Dad rebuts Nora Treat on god being taken out of schools.

Ah, the type of letters to the editor that get submitted to my hometown newspaper here in Bumblefuck, USA.  Here’s one in the paper today from Nora Treat.

The terrible tragedy that occurred in Connecticut was beyond description, and the ACLU and the atheists who have been responsible for God being taken out of our schools can blame themselves for these senseless tragedies.

Of course, the first thing people talk about is gun control.

Think about it.

All the time I was growing up, Dad had guns in the house.

Living on the prairie in eastern Colorado, we hunted and target-practiced.

I doubt if there was a home in that town that didn’t have at least one gun, and there was never this kind of senseless acts.

But we had God in our schools and in our families.

Life was precious then.

We didn’t murder babies as a form of birth control, and we had a family unit that sat at the table to eat our meals and talk things through.

We started our school day with the pledge to the flag and then a prayer.

We feared God’s wrath and were comforted by Christ’s love.

It’s such a shame that the minority — ACLU and atheists — have taken the country away from the majority.

Why did we let it happen?

There will be more senseless acts until we put God back in our schools and teach our children that life is precious.

What a lovely bunch of stupidity that so happens to be a largely shared opinion around these parts.  Dad couldn’t resist submitting a response to this one.

“…. the ACLU and the atheists who have been responsible for God being taken out of our schools can blame themselves…”

Hmmm… I thought maybe the blame belonged to the judgmental attitudes of Bible-pounding intolerant extremists who God sees as perverters of His truth. Or, maybe to mentally unstable people with ready access to high capacity magazine weapons. Oh, well.

Wait a minute! What is this preposterous “God being taken out of our schools” noise? The ACLU and the atheists haven’t somehow kidnapped God and locked him away from schools. After all, God is everywhere, isn’t he? And an omnipotent God can be anywhere he wants to be, can’t he?

God has not been “taken out of the schools”.

If he had been, how is it that students can still pray in school? Nothing in the Constitution or established jurisprudence prohibits any public school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the school day, and students may pray with fellow students during the school day on the same terms and conditions that they may engage in other conversation or speech. They can read scriptures and pray anywhere on school property, including on the bus. Among other things, students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour, or other non-instructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities. Students may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, and “see you at the pole” gatherings before school to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other non-curricular student activities groups. Such groups must be given the same access to school facilities for assembling as is given to other non-curricular groups.

I think that “God has been taken out of the schools” is a code phrase for “We are not being allowed to use the public schools to indoctrinate all children into our religion, Which, of course, is the ONLY right one.” They are up in arms because their religion does not receive preferential treatment from the state through the school.

“We didn’t murder babies as a form of birth control….” Abortion has been going on as long as there have been unwanted conceptions, including reference in the bible and records from the ancient Greeks and Romans. The only real difference now is that we aren’t having as many women die from them because they are being illegally done on kitchen tables in dirty back rooms with coat hangers and butcher knives. Sex education and ready access to birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies is the answer, not retribution against desperate women making difficult choices.

“It’s such a shame that the minority — ACLU and atheists — have taken the country away from the majority.” Translated, this means “I am so angry my wants don’t override their rights, the Constitution, and 200 years of established jurisprudence.”

If “God being taken out of schools” is the reason He caused this to happen, what is the excuse for causing all of the abuse of children by pedophiles in churches and the Boy Scouts that He wasn’t taken out of? Does this excuse also apply to malls, theaters, churches, and all the other places where massacres have occurred? What about the hundreds of school shootings before 1962…you know, the ones that anyone would know about who could use Google and type in “history of school shootings”. Why is the reason for all of those different than this excuse?

Spot on.  To use a travesty to secure special treatment for your religion cheapens the lives of those who died and tells me all about your religion that I need to know.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    I do so enjoy it when your dad goes off on a tear. My father’s latest screed was about how those damn atheists (read:me) are destroying christmas. Wanna trade dads?

    • iknklast

      My dad just sent me a whole page of lighted trees, each one informng me “This is a CHRISTmas tree.” At the end, this is not a HOLIDAY tree. At the end, I was exhorted to say “Merry CHRISTmas” over and over. I didn’t.

      JT, thanks for sharing your dad. I love my dad…but at times like these, I don’t necessarily like him very much.

      • Stogoe

        We don’t really celebrate the Christ Mass any more. What we celebrate is Chris Mess, the one day of the year we all get fed up and make Chris pick up after himself.

      • Tony

        Iknklast — have you considering sending him a card in return, citing Jeremiah 10:2-4. He may never talk to you about a CHRISTmas tree ever again!

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I hadn’t made that mental connection yet, next time someone tells me the school shooting was because “God was taken out of school” I’ll reply “Yeah, just like God was taken out of movie theaters”.

    • AJ

      Zinc Avenger:

      Or you could ask how god did in those churches with the child rapes and all.

      Or the shooting in the Sikh temple. Or the Amish shooting here in Pennsylvania.

      Or any of the ones that show up in the Google search for before 1962.

  • nakedanthropologist

    Your dad is great. With his permission, I would love to save his response in a folder I keep specifically for when religious fanatics start whining about losing their privelege. What happened in Connecticut is horrific, and we as a nation should be concentrating on supporting the victims and their families in this time of shock and mourning. To use that tragedy to further one’s own bigoted and singular views is so vile that it requires its own vomitorium. I’ve decided to invent my own phrase for this kind of bullshit “Vomingelical” – so thanks to you, Ms. Treat – you (and others of your ilk) have now sunk even lower than I previously thought possible.

    • John Eberhard

      I liked what you wrote here even better and will certainly be using “vomitorium”. Of course you are welcome to use any of my stuff you deem worthy.

      • David Hart

        Sadly, ‘vomitorium’ doesn’t mean what you think it means.

        Pity, since it would be a great word if it actually meant ‘a place to go and throw up’.

        • John Eberhard

          Thanks for the info!
          Yes, a pity. Damn.

  • otrame

    John, as always, you hit the nail on the head. I heard a woman in a doctor’s office waiting room muttering about Obama attending a prayer breakfast, “Oh, yeah HE gets to pray, but they won’t let our kids pray in school”. I usually ignore that crap, but I was in a mood and I said, “There is absolutely no rule against kids praying in school. In fact, there is no way to prevent it, even if anyone wanted to.”

    She spouted some more right-wing lies about the ACLU and atheists. I said, “Actually most people who work for separation of church and state in this country are Christians.”

    She said, “Well, I believe it’s better for kids to be led in prayer.”

    I said, “Yeah, well, it’s illegal in public schools. Besides many Christians believe that Jesus meant Mathew 6:6 to be taken seriously.”

    That shut her up. I strongly suspect that it was because she had no idea what I was talking about. I hope she went home and looked it up. It probably wouldn’t change her mind, but I bet it would have made her uncomfortable.

    • Hypatia’s Daughter

      Yeah, well Matthew 6:6 doesn’t mean XTIANS! It was a rebuke to the bad, bad Pharisees, not xtians! Yes, I have heard that rationalization.
      You see, the Pharisees were using their religious power to lord over their fellow citizens and show off their piety. (Sort of like the xtians who want to have their beliefs forced on everyone in the schools, don’tcha think?) The Bible is meant to be read literally except where it isn’t.

      • Artor

        *facepalm* Really? Wow…

  • Ani J. Sharmin

    Thanks, Mr. Eberhard. That response is awesome.

    I used to pray in school sometimes, and it was totally fine, as I wasn’t making anyone else participate. (A Christian friend of mine even brought a Bible to school once, to give as a present to me—after I had expressed interest in reading it—and that was fine, too, as she wasn’t forcing me or doing it with the support of the school.) To be honest, I always found prayers that were led by someone else to be kind of impersonal, like I was just agreeing with what they were saying, rather than communicating with god myself.


    I said, “Yeah, well, it’s illegal in public schools. Besides many Christians believe that Jesus meant Mathew 6:6 to be taken seriously.”

    Love this.

  • Ahcuah

    It’s funny how “bearing false witness” does not seem to be a concern of these “prayer in schools” bible-thumpers.

    • Lurker111

      That 9th Commandment was ever only a suggestion, anyway.

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    I love the warm fuzzy memories of how wonderful those good old days were, when she was a child and totally oblivious to what was happening in the real world.

  • Randomfactor

    “It was a rebuke to the bad, bad Pharisees, not xtians!”

    Hate to break it to them, but Jesus was a Pharisee while Paul–who actually founded Christianity–came from the Sadducee faction.