Public Elementary School Celebrates Fifth Grade Graduation in Church, on a Christian Campus, with Prayers

The fifth-graders at Mountain View Elementary School — a public school in Taylors, South Carolina — recently held their “graduation” ceremony inside of a church.

But that wasn’t the worst part.

The church was on the campus of North Greenville University, a school so Christian, it puts Christ right in its logo:

But that wasn’t the worst part either.

The schedule of events listed two separate prayers:

School officials didn’t just cross the line. They destroyed the line and then prayed to Jesus to patch it back up.

At least one of the student’s parents — who’s choosing to remain anonymous for the time being — had the good sense to contact the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. On Monday, the AHLC sent the district a letter (PDF) informing them of just how much shit they’re swimming in right now:

Because [Mountain View Elementary School] has committed multiple constitutional violations, the school district may be sued in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides that the court may not only issue an injunction stopping your illegal conduct, but may award damages and require you to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and expenses.

If you are interested in avoiding such litigation, please notify us in writing, within two weeks of the date of this letter, that you will no longer hold graduation or other school events in churches or include prayers as part of graduation ceremonies.

You have to wonder how out-of-the-loop these administrators have to be to let all these violations occur. At any point, did they stop and ask themselves if they were making the wrong decisions? Did no one tell them to reconsider what they were doing? Either they’re woefully ignorant or thought they could get away with breaking the law because they were Christian.

Well, thanks to a parent who knows better than the administrators, they’re about to learn a potentially-costly lesson. If they want to avoid the penalty, all they have to do is say that future graduations will remain secular, something they should’ve done in the first place.

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.

  • MargueriteF

    If this were my kids, I’d be furious. FURIOUS. Yay for that parent.

    It looks like the people saying the prayers were students (the teachers are all labeled Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so). I suspect the school figured they could call it “student-led” prayer– which it’s not if it’s preplanned and listed on the schedule of events, but they may have thought they could get away with it.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Ugh, like I said in previous articles I hate elementary school “graduation ceremonies.” Seriously though, many high school students can’t even put together a good graduation speech so why ask two 5th graders to talk to everyone?

    It’s amazing how unconstitutional this is.

  • Guest

    About Mountain View Elementary School; “We believe that we must provide a safe and positive environment in which
    the entire learning community feels the caring attitude of all faculty
    and staff.”

    “entire Christian learning community” FTFY

  • Amor DeCosmos

    About Mountain View Elementary School;

    “We believe that we must provide a safe and positive environment in which
    the entire learning community feels the caring attitude of all faculty
    and staff.”

    “entire Christian learning community” FTFY

  • pierre

    “You have to wonder how out-of-the-loop these administrators have to be to let all these violations occur.”

    Well, it is South Carolina. Burning women for witchcraft is probably still a valid pastime to some of these people.

  • Patrick

    So, I’m the “Patrick” commenting in the article, and I’m from nearby Anderson, SC. We call NGU “Bob Jones of the North,” being 30min from BJU. *that* Bob Jones. Their specifications and code of conduct are almost as insane:

    “Any individual, or group, who is obscene, lewd, indecent, or participates in any sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage violates Christian principles and practices. Sexual misconduct by North Greenville University students is harmful to the image and reputation of the individual and the University and therefore will not be tolerated…
    or an open declaration identifying oneself as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgenderedare deemed to be in violation of the policy concerning sexual misconduct. ”

    “North Greenville University maintains a campus widecurfew beginning at midnight Sunday –Thursday and one am Friday and Saturday. All resident students will be in their room and all commuter students will be off campus after the designated curfew time. Students are not allowed to gather on campus,in campus buildings or in resident hall common areas after the designated curfew.”

    From the NGU Enlightener.

    This wasn’t just at a church, it was at a Southern-Baptist created/funded university/seminary.

  • Greg G.

    If they only had heavier ducks…

  • Usman Bello

    It might be playing into stereotypes, but one of the 5th Grade Speakers’ names doesn’t appear to be one you’d associate with being Christian. If so, I’d wonder how anonymous this parent will remain and how long it would take from Christian Love (TM) to be directed, rightly or wrongly, at them.

  • Brandi Gagne

    Schools that are local to my area (Mountain View Elem., Liberty High) keep popping up on this blog. Not just that, but these are school districts that I’m currently applying to work in. It makes me really nervous as an atheist to be employed at a rural school in the bible belt.

    The unfortunate thing is that these districts don’t really even have the funds to properly support their schools and students, much less to waste money on lawsuits that could have been avoided. What gets me is that some of these area are actually quite diverse, especially around Greenville. The administrators should be ashamed of themselves for isolating any part of their student body.

    I understand schools holding ceremonies at the nearest college campus, but in a church??

    PS: Enough with the South Carolina bashing. It’s ignorant and hateful. Stuff like this happens in many parts of the country, but SC is making the news because people are stepping up and trying to change it. These are brave people who are challenging the religious traditions that the Southeast is steeped in.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    “Free” public education should be abolished. It is immoral to forcibly take money from some people to indoctrinate other people’s children.

  • Rain

    Not to belabor the point, but what if some of them have another religion, or none? Or the same religion but don’t appreciate being proselytized anyway? I don’t mean to belabor the point, but it does seem like an obvious question. Duh!

  • imjustasteph

    Tis the season, isn’t it? They had a prayer at my kid’s fifth grade promotion this week too. Unfortunately there is no way I could respond anonymously- after the other incidents this year, we are very ‘out’ atheists with the school system. (We’re ‘out’ in the community anyway, but the school system would definitely recognize us as the only family likely to complain, since we’ve complained about religious bullying from students and staff already this year. And last year.) And I just do not have the energy to deal, right now, with an angry community that can’t believe we dared to ‘deny them their right’ to prayer. Not to mention that I bet you more dollars than I own that we’d just, next year, be one of your featured ‘kid rips up his speech to pray’ or ‘program director announces that she must pray despite the Christian persecution’ or ‘crowd spontaneously erupts in Lord’s prayer’ posts. I’m so tired of fighting it. We’re almost certainly homeschooling next year, because it’s really the only truly secular choice we have (as well as several other reasons).

  • flyb

    And here we go…

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Just like it’s immoral to forcibly take other peoples’ money so that you can drive on roads. Jesus but you are a dumb one.

  • Anna

    Ugh, another one. I don’t know the solution to this, but clearly something needs to be done. These people understand it is illegal and choose to do it anyway because they know that 99% of the time they will get away with it.

  • flyb

    “Enlightener.” That’s a good one!

  • Matt

    I’m from Greenville as well, and no matter how many times I make the point I can’t get people in the area to understand that stirring up crap like this is just flushing their tax money down the toilet. These battles have been fought and won by secularists time and time again.

    It’s like it’s worth it to them though, as long as it gives them something else to scream “persecution” about =/

  • Feminerd

    Nah, dumb troll is dumb. I quit debating libertarians on this a long time ago- fuckers never seem to lose that sense of entitlement and “I got mine”, so it’s just not worth it.

  • A3Kr0n

    They had their chance, now they must pay. No more excuses.

  • Matt D

    Yeah? Good luck with that.

  • ortcutt

    That typeface is also an offense against nature.

  • Mick

    “You have to wonder how out-of-the-loop these administrators have to be to let all these violations occur.”

    I’ve always thought it’s a case of ‘catch me if you can’. They just keep pushing their luck as far as they can until they are forced to stop. They are probably thinking they did pretty well to last for 30 years before they got caught.

  • JET

    Gives them another opportunity to feel “persecuted.” I firmly believe they do this on purpose, fully knowing they will get the attention they crave. They’re the instigators and they’re baiting people to “persecute” them.

  • JET

    But they’re getting away with it less and less. All it takes is for one student or parent at each of these schools to contact a secular organization who will then have their lawyers send out a form letter. Every time a story like this hits the news, it can be nothing but encouraging for people in a similar situation. Maybe eventually they will get the message, or it will simply become too expensive for them to continue breaking the law.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    “My education was interrupted only by my schooling”
    Winston Churchill

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    So you’re in favor of stealing? (for a good cause, of course)

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living. The activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the community, but must take place within its confines and be for the good of all. Therefore, we demand: … an end to the power of the financial interests. We demand profit sharing in big business. We demand a broad extension of care for the aged. We demand… the greatest possible consideration of small business in the purchases of national, state, and municipal governments. In order to make possible to every capable and industrious [citizen] the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education … We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents … The government must undertake the improvement of public health – by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor … by the greatest possible support for all clubs concerned with the physical education of youth. We combat the … materialistic spirit within and without us, and are convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only proceed from within on the foundation of the common good before the individual good.
    – From the political program of the Nazi Party, adopted in Munich,
    February 24, 1920

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
    – H L. Mencken

  • Feminerd

    Hitler was also a vegan who was kind to his mother. Should we then all be assholes to our moms and eat gobs of meat because everything ever associated with Hitler is automatically evil? Hitler was Catholic, thus the RCC is pure unadulterated evil?

    This is ad hominem at its finest.

  • Feminerd

    “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. ” — Jane Addams

    See? I can find random Americans from history and get some quotes for them too. I bet you find Addam’s quotes about as compelling as I find Mencken’s.

  • RobMcCune

    You’re aware much of that sentiment predates the Nazis by decades, if not a century, right? Does that make 19th century christian reformers Nazis as well?

    How about some consistency there.

  • RobMcCune

    It is inconsistent of you to protest the uniformity of schools by stealing the words of others, then again inconsistent is the only accurate part of your nym.

  • Matt D

    “For centuries it was never discovered that education was a function of the State, and the State never attempted to educate. But when modern absolutism arose, it laid claim to everything on behalf of the sovereign power….When the revolutionary theory of government began to prevail, and Church and State found that they were educating for opposite ends and in a contradictory spirit, it became necessary to remove children entirely from the influence of religion.”
    – Lord Acton

  • Matt D

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

  • The Inconsistent Bible

    So, which part of public education do you consider indoctrination?

  • Rob U

    Its how schools often make up budget shortfalls.

    I’ve been to a few of these for my nieces already and during the “breaks” and closing statements there was often the whole “So we’re taking donations for the new Computer Lab over by the change-rooms, and Mrs. So and So’s class is in need of Art Supplies – we’re taking donations over by the lockers.”

    Or the “Refreshment / Bake Sale” stand that was set-up so they could fund-raise to buy some new equipment, or help cover the cost of a teacher’s aide.

    Though the kids get a kick out of it and I do think its nice to acknowledge their accomplishments, those Elementary Graduations aren’t so much for the kids as they are an opportunity for the school to have a fundraiser with near perfect attendance.

  • Matt D

    I agree. Many of them appear to intentionally seek persecution….when their leaders/followers observe any instances of diminishing faith, they create enemies out of others to restore it.

  • Tanner B James

    reducto ad hitlerum an internet law that states the longer a discussion continues more likely someone will mention hitler or Nazis, after which that commentors arguments are invalid.

  • Tobias2772

    I just attended a high school graduation in South Carolina and they had a prayer as well. It was given by a student, but it was right in the program. I know SC is bible belt, but I am willing to bet that there are thousands of prayers in graduation ceremonies all across this nation, but no one says anything. Can someone point out exactly where case law draws the line in these circumstances ??

  • Anna

    I hope so. But then I get depressed thinking about how many times it happens and no one complains, either because they’re too afraid to complain, or because they don’t care about the issue, or (even worse) because they agree with the violation.

  • Patrick

    From Everson V. Board, 1947

    “…No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’” 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.

    From Engel v. Vitale 1962

    “We think that by using its public school system to encourage recitation of the Regents’ Prayer, the State of New York has adopted a practice wholly inconsistent with the Establishment Clause. There can, of course, be no doubt that New York’s program of daily classroom invocation of God’s blessings…in the Regents’ Prayer is a religious activity…”

    “When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain…. The Establishment Clause thus stands as an expression of principle on the part of the Founders of our Constitution that religion is too personal, too sacred, too holy, to permit its ‘unhallowed perversion’ by a civil magistrate.”

    Read more: Engel v. Vitale (1962)

    Lemon vs Kurzman (1971)

    The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose;
    The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
    The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion.

    Wallace vs Jarfree (1985)

    “The record here not only establishes that 16-1-20.1′s purpose was to endorse religion, it also reveals that the enactment of the statute was not motivated by any clearly secular purpose.” “…The State’s endorsement, by enactment of 16-1-20.1, of prayer activities at the beginning of each schoolday is not consistent with the established principle that the government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion.”

    Want me to keep going?

  • TCC

    Actually, you just described Godwin’s Law. Reductio ad Hitlerum is a form of the ad hominem fallacy.

  • Tanner B James

    are you sure about that?

  • Robster

    This is part of a godbotherer plot to get the kids involved in the nonsense before its too late. If they don;t get them at school, they won’t get them, it’s that simple and they know this. That’s why they sneak around like like spies, working to get the nonsense out to unworldly youth in no position to understand what they’re being told and to question its truthfulness, or substantial lack of truth.

  • TCC

    Yes. For reference, you can check the Wikipedia articles on reductio ad Hitlerum and Godwin’s law. They are related but not identical. (The former is “Hitler did X; therefore, X is bad”; the latter is “Given enough time, someone will compare something to Hitler or the Nazis, at which point they have lost the debate.”)

  • TCC

    Right, money should only be forcibly taken from others by tax-exempt institutions to indoctrinate your own children (and in some cases, other people’s children as well). Except that 1) public schools don’t indoctrinate kids and 2) public education serves a societal purpose, at least in theory (but the reasons for why it might not always succeed are far too complex to go any further off-topic).

  • TCC

    “When I was a boy on the Mississippi River there was a proposition in a township there to discontinue public schools because they were too expensive. An old farmer spoke up and said if they stopped building the schools they would not save anything, because every time a school was closed a jail had to be built.”

    —Mark Twain


    I predict that their reaction will be, well, predictable. Christians in this country feel that their “god” and their religion, as well as themselves, when doing what they feel their religion proscribes, are above the law, except in cases where the law’s favor them or are based on their teachings. Why do you think they so like the idea that our nation is “under” god? Notice the whole thing where they oppose “Sharia law” in the US, but that they *don’t* use the MOST CLEAR REASON why this would be wrong (separation of church and state), but instead say “American Law for American Courts” (where they of course mean “Christian Law”.)

    I fear these types of incidents are only going to get MORE common, not less. Christians believe THEY ARE RIGHT, damn the torpedoes, damn the law. They believe THEY have a right to indoctrinate not only their own children, but to impose such indoctrination on all children. They know they have to push that EVERYTHING is “because jesus”, and nothing can be allowed to happen, exist, etc, without thanking “god” every minute of every day, not just privately or silently, but ostentatiously in public so as to impose on young minds that EVERYONE knows its all “because jesus” and anyone that thinks anything different is an evil “agent of satan” or somesuch.

    And the sad thing is, its going to take TONS of effort to get most courts to recognize this and take the appropriate actions. The christians are DEEPLY entrenched.

  • Tanner B James

    Well then my source is flawed:

    “Godwin’s Law – or reductio ad hitlerum, states that comparing something to the Nazis is inevitable.”

    thanks for the clarification


    That said, the reason these issues will likely come up more frequently, is NOT that they are doing things they havent done before – I wouldn’t be surprised to find out this school had *always* had their “graduations” at church, complete with prayers.

    The reasons they will come up more often, is that whereas before, they could safely assume every parent was a christian and fully in support of these activities, athiests (and even some christians that are starting to realize this is wrong) are becoming more prevalent, and more willing to speak up.

    The christian’s typical response to this where they insist its their “right” to do this, only shows that they KNOW they are losing their grip, that they are more than ever scared that their message of indoctrination isn’t reaching as many impressionable young minds as it could. It also shows that they are losing their grip, and are incapable of any response other than trying to grip even tighter.

    It will take time, but eventually the theocrats will lose. Lets just hope that the tax-and-spend socialists don’t take their place.

  • Jesse Sinclair

    I agree, the “at least in theory” part is the only part that matters. That public education is lacking (in various and different ways depending on where you are) doesn’t invalidate it, it just means we have to do better.

    Much like cancer research or space travel the fact that designing, developing and maintaining a massive public education system is balls-to-the-walls hard does not invalidate it.

    I would rather see 99 out of 100 schools failing, but trying, rather than lose them all.

  • Tobias2772

    Thank-you. That is a very concise and complete history of the early casesregarding church and state. But I’ve got to think that there are some more recent cases specfically about student-led prayers or graduation prayers. I agree that this clear “wall of separation” was and should be the standard, but I worry that it has been somewhat eroded over the past several decades. What I was wondering is exactly where are we now in regards to this issue. By the way, I am saving you missive as a ready reference in this matter. Thanks again.

  • MD

    There is something called “enlightened self-interest.” It is in my best interest that all the kids in my community receive a decent, at the very least, education. Better educated kids leads to all sorts of goodies: lower poverty, lower crime, scientific progress…
    Education is a right, not a privilege.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Now we’re getting somewhere.

    As Lord Acton’s quote demonstrates, the State is a replacement for the Church. It is the new “god”.

    Education is inherently religious. It involves teaching not simply “facts” or “knowledge”, but also metaphysics and morality (either explicitly or implicitly).

    Atheists say, “Atheism isn’t a religion,” and have all kinds of witty quotes to that effect. But that’s not true.

    Definition of RELIGIOUS
    1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity (a religious person)(religious attitudes)
    2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances (joined a religious order)
    3a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithful

    Definition of RELIGION
    1a : the state of a religious (a nun in her 20th year of religion)
    b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
    2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
    3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
    4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

    Atheism meets definitions #2 and #4 for religion.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards.
    – Mark Twain

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Sure, I agree. Let’s get to the point then.

    Why should anyone have to pay for anyone else’s religion (which is what education is)?

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Well, no one wanted to actually answer my original point about the immorality of stealing from some people to pay for other people’s religion. I thought most atheists were on board with that. I guess I was wrong. I guess atheists are just inconsistent.

  • 3lemenope

    I think it more likely that folks simply rejected your initial assumptions as wrong, and so placed your points into the not-even-wrong category and didn’t respond to them on that basis. For example, your contention that public schooling is a religion fits neatly into a not-even-wrong rubric, totally impervious to analysis because it has no point of contact with reality, even conceptually.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    “enlightened self-interest”
    No one is stopping you from paying for other people’s children to be educated. What is immoral is stealing from some people in order to pay for teaching other people’s children things they don’t agree with.

    It’s like if the government forced you to pay taxes so that some people could have crosses tattooed on their arms because they believe that is medically necessary.

    “Education is a right, not a privilege.”
    You may believe that, but that doesn’t make it so.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Definition of INDOCTRINATE
    1: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments
    2: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

    Regarding public schools, you’re right regarding definition #1, but wrong regarding definition #2.

    Of course public education serves a societal purpose. The issue is, is that a valid purpose?

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    For starters, the idea that education can be “neutral” or “secular”.

    Education is inherently religious. It involves teaching metaphysics and morality. One obvious example of this today is the issue of homosexuality.

  • DavidMHart

    There are some religions that have nothing much to say about homosexuality, and some that are openly accepting of gay people, so whatever position a school takes, it is not inherently religious; it will just coincidentally happen to line up more-or-less with what some religion happens to say about it.

    And yes, I agree that it can be difficult to tailor an education system to be as neutral as possible with regard to religion, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try, or that some education systems don’t do a much better job of it than others.

    Education should be about

    a) giving the children as much knowledge as possible regarding demonstrably true things about reality, and
    b) giving them the critical thinking to allow them to distinguish truth from untruth for themselves.

    It should certinly not involve teaching children that there are gods, and, in so far as those gods are defined by their adherents in such a way as to make them indistinguishable from the imaginary (and they almost always are), it should not involve teaching them that those gods have been disproven either.

    It has to be possible to devise a system that does a good job of teaching children about the natural world, while leaving the question of whether or not there is a supernatural dimension out of the classroom – and an education system that did this would perhaps not be perfectly neutral or secular, but it would be a hell of a lot more neutral and secular than one that led children in sectarian prayers and taught them that one particular set of supernatural mythology was true.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    As I’ve mentioned in a couple other comments, education is inherently religious. You can’t teach anything without making assumptions about ultimate reality (ie. religion).

    If education isn’t religious, then why is there is push for public schools to teach that homosexuality is okay? That is a moral and religious doctrine. What people think regarding homosexuality is dependent on their view of ultimate reality. BTW, what does everyone here think about incest and beastiality. Are they okay?

    Many atheists (and secularists) try to play a shell game by saying that education should be “neutral”. But that is impossible. Even mathematics relies on religious assumptions.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Your methodology is begging the question. You are assuming that God doesn’t exists and then proceeding on that basis.

    That’s my point. Education is inherently religious. It either begins with the existence of God or the non-existence of God. There is no neutrality.

  • TCC

    Actually, I think that schools could be said to indoctrinate in the first sense, which essentially just means “educate.” There is no “partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle” “imbued” on students in public education (and insofar that anything like that happens, it tends to be a uniquely Christian opinion being espoused).

    Of course public education serves a societal purpose. The issue is, is that a valid purpose?

    Yes. Next?

  • MD

    No it doesn’t. Education need not address the question of a deity. Quite honestly, you are getting ridiculous.

  • TCC

    That is patently false and absurd on its face. I can teach grammar or literary analysis without having to come to a consensus on the question of the existence or lack thereof of any given deity.

  • TCC


  • TCC

    I know you don’t give much credence to the idea of teaching critical thinking skills (obviously), but that doesn’t mean that all of your fellow theists are with you on that.

  • DavidMHart

    What is there about an education system that systematically avoids addressing the question of whether or not any gods exist that makes it begin by taking sides? Are you really suggesting that you can’t remain neutral on a question even if you never mention that question and strenuously avoid any situation that might compel you to take a position on that question, and if so, why?

  • TCC

    I think the point that TIA might be sidling up to is the idea that there must be agreement on the philosophical underpinnings of what constitutes knowledge before learning can begin, which is just ridiculous. As long as there is consensus that we can know things, then learning can begin.

  • TCC

    Letting some people opt out constitutes a free rider problem: that is, if society in general benefits from a more educated populace, then people who don’t pay into the system receive the benefits with none of the costs. That’s an unsustainable model.

    Edit: And “teaching other people’s children things they don’t agree with” is irrelevant if those things are true.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Not true. Some English professors specifically reject punctuation and capitalization because they are Christian.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    I believe strongly in critical thinking skills. Public schools are notoriously bad in that area because they don’t begin with the existence of God.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    What I am saying is that ultimate assumptions matter. Everyone has them, and the conclusions we reach depend on them. No one should be forced to pay to teach children someone else’s ultimate assumptions.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    “What is there about an education system that systematically avoids addressing the question of whether or not any gods exist that makes it begin by taking sides?”

    To “avoid the question” is to address the question, because it assumes that education can occur apart from God’s existence.

  • TiltedHorizon

    ” No one should be forced to pay to teach children someone else’s ultimate assumptions.”

    Unless those assumptions are yours.

  • TCC

    1. Public schools educate children.
    2. Public schools do not address the question of deities.
    3. Ergo, public schools educate children apart from the question of the existence of gods. QED.

  • TCC

    [citation needed]

  • TCC

    Ha, a contradiction in two sentences. That’s impressive.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    No, no one should be forced to pay for anyone else’s education. I shouldn’t have to pay to educate children according to what you believe. You shouldn’t have to pay to educate children according to what I believe.

    That was the point of my original comment.

  • phantomreader42

    Your original point was bullshit, and your attempts to defend it have been a succession of incredibly stupid lies. You are full of shit. Of course, why should anyone expect honesty from you, since your very name is a lie?

  • TCC

    We don’t educate children “according to what [we] believe”; we educate children according to what is demonstrably true.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    But people don’t agree on what is demonstrably true. Is it what you believe is demonstrably true or what I believe is demonstrably true?

  • TiltedHorizon

    “Is it what you believe is demonstrably true or what I believe is demonstrably true?”

    Demonstrate it and we will find out.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    The specific instance I was referring to was related to me by a friend regarding his experience at university a couple decades ago. I will attempt to find a reference, but I can’t guarantee it.

    On a related note, see

    Punctuation matters.

  • phantomreader42

    It is demonstrably true that the Earth is not flat. It is demonstrably true that the Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. It is demonstrably true that evolution occurs. It is demonstrably true that various diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses, not demonic posession. If your cult disagrees, then DEMONSTRATE that your cult’s ridiculous dogma is correct and in accord with reality, or just admit that you don’t give a flying fuck about what is demonstrably true.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Citing trivial examples doesn’t help your case.

  • TCC

    We’re not talking about beliefs; we’re talking about facts. With very few exceptions*, public schools focus on teaching facts. Covalent bonds exist whether you believe in them or not. The ceasefire of the American Civil War was signed at Appomattox Courthouse whether you believe it or not. “We” is the proper subjective form whether you believe it or not.

    *And even then, we’re talking about values education that espouses principles widely accepted in society, like compassion, responsibility, etc.

  • TCC

    What would be some non-trivial examples that are actually taught in public schools? (Note: I’m a public school teacher and will be able to tell if you’re bullshitting.)

  • Feminerd

    I told you, I stopped debating libertarians on this a long time ago. Why don’t you defend your position first, and then I’ll decide if it’s worth my time to respond?

  • TCC

    In other words, you’re full of shit. Not that this is a big surprise.

  • TCC

    I’m also going to note that I do this as a profession despite having both theistic and non-theistic students. We never come to a consensus on the question at hand, and yet learning happens. Your proposition is thereby falsified.

  • DavidMHart

    To “avoid the question” is to address the question

    I suppose that next you’ll be trying to tell us that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength? ;-)

    But seriously, what you’re doing here is playing humpty-dumpty with the ordinary meaning of words. Whether or not an education can occur apart from the existence of gods, it is clear that belief in gods is not a necessary part of an education, as evidenced by the many atheists who manage to come out of school actually knowing some things about the real world. You may choose to define ‘education’ in such a way that belief in gods is a necessary part of it, but you would be using a narrow and extremely idiosyncratic definition of the word ‘education’ that does not match up to what most people commonly understand it to mean.

    You’re allowed to do that, as long as you admit that that’s what you’re doing, and as long as you make it clear that you are only speaking for your own idiosyncratic definition of a word and not for the more commonly understood everyday use.

    So let’s try again. An education system, defined as a system whereby children are taught basic skills such as maths and literacy, some facts about the natural world such as history, geography, physics, chemistry, ideally some arts such as painting, music, etc can be neutral with regard to religion if it studiously avoids bringing up the question of whether gods exist. Can you at least agree to that?

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    People disagree about lots of “facts”. I say that God exists whether you believe in Him or not. It is a fact.

    Furthermore, people disagree that an education consisting of “facts” and widely accepted values is the best form of education.

    Are you still not getting that education is inherently religious?

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Evolution (in the sense that all life evolved from a common ancestor).

    Homosexuality (that it is morally right).

    Abraham Lincoln (that he is a hero).

  • TiltedHorizon

    “Are you still not getting that education is inherently religious?”

    So “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic” is the secular holy trinity?

    (This is a Poe, right?)

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    No, my point is that even punctuation has religious implications. You may reject that idea, but that simply confirms that education is religious. It is dependent on your beliefs.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Stealing is wrong. Go ahead an give your explanation of why you think stealing is right.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Your premise #2 is incorrect. Public schools implicitly assume that the existence of God is irrelevant to education.

  • Feminerd

    Evolution: demonstrable fact

    Homesexuality: it’s not morally right, it’s just not morally wrong. It’s morally neutral. Heterosexuality is also morally neutral, as are bisexuality, asexuality, pansexuality, monamory (sp?), and polyamory (and any other sexualities I may have forgotten to mention).

    Abraham Lincoln: a complicated hero at best. He did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong, but I learned about that in high school. The suspension of habeus corpus is a known problematic thing that Lincoln did, and we talked about it. The lateness of the Emancipation Proclamation and its limitations, (some of) the politics surrounding the timing and the need to keep the northern slave states in the Union- all that came up in public school.

    Try again.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    No, I don’t agree with that.

  • Feminerd

    Nope, we agree that stealing is wrong. Taxation is not stealing. Why don’t you start there?

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    “Evolution: demonstrable fact.”
    Are you serious? Before we get into the details, please explain how you would show that evolution is a demonstrable fact.

    Homosexuality is not morally neutral. No human action is morally neutral.

    Abraham Lincoln is indeed complicated. A teacher may say they simply teach “the facts” and let students make up their own minds. But even that is impossible. The very decision of which facts/sources to include or exclude involves a value judgment and shapes the students’ perception. Maybe the teacher lets the students explore whatever sources they want and come to whatever conclusions they want. But even that in itself is a value judgment.

  • phantomreader42

    So, things your cult spent centuries murdering and torturing people over magically become “trivial” the instant it’s convenient to your ideology to pronounce them so. Reality is, as always, irrelevant. Thanks for admitting that you’re the High Priest of Humpty-Dumpty, and everything you say can be dismissed as a self-serving pack of idiotic lies.

  • phantomreader42

    Lying is wrong. Go ahead an give your explanation of why you think lying is right.

  • phantomreader42

    Thanks for admitting that you’re in favor of lying through your rotting teeth. That’s your only hope, none of your moronic delusions can ever survive any contact with reality.

  • phantomreader42

    Do you have a speck of evidence that the existence of your imaginary god is relevant to education? No, of course you don’t, the very idea of evidence is against your religion. Nor do you have the slightest speck of evidence that anything remotely resembling any god actually exists, much less that YOUR version of god exists. All you have is a pack of incredibly stupid lies and dishonest word games, High Priest of Humpty-Dumpty.

  • TCC

    That doesn’t even refute premise #2. You really need some remedial logic lessons.

  • TCC

    I was a language teacher before I became an atheist, and Christian me would have told you the same thing. I reiterate: You’re full of shit. Language is a wholly human endeavor; even if you presume that language was given by God, it doesn’t exist in its current state because of God or religion or whatever other magical thing you want to claim interacts with punctuation.

  • TCC

    Evolution is fact, as is common ancestry. Schools don’t teach that homosexuality is morally right. Insofar as it is “taught” that Abraham Lincoln is a hero, that’s more a product of cultural mythology, not the school system, and I would venture that Lincoln is taught with more nuance than you suppose.

  • Shuklack

    By loosely defining religion, you can twist anything to be a religion.
    Woodworking? Religion. Narcotic Anonymous? Religion. Stamp collecting? Religion. Dungeons and Dragons? Religion.
    Your tired semantic argument is not only pointless, it’s intellectually dishonest.

  • TCC

    Lots of problems here, so I’ll itemize:

    1. Your conclusion about God is explicitly religious, and neither it nor its negation can be taught in public schools. This is a good thing.
    2. You seem to think that public education exists in a vacuum. That education is best when teaching facts and societal values is not an assumption that has been made; there is a history that demonstrates the efficacy of such a model.
    3. The set of fundamental beliefs about a given thing is not equivalent to religion. Your specific set of fundamental beliefs about any given thing might be inherently religious, but not everyone’s will be, even among the religious.

  • Spuddie

    Because an ignorant populace is a godly one. =)

  • Spuddie

    When you say you are against teaching “homosexuality is OK”, you really mean to say that you think homosexuals should be considered criminals or subject to social sanction such as ostracism, bullying, discrimination or physical violence.

    I can see why public schools may not want to promote such ideas.

  • Feminerd

    Evolution as demonstrable fact comes from a whole bajillion things I don’t have room for here. How about a few examples? Moths in Britain, Darwin’s finches, MRSA and XDR tuberculosis, glyphosate-resistant weeds, humans having 23 chromosome pairs while great apes have 24 but one of ours shows a distinct join where two chromosomes fused together, and cockroaches who don’t taste sugar for just a very few. Wikipedia and are excellent places for laypeople to start, but to really understand the subject requires advanced knowledge of paleontology, biochemistry, and biology. If you truly want to learn about evolution, go to Google Scholar and find papers about it. There are lots.

    Not every action is morally neutral? Taking a shit is morally neutral. Eating a strawberry is morally neutral. Going for a walk is morally neutral. Humans do morally neutral things all the time. That is also besides the point. Who we are is completely morally neutral; who we are attracted to has no moral content whatsoever. What we do is can have moral content, but when it comes to sex, consent and ability to give it are what determines morality. There is no more inherent morality in M/F monogamy than there is in doing sexy-time things with 20 different people of different genders at an orgy, so long as each of the people consented to whatever happened. If a parent wants to teach a child that homosexuality (or orgies, for that matter) is immoral, that parent can do so. That, however, is private religious instruction that teachers and schools can not, and should not, advocate (just as they can not, and should not, advocate any religion or religion over irreligion). Schools should take no stand on the matter but should instead make sure all students are protected from bullying or derogation based on sexual orientation (we take no stand on if Christianity is right or wrong, but you’re not allowed to bully the Jewish kids).

  • phantomreader42

    Not really, the High Priest of Humpty-Dumpty managed to contradict himself within a single sentence.

  • Spuddie

    If you think stealing is wrong just because you think God told you do, then you have some major problems with the concepts of morality. Nobody is going to be able to help you without some major psychotropic drug prescriptions and therapy.

    It is obvious you don’t consider lying to be wrong. So we can pretty much discount any notion you present about morality.

  • phantomreader42

    Education is not religion. Your adamant refusal to admit that words mean things does not change that.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    Assuming that the existence of God is irrelevant to education is addressing the question of deities. What are you not getting?

    I’m not talking about “gods” that are irrelevant to education. I’m talking about God, whose existence is relevant to education. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). To say that education can take place apart from God’s existence is indeed to make a statement about the God of the Bible.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    There’s plenty of evidence all around. Your very existence is evidence of God’s existence. You may not believe that, but that doesn’t change the fact.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    1. I don’t want God taught in public schools. I want public schools abolished. Also, you seem to be assuming that what American courts have determined is correct. The founders clearly did not have a problem with talking about God or His existence, so whatever exactly they meant by “religion” in the first amendment certainly did not exclude that. Besides that, there are many other countries with different laws. If America had laws that mandated teaching about God in public schools, would that make it right?

    2. I agree that teaching facts and values is good. But that still leaves a lot of questions. Which facts and which values? To whom and at whose expense? What is the goal of education? Those are religious questions. Or if you don’t like the word “religious”, call them fundamental worldview questions.

    3. Your argument is with the dictionary, not me. See “religion” and “religious” at In any case, it seems that your argument is focused on the current understanding of American law, which I have already addressed above.

  • phantomreader42

    Oh, the High Priest of Humpty-Dumpty is a presuppositionalist! All presuppositionalists are child molesting serial killers. In accordance with presuppositionalist logic, the very fact that I have stated that claim magically makes it true, and nothing remotely resembling evidence is needed.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    The examples you gave simply show that existing things can change over time. I don’t disagree with that. That is vastly different from showing that all living things have a common ancestor.

    From what you wrote, it would appear that you would have no problem with incest (of consenting adults). Is that correct?

    “Schools should take no stand on the matter but should instead make sure all students are protected from bullying or derogation based on sexual orientation”

    The second half of this sentence contradicts the first half. Assuming that all sexual orientations are equally valid or morally neutral is taking a stand.

  • Tanner B James

    I have to admit “inconsistent” that you have demonstrated a proficient talent for debate and argumentation. I will admit, in this regard, that I am a simpleton compared to you. I believe this is true about myself because I get very confused by unclear concepts like god and religion. I take a very simple approach when dealing with my world around me, i.e. “cup” is the name and the symbolic word that defines a thing that holds stuff or it is a unit of measurement. My “car” gets me to work and back home. A “blanket” keeps me warm. The word “god” does not keep me warm or get me to work. To me it has no symbolic meaning. I have read that in the past and somewhat still in the present there have been many gods. Each one different than the other. Each one serving a different function and I guess that each one means something different to someone who is trying to define its meaning. I have also read that every one of those “gods” were described as the “one true god” by the people who believed in them. With so many conflicting definitions, descriptions and meanings how am I supposed to grasp that the christian god is any different than any of those, past or present gods? The definition of the word “god” becomes, at least to me, meaningless because of how I understand the word “meaning.” To me things that have meaning serve a purpose and that things that serve a purpose usually have very clear definition as to what they do and things that do not serve a purpose are generally undefinable or they have no clear meaning and are often described ambiguously. The bible explains it no clearer than the Vedas, the Talmud, or the hieroglyphs written on Egyptian temples. ( i tried Neo-Atenism for a time) Your arguments all seem valid, at least by how you write them but when you use incoherent words, your arguments fail to express any meaningful points. It’s like I am reading gibberish.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    I don’t have a problem with admitting that Christians have done terrible things down through the centuries. So have atheists. That’s exactly what the Bible tells us. It says that we are all sinners whose only hope is to be saved by God.

    Where Christians (including myself) have erred from the Bible, we should rightfully be corrected. What about you? Do you think you’re perfect? That you have everything figured out?

  • Feminerd

    On evolution: we can track back changes to show species developing from other species. We know that our DNA shares certain markers with every other living thing on the planet. We can take the very basic logical steps of observing single-cell life developing into multi-cellular life in fossils, from there developing into complex life, to validate the claim that we all arose from a common ancestor. Seriously; you now have a study list of virology, immunology, biology, biochemistry, and paleontology ahead of you. Surely you should at least be reading Wikipedia articles about them!

    Saying all religions and nonreligion are equally valid or morally neutral is taking a stand on religion, then? How very twisting of words that is; by explicitly not taking a stand, you’re taking a stand. What? When a school says “We take no stand on religion, but you Christian kids are not allowed to bully the Jewish or atheist kids”, are they really taking a stand on religion? Aren’t they just declaring religion out of their jurisdiction and all religions or lack thereof morally neutral?

    And yes, I have no inherent moral objection to incest between consenting adults. I think power dynamics make cross-generational incest very likely to be problematic for other reasons, and I’d strongly encourage anyone at first cousin or closer to not have children or at least have really top-notch genetic screening due to the high possibility of birth defects, but beyond thinking it’s kind of icky? Nope, no moral objections. I, unlike some people, can separate my personal ick factor from what is and is not moral.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    I don’t deny that living things change over time. Common ancestry is a different issue. Why do you believe it is a fact, since it is not something that can be proved scientifically?

    Schools do indeed teach that homosexuality is morally right. They may use words like “acceptable”, “normal”, or “natural”. No human action is morally neutral.

    My point about Abraham Lincoln was to raise a (somewhat) less contentious issue. I’m sure he is taught many different ways in different places. Which way is right? Is there a right way?

    What about other topics? I would say that the issues that apply to Abraham Lincoln also apply every other topic (literature, math, music, etc.).

  • TiltedHorizon

    If you have to turn atheism into a religion to mock it then what does that say of religion?

    BTW, based on your broad interpretation baseball, football, motorcycling, fishing, etc are religions.

  • DavidMHart

    Why not?

    For what it’s worth, you are the only person I have ever encountered in my entire life who has seriously tried to claim that a belief in gods is a necessary component of the very meaning of the word ‘education’. So obviously, where I come from (the UK, a fairly major English-speaking country), your definition would be extremely unusual and idiosyncratic. Maybe where you come from, it isn’t. But I don’t understand why you think that an education system would be in principle unable to be neutral with regards to religion even when we have already said that, for the purposes of this discussion, ‘education’ means instruction in basic skill such as maths and literacy, and factual instruction about the natural (as opposed to supernatural) world. Please explain.

  • Tanner B James

    I think it is better to be inconsistent and possibly wrong about something than to assert that something, an idea or concept, is absolutely true and can not be refuted. Fortunately reality is not how “you” wish it to be. I honestly believe that your rigid view of how things should be would even cause you some discomfort in the long run. My parents tried to home-school me and they found that I needed institutional instruction. By your view I would have then been denied an education, because there would not be any public schools for me to attend since my parents could not afford to send me to a private school. You might argue that education should only be taught by religious institutions, but which ones? Your answer of course to that would be “your religion.” But then I guess we would all be living under the Theocracy of The Inconsistent Atheist of which you or your father, given the timeline, would have been the Supreme Leader. Not a world I would have liked to live in but it certainly seems you want that kind of world. I like living in a world that is inconsistent, that can not be defined in absolutes, that theories and propositions give way to better experiences. To me adherence to a singular and absolute ideal is inconsistent with reality. Diversity and evolution makes the world real. Rigid unchanging ideals lead to extinction.

  • phantomreader42

    David, the reason InconsistentLyingSackOfShit disagrees is that if he’s prevented from constantly weaseling around the definitions of words, he can’t make any of his worthless arguments from lies and stupidity.
    Also, I apologize to the family Mustelidae for comparing this delusional sociopath to one of their number.

  • Tanner B James

    If you find it morally reprehensible to pay for secular education via your taxes, the simplest answer is quit your job. I don’t know where you live but in the United states paying taxes is a given and it’s assumed that, despite our moral convictions, we pay for things we might not actually support if we had any say in the matter. Or you could sue the IRS for the money you think you spent on paying for secular education. I don’t like the idea that some of my tax money is being spent in support of religious schools but it’s a necessary evil if I want to live in a democracy with a diverse populace of cultures and beliefs. Diversity is what makes our country strong. Otherwise we would all be Anglicans living under the rule of the current Queen of England.

  • DavidMHart

    Just because you personally are unable to grasp how it is possible for education to be religiously neutral, does not mean that paying for the education of other people’s children is paying for other people’s religion. A school is perfectly capable of taking on Christian, Hindu, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, Wiccan, Scientologist and John Frum Cargo Cult-ist children and educating them in the full range of secular terrestrial disciplines without telling any of them that their religious position is either right or wrong. If that isn’t neutrality, then I think you maybe don’t understand the meaning of ‘neutrality’ (or is that another word you’re going to insist on playing Humpty-Dumpty with?) and a society that invests in making sure that all its children have the opportunity to learn all of those terrestrial disciplines from trained specialists whose job it is to be good at teaching them to children is going to be a better-educated, and therefore almost certainly wealthier, more peaceful, more enjoyable society to live in than one that doesn’t, but leaves it all down to parents, thus ensuring that kids whose parents either don’t care about education, or are lousy teachers, don’t get a fair chance at learning the life skills they’ll need to live a well-informed, productive and fulfilling life.

    You may argue that it is immoral for the government to take people’s tax money and spend it in an attempt to make society better-educated, more wealthy, more peaceful, more enjoyable to live in … in which case, so be it; you would really be revealing yourself as a sociopath. But most people would want to live in a society where the government, with appropriate democratic controls, tries to achieve these things than one where it doesn’t. This is the enlightened self interest thing that you so glibly dismissed downthread.

  • The Inconsistent Atheist

    If you really want to prove evolution, you need to start with inanimate matter and reproduce the various stages of evolution. Oh, and it has to be repeatable/reproducible. Come on, this is science isn’t it? That would be pretty convincing. Actually, you’d then have to do an experiment to show where the inanimate matter came from.

    I know that may sound ridiculous, but it is much less ridiculous than atheist requests for proof of God’s existence. Or perhaps you’ll admit that belief in evolution is not based on science after all.

    Scientists can string together all kinds of stories about what they think happened, but that doesn’t make it so. Everyone necessarily has assumptions (a worldview) that affect their conclusions. How do they know their assumptions are correct? You mention “basic logical steps”. How do you know logic is valid?

    Automobiles share certain parts/characteristics. We can track the changes back through history. Does that mean they “evolved” by natural processes or does it show that they had a designer?

    Finally, yes, they are taking a stand on religion (call it a “worldview” if you prefer) by saying that bullying is wrong.

  • Feminerd

    Here’s my reaction to you right now:

    Does the idea that there might be truth
    Frighten you?
    Does the idea that one afternoon
    On Wiki-fucking-pedia might enlighten you
    Frighten you?
    Does the notion that there may not be a supernatural
    So blow your hippy noodle
    That you would rather just stand in the fog
    Of your inability to Google?
    -Tim Minchin which lists a number of reproducible experiments showing how abiogenesis could occur. is an overview of current knowledge of planetary formation, with links to multiple reproducible simulations, observations, and experiments. talks about common ancestry among all living beings on Earth and the evidence for it.

    Seriously, this took me more time to type out than to find. Would you really rather just stand in the fog of your inability to Google?

    EDIT: Logic is valid because it works. We start with base propositions, build upon them using tiny steps that are all correct, and arrive at a conclusion that we can then test against reality. If our conclusion doesn’t match reality, either our logic is in error or our propositions are in error. We know that when both are correct, we arrive at correct conclusions. Every time. That’s how we know logic is valid.

  • TCC

    Why do you believe it is a fact, since it is not something that can be proved scientifically?

    Loaded question, and false.

    Schools do indeed teach that homosexuality is morally right. They may use words like “acceptable”, “normal”, or “natural”.

    There are two ways this statement can be read: 1) All schools teach that homosexuality is morally permissible or 2) some schools teach that homosexuality is morally permissible. I’m willing to grant #2 but not that it is widespread. If you want to support that claim or the still stronger former interpretation, you’re welcome to present evidence.

    My point about Abraham Lincoln was to raise a (somewhat) less contentious issue. I’m sure he is taught many different ways in different places. Which way is right? Is there a right way?

    Yes, there is: according to the standards of the discipline (history). And that requires looking at a variety of sources, considering bias and purpose.

    What about other topics? I would say that the issues that apply to Abraham Lincoln also apply every other topic (literature, math, music, etc.).

    You would be wrong. But again, feel free to present hypotheticals, and we can discuss how realistic (or, more likely, unrealistic) they are.

  • TCC

    1. I couldn’t care less what you think about public schools, nor do I exceptionally care about what the Founders thought. I also am not judging the rightness of the current system (neutrality) on it being the current interpretation of law; I judge it on the merits and find it to be the most appropriate way to go about educating. (My last sentence of the first item should have given this away.)
    2. Those are not “religious” questions; they are philosophical questions. Educational philosophy is not something that is dependent on one’s individual philosophy of ontology, epistemology, etc.
    3. If you simply mean “philosophical,” then yes, but philosophy does not have to address the existence of deities. Your use of “religious” is a way of equivocating and saying that we already address “religious” issues in public education, we must address the fundamental question of the existence of gods. This is patently false.

  • TCC

    You are not getting this: That the existence of gods is irrelevant to education is not an assumption. It is a conclusion. We have evidence.

    Now shut up already. Jesus H. Christ.

  • ZeldasCrown

    and I think that’s at least partially where the sense of “persecution” comes from. They’ve been able to do this sort of thing in the past without getting called on it, and now that they are being challenged, their minds are easily able to twist things into whatever terms makes them able to feel superior/in the right. They are being persecuted because they will no longer have special privileges and will have to be on an even field with everybody else.

  • Tabby

    The school did not always do their 5th grade graduations in a chapel for sure. I was a student there and other family members years apart when Tommy Hayes was principal and it was held in cafeteria.

    Well 3 months later and the lawsuit is in full force. The school district (Greenville County S.C.) replied to the wriiten letter with a refusal to change venue or remove prayer…

    [The school district said the organization's posistion would require the district to demonstrate hostility, not neutrality toward religion, which would violate constitutional rights..?]

    The district made the wrong call in backing this principal’s decision. The school district in the south is a little uptight about religion in school because we (SC) are a bible belt state. But rights are rights and they messed up bad.

    This is just crap. How is the school district demonstrating hostility toward religion by saying prayer will not be organized and take part in ceremonies for all to be made to participate? It is public school- NOT PRIVATE. Public school must not violate constitutional rights.

    No one ever said you or your children aren’t allowed to pray. But the law says you can’t make my child participate. It is as simple as that. I don’t get what is so difficult about it.

    Why do “christians” seem to think and feel that they are above all others? They want rights for them- only them. Why does an atheist, non-believer, agnostic, free-thinker, etc, have to sit through a public school ceremony and pray? And to add to that- what about the catholic, jewish, muslim, jehov witness, etc, have to sit through a “christian prayer”?

    Ok last item on my rant list… Why would a public elementary school hold a graduation for fifth grader’s at a private christian college? Not the least bit sensible! It seems someone thought it out and straight up decided what the hell… Whats worse case scenario? Seems like alot of bullsh!+ to go through for a 5th grade graduation.

    To top it all off, THEY HAD OPTION TO END IT BEFORE IT WENT TO COURT! Their refusal to agree to terms is going to cause a reward in court which means the money comes from tax payers. So now non-believer and christians both have to pay for christian’s rights and the distict’s refusal to step on their toes! Although the christians will blame the parents who brought complaint and other non-christians, even though they gave the option to agree to not do this in the future.

    Ok rant/vent done now.