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Religion WTF?!

First Grader In Georgia Bullied By Teachers Until He Agreed To Join Class Prayer

Having been born and raised in Georgia, I can attest to the fact that folks in this part of the country take their religion very seriously. Too seriously at times, in my opinion. And this story is the perfect example of that.

A lawsuit was recently settled in which teachers at Swainsboro Primary School basically coaxed, cajoled, and finally bullied a first grader until the child agreed to participate in daily school prayer.

WTF?! 

Keep in mind this child came from a family that was non-religious, and isn’t prayer in public schools supposed to be illegal as per numerous Supreme Court rulings?

Two students, one in kindergarten and the other a first-grader, were identified in the suit as Jamie and Jesse Doe. They brought the forced prayers to the attention of the parents, identified as John and Jane Doe, in August 2014. John Doe notified the school that teacher-led prayers were a violation of the constitutional rights of his family.

But rather than stopping the prayers, the Doe children were told to sit in the hallway during class prayer time. Jesse, who was in first grade, told John and Jane Doe what happened, saying the teacher used “her mean voice” when she told the child to leave her classroom so she could lead the other students in prayer.

The Doe parents took their youngest child out of school when the child repeatedly talked about feeling uncomfortable as a result of the daily classroom prayers. Jesse Doe continued to attend first grade at the school.

The parents also contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The organization sent a letter to school officials, making it clear that the teachers’ actions were violating the rights of the Doe family. According to the lawsuit, an attorney for the school sent a response letter, asserting that the school superintendent had “talked with the principal of the primary school and taken steps to stop the conduct.”

But that was simply not true. And court documents show that teachers and school employees continued to “organize, participate in, and endorse prayer to their students, including Jesse.”

Additionally, another teacher would not allow Jesse to participate in recess. According to legal documents from the case, the teacher wanted to:

“Talk to Jesse about her personal conception of the Christian god. She spent almost the entire recess period explaining her personal views on Christianity’s god: that God loves Jesse and that God made the world.”

That same teacher also told the first grader that he should not listen to his mother because:

“(She) is a bad person for not believing in God.”

Shortly after the case was settled, the Freedom From Religion Foundation issued this statement:

“We’re pleased that the Emanuel County Schools has taken action to correct the egregious constitutional violations that were taking place in its classrooms. No devotions and religious practices should take place in public schools, and no small child should ever be pressured to take part in such illegal practices. More than 50 years of clear Supreme Court precedent bar such coercive conduct, because religion in schools is divisive and builds walls between children.”

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

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Idaho GOP Pushing Bill To Make The Bible A Reference Book In Public Schools

The Idaho Republican Party has decided it would be a great idea to mandate that the Bible become a reference book in public school classes which teach science or law.

Here we go again.

The Idaho GOP has issued a set of proposed resolutions which are bundled under the title, “A Resolution Supporting Bible Use in Idaho Public Schools.”

Catchy, don’t ya think?

Marge Arnzen, the Republican Party chairperson for Idaho County, sent language which can be used by the state legislature if they are so inclined. That language reads, in part:

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 3.43.37 PM

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 3.44.39 PMI’m sure the Idaho GOP thinks this is a great way to force Christianity down the throats of young people in their state, but perhaps they should take a moment and consider a similar scenario they probably wouldn’t find quite so copacetic: A local Islamic group decides it would be a great idea to mandate that the Koran be used as a reference book in public school classes which teach science and law. Can you hear the screams of Republicans decrying the teaching of Sharia law to students? Those howls would reverberate across the state and the nation.

I have no problem with young people reading or studying the Bible if they so choose. But not in schools! Religious instruction does not belong in schools. It should instead be kept in places of worship and the home.

Recent studies have shown that the number of Americans who describe themselves as Christian is on the wane. So now Republicans think they can force feed their beliefs to the young and impressionable, and they can thereby guarantee future generations of obedient believers. But the quickest way to dissuade a child from learning something is to make it mandatory.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.