Today Show Anchors Applaud Elementary School Students Pledging Allegiance to God

This morning on NBC’s Today, weatherman Al Roker visited Silver Spring, Maryland’s Forest Knolls Elementary School as part of his “Wake Up With Al” tour.

It starts off all well and good and cute. Roker even helps with the morning announcements. Then, at the 1:37 mark, they all say the Pledge of Allegiance together — even the Today show anchors join in via satellite:

That by itself wouldn’t bother me. Most schools say the Pledge and that’s really not the point of the segment.

But then they discussed what just happened and things got weird:

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North Carolina State Senate Unanimously Approves ‘It’s Okay to Pray’ Bill

You know how praying in schools is perfectly legal? Because it is. And no atheist group would even think about taking that right away from students who pray privately or in a non-disruptive way.

But that didn’t stop the North Carolina General Assembly from unanimously passing Senate Bill 370 yesterday. SB 370 is a Republican-sponsored bill that “clarif[ies] student rights to engage in prayer and religious activity in school.” As if people were trying to put a stop to that

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Ottawa Taxpayers Fund Catholic School Trip to Anti-Abortion Rally

In Ottawa, where taxpayers pay for Catholic education, the Catholic School Board decided to pull kids out of school today… so they could go march at an anti-abortion rally:

High school students from Ottawa Catholic schools will have time off to join the anti-abortion protesters. Communications officer Mardi de Kemp said the board pays for buses to the event.

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A Florida Teenager’s Account of Atheist Literature Distribution in Public Schools

This is a guest post by Daniel Koster. Daniel is the President of the Wekiva Atheist and Secular Alliance at Wekiva High School in Florida.

This post is in response to a recent distribution of atheist literature at several Orange County high schools.


About three months ago, a Christian group distributed Bibles at eleven Orange County schools. They were given permission to do this under the condition that they leave the tables unattended and that their volunteers have no interaction with students. While they were at my school, Wekiva High, I documented them breaking both of these rules (see image below). The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been dealing with the School Board attorneys on this issue.

But that’s in the past. Let’s get to the local secular movement’s inspiring response.

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After Being Asked to Remove Prayer from Graduation, Riverside School District Cancels Ceremony Altogether

The Riverside School District in Arkansas has held Christian prayers at its elementary school graduation ceremonies for years and no one ever complained about it… until now.

First, let me give you a summary of every conversation that takes place when we revisit this issue:

Christians: But… Tradition!

Everyone else: It doesn’t matter. That still doesn’t make it right.

Christians: But… we’re in the majority!

Everyone else: A graduation is supposed to be for all students, not just Christian students.

Christians: But… we have rights, too!

Everyone else: No one’s taking your rights aw–oh, forget it. You’re hopeless.

Now, back to Riverside. Instead of simply removing the prayer from the ceremony and getting on with it, district officials decided to cancel the entire event altogether. Because we all know you can’t graduate from sixth grade without Jesus handing you a diploma:

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