that through him we may have life abundantly. As Christians God calls us to more than just a Sunday life… More than just saying I believe in Jesus but not acting like it… us guys will tell you we’re not perfect we don’t claim to be and we don’t want to be because if we were perfectwe wouldn’t be Jesus. We still struggle just like all of you. Though we try on a daily basis to have a relationship with God. That’s what he calls us to… a daily relationship with God. In which we… learn more value and try to live a life that exemplifies that. But we still mess up… but that’s the beauty of the gospel is that we are not who we used to be, our identity is not who we used to be, it’s not in our previous failures, it’s in Christ. As a Christian our identity is in Christ and what he came to do for us.

And then he led everyone in prayer. Because, you know, the sermon wasn’t enough.

This was an assembly. A public school assembly. And students weren’t allowed to leave. Seniors, juniors, and sophomores were subject to it (the freshmen assembly was postponed).

Among other things, the AHA is requesting that the courts pronounce that this assembly was a Constitutional violation and prohibit Pinelake Baptist Church from ever presenting at any public school ever again.

And when they win the case, I hope M.B. and Alexis get honored for bringing this situation to the public’s attention. Who knows how many more assemblies like this are going on because students have no idea how illegal they are? These students are heroes already but they’ll deserve even more recognition after this is all over.

(image via Shutterstock)

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.

  • TheG

    The problem is not with the church that did the prostletyzing presentation. This is pretty vanilla compared to what ha come up with in the past.

    The big, big problem here is how many students just sat there and how many parents read this and say, “So what? Why is this a problem.”

  • ortcutt

    There is something really wrong with The South.

    • http://twitter.com/the_final_pope Ben Roy

      It’s not just in the south, Pennsylvania is currently trying to do away with lawsuits filed using pseudonyms. They are doing this in a direct response to the FFRF and their lawsuits in the state.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

        That legislation, if it passes, will have some really ironic outcomes especially when one of the signers of the bill wants to file a personal lawsuit and wants to remain anonymous. I would love to be there when he realizes how he frakked himself.

      • ortcutt

        There are Establishment Clause violations all over the country, but they are not usually this brazen and this far over the line. I grew up in Pennsylvania and there were enough Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, etc… that our school district wouldn’t think of inviting a Baptist Church in to proselytize. The Southern Protestant monoculture is perverse and leads to these kinds of problems.

        • Leigha7

          I’m from Pennsylvania. My high school had an assembly where two bodybuilders demonstrated how strong they were, then ended with a big speech along the lines of, “But do you know what makes us really strong? Our faith in God.” Then they gave us all flyers inviting us to a presentation at a local church later that week.

          That’s not the same as a flat-out sermon, but it’s still inappropriate. It was also super awkward, because we’d been led to believe it was just a fun assembly, and it ended up being about Christianity.

          In retrospect, I wish I’d said something, but it didn’t really occur to me at the time that I could.

    • onamission5

      Maybe, but I live in the south and I’ll say this: When such an assembly took place last year at our city middle school, there was enough backlash from students, staff and parents that the principal of that school got fired (and now our new principal is *awesome*) along with about six of the teachers. When a christian group handed out new testaments at one of the county schools with staff blessing, a pagan mom pressed to be able to pass out her religious materials, too, and much to the chagrin of the fundies, she won.

      So, yes, the sense of christian entitlement is strong here, but not IME that much stronger than anywhere else christianity and conservativism combine to make a political and social majority. I had similar problems growing up in rural Oregon which is about as far from the south as one can be. Those bodybuilders for jesus guys coming to my middle school, a math teacher who used to write bible verses on the blackboard and have us “voluntarily” memorize them for “extra credit.”

      • ortcutt

        I think it’s a Protestant monoculture problem. The South just has it the worst.

      • http://www.facebook.com/robwbright Rob Bright

        “When a christian group handed out new testaments at one of the county schools with staff blessing, a pagan mom pressed to be able to pass out her religious materials, too, and much to the chagrin of the fundies, she won.”

        Fine by me. Pagans are what, about .2% of the US population? No one’s buying what they’re selling. Generally speaking, that means they’re not selling anything that makes sense or has value. People don’t buy iPads because they’re useless, do they?

        I’m not afraid of anyone learning about other religions, including atheism – heck, my pastor encourages members to study the Koran and whatever other books the members might be interested in. One ought to actually seek for truth rather than burying their head in the sand.

        You (meaning most here), on the other hand, are quite afraid of people learning about Christianity. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be so vehement about your opposition to it and obsessed with it.

        You see, I believe in choice and freedom in religion. As does God. In spite of the (incorrect) Calvinist view, God wants volunteers, not automatons. To quote the Bible, “Choose you this day whom you will serve”.

        • Camorris

          So, I assume you approve of the school’s action in mandating this assembly? Do you advocate a reoccurrence?
          And if the Calvinist view is incorrect, what IS God’s sanctioned view?

        • sideshow billybob

          No one may necessarily be buying what the pagans are selling, but they get equal time to sell it, same as the bible pushers. If they don’t get the same treatment, then NO ONE gets to push they ideological pamphlets in there. For someone who believes in choice, you should have been smart enough to realize it before you posted.

        • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

          I don’t think any of us object to teaching people about religion and all the crazy stuff people believe. It’s when it is taught as though it is true that it bothers us.

          The bible is an absurd book full of atrocities. The god of the bible is a vengeful and mean-spirited fairytale, not worth worship at all. Teaching this as truth is child-abuse.

          • Houndentenor

            Absolutely. There’s no way to teach history or literature without learning about various religions and their practices. that is, of course, not an endorsement of any one over any other (unless the teacher wants to present it that way).

        • Leiningen’s Ants

          OF COURSE WE’RE AFRAID OF PEOPLE LEARNING ABOUT CHRISTIANITY RELIGION! It creates people like you! You’re clearly erudite, you have an intelligent head on your shoulders, but you’re stumbling through life with a blindfold on, believing that every successful step you take is a sign that you’re loved and every knee-jarring stagger is a sign that you’re unworthy!

          You don’t deserve to live like that! You’re a human being, unique and entirely your own! You shouldn’t NEED to memorize quotes from a book, you should be able to paraphrase! YOU’RE TOO OLD TO BELIEVE IN GOD! Why don’t you stop worrying about the naughty and nice list, rip off that blindfold, and just look around for a moment. Bet you never thought, smelling the roses with a blindfold, that they could also look as beautiful as they smell. And that’s only the metaphorical beginning.

          As your life stands, you have everything to die for and one thing to live for: worship until death. The reason you are happy with that is because you have been conditioned to equate death with life. And when, NOT IF, because I’m giving you your due credit, you start to read things that fall outside of your comfort zone, and start to pull out Jenga block after Jenga block, that high and holy pedestal you’ve placed yourself on will crumble. You’ll be just as human as the rest of us. And guess what. Our warm welcome will make any churches “warm welcome” seem like a day at the south pole.

        • Leiningen’s Ants

          By the way, atheism is a religion like bald is a haircut. Sorry Rob, you aren’t like us at all, even if you’d like to be.

        • baal

          argumentum ad populum…
          It’s known as a fallacy for a reason.
          I invite you to take a trip to India and visit a few Hindu shrines.
          So god is actually bhrama?

        • Jitterbits

          Yeah, God wants freedom of religion. That’s why the first commandments exist. And it must be why there are so many times that God tells his people to slaughter those who had different gods. That’s why Jezebel has one of the most blemished names ever, even though she faced death valiantly.

          We aren’t scared pf Christianity. Stop stroking your ego. It just affects us more often than all the other religions combined and, because there is a Christian majority, you guys often forget that anyone else besides you exists (in a practical sense, not literal sense obviously)

    • Houndentenor

      these things do happen outside the south. Usually in places where on particular denomination is dominant. the minority religions or denominations are usually too afraid to make waves so they usually get away with it.

  • Kengi

    Gotta love the way the school is defending it. Because the Church group was invited by students, it was OK to use class time and force all students to attend the assembly.

    The “It wasn’t us it was the students!” defense is being stretched beyond all reason in an effort to turn public schools into church schools.

    • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

      Agreed. It is so pathetic that even if you accept the argument it still fails. Let’s play along and see how.
      The students invited them: ok, I’ll go along with that; the students can invite whomever they want. I’ll even allow the stretch that the school must honor the students request even if it violates the constitution.
      Even allowing all this the argument falls apart: in no conceivable way do the students have the power or authority to make attendance compulsory. It was the administration that did that and it was staff, not students, who refused to allow students to leave.

    • Houndentenor

      If the student led group had invited him to speak at their after school meeting, this wouldn’t be an issue. It’s that it was mandatory that causes the problem.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Would love for them to come to Maine and try this shit.

  • Rain

    He lived a perfect life. Something that no one else has done. He lived a perfect life.

    “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    So presumably God forsake Jesus since he couldn’t have been wrong about anything. *yawn*

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

    Some of you may not know who Jesus is and say ‘who is this Jesus?’

    riiiight. in MS today, there are some kids who’ve never heard of “this jesus.” give me a break.

    more xtian exceptionalism. “we’re so persecuted, we haven’t been allowed to blanket the airwaves 24/7 and fill every book you read and every computer page with information about Jeebus. that’s why we’re here today, to reach that huge majority of you raised in total darkness about him!”

    pathetic.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      As far as I can remember their doctrine so far stated that Jeebus would return “when the word of gawd” reached all mankind. Unless the Conquistadors missed some extremely remote indigenous South American tribe, I’m thinking he ain’t comin’.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Some of you may not know who Jesus is and say ‘who is this Jesus?’ I don’t know why but The Talking Heads: ‘Once in a Lifetime’ popped into my brain

      • allein

        Damn you.

        • baal

          Same as it ever was

          • http://www.facebook.com/janice.brouwer Janice Brouwer

            Ha…good answer!

    • http://www.facebook.com/robwbright Rob Bright

      Poor thing… have you been forcibly prevented from sharing your atheism on the airwaves and in books? I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for you.

      Oh, wait – no one actually gets too worked up about atheists, do they? You’re such a small minority that no one takes you seriously.FN1 That’s what’s really bothering you, isn’t it?

      FN1 According to The World Factbook atheists were an estimated 2.01% of the world population in 2010.

      Wait. This is weird. Based on an amazon.com search, it seems there ARE actually books written by atheists – so you apparently aren’t being forcibly prevented from sharing your beliefs (or lack thereof). There just aren’t as many as there are books about the various gods. Hmm…

      Jealous much? You realize that books that SELL are the ones that get published, don’t you? Painful, isn’t it. A bit pathetic, too.

      Your personal religion of claiming that you don’t have one manages to convince barely 2% of the population, yet you’re absolutely convinced that you’re the ones who are correct. Rather a bit of exceptionalism on your own part, isn’t it?

      • sideshow billybob

        And where did you get your not-so-Bright idea that the Christian majority gets to run roughshod over the Constitution? Proselytizing fools come into a public school and force their religion on kids whether they like it or not, the law of the nation be damned. THERE’S where the bit about exceptionalism comes in. It doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with books or airwaves, both of which can be easily ignored. Now go be stupid somewhere else.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        @facebook-534555924:disqus
        Nice jumble of ignorance you dropped on us.

        1. The post you responded to was pointing out how Christians often feel persecuted if they are not allowed to proselytize all over constantly. You missed this point and responded about atheist books. Nice.

        2. Your numbers for who does not believe theist bullshit are way off.

        Please, continue on your ignorant way. Don’t question anything. Believe only what you are told. Toodles.

      • DavidMHart

        Do you understand the difference between (on the one hand) promoting ones views in public, paid for purely out of one’s own resources, as an individual in the free marketplace of ideas, and (on the other hand) expecting to be able to proselytise to a captive audience, at the taxpayers’ expense, in a manner which blatantly violates the constitutional prohibition on the Government (and, by
        extension, any employees of the government when acting in that capacity) promoting one religion over another, or over non-religion?

        Do you at least realise that there is a difference, even if it can sometimes be hard to draw the line?

        Also,

        Your personal religion of claiming that you don’t have one manages to convince barely 2% of the population

        Seriously. A religion, as the word is ordinarily used, means a system of beliefs and practices based on the assumption that there are supernatural forces active in the universe, typically a god or gods, that it is worth our while trying to praise, propitiate or otherwise communicate with.

        Someone who rejects those premises is not religious by the ordinary definition of religion; you can call atheism a religion only if you’re prepared to radically stretch the definition of religion (and such stretching would make almost any support or non-support of any idea a ‘religion’ – if non-belief in gods is a religion, so is ‘not supporting the Republican party’, or ‘not being a baseball fan’).

        As for the 2% of the population thing, you do realise that not everyone who doesn’t believe in any gods is going to be comfortable labelling themselves with the A-word in a society where there is often considerable social stigma for doing so? The number of people who are not religious is far higher than the number who are prepared to label themselves atheists. But more generally, the point is that reality is not determined by majority vote. You don’t have to go all that far back in history to find a
        time when the percentage of the population that didn’t believe in witchcraft would have been comparably low. And no matter what gods you believe in, you don’t have to search very hard in the world to find societies where almost everyone rejects your particular gods, although they may believe in other gods that you reject. They can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong.

        No, what matters is the evidence in favour of gods, and since no religious person has yet been able to come up with compelling evidence that their particular gods, or any gods at all, actually exist, you don’t get to point to the people who are not buying your claims and say that because we are relatively few, you must therefore be right. Come back when you have produced evidence that would stand up in an impartial court of law that your gods exist, and then we’ll talk.

      • http://www.facebook.com/tuibguy Mike Haubrich

        WWJD? Why, go to an atheist blog and sneer. That’s would J would D.

      • Carmelita Spats

        1. And when you look up silly Christian books in a library
        catalog, they are shelved alongside MYTHOLOGY in the 200 Dewey range…Depending on the size of the 200 collection in a given library, Thor and Jesus might end up touching spines on the shelf which would lead to “icky” gay god sex…Yes? Books about the afterlife, psychics, crank medicine, Christianity, the paranormal, the Rapture, alien encounters, Bigfoot,
        ghosts, vampires and Miss Chloe’s predictions SELL. A bit pathetic, isn’t it? The most popular series in my local public library (Texas) is the creepy Christoholic “Left Behind Series” popularized by Fundamngelical Kirk “Kook” Cameron in that B-grade, mad, maudlin, and medicated flick he made some years ago.
        2. Nonbelievers are taken seriously. Check and tally how
        many Christian apologists are writing books against “atheism”,
        devoting entire sermons to “the evils of atheism”, wringing their
        hands because of “atheism”, worrying about the end of faith and
        setting sights on the misery of the Third World as the final breeding ground for the cult. When was the last time William Lane Craig debated a Scientologist or even a Calvinist? He debates….*gasp*….atheists.
        3. I am an agnostic atheist and I never say that “I am correct”. I state that saying “I DON’T KNOW” when you don’t know is perfectly
        okay…Saying “I don’t know”, therefore “God” is NEVER okay.

      • fentwin

        Rob Bright? Your surname seems oxymoronic.

      • RobMcCune

        Oh, wait – no one actually gets too worked up about atheists, do they?

        You do, apparently.

        • LoveAll

          I do, I will admit it. The reason is simple enough, a massively number of people are being deceive. The reason people don’t want to believe in an the God it’s because, you won’t be able to do all the activities that are classified as sin. Sex, alcohol and puff in all your the pride in the world because you THINK you have no one to respond to. Atheist are particular because they deceive themselves. Honestly a lot of people are smart and intelligent enough to realize the truth and choose sides God or not. And the rest omit their choice and leave it to the others and their own desires to choose for them.

          • David S.

            Most atheists don’t mind the Christians who don’t believe in sex. It’s not like those Christian groups are around long; most groups that believe the laity should be chaste disappear in a generation. Alcohol is pretty rich coming from someone whose prophet started his ministry by turning water into wine. I suspect that atheists aren’t any heavier drinkers then Christians, over all.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Really, with a message like that you picked the name LoveAll? The irony, it burns …

            I think sex isn’t a sin. I think alcohol isn’t a sin. Hell, I was raised Jewish- we have a holiday in which we are commanded to celebrate by dressing up, getting drunk, and eating cookies! I’m certainly not an atheist because I’m prideful: I am instead humbled by the uncountable number of random coincidences that led to life, intelligent life, and me. I certainly am not prideful enough to think that the All-Knowing Creator of the Universe gives a shit about insignificant, short-lived lifeforms on one solitary planet on the outskirts of a medium-large galaxy at the back end of the universe.

          • http://www.facebook.com/janice.brouwer Janice Brouwer

            “Atheist are particular because they deceive themselves” …Methinks thou dost protest too much…

          • Ann Onymous

            I personally am an atheist, and I don’t plan on ever smoking or doing drugs because they impair my mental and physical faculties (and also because I’ve seen my mom tipsy and I don’t ever want to feel that way), and as I’m only 13 I haven’t made a final decision about sex yet, but I certainly won’t be having any till I’m 18, and certainly not unless I’m in a committed, long-term relationship with another person.
            Also:

      • Rain

        Your personal religion of claiming that you don’t have one

        So if people don’t have a religion and don’t claim that they don’t have a religion, then they don’t have a religion. But when they start claiming they don’t have a religion, then they have a religion. Makes sense!

      • Houndentenor

        the problem here isn’t just an atheist one. Even if there were no children or parents at this school who were atheists, I’m pretty sure there were more than a few who practice a brand of Christianity different from this pastor’s and don’t appreciate their children being told they have to believe something different than they are being taught at home and at their own church. The school has no right to take sides, not just in theists over nontheists, or even one religion over another, but one kind of Christian over another.

        • ecolt

          I thought of that, too. The one bit where he talked about pre-Christian animal sacrifice atoning for sins but requiring innocent blood really stood out, since I know some sects basically just believe that everyone before Jesus was condemned (or at least sat in Limbo). I can imagine some parents getting pretty upset about stuff like that, even if they are practicing Christians.

      • Antinomian

        ” @Rob Bright -Oh, wait – no one actually gets too worked up about atheists, do they? You’re such a small minority that no one takes you seriously.FN1 That’s what’s really bothering you, isn’t it?

        FN1 According to The World Factbook atheists were an estimated 2.01% of the world population in 2010.”

        There was a time when you were in the minority about two thousand years ago. They had lions. Not enough lions apparently. Or the lions only ate the smart christians and all we have left are the dumb ones with a natual gift of non-sequiturs.

      • Niall Hosking

        You are also missing the large swathes of US/world population that don’t believe in the Christian god – for instance the other Abrahamics, and Hindus, Sikhs, etc. Are they likely to be ok with “Praise Jeebus!” as well?

    • Rain

      riiiight. in MS today, there are some kids who’ve never heard of “this jesus.” give me a break.

      I think it’s part of their Bible thing where they pretend like they’re told to preach the Gospel to people that never heard it. So they preach the Gospel and pretend like nobody ever heard it. Otherwise they wouldn’t be fulfilling their pretend Bible duties.

    • Houndentenor

      This is a common meme and has been for at least 40 years. I heard it when I was a kid: a Christian (by Christian they mean a specific kind of fundamentalist of course) child goes to a schoolmate’s house to play and discovers that they’ve never heard of Jesus or seen a Bible before. It’s ridiculous but they believe this crap to be true.

  • cipher

    there was a gap between us and God because God is perfect and human is not

    “And that’s why we deserve to be tortured for eternity!”

    And it makes perfect sense to them. Fucking psychopaths.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      But He loves you! -George Carlin

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

        He loves you, and He needs money!

  • McAtheist

    See, before Jesus came, innocent blood had to be shed for our sins. There had to be an animal that was sacrificed to atone for our sin. There had to be innocent blood. So Jesus came and he was the innocent blood because he lived a perfect life. He was that innocent blood.

    Does PETA know this? Could JC be their new spokesguy? And if all animals (including humankind) were vegetarian/vegan before the ‘fall’. why hasn’t PETA embraced fundamentalist christianity as a way to promote their agenda? Are they missing a huge opportunity here?

    • LoveAll

      Either it was the animal or it was you.

      • allein

        Why is blood required at all?

        • baal

          Magic.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Jesus you’re creepy.

  • http://twitter.com/the_final_pope Ben Roy

    Since when is the playground argument “wasn’t me, it was them” become a viable defense when evidence points the finger directly at the school.
    If this was truly student organized, then why were students forced to be there? I can’t remember ever being forced to go to a student organized event, but I remember plenty of school ran events I had no choice in going to.

    • onamission5

      THIS.
      At my old high school, student led events were optional, school endorsed events were mandatory. That is how people who didn’t play chess managed to avoid being forced to join the chess club, and also the reason why SADD wasn’t allowed to organize a school-wide assembly even after we lost multiple students to drunk driving accidents in five years. We could: hand out fliers inviting fellow students to come to our meetings. We could not: get the school to help us force them to show up.

  • JohnTheNotBaptist

    Sadly, for every rational person that honors the plaintiffs, they will probably get a dozen death threats from lunatic Xtians …

  • JET

    Filing these lawsuits is the best way to bring violations to light. But having them filed by the students who are being harmed is even better. Not only will school districts be told to knock it off, but the students themselves will realize that they have power over the quality of their educations. I’d be willing to bet that there were other students in the “audience” who were just as offended as M.B. but not as courageous. Successes will breed more successes. Remember the massive failures of D.A.R.E. when students realized they were being lied to. I hope that secular organizations continue to get behind these students with encouragement and financial support.

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

      OMCC, DARE was just fucking ridiculous.

  • Beau in Tulsa

    I’d like to see the video of this assembly. Has it been posted anywhere yet?

  • Jean1

    It seems arrogant to me to proselytize to students who may hold very different views. I keep thinking of the Muslims, Buddists, Jews, atheists. Christian fundies are the ones who trample all over everyone else’s belief/non-belief.

    My public school district was like this one. Prayer “in Jesus Christ’s name” before faculty dinners, first day of school faculty meetings, retirement parties, school wide breakfasts. And the school board knew the room was not all Christian — there were Jews. Didn’t matter. The prayers were lengthy and in Jesus’s name. Prayer in classrooms before lunch, teacher led!

    These folks are just so arrogant and self-righteous. Grrrr.

    • Griffox

      But I love how he says that it would be selfish of him to NOT come preach to the students.

    • Houndentenor

      It’s not just that. What about the children who are being raised Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic, etc. Christians disagree over a great many things and it can be upsetting for someone to tell a child he or she is going to hell for not being the right kind of Christian. I remember it well. that is probably going to happen on the playground, but that shouldn’t happen in a school-sponsored assembly.

  • Sarah-Sophia

    At least there wasn’t any talk about how gays are going to hell and feminism causes abortions etc. It’s perfectly okay that they want to help people but simply having everyone going to church and believing in God does not necessarily make problem’s go away. I am aware that a lot of times it helps to have people help and support you but it should not come with the expectation that you convert to a particular religion.

  • Griffox

    I know this is off topic, but something about that speech stuck out. In what other scenario would cushy Americans be so perfectly comfortable with blood sacrifices? “See, before Jesus came, innocent blood had to be shed for our sins. There had to be an animal that was sacrificed to atone for our sin. There had to be innocent blood. So Jesus came and he was the innocent blood because he lived a perfect life. He was that innocent blood.”

    Oh, yeah. Of course. Makes perfect sense. WHAT?!! I don’t care if that really is what will get me to heaven, I don’t WANT it. It was unethical back then and its unethical now. If given the choice between burning in hell and having some dude brutally murdered, I would choose hell. But Christianity doesn’t give people a choice. It says, well Jesus already died and it’s your fault. No, It would be the Christian God’s fault for being unable to resist his blood lust.

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

      It Gets Worse… Human sacrifice!

    • http://www.facebook.com/robwbright Rob Bright

      So it’s unethical. Fine. Based on what standard of ethics? Hmmm? Where does that standard of ethics come from? Did you make it up yourself?

      How do you KNOW that it’s unethical?

      • sideshow billybob

        What was it that commandment said about killing? Maybe you know, maybe you don’t

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        It’s unethical based on my standard of ethics.

        Is it not unethical based on yours?

      • Stev84

        Your so-called standard of morality is what was written down in a book by ignorant desert goat herders. Or told to you by a bunch of sociopathic, old men who tell you to obey on the penalty of eternal torture. That’s not morality, but insanity.

      • Houndentenor

        So you wouldn’t mind if the school had a speaker come in and tell them that they had to believe in a completely different religion or denomination or they were going to hell?

      • baal

        Thought experiment for you Rob B. Let’s say a town well down stream of a dam needs water and so they sabotage the dam. The town nex tot he damn gets flooded and 5 people die. Rather than own up to the crime and maybe face some jail time, the vandalizing town members pick one person at random from their town and kill the person. They then say, look noone here can have any more blame for the 5 deaths since we did #6 and used his blood to wash away our sins. You might also go use google to look up ‘blood magic’ or maybe ‘scapegoat’.

        On the whole, this is unethical and it’s still unethical (also weird) to use as a metaphor. The point is to duck responsibility or to placate the powerful by showing you really really mean it. The better route is to have laws, courts and acceptance of responsibility.

  • SeekerLancer

    Wow this is really egregious. It’s not even dressed us as entertainment like that rapper guy. This is all-out church in school. They’re not even trying to hide it and they’re not sorry about it.

  • LesterBallard

    So how much shit is the student getting? How many death and rape threats?

  • negativeproof

    Centerville Independent School District, Groveton, Texas.

    Every year for thirteen years, the same old lady in a blue jacket came the day before the holiday break and interrupted our homeroom parties to trot out a felt board and felt cut-outs and retell the story of the nativity.

    Attendance was mandatory. No questions were allowed.

    I didn’t know what i believed back then, but i knew her story was ridiculous.

    It probably still happens every year. It’s the most backward, backwood school I’ve ever seen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/robwbright Rob Bright

      So if you knew her story was ridiculous, how did it harm you?

      • sideshow billybob

        Separation of church and state. Easy enough to see, even for you.

      • Vanadise

        It was wasting time in school that could’ve been used for learning something instead. How much do you think all of the school employees get paid per hour? How many hours would you like to bet have been wasted telling nativity stories?

      • Matt D

        FYI, please direct your question at more than one group of people for a definitive answer. It’s very dishonest to ask atheists how they feel about this and exclude other religious faiths from having a say in it.

  • RSpace

    We should try out some of these samples instead of “Some of you may not know who Jesus is and say ‘who is this Jesus?”

    Some of you may not know who Yoda is and say ‘who is this Yoda?

    Some of you may not know who Gandalf is and say ‘who is this Gandalf?

    Some of you may not know who The Doctor is and say ‘who is this Doctor?

    It’s all myth and fiction. So why wouldn’t these Jesus be just as ridiculous?

  • DAF

    It’s Mississippi…what else would you expect ?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Do not settle. Do not settle! DO NOT SETTLE!

    Again and again, I see these public schools are sued, and then they’re allowed to settle out of court. That tactic is not working. As soon as the public attention moves on, those same districts start sneaking the same religious crap into their schools again. Word is not spreading to discourage other schools from doing the same thing. Why keep repeating what does not work?

    Sue them into the ground.

    Make an example of them, and then do it again to the next one, and the next one. Repeat. I no longer care if it cripples the school district and has an adverse effect on the students. These school districts are already having adverse effects on their students. This is not going to stop until the consequences are so bad that they come down like a ton of bricks on their own personnel who try this, because of what happened to the town just down the road.

    • TheG

      What are the chances this AHA chapter reads this blog? I hope if they do, they listen to you.

      Better yet, what are the chances you will be running for president of my local AHA?

      Even 2000 years later, Christians seem to still remember someone publicly being made an example of..,

    • http://www.facebook.com/robwbright Rob Bright

      So let’s make the students suffer in order to avoid causing suffering to the students. That’s a strange position to take, don’t you think?

      You are, in fact, correct that school districts are having adverse effects on students… but that’s another issue for another day – and religion in school or lack thereof is not the primary problem. I’d suggest reading 3 time NY state teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto on that issue.

      Wouldn’t bother me at all if we shut down the entire public school system.

      • sideshow billybob

        Who is it breaking the law? Last I saw it was the people in charge of the school. If the school district tries to back up the lawbreakers they deserve every bit of prosecution coming their way. Unfortunately, it’s the kids that suffer for that brand of stupidity. Maybe the boneheads trying to break the law should think about that first.

        If shutting down public schools is okay with you, then you’re just part of the problem.

        • Anna

          It’s a classic right-wing fundamentalist position. They don’t hide the fact that they want to dismantle the public school system.

          Interesting book on the subject:

          http://www.amazon.com/Good-News-Club-Christian-Americas/dp/B008SLSAY6

          Fundamentalist Christians are quite proud of the success they have had in sowing discord and division. Since they can’t get the public schools to go away, they try to break them down little by little.

          • 3lemenope

            Well if he’s rooting his position in Gatto’s work, it is a teensy bit different from the bog-standard right-wing fundamentalist position. The effects might end up being the same, but the reasoning is very different.

            • Anna

              I don’t think the two are incompatible. He clearly has a problem with the secularity of the public school system, so it’s quite possible he has issues with other aspects of government education.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

        Shutting down the entire public school system would cause quite a bit of suffering among students, families, etc.

        Your interest in shutting it down reminds me of King Solomon and the two women and the child. You would prefer to kill the child rather than see it grow up without religion.

        How very nice of you. /sarcasm

      • Leiningen’s Ants

        Wouldn’t bother me at all if we shut down the entire public school system.

        I don’t know if I should make a joke about how you being a product of the public school system(?) it makes sense you would want to shut it down, or a joke about how obviously correct you are, sarcastically, seeing as how public school never taught you anything.

        Choose your own snarkventure.

      • Houndentenor

        Wait. How are students suffering by not being forced to hear from one specific branch of Christianity only? All of those students are free to attend the nearest Baptist church to hear that message. Their classmates are free to invite them to attend. What they are not allowed to do is force them to attend, which is what they did here.

        Again, I think it’s hilarious that you’d be taking the opposite view if this were a speaker you didn’t like. BTW, I’d object to ANY religious speaker in a mandatory assembly, not just a Christian one.

  • Bruce the moose

    Still not getting the whole blood atonement thing. What a nasty evil gruesome unpraiseworthy loathsome god. Glad it’s fiction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robwbright Rob Bright

    “This was an assembly. A public school assembly.”

    The horror, the HORROR. It’s amazing to me how atheists cannot just simply be atheists – it’s almost as if they must, by definition, be obsessed with Christians and Christianity. Based on websites like this one, atheists think more about the God who allegedly doesn’t exist than most Christians do. But I digress… Let me get back on point.

    Folks, the evidence is that virtually all of the kids for the most of the 18th and 19th centuries in schools in this country would have heard that much Bible and more on a near daily basis. Yet somehow that wasn’t considered “unconstitutional” at that time.

    On the following (admittedly poorly designed) webpage, you can find links to approximately 38 books used extensively in public schools in the 1800s. Each of the 38 books makes significant reference to the Bible, God, etc… BTW, it took me one yahoo search for “Bible in public schools 1800s” and about 2 minutes to locate that page with its very significant amount of information. Which is proof that most of you are, in fact, willfully ignorant of the truth – because you don’t, in fact, want to know what the truth is.

    At any rate, it is obvious that the evidence shows that the people who were involved in writing that Constitution (and people for 100+ years after) would rather disagree with you about religion in schools being unconstitutional – but of course, you haven’t actual read what they wrote and said, have you? Or you have and you will not admit that it doesn’t jive with your position. Let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you haven’t read them. As such, how about we take a look at some of what the Founders wrote and said so you can familiarize yourself with evidence which in other places on this site you have claimed will change your opinion when you are presented with it.

    “The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [T]he Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.”
    BENJAMIN RUSH, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

    “[Why] should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.”
    FISHER AMES, AUTHOR OF THE HOUSE LANGUAGE FOR THE FIRST AMENDMENT

    My comment: You know – that 1st Amendment that guarantees your right to curse Christians. Yea – the guy who drafted the House language for it advocated for the Bible as a school text. Yet you (and the historically recent Supreme Court) have interpreted some non-existent part of the constitution as not allowing religion in schools.

    “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited…. What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be. I have examined all [religions]… and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.”
    JOHN ADAMS

    “The Bible itself [is] the common inheritance, not merely of Christendom, but of the world.”
    JOSEPH STORY, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE; FATHER OFAMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE

    “[T]he Bible…. [is] a book containing the history of all men and of all nations and… [is] a necessary part of a polite education.”
    HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; U.S. DIPLOMAT; SELECTED AS DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONALCONVENTION

    “To a man of liberal education, the study of history is not only useful, and important, but altogether indispensable, and with regard to the history contained in the Bible . . . “it is not so much praiseworthy to be acquainted with as it is shameful to be ignorant of it.”
    JOHN QUINCY ADAMS

    “[The Bible] is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”
    PATRICK HENRY

    “[T]o the free and universal reading of the Bible in that age, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is . . . a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.”
    DANIEL WEBSTER

    “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”
    JOHN JAY, ORIGINAL CHIEF-JUSTICE OF THE U S. SUPREME COURT

    “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal [secular] concerns of men.”
    NOAH WEBSTER

    “Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”
    JAMES MADISON

    That gives us a little cross section of the views of the Founders. I could go on… but I’m sure you’re quite annoyed already because the evidence is actually in front of you now. Now, for some hard questions:

    1: Based on the evidence of how the Constitution was applied for more than 100 years, was it “unconstitutional” to have religion in schools in the 1800s?

    2: If not, then how did the Constitution come to mean the exact opposite more than a century later?

    3: And is the original meaning of the Constitution (or any book) more likely to be correctly understood 50 years after it was written or 200 years after it was written? Hmm?

    The Founders were not infallible and you have EVERY RIGHT to disagree with them – I do on some issues. But you’re ignoring the EVIDENCE if you assert that their intent was to prevent the Bible in specific and religion in general from being referred to and even taught in government and by government. The idea of separation of church and state being used to keep religion out of government came much, much later.

    Finally, have you ever considered that the argument “it’s for the children” used to justify pretty much every law infringing on constitutional rights is based on the claim that the persons supporting that law “love” the children.

    Love as used in that sense is a moral concept, is it not? As such, the person claiming to do anything “for the children” is inherently claiming that they are justified by their works in “loving” the children. That, my friends, is a religious claim.

    For example, many liberals want more gun control laws “for the children.” Liberals often accuse opponents of gun control laws of “not giving a damn” about the children. By that accusation, the liberal is claiming to be morally just and accusing the opponent of gun control of being lacking in morals. Again, that’s making at least a “quasi-religious” claim – i.e. I care about children’s welfare and you don’t – therefore, I am good and you are evil.

    And now I’ll leave you to your delusions and obsessions.

    • allein

      “It’s always been done that way” is not a reason it should continue. It has been firmly established by the courts that mandatory religious observation of any kind in public schools is unconstitutional, and no amount of bible reading in schools 200 years ago changes that.

      Also, it would be a lot easier for atheists to “just be atheists” if certain religious people would just be content to practice their religion in their private lives and leave the rest of us alone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

      Meh. Troll.

      • Rwlawoffice

        Typical. Someone who opposes the atheist view here with evidence of what the founding fathers actually thought and said is dismissed as a troll by people who claim to be rational and seekers of the truth.

        • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

          If ‘Founders’ thoughts’ are of such massive political importance, how did they so consistently fail to make it into official documentation?

          • RobMcCune

            That would require them to actually believe in 20th century right wing propaganda.

        • TheGth

          And every one of your posts on this site is condescending and mean (from a religion obsessed with loving others and treating them as you would like to be treated), mistrusts (from a religion that has proscriptions against lying), and arrogant (from a religion that says something about the meek”…).

        • Anna

          Whatever one’s opinion, the law is the law. What this school did was 100% illegal. Don’t Christians believe in obeying the law? Rob Bright appears not to see it as a problem.

        • smrnda

          What the founding fathers thought is irrelevant, as rulings by the Supreme Court as to the interpretation of the law are, effectively, binding, and the Supreme Court has been pretty consistent that proselytizing in school is unconstitutional. We are required to abide by rulings of the Judicial Branch, not the offhand remarks of the people who wrote the Constitution.

        • Houndentenor

          the founders were deists and opposed having a state religion. There’s plenty of evidence of that. Also, while I respect the accomplishment of the people who created our country, they were not infallible as evidenced by their handling of the issue of slavery.

        • godlessveteran

          A troll is a troll. What’s not to understand?

    • http://twitter.com/Drooski Adam

      It absolutely is a horror, and if my child had been forced to attend, I’d be part of the lawsuit and working to financially destroy that church.

      You bring up the 18th and 19th century as if it made the idea of this valid. We also used Heroin to treat coughs, blood letting to treat, well, everything, leeches to cleanse the blood. Fact is, humans have done a lot of stupid stuff. Doesn’t make it ok to continue doing it.

      Keep your fairy tale religions out of education. It has no place there.

    • Houndentenor

      We also allowed slavery for most of the 19th Century and didn’t allow women to vote. In some states women couldn’t even own property. Yes, the “good old days”…they sucked!

    • David S.

      I notice your search for Bible in the public schools in the 1800s didn’t turn up the Philadelphia Bible riots. But hey, what’s a riot and church burning in the name of reading the Bible in school? The Catholics are just like the Samaritans of old, and you know what the Bible says about them.

    • Isilzha

      If it had been a Muslim, Hindu, or indoctrination for any other religion you’d be furious.

    • http://notabarbie.wordpress.com notabarbie

      In the 18th and 19th centuries, women were not allowed to own property, vote, or work at any kind of decent job; they weren’t allowed to express themselves artistically and they were considered intellectually inferior to men. Shall we reinstitute these ideologies as well, Rob “Bright”? What is your point? It’s very interesting that you call us delusional and obsessed and yet it is you who believe in an imaginary deity that has no basis-in-fact. You are ridiculous, but you are very good at cutting and pasting–bravo!

  • Keulan

    “Some of you may not know who Jesus is and say ‘who is this Jesus?’” Um, what? Does he think reality is like the world of Jack Chick tracts, where all non-Christians are somehow unaware of what Christians believe? The majority (around 75%) of Americans are Christians, and many of them are more than willing to tell you all about their beliefs, no matter how many times you’ve already heard it.

    • Houndentenor

      I still suffer from PJCTS: Post-Jack Chick Tract Syndrome.

  • LoveAll

    Denying the Lord is the worse of the sins, an unforgivable one at that.
    Beliefs aside, the things it always boggles my mind is; Atheists are always on the attack to religious activities at any scale or location and they get up with their pitch and forks through their tongues. If someone is religious, they personally take offense.
    Being past 2012 and moving onwards, and with the coming of many “new” religions through the new age movement. Then why just focus on Christianity when you need to stomp on religion, (don’t include the Roman Catholic Church as they just the term Christianity just because they need more members. Kind of like the scammers in the internet.)
    I also stumble on your website by another one, if you must know. Being an Atheist website it’s funny that’s it’s actively promoting another religion on the ads. Even the Atheist movement seems to be a scam. If I were an Atheist, I would be pro. I wouldn’t reading religious news.
    To make this short, people should try educate themselves more, ignorance will not cut on the eyes of the mighty Father. Also consider the enemy of Jesus, he only had a minimum of 6,000 years to tell you he doesn’t exist.

    • Houndentenor

      The same should apply if some nutty New-Ager had been given a mandatory assembly to teach their nonsense to the children. You seem not to grasp this concept of separation of church and state. It actually protects you and you may need it one day if you find yourself a minority religion in your community. BTW, I spend a great deal of time arguing with idiot anti-vaxxers and homeopathic “medicine” practitioners. I’m an equal opportunity skeptic. It’s not just aimed at Christians. If it seems like that it’s because we living in a majority Christian country but all the atheist bloggers and podcasters I follow spend a good amount of time tearing apart horrible practices from other religions and pseudo-religions as well. We just don’t have those in our American news so much because we tend to ignore what’s going on in the rest of the world. It’s not because we are attempting to persecute Christians and promote the other religious nonsense. I think it’s all nonsense.

      • LoveAll

        Don’t give that Church and State separation. Then it should be illegal for the president and any religious leader like the pope to meet or at least be all over the news. But they together for coffee or tea to discuss…? Not religion?

        • Houndentenor

          You don’t grasp this concept, do you? The President can meet with anyone he pleases. Whether or not something is “all over the news” is a matter for the producers of the various news programs to decide. The government cannot tell them what to cover or what not to cover. What the government cannot do is restrict the practice of religion or force people to participate in religious activities. That’s the separation. You really do need a basic civics class.

    • Richard Thomas

      “Even the Atheist movement seems to be a scam.”>
      When we collect money we send it to hurricane victims, we don’t buy priests gold rings.

  • LoveAll

    Denying the Lord is the worse of the sins, an unforgivable one at that.
    Beliefs aside, the things it always boggles my mind is; Atheists are always on the attack to religious activities at any scale or location and they get up with their pitch and forks through their tongues. If someone is religious, they personally take offense.
    Being past 2012 and moving onwards, and with the coming of many “new” religions through the new age movement. Then why just focus on Christianity when you need to stomp on religion, (don’t include the Roman Catholic Church as they just the term Christianity just because they need more members. Kind of like the scammers in the internet.)
    I also stumble on your website by another one, if you must know. Being an Atheist website it’s funny that’s it’s actively promoting another religion on the ads. Even the Atheist movement seems to be a scam. If I were an Atheist, I would be pro. I wouldn’t reading religious news.
    To make this short, people should try educate themselves more, ignorance will not cut on the eyes of the mighty Father. Also consider the enemy of Jesus, he only had a minimum of 6,000 years to tell you he doesn’t exist.

    • LoveAll

      Also I forgot to add that in today’s world, people words have little merit. Hero and honor is a little too much for the people suing ain’t it? To the writer you also made it sound like they kids (also to the suers) went through a stressful situation just being there listening to a sermon in a public school, and your job is to protect everyone else from going through the same thing. I mean just go to a movie theater that’s showing a horror film, unfortunately you’ll see young kids there. I mean, those movies contain nudity, sex and violence usually in combinations. How many young viewers have seen simulate rape in movies with their families no less? And you insulating a sermon will mark them for life just because in your believes you think it’s wrong? Each person should sort it because at the end of it all, each one will have to answer for themselves.

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

        The audience at the horror movie is there voluntarily, and they are free to get up and walk out if they don’t like it. (Parents who bring young children to horror movies are a whole nother thing, and they piss me off to no end.)

        The children at the school are a captive audience — that is, they cannot get up and walk out if they don’t like the presentation (and will likely be punished for it by the school if they do get up and walk out).

        • LoveAll

          In a public school there should be a place to learn. I mean I never really understood Darwinism but I had to learn it. So what about picking the themes at school, who’s role should it be? who’s believes? One sermon should be a freebie. Also the audience it’s kids, they should listen, hopefully they learn it and apply it. They also were aren’t force to ally themselves to it. Besides they had Bible Studies up until they 60′s in public schools, so why it’s gone now? Well it’s easy, to prepare for the Anti-Christ. I mean i wasn’t alive then but the term godless just seems to be common goal in every society, makes you wonder if you actually have read the Bible that the times are drawing to a close.

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

            You’re missing the point. They were forced to listen to a sermon during school hours, when they should have been in the classroom, learning.

            The school, as a governmental agency, is not allowed to promote any religion, ever. At all. What the school did, in forcing these children to listen to a sermon, and holding them hostage in the process, was illegal.

            If the children (or, more likely, their parents) want to listen to sermons, they can do so at home or in church, on their own time. They do not have the right to force their religion on others, especially on impressionable young children.

            • LoveAll

              I admit I didn’t address the issue, but don’t you find it strange it is illegal to do in the first place. There is suppose to be a church and state separation, but that’s an illusion. I mean don’t kids draw christmas card and paint easter eggs in school? Holding hostage? What about all those private school recruiters in public schools having their presentation during school hours? Don’t tell it’s for school as their organizations are separate from the public ones or what about the arm forces? (the religion of war). What about when the president hijacks my tv programs to listen to his believes and what his is gonna force upon us. I never seen a Christian force their religion forcefully on anyone like china, n korea, cuba does on it’s citizen. Don’t worry thou, soon you will understand the meaning of forcing someone to change their religion and it won’t be the Christians that do that.

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

                Because it’s government promotion and endorsement of one religion (Christianity) over others!

                Don’t worry thou, soon you will understand the meaning of forcing someone to change their religion and it won’t be the Christians that do that.

                That sounds like a threat. A ridiculous one, but a threat nonetheless. And you forget that it is still Christians forcing their religion on everyone else.

                • LoveAll

                  The Duty of a true Christian is to spread the true religion. All they doing it’s holding the door so everyone can achieve the promise. Trust me all Christian do not want ANYONE in hell, but no one will force you.
                  I’m not threatening you, I only told you what’s gonna happen, and I stated you, yourself will see it.

                • Richard Thomas

                  Cool story.

              • godlessveteran

                Leave it to a Christian to be clueless as to the purpose of the “off” switch on a TV.

              • Richard Thomas

                “I admit I didn’t address the issue”>
                Christian apologists rarely do.
                “I never seen a Christian force their religion forcefully on anyone”>
                I’ve seen it plenty.
                ” but don’t you find it strange it is illegal to do in the first place”>
                No. That’s why we have an Establishment Clause.

          • Houndentenor

            First of all, there’s no such thing as “Darwinism”. I assume (rightly or wrongly) that you were required to learn about the Science of evolution and natural selection as part of a biology course. Good. I’m sorry you didn’t understand it. It’s actually quite interesting.

            Yes, there were teachers in the 60s reading Bible studies in schools even after it was declared unconstitutional. I had a teacher in 5th grade (that would be the 1970s, btw) who did that and only stopped after complaints from the Catholic parents who had students in my class. Her stories had a decidedly Baptist point of view. She had no right to undermine their parental authority by attempting to concert them to a different religion.

            About web ads. The ads are chosen by a computer program, not by the owner of the website. Since religion is discussed often here, it picked a religious ad. It being a computer and only looking for specific words, it didn’t realize that this site is probably not the target audience for the product.

          • baal

            ” I never really understood Darwinism but I had to learn it.”
            Liar. Evolution is the central theory for understanding biology. It has real world impact on how you do agriculture and medicine. If you learned “Darwinism” as anything other that an introduction to speciation, your teacher failed miserably.

          • Sue Blue

            Unlike science, religion doesn’t have any useful application in the real world, so why bother to teach it in public schools? Maybe as part of cultural studies or mythology in college it would have some relevance, but primary and secondary schools are there to teach reading, writing, math, science, and real history (as opposed to myths).

            I don’t know what back-woods Bible-belt school district you attended, but I went to school in the 1960s, and no one ever cracked a bible in school, certainly not as part of any class.

      • Houndentenor

        That was the parents’ decision to allow them to view R or MA rated content. If a school had shown such a film the parents would be outraged and rightly so. You are throwing out irrelevant facts. If you see movie theaters not enforcing age restrictions, you should report that to the manager of the movie theater. That should not be happening.

      • Richard Thomas

        You know, it’s really interesting that you compare a horror film with nudity, violence, and rape to a Christian sermon ;)

    • Houndentenor

      Nope. Sorry that’s just not true. I object to the school having a speaker presenting a specific religious point of view as the one true path. I defend the first amendment rights, but not the practice of ignoring the rights of others. This sermon would have been perfectly appropriate given at his church or in a space rented by the church at which attendance was voluntary. REQUIRING people to attend a religious service is a violation of those students’ rights. And the public school advocating over one kind of religion of another is a clear violation as well.

      Would you mind if they had a Muslim speaker make the same kind of speech?

  • LoveAll

    what a scam to delete my comments

  • Cat’s Staff

    It’s easy to win a case like this, but the winner usually gets a small insignificant award like $1 or something. This is so obviously unconstitutional and a school professional in this day and age should know that, but they also know that, other than the lawyers, no one is going to make much money suing for something like this. Shouldn’t they start awarding real damages for things like this? That might make someone think twice about it. And, go after the people making the decisions. What if the lawsuit named every licensed professional there who could have stopped this at some point, but didn’t. Start doing that and the next time a school administrator tries this the teachers might put a stop to it before it happens.

    • http://twitter.com/peedropaula PeedroPaula

      The problem with a large cash settlement or award is that the money comes directly from the school district which would hurt all the students. The Principal should be sued for monetary damages, but not the school or the district.

      • Sue Blue

        Maybe the church should have to pay any settlement, as well as legal fees. That’d teach them not to violate the constitution. They can preach all they want – to their own congregations in their own churches.

  • baal

    The longer I’m out of religion, the more the whole “blood sacrifice to atone for sin” thing just seems more and more awful and creepy.

  • Robster

    “He defeated death’- when I first read this line, I thought it read as “He defecated death”. That would’ve made the story a bit more interesting.

  • Richard

    How many students “Died” as a result of the assembly? A believer of God or not, No one was heart except your pride. You have a choice to believe what they teach or not. Should we stop teaching science because the “Theory of Evolution” is taught as fact. The students do not have a choice to attend.

    • http://twitter.com/peedropaula PeedroPaula

      This assembly and its forced attendance were blatantly unconstitutional. How would you like it if, instead of young believers from a local Baptist church, the students had been forced to listen to the Imam of a local mosque or the Rabbi of a local synagogue? You don’t have a problem with it only because it was YOUR religion being forced upon these students!

    • Richard Thomas

      Jack Chick called. He wants his crazy bogus strawman arguments back.

  • tigerfisch

    “Jesus was God’s son and he came to earth over 2,000 years ago and for 33
    years he walked the earth. He lived a perfect life. Something that no
    one else has done.”
    This blowhard preacher has no personal knowledge upon which to base his assertions about Jesus – they are all hearsay, originating from much-edited manuscripts copied long ago by men of unknown reputation, who also lacked personal knowledge. It is very likely that Jesus was a wise and compassionate spiritual teacher, but these extraordinary claims for exceptionalism are totally unverifiable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WindwalkerPhotography Frank LaFerriere

    Gotta love the moral preaching of Christians. As a former Christian and one who attended Seminary to become a preacher, but who is now a atheist and anti-theist, I walked away from this religion when I realized finally just how bigoted, self serving and insane it was.

    Honestly, the Christian religion is responsible for at least 1 BILLION innocent men, women and children, tortured, brutalized, murdered, slaughtered since the First Crusades.

    Now Christians scream how they were persecuted at their beginning but that is complete and utter hogwash. I loved how they screamed they were fed to the lions because they were Christians. No that is NOT the reason some were fed to the lions, they were fed because like they are now, they sought to overthrow the government and instill their Christian ideology and theocracy upon the Romans. You did NOT mess with the Romans nor did you attempt to overthrow their government.

    Christians started slaughtering others not long after Constantine proclaimed Christianity as the state religion. From there it all went downhill.

    From the First Crusade, to the Inquisitions all the way up to today, Christians have killed more people than any like Pol Pot or the others they demand killed more than Christians. Whether Christians freaking admit it, or how they twist it, Hitler was a self proclaimed Christian and went after the Jews because they killed Jesus.

    Even the Black Death that wiped out more than half the population can be directly laid at the feet of Christians because at that time was the Inquisitions and the witch hysteria…and the freaking idiot Pope, Cardinals and Bishops sent out orders to slaughter cats because they were the tools of Satan and familiars of witches.

    When the rats came with the fleas that carried the plague…there were no cats to control their population because most of them were killed off. So again, the freaking Christians are also responsible for this evil.

    Don’t even get me started on the Christian genocides of the Native Americans.

    It is time to put an end to Christianity and all religions. Religions are in fact the cause of almost all the horror, pain, misery, brutality, and evil in the history of mankind.

  • jim

    after reading just about all of the posts, i had to jump in with only one thing and it is this; Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.”

    • Richard Thomas

      Proof please.

  • Bones Thompson

    The kids were basically held hostage. If it were my kid,I would demand criminal charges.

  • Sue Blue

    Because nothing is more convincing to teenage kids than a sermon…

    And yes, even if 99.9% of those kids were texting or tweeting or watching vids on their phones with their earbuds on and didn’t hear a single word of the God spiel, it was still a violation to be forced to sit in that assembly. Why on earth would any school administrator think this would fly?


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