An elementary school in South Carolina decided to hold its graduation at nearby North Greenville University, a religious college. At the graduation two sectarian prayers were given and two parents complained to the AHA which sent a “never do that again” letter to the school.
Well, Dr. Jimmy Epting, the university’s president, was unhappy.
Dr. Jimmy Epting, university president, said North Greenville University is a biblically sound, Christ-centered and community-oriented university that often allows schools, businesses and corporations to use its facilities.
“We particularly try to cooperate with our local community,” Epting said. “Mountain View Elementary is a very special school to us. And so when they ask to use our facilities we are pleased to allow them to do that at no cost.”
Epting described Mountain View Elementary as a “tremendous community school.”
“We support Mountain View’s right to have the program here if they want to,” Epting added. “We support our right to allow them to have the program here.”
The issue was with sectarian prayers being recited to a captive audience at an event organized by a government institution. The school simply cannot promote or disparage religion. That’s the law. Stop complaining as if their issue was with holding the graduation on your campus and not the sectarian prayers that were delivered to the students once they were there.
That’d be like me asking you not pee your pants and you responding with “I have the right to wear pants!” Way to rebut an argument that nobody was making.
The AHA’s Monica Miller tried to get Epting to focus.
“The main problem is that you’ve got school-aged children attending a school-sponsored event that’s supposed to be secular. Not only are they confronted with two prayers but they’re also in a building that’s surrounded by not just symbolism, but with religious, overtly Christian symbolism,” Miller said in an interview. “That’s a problem, especially when you’ve got younger children there.”
Easy. Plain. Simple. But not easy, plain, and simple enough.
Epting said he was disappointed that two parents complained to the American Humanist Association. He estimated that more than 1,000 people attended the ceremony.“We certainly support and are more than proud and glad to defend Mountain View Elementary’s right to do what they did on our campus,” he said. “We also believe that one of the major problems in the nation today is the lack of God … in the schools. God needs to be back in the schools.”
I’m sure he was disappointed that someone complained, just like a thief is surely put out when somebody calls the police. Sadly, the law is not determined by how many people complain. The law is equally broken if two people call or if all one thousand people call.
And I know you believe that religion needs to be in the schools (god, if he exists, is already there – you’re talking about turning schools into pseudo-churches. Don’t pretend like you’re not), but that doesn’t change the laws. I think LSD should be legal, but no judge upon hearing my opinion on the matter will absolve me of breaking the current law and I’d be an absolute dumbass to expect them to.
Trying to get Epting, who somehow acquired a PhD, to focus on the problem that was actually put forward reminds me a bit of this commercial:
“We have a problem with the government endorsing religion.”
“You have a problem with students being near pigeons?”
Geez. The most arrogant assumptions of privilege are becoming synonymous with “religious freedom”. It’s not your right to break the law. It never was.