Why are bears appearing on a school's Facebook page?

Why are bears appearing on a school's Facebook page? December 3, 2017

Because Stanton Elementary School in Powell County, Kentucky, is apparently teaching kids that atheists will be eaten by bears.
Pranksters targeted the school’s Facebook page this week after it was reported that one of its pupils, ten-year-old Devin Estes, was being bullied because he decided to pull out of a daily Christian programme called the Upper Room. He does not believe in God and has no stomach for the evangelical crap that’s being peddled at these prayer and Christian song sessions.

His mother, Heather, above, has complained to the school about bullying — most of it is school-yard taunts. But one student recently slammed a desk into Devin when the subject of religion came up. And some of the teachers seem to be trying to persuade the boy that his atheism is wrong.
Recently, the bullying escalated, and when Devin complained to a teacher about it and asked to go speak to the principal, Devin said she wouldn’t allow him to do so.
She told him that if he wants to be different than the other kids, he’d better get used to defending himself and invited him to stand before the class and talk about his religious beliefs.
One teacher once quizzed him on his religious beliefs and joked that non-believers would be eaten by bears, like children who mocked the prophet Elisha in one Old Testament story.
Reporting the story for the Courier Journal, Joseph Gerth pointed out that:

Powell County is nothing if it’s not evangelical Protestant. The county ranks in the top quarter of all US counties for percentage of residents who belong to evangelical churches, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives.

The school’s programme appears to violate the Constitution, according to Heather Weaver, a lawyer who specialises in religious freedom issues and works for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Weaver doesn’t believe that elementary school students could organise such a programme without the involvement of teachers. Use of school equipment like projectors, the gym’s public address system and the school website are also giveaways, she said.
And she worries that at the very least, teachers are allowing students to coerce Devin into taking part in the programme.
The principal at the school, James Crase, didn’t respond to a phone call or email. Mary Beth Mink, an English teacher at nearby Powell County High School and a sponsor of the Upper Room programme, didn’t respond to an email, either.
Powell County School Superintendent Michael Tate would say only that the school board system is looking into the situation and that the safety of students is its top priority.
Heather Estes, who is a public advocacy lawyer in Stanton, said she and her friends are reluctant activists in this matter.
They would have been happy to not raise questions about the programme — “While my family is not religious, my family is not anti-religious” — but she felt she had to say something because of the bullying.
Wrote Gerth:

Now she’s trying to figure out her next step. Maybe she and her kids will have to move. All because of a programme that was supposed to make kids feel closer to God, but is actually making them feel isolated and alone. 

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  • L.Long

    Nothing does evil like religion….especially the abrahamic ones!! Their best solution is a different school or move to where they can get a better school. Any school not religious would be better!! If you don’t leave and he stays atheist there will be bigger problems because ahole bigoted xtians have no problems with growing violence! xtians talk love but love violence!

  • tonye

    Devin’s teacher ‘invited him to stand before the class and talk about his religious beliefs.’
    As usual the religious just don’t understand atheism. No matter how often it’s pointed out – ‘atheism’ is not a belief, it’s a lack of belief.
    Remember it’s the religious who need the crutch of an ‘invisible best friend’ in order to get through the day, not us.

  • Frank

    To be a good christian you have to be a lying mean dishonest sly spiteful bigot.

  • Broga

    Sickos and ignorant and cruel with it. Everyone is an atheist for all religions except their own. Christian kids do seem to have a tendency towards behaving viciously to anyone who does not share their benighted beliefs. The opposite of how they claim to behave.

  • barriejohn

    Believe it or not, Answers in Genesis has a page that deals with this incident – and conveniently explains it all away (what’s new?).
    We should…examine Scripture in context and compare Scripture with Scripture… In so doing, careful attention to the whole of Scripture and to the context should keep us from either expunging the parts we don’t personally like or falsely accusing God of characteristics He doesn’t have.
    Prepare to be amazed!

  • Broga

    barriejohn: clear as the proverbial mud. Lengthy bollocks, and an exercise in deceit, deliberately obscure to fool people into thinking there must be some profundity buried in there although they can’t see what it is.

  • AgentCormac

    Bears will eat you. Your unchristened child will languish for ever in purgatory unless you hand over a fortune to the church. And all sinners (unless they’re paedophile priests, of course) will spend no less than eternity writhing in unbearable agony while being roasted over the fire pits of hell as little devil things with sharp teeth stab you in your guts with their tridents. Oh, really? Yawn.
    Can people seriously not see through this insane bollocks? Well, it would seem a ten-year-old kid called Devin Estes can see right through it. Well done that man. And shame on the so-called teachers who would rather fill his head with blind, unquestioning claptrap than encourage him to think for himself.
    Go Devin Estes. And I hope your family back you to the hilt.

  • Ate Berga

    Religion should be illegal for children under 18, no, make that 21. Brainwashed zombies are cool, the one who can think is an abomination. Stupid religiots.

  • phhht

    These terrorist threats – that your children will be eaten by bears – are just the logical extension of the universal Christian practice of trying to extort belief by threats.
    What else is hell, if not a great big extortionist threat?
    Christians are sicko contemptible theothugs shaking their voodoo rattles at schoolchildren.

  • L.Long

    Let’s experiment on who will be eaten. I challenge ANY xtians to enter the hunger bears cage with me. They must be naked except for the faith of their gawd and I will enter naked except for the science of intense skunk scent on me! Let’s see who will accept the challenge!

  • StephenJP

    Well, I find this quite encouraging. A ten-year-old lad, in one of the most evangelical parts of the US, has the intelligence and self-confidence to call BS on the myths and lies that he is being taught in school (in school?!) Keep it up, Devin!
    And yes, religion should be an activity for consenting adults in private.

  • Vanity Unfair

    One teacher once quizzed him on his religious beliefs and joked that non-believers would be eaten by bears, like children who mocked the prophet Elisha in one Old Testament story.
    Is that so, baldie?

  • 1859

    Devine – the bullies ( the loving, caring, christian kids) are behaving like this because deep down they know – they really know – that their beliefs are just convenient, sugar- coated fairy stories, candy-floss creation myths common to all culture the world over – which, of course, does not make them right, but it does demonstrate how desperate unthinking people are to cling onto anything to explain what they are doing here floating around in space on a large rock covered mostly with water. The crazy thing is, if Christ ever did exist, he would have beeen on Devine’s side.

  • 1859

    When I first saw the picture of the bears, I was hoping it was another ‘gay lion’ story…here’s hoping for next time!

  • sowa

    “One teacher once (…) joked that non-believers would be eaten by bears.” – what. the. fuck. Is this teacher a sociopath? So down the religious well they lost all empathy?
    “She told him that if he wants to be different than the other kids, he’d better get used to defending himself” – the boy doesn’t need to defend himself for merely being different, you need to STOP ATTACKING, you fucking drone. Bet she would whimper about discrimination if tables were turned.
    Anyways, yet another example that mere existence of atheists makes religionists go crazy. Dogma can’t accept any challenges, even potential ones. That’s why it needs to stay away from education.

  • barriejohn

    I remember “children’s evangelists” visiting, and having children in tears with their stories of hell fire. Some even based their “talk” on some fictitious, emotional story about a little animal or child that “disobeyed” and met a gruesome end. You could have heard a pin drop. This was quite shameless, but many Christians believe that because the Bible says “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”, once a person has been somehow persuaded to “seek salvation” and “confess Christ” they can never then be “lost”. It’s weird.

  • barriejohn

    Remember this?
    You can view the whole thing on YouTube if you’ve never seen it.

  • andym

    “Jesus Camp” should be something like John Inman reading the Sermon on the Mount.That would have been a lot more fun.
    You don’t have to be obese to teach at Jesus Camp, but it clearly helps.
    More evidence that if you’re fuckwitted, powerless, fed up of not being listened to, you should take up religion to gain an influence you don’t deserve.

  • barriejohn

    @andym: It became painfully obvious to me that of all the hundreds of children who “confessed Christ”, literally a handful later joined a church and became active Christians. Yet everything was done to ensure that THEIR children came “under the influence of the Gospel”, and so the cycle repeated itself. That young guy Levi (from Jesus Camp) says in later interviews that his “love for God” was stronger than ever, and that no one TOLD him about God, but that he just experienced him for himself. This despite the fact that the first person you see is his mother, telling us all that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Jesus and those who don’t!

  • Barry Duke

    Y’know 1859, there could be a gay angle to this report: https://imgur.com/a/dsU7X

  • Cali Ron

    So the moral of the story is if young innocent children criticize the almighty god he will have bears rip them to pieces. So much for suffer not the children. God seems to be awfully insecure for being ALMIGHTY! That’s christians love for you.

  • David Thompson

    Well l’ve never been bitten by a bear yet!