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Author Topic: Rick Perry - Strong
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAJNntoRgA

- I don't know anybody who is ashamed to admit that they're Christian.

- Damn gays. I mean, what? This can't still be an issue.

- Where are all these people who are afraid to openly celebrate Christmas? Certainly none of my relatives or my friends or my friends' relatives or anybody I know. Some scroogy mckilljoy puts up a mean billboard? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFZrzg62Zj0

- Kids can pray whenever they want in school.

- Obama's war on religion? ...

/lateatnight

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
- Where are all these people who are afraid to openly celebrate Christmas?

The actual quote was:
"but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. "

And that's completely true.

quote:
The ACLU warned public school officials not to focus on one religious holiday like Christmas during the holiday season, claiming such actions would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The group mailed a letter to 137 school superintendents across the Volunteer State, which read "Holiday celebrations that focus primarily on one religious holiday can result in indoctrination as well as a sense within students who do not share that religion of being outsiders to the school."

Link


quote:
Originally posted by threads:
- Kids can pray whenever they want in school.

No, they can't, at least not anymore in the State of Tennessee. Legally, they can still pray, but school policy in Williamson County is that any vocal prayers within the classrooms aren't acceptable and subject to disciplinary action.

And as of the last few years, school employees may not display crosses or any religious imagery and this includes jewelry. My mother has traditionally worn a cross on a necklace, that is now verbatim. (She's not a teacher, actually she currently doesn't even work in a school, but at the county school system's administration building.)

And currently there is an attempt to prohibit any vocal prayers on school property at all.

quote:

Group Demands Tennessee School End Prayers Before Football Games Read more:

A group that promotes the separation of church and state is demanding an end to prayers before football games at Soddy-Daisy High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Link

Coaches are not allowed to even bow their heads when students pray outside of a classroom. And prayer's may not be said by any faculty nor read aloud over the PA system by anyone. (Technically, faculty may pray as long as it's out of sight and sound of any students.)

quote:
Several public high school football coaches in Westmoreland, Tenn. are in trouble for bowing their heads during a student-led prayer before a recent game.

According to local NBC affiliate WSMV, the coaches didn’t say anything aloud themselves, but bowed their heads in observance alongside the students.

quote:
“When a teacher or administrator participates in events such as See You at the Pole, it is possible for a student to confuse a teacher or administrator’s personal speech with their official speech,” read a portion of the guidelines obtained by The Tennessean.

Teachers have not been banned from praying, but if they do – it must be done out of sight and earshot of students, the newspaper reported.

Link

I would agree that to call it Obama's war on religion is partisan smear by Perry, but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion.

And the movement does seemed targeted:

quote:
A federal appeals court in New York ruled it's okay for New York City Public Schools to ban the display of Christian nativity scenes during the Christmas season, even though displays of the Jewish menorah and Islamic star and crescent are permitted during Hanukkah and Ramadan.
Link

In an interesting turn of events, the ACLU has taken to defending religious rights. Apparently the ACLU has concluded that policies have gone from unconstitutionally advocating religion to unconstitutionally prohibiting it.

quote:
NASHVILLE, TN - Students from Belmont, MTSU and Tennessee Tech who hold church services with the homeless in a Metro park will be allowed to continue conducting services after the ACLU of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) successfully negotiated with the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation to revise a policy that unfairly blocked religious groups' regular use of park space.
Link
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AI Wessex
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"...but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion."

If by "public" you mean in government facilities and during activities controlled and sponsored by the government.
quote:
And the movement does seemed targeted:

"A federal appeals court in New York ruled it's okay for New York City Public Schools to ban the display of Christian nativity scenes during the Christmas season, even though displays of the Jewish menorah and Islamic star and crescent are permitted during Hanukkah and Ramadan."

That reporting is more than a little disingenuous given that Christmas trees are also considered "secular displays" and are allowed by the same law. Displaying a creche (what Skoros actually sued to allow) would be comparable to displaying a Jewish temple ark.

When you say "targeted", don't forget that the good people of Tennessee also recently brought a lawsuit to prevent the members of a Murfreesboro mosque from adding to their on-site facilities:
quote:
Leaders said they never anticipated a negative response to the construction of a new facility, or the national attention it would draw. The debate heats up with every legal motion or political statement, like when Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said in August that communities should be able to prevent mosques from being built. Cain later apologized.
Can you even imagine the possibility of a community blocking the construction of a church or a Presidential candidate singling out one religion to be suppressed? It would be vastly more accurate to say that there is a War on Islam.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
"but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. "

And that's completely true.

quote:
The ACLU warned public school officials not to focus on one religious holiday like Christmas during the holiday season, claiming such actions would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The group mailed a letter to 137 school superintendents across the Volunteer State, which read "Holiday celebrations that focus primarily on one religious holiday can result in indoctrination as well as a sense within students who do not share that religion of being outsiders to the school."


That doesn't prevent anyone from openly celebrating Christmas, it just requires schools to respect all traditions in their holiday traditions.

quote:
No, they can't, at least not anymore in the State of Tennessee. Legally, they can still pray, but school policy in Williamson County is that any vocal prayers within the classrooms aren't acceptable and subject to disciplinary action.

So they can pray all they want, they just have to do it non-disruptively. Nothing you posted prevents people from praying whenever they want, only from employing certain methods of prayer that serve to isolate and exclude people who hold different beliefs, particularly where people have no option to be anywhere else.

quote:
I would agree that to call it Obama's war on religion is partisan smear by Perry, but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion.

Going all the way back to Jesus, who said that people should pray in their closets, not the public square. Even he recognized the ways in which such public devotion can have negative effects, even when it doesn't simply amount to posturing and browbeating.


quote:
A federal appeals court in New York ruled it's okay for New York City Public Schools to ban the display of Christian nativity scenes during the Christmas season, even though displays of the Jewish menorah and Islamic star and crescent are permitted during Hanukkah and Ramadan.
If I had to guess, the other symbols continue to be allowed because they weren't specifically challenged here. Without further context, the city's reasoning that they're secular seems pretty absurd, but they're also likely outside of the scope of the challenge at hand. The article also doesn't state whether it's just the nativity that is restricted or all Christmas oriented holiday decorations- I could see the reasoning being "You've already got Christmas trees and Santa Clauses everywhere to correlate to the stars and crescents."

On the other hand, since they're coming from the minority, don't carry with them the same active pressure to conform to the majority that a corresponding imposition form the majority would.

[ December 08, 2011, 07:50 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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AI Wessex
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Pyr, I linked to the actual decision. It's clear when you read it that the article JWatts provided is biased and self-promoting.
quote:
The parties jointly stipulate that the holiday display in the lobby of P.S. 165 in 2001 included a menorah, Christmas tree, star and crescent, and other holiday symbols. (See Joint Stip. of Facts ¶ 22.) The pictures of the display in P.S. 184 in 2002, provided in the joint stipulation of facts, show the front entrance holiday display including a festively decorated Christmas tree and a table adjacent to the tree with several dreidels5 and three paper menorahs, one with a sign stating “Happy Hanukah.”
BTW, the lawsuit was brought in 2003, so Perry might more accurately complain about Bush's War on Christianity. I have to say that IMO Perry is becoming the most despicable of the bunch, which is quite an achievement with Gingrich alongside him. Cain I could sort of excuse because he's simply a charlatan and con man who deep down doesn't mean any harm.

[ December 08, 2011, 08:19 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Greg Davidson
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Quote from Aaron Rodgers (Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers):

quote:
"I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, 'Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.' So basically, I'm not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith. I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit. I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have, and following that quote from St. Francis.'"

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TheRallanator
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Actually JWatts, kids can pray in school. The idea that they can't because of evil liberal boogeymen like the ACLU and "activist judges" is one of the great "look at how persecuted we are!" urban myths of the religious right. In fact, anyone who takes the time to do even a little bit of basic research on the subject (ie absolutely none of the people who desperately want to believe that there's an evil liberal conspiracy to crush christianity underfoot) will find that the ACLU routinely defends the right of christian students to pray and publicly express their religious beliefs in the face of oppression from school administrations that are only banning students from observing their faith because the religious right's chinese whispers campaign convinced them that they can't allow students to observe their faith.

If there's a conspiracy to do terrible things to religion in schools, I'm afraid it's not being ran by my side [Smile]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
Actually JWatts, kids can pray in school. The idea that they can't because of evil liberal boogeymen like the ACLU and "activist judges" is one of the great "look at how persecuted we are!"

I'd suggest you actually read what I wrote. Because, I never said that kids couldn't pray in schools.

I disputed the assertion that:
"Kids can pray whenever they want in school." which is certainly not true.

Currently, in Tennessee (and elsewhere) students may not pray in the classroom (a minute of silence is specifically allowed by State law).

I also said:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by threads:
- Where are all these people who are afraid to openly celebrate Christmas?

The actual quote was:
"but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. "

And that's completely true.

Kids can not openly celebrate Christmas in school nor can they openly pray in school. There are various restrictions on both activities and praying in front of the general student body is restricted. It's allowed in some cases, but with various restrictions.

As I said before, I would agree that to call it Obama's war on religion is partisan smear by Perry, but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion.

[ December 09, 2011, 03:16 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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TommySama
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Quote from Aaron Rodgers (Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers):

quote:
"I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, 'Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.' So basically, I'm not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith. I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit. I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have, and following that quote from St. Francis.'"

Fantastic. Quite a few people approached me and asked if I was Aaron Rodgers after the superbowl last year. I told them I was not, and assured them that I am much better looking and fit than he is.

Thankfully, at my high school, we got two weeks off of school to celebrate Christmas, so doing so in class was not necessary [Smile] But I still persecute the bejeezus out of every Christmas celebrating Christian I come into contact with - they won't even go outdoors in my neighborhood anymore. Everyday - like clockwork - I'm out there with my little $0.25 "God is Not Great" leaflets, oppressing.

[ December 09, 2011, 04:40 AM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"...but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion."


If by "public" you mean in government facilities and during activities controlled and sponsored by the government.

Yes, I was referring to those. Things like schools, roads, public parks and town squares.

quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
That reporting is more than a little disingenuous given that Christmas trees are also considered "secular displays" and are allowed by the same law.

Ok, that's a fair point.

quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
When you say "targeted", don't forget that the good people of Tennessee also recently brought a lawsuit to prevent the members of a Murfreesboro mosque from adding to their on-site facilities.

Yes, and the judge rightly through out the lawsuit.

quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Can you even imagine the possibility of a community blocking the construction of a church or a Presidential candidate singling out one religion to be suppressed?

Yes, and it should also rightly be dismissed.

quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
It would be vastly more accurate to say that there is a War on Islam.

Apparently you missed this, so I'll re-state it:

I would agree that to call it Obama's war on religion is partisan smear by Perry, but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion.

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TomDavidson
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Out of interest, JWatts, which American community do you think would sue to block the construction of a Christian church? Or were you saying that you could imagine it hypothetically, given the imaginary existence of a community where that'd be a desired thing?

Because lost in your discussion is the fact that there aren't too many communities in this country where a high school coach bowing his head and leading his players in prayer isn't going to be a Christian -- or who would be able to avoid massive heapings of public scorn if he dared to lead them in any prayer outside the Judeo-Christian tradition.

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AI Wessex
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"Yes, I was referring to those. Things like schools, roads, public parks and town squares."

You're lumping roads in with schools? I wasn't aware we had actually achieved such a highly implemented fascist state. I note that above you came up with one example of restrictions on mass prayer in a public park that was overturned through the efforts of the ACLU, of all militantly anti-God organizations. Does the fact that you found one such example in a country that has tens of thousands of public parks help prove your case that the Christian religion has been singled out and, as you say, targeted for suppression?

BTW, Rick Perry's smears highlight how unfit he is to hold any office of civic responsibility, and it's laughable to think of him sitting in the Oval Office where he could look into the camera and smilingly address "my fellow citizens". For someone who is "not ashamed to admit" that he is a Christian in political ads that attack Obama, he has a consistent track record going back to long before the current War on Christmas of wishing people a happy holiday season. For example, when he was the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture in 1992 his seasonal greeting titled "A Holiday Message" used the word "holiday" 7 times, but never once mentioned Christmas.

Perhaps this is an example of what Perry was talking about regarding Obama's disdain for Christianity (from this year's Presidential Easter remarks):
quote:
We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways. And I admit that my plate has been full as well. (Laughter.) The inbox keeps on accumulating. (Laughter.)

But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.

And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.

In the words of the book Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this “Amazing Grace” calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son -- his Son and our Savior.


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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Kids can not openly celebrate Christmas in school nor can they openly pray in school. There are various restrictions on both activities and praying in front of the general student body is restricted. It's allowed in some cases, but with various restrictions.

As I said before, I would agree that to call it Obama's war on religion is partisan smear by Perry, but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion.

Kids can publicly do both in school, and the ACLU routinely wins First Amendment lawsuits for their right to do so. You aren't doing much except verifying my aside about how people who want to believe in an evil secular conspiracy are too ****ing lazy to look up facts that might contradict their delusional fantasies about all the imaginary persecution that they so nobly and bravely face.

The only movement to "restrict public displays of religion" is the movement to make sure that government schools (and the state in general) aren't being used as tools of religious indoctrination, because people ought to be able to send their kids to school without having to worry about someone else's religion being foisted on their kids in the form of official prayers, mandatory religious observances, or theological content in the cirriculum. The whole idea that there's an anti-religious conspiracy afoot has been pretty much invented wholesale by fundamentalist movements trying to reframe opposition to their evangelical agenda as anti-religion rather than pro-civil-liberties.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Does the fact that you found one such example in a country that has tens of thousands of public parks help prove your case that the Christian religion has been singled out and, as you say, targeted for suppression?

I never used the phrase Christian's were 'targeted for suppression', so it's not 'as I said'. Please, don't put false words into my mouth.

I did say that the movement seemed targeted and then when you pointed to a reference that cast doubt on the link, I said you had a fair point.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Kids can not openly celebrate Christmas in school nor can they openly pray in school. It's allowed in some cases, but with various restrictions.

As I said before, I would agree that to call it Obama's war on religion is partisan smear by Perry, but there is clearly a consistent movement to restrict public displays of religion.

Kids can publicly do both in school, and the ACLU routinely wins First Amendment lawsuits for their right to do so.

Yes I agree, the ACLU often acts to overturn illegal restrictions that have been imposed.

quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator: You aren't doing much except verifying my aside about how people who want to believe in an evil secular conspiracy are too ****ing lazy to look up facts that might contradict their delusional fantasies about all the imaginary persecution that they so nobly and bravely face.

And you resort to tactic poor debaters of all stripes use in the face of logic they disagree with, name calling.

Indeed, you'll note that I actually included links when I made my post and yours had none. So exactly who was, in your own words, "too ****ing lazy to look up facts that might contradict their delusional fantasies"?

quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
The only movement to "restrict public displays of religion" is the movement to make sure that government schools (and the state in general) aren't being used as tools of religious indoctrination

Even assuming that the movement is only restricted to the state, it still doesn't contradict what I said.

quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Kids can not openly celebrate Christmas in school nor can they openly pray in school. It's allowed in some cases, but with various restrictions.

Kids can publicly do both in school, and the ACLU routinely wins First Amendment lawsuits for their right to do so.

Well I said openly and you say publicly, but in essence both statements translate to being able to perform an action in a area accessible to the public in a typical manner. And that's not true.

In general most school systems limit prayer. Often the limit is to disallow any kind of vocal prayer and/or to very short time periods. These amount to pretty heavy restrictions.

Some typical examples:
CONNECTICUT: Silent meditation
DELAWARE: A brief period of silence not to exceed two minutes to be used according to dictates of individual student's conscience. First Amendment read to students on first day.
FLORIDA: Brief period not to exceed two minutes, for the purpose of silent prayer or meditation
GEORGIA Brief period of quiet reflection for up to 60 seconds
ILLINOIS: Brief period of silence which shall not be conducted as a religious exercise but shall be an opportunity for silent prayer or for silent reflection.

Link

I don't consider restricting a student to 1 minute of silent meditation to be the equivalent of an open and public right. Now granted in many cases, schools only enforce the restrictions within the actual class periods. And in general, I find that perfectly acceptable. Class time should be for education. However, when schools start heavily restricting students ability to meet for religious activities outside of class time, I am far less sanguine.

For example, The Boy Scouts have been ordered out of many school campuses and other public buildings.. Places where they have regularly held meetings for decades, due to their religious beliefs.

quote:
A growing number of local school districts are denying the Boy Scouts access to school buildings for meetings. The Boy Scouts organization is crying foul, stating it's not fair that schools are discriminating against their "moral" values. Included: Guidelines from the National School Boards Association.
Link

[ December 10, 2011, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Some typical examples:
CONNECTICUT: Silent meditation
DELAWARE: A brief period of silence not to exceed two minutes to be used according to dictates of individual student's conscience. First Amendment read to students on first day.
FLORIDA: Brief period not to exceed two minutes, for the purpose of silent prayer or meditation
GEORGIA Brief period of quiet reflection for up to 60 seconds
ILLINOIS: Brief period of silence which shall not be conducted as a religious exercise but shall be an opportunity for silent prayer or for silent reflection.

Note that the IL restriction doesn't prevent individuals from anything, only the school or teachers from making it into an explicitly religious exercise for all of their students.

quote:
I don't consider restricting a student to 1 minute of silent meditation to be the equivalent of an open and public right. Now granted in many cases, schools only enforce the restrictions within the actual class periods. And in general, I find that perfectly acceptable. Class time should be for education. However, when schools start heavily restricting students ability to meet for religious activities outside of class time, I am far less sanguine.
How can a teacher tell if a student is silently praying in the middle of class? As for the ability to meet for religious purposes, I haven't seen any restrictions on students being able to go to church together or otherwise arrange to meet outside the auspices of the school for such, so long as they're careful not to make it appear that the school is directly facilitating the arrangements in any would lend the impression that the school was encouraging attendance.

quote:
For example, The Boy Scouts have been ordered out of many school campuses and other public buildings.. Places where they have regularly held meetings for decades, due to their religious beliefs.
Not religious beliefs, but explicitly discriminatory social practices which are at odds with the public subsidy that they were getting in the form of free use of those facilities. The Boy Scouts have asserted their right to be a private, discriminatory organization, which is all well and good, but that means that they also lose the resources that came as part of acting as a quasi-public organization, instead making them compete on more even terms with other scouting organizations that don't get such public perks.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

For example, The Boy Scouts have been ordered out of many school campuses and other public buildings.. Places where they have regularly held meetings for decades, due to their religious beliefs.

Well, yes, because they're run by bigoted Mormons.
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AI Wessex
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"I never used the phrase Christian's were 'targeted for suppression', so it's not 'as I said'."

You used another example of the public park in Tennessee, to which I was referring. But I didn't use quotes, so I wasn't saying you uttered those exact words. But if they are as you said, "targeted", what are they targeted for if not to be suppressed?

[ December 10, 2011, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:

In general most school systems limit prayer. Often the limit is to disallow any kind of vocal prayer and/or to very short time periods. These amount to pretty heavy restrictions.

Some typical examples:
CONNECTICUT: Silent meditation
DELAWARE: A brief period of silence not to exceed two minutes to be used according to dictates of individual student's conscience. First Amendment read to students on first day.
FLORIDA: Brief period not to exceed two minutes, for the purpose of silent prayer or meditation
GEORGIA Brief period of quiet reflection for up to 60 seconds
ILLINOIS: Brief period of silence which shall not be conducted as a religious exercise but shall be an opportunity for silent prayer or for silent reflection.

Congrats, you've listed some policies that were implemented as an attempt to quietly do an end run around the First Amendment and introduce a mandatory daily prayer without calling it prayer, and you're complaining that the need for deception when forcing all students to participate in a daily prayer session is proof that christians are being persecuted.

Students in government-ran American schools can pray as much as they ******* want as long as they're not disrupting lessons. They can pray their whole lunch break away. They can read the Bible right in front of everyone. They can read from the Bible to everyone. They can wear crucifixes to school, start bible study groups and prayer groups, evangelise to each other, borrow a taxpayer-funded bible from the school library, pray before exams and big games, make religious iconography in art class, hand out flyers for christian rock band gigs, proudly wear a shirt letting everyone know that they love Jesus, and fill their English essays with biblical metaphors.

What you're complaining about is the fact that the school cannot, on the public's dime, pick a particular religion and endorse it. There can't be a mandatory daily prayer, the school can't lead a public prayer before the big game, that kind of thing. And boo ****ing hoo. A state school is not a church. A school is not intended to be a place where children of all faiths are repeatedly told that such-and-such a christian denomination is in fact the one true way, and pushed by peer pressure and the approval of authority figures into daily participating in that denomination's rites. In effect, what you're complaining about is that christianity is being "persecuted" because it's not being allowed to use taxpayer dollars to evangelise to a captive audience.

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MattP
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Those poor persecuted Christians:
quote:
Many assemblies, choral concerts and sporting events at Chesterfield County schools open with a school-sponsored prayer. In addition, J.A. has been ordered, as punishment for forgetting his belt and his gym clothing, to copy religious essays proclaiming a belief in God and stating that he was thankful God would help him remember these items in the future.

Staff have also improperly organized and encouraged students to attend religious events and organizations that meet on campus. When Anderson complained about the proselytizing his son was being exposed to, Stinson told him he needed to “get right with God.” Both Anderson and his son have been harassed for speaking out.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2011/12/10/suit-filed-over-christian-school-assembly/
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
What you're complaining about is the fact that the school cannot, on the public's dime, pick a particular religion and endorse it. There can't be a mandatory daily prayer, the school can't lead a public prayer before the big game, that kind of thing...

No, I'm not complaining about anything. You are constructing a bogeyman in your mind. I haven't made any complaint that a school cannot endorse a particular religion nor that a school should have a mandatory daily prayer.


Rick Perry expressed a concern and made a statement that was factually true:

""but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. "

You are arguing that kids can openly pray. I've point out that no, that's not true, there are various significant restrictions.

quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
They can pray their whole lunch break away. They can read the Bible right in front of everyone. They can read from the Bible to everyone. They can wear crucifixes to school, start bible study groups and prayer groups, evangelise to each other, borrow a taxpayer-funded bible from the school library, pray before exams and big games,...

You are misinformed.

quote:

What is Prohibited in Public Schools?

Teachers wearing clothing that is distinctive of a religion.
Reading the Bible, or other religious text, aloud even if participation is voluntary and it is done without comment.
Organized prayer even if it is denominationally neutral and participation is voluntary.
Distributing Bibles, or other religious texts, on school grounds.

Link

Perry's comment stands as truthful for any reasonable interpretation of it.

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MattP
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legalmatch.com is not an authority on Constitutional law and their responses are overly simplistic.

quote:
Teachers wearing clothing that is distinctive of a religion.
What clothing that is distinctive of Christianity do you think is prohibited?

quote:
Reading the Bible, or other religious text, aloud even if participation is voluntary and it is done without comment.
This depends entirely on context. Reading the Bible aloud is permitted for students outside of the classroom and many public schools even have Bible study clubs where students meet on school facilities for just that purpose. As long as the school makes the same facilities available to other groups, it's perfectly legal.

Reading the Bible in a classroom is even permitted if it's in the context of studying it as literature or a study *of* religion. What is not allowed is for a teacher or student to read the Bible in the captive setting of a classroom for purposes of evangelizing. Reading the Bible aloud to the class without comment can reasonably be assumed to be an evangelizing activity.

quote:
Organized prayer even if it is denominationally neutral and participation is voluntary.
Again, this is a context issue. Students regularly have legal organized prayers at school. This occurs in the bible/Christian clubs that I already referenced, as well as other groups that get together regularly during lunch or before school.

What is not permitted is to lead a prayer in a classroom or any other school setting with a captive audience. "Voluntary" participation where students who don't wish to participate are invited to sit quietly and ignore it or leave the classroom in sight of the in-group that stays is not a reasonable situation to put minority-religion students in. Likewise for graduation prayers or a team prayer before a sporting event.

quote:
Distributing Bibles, or other religious texts, on school grounds.
I'd be very surprised to find widespread policies that forbid giving Bibles to one's friends, but see no problem restricting wide-scale distribution of religious texts as proselytizing is not an activity a public school should facilitate. This has nothing to do with being allowed to openly practice your faith. It's just that certain elements of practicing one's faith - taking communion, slaughtering a goat, or handing out tracts about gays going to hell - are disruptive in a school environment.

There really is no part of the individual practice of Christian faith by students that is currently prohibited.

JWatts,
Getting back to Perry's quote:
"Our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Could you articulate one activity that would reasonably be considered "openly celebrating Christmas" which "our kids" are not currently permitted to do in schools?

And do you concur that "our kids can't... ...pray in school" or "our kids can't openly... ...pray in school?" (hard to tell if that modifier modifier goes there).

Not that there are zero restrictions, of course, but these restrictions are all about intrusion on other people, not restriction of individual expression. I can swing my arms all I want. I'm not allowed to punch someone in the face or fondle their genitals.

In any case, these restrictions predate Obama by several administrations so the "war on religion" comment can only really be applied to the gays serving openly in the military deal, which really strains credulity, given that quite a number of religions are just fine with homosexuality and I'm not aware of any that have a doctrine that forbids military service for homosexuals.

[ December 11, 2011, 03:43 AM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
There really is no part of the individual practice of Christian faith by students that is currently prohibited.

The argument wasn't about individual practice. It was explicitly about openly celebrating Christmas or praying in school. So that statement is a complete non sequitur.


quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
JWatts,
Getting back to Perry's quote:
"Our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Could you articulate one activity that would reasonably be considered "openly celebrating Christmas" which "our kids" are not currently permitted to do in schools?

How about three activities, will that do?

1)
Nativity scenes are banned in New York City. I referenced it above. Nativity scenes are a very common Christmas display and literally millions of them are set up each year. They are traditional and have been set up for decades in New York schools. As of 2002, there were banned.

No Nativity Scenes

2)
New Jersey school systems have banned religious carols, such as:
"Joy to the World," "O Come all Ye Faithful," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night."

These are all very, traditional Christmas carols that may no longer be sung. I firmly believe that the ban will eventually become nation wide as the ACLU and other various groups try to stamp out any open expression of religion in any governmental venue.

Ban on Carols


3)
quote:

The ACLU warned public school officials not to focus on one religious holiday like Christmas during the holiday season, claiming such actions would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The group mailed a letter to 137 school superintendents across the Volunteer State, which read "Holiday celebrations that focus primarily on one religious holiday can result in indoctrination as well as a sense within students who do not share that religion of being outsiders to the school."

quote:
The ACLU's letter went on to state that celebrating one holiday, such as Christmas, without celebrating other holidays such as Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Kwanza, Eid al Adha, and Winter Solstice amounted to indoctrination and would alienate those who did not celebrate Christmas
Link

I'm sure there are plenty of other examples, but that's more than enough to meet your criteria.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
Not that there are zero restrictions, of course,...

Which is what I've been saying all along. You may justify the restrictions in whatever way you wish, but whether you are right or wrong they are restrictions. Perry's quote was an accurate statement.
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MattP
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I'd also like to point out that Perry is drawing a parallel between "Openly serving in the military" and "Openly celebrating Christmas" so let's examine what that means.

"Openly serving in the military."

The elimination of DADT means that it's now possible for someone in the military to identify themselves as gay without being dishonorably discharged. They can mention that they prefer members of the same sex or that they have a same-sex partner/spouse. If this information is discovered by someone else, it cannot be used as a pretext for a discharge.

That's it.

It's not permission to have gay sex in the barracks or to do anything else that was previous not allowed. The entire policy was about what truths about oneself one was permitted to acknowledge or have found out without repercussions.

"Openly celebrate Christmas"

Seriously? I don't know any student at my childrens' schools that *don't* openly celebrate Christmas. They are doing Christmas art projects. There are Christmas decorations in the halls. And the school choir is performing multiple Christmas concerts, the majority of which is comprised of religious music. There is no parallel to DADT here at all.

"Openly pray in school"
Again, no comparison to DADT. No student has ever been punished for being a Christian as a matter of policy, never mind suspended or expelled from school. Certainly no student has to be worried that they will be found out for being Christian or having prayed over their lunch. Sure, they aren't allowed to lead their class in prayer, but then I doubt there's a lot of gay sex going on during drill.

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MattP
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quote:
Perry's quote was an accurate statement.
"Openly celebrate" is not equivalent to "celebrate in any way that I choose" and treating those phrases as if they are equivalent opens up all kinds of absurdities about what can be done "openly". There are restrictions on freedom of speech (threats, fraud, etc.) so can it be said that in the US we cannot "openly" exercise freedom of speech?

If what you're saying is true then Perry is using "openly" in entirely different ways when mentioning DADT and Christmas celebration. That's equivocation and renders his entire statement fallacious rather than merely wrong.

[ December 11, 2011, 05:12 AM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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MattP
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quote:
I'm sure there are plenty of other examples, but that's more than enough to meet your criteria.
You keep shifting back to restrictions on school administration and faculty. As agents of the state they are prohibited from endorsing individual religions. That has manifested in policies that reflect that prohibition, some of which I agree are dumb. But that's different from what "kids" can "openly" do.

The school may not be allowed to put up a nativity, but I think you'll be hard pressed to find a case where a student was not allowed to build a manger scene for an art project.

Schools that do this get sued. I haven't dug up the result of that suit but would be exceptionally surprised if the school district won.

The choir teacher may not be allowed to use religious carols, but no student or group of students will be sanctioned for singing O Holy Night in the quad, provided that singing in the quad is otherwise permitted. If these things did happen the ACLU would be all over it.

As an aside, there are a lot of dumb, unconstitutional policies, in both directions, that have yet to be challenged. At any given time there's going to be some schools or school districts that are going beyond what they are legally permitted to do, but the fact that these individual instances exist doesn't change the generally accepted and protected principles of free individual expression and a lack of state endorsement of religion.

[ December 11, 2011, 05:52 AM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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AI Wessex
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JWatts, back to the nativity scene. Would you be ok with a life-size display of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments next to a simulated burning bush? How about Mohammed receiving God's revelation in a mountain cave?

If those are ok, what's the limit? Can we erect displays to show Jews being persecuted and tortured by Christians because they killed their savior? How about God punishing man with lightning bolts because homosexuality is tolerated? Can we show Mohammed being served by his 13 wives as a sign of obedience and faithfulness?

If those are ok, can other groups complain? In other words, can Jews complain that Christian religious depictions demonstrate bias or contain falsehoods? Can Muslims complain if a Koran in the school library is defaced or damaged?

If those things are ok, can Christians go to the school board and complain that the presence of non-believers is harming their children's educations and insist that their children attend Christian only public schools? Can Jews complain that Christians who want to depict Christ on the Cross must say out loud that they don't believe Jews are responsible for his death? Can Muslims insist that no one else's God is given preference before Allah?

Those things are absurd, but how far down the road of innocuous and joyous seasonal celebration do you want to go before you begin to deny everyone else's right to say that you are impinging on their rights?

However, this question is not absurd and I would like to know what you think: If there are limits, who gets to set them and where should they be?

[ December 11, 2011, 10:37 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
JWatts, back to the nativity scene. Would you be ok with a life-size display of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments next to a simulated burning bush? How about Mohammed receiving God's revelation in a mountain cave?

I'm not going down a trail of bizarre hypothetical situations. The important facts are that a few decades ago, students & faculty had a great latitude on prayer and celebrating Christmas. In the intervening decades that has been substantially restricted.

Perry commented to that affect and would like the groups that have had their rights restricted to vote for him. It's his right to ask for their support, it's his right to comment on the situation and it's the public's right to vote for him or not if they think it's a worthy idea.

Again he said:
"but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

And that's completely true.

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AI Wessex
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"I'm not going down a trail of bizarre hypothetical situations."

Why not entertain them, since you're going down the path with a few that you've selected for yourself? My hometown was about 50% Jewish. Could the Jewish kids erect a depiction of Moses and the burning bush in school if they wanted to? Hypotheticals are all you have when you're creating laws and guidelines, so we have to consider them, even sometimes extreme ones so that we know what kinds of limits we have set for ourselves and others.

[ December 11, 2011, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
For example, The Boy Scouts have been ordered out of many school campuses and other public buildings.. Places where they have regularly held meetings for decades, due to their religious beliefs.

That's a great example of what's really going on. It isn't that Christians are being denied rights. It's that they've had a privileged position since the nation was founded, and they resent losing that status and being forced down onto an even playing field.

Schools are paid for by our taxes. Mine, yours, everyone else's. As such, the facilities should be used for things that don't put one group in a privileged position. So long as the Boy Scouts weren't demonstratively bigoted, no one really had any objection to them using public schools, even though they didn't actually have a "right" as such to do so. Once the BSA came out of the closet, so to speak, as an organization with institutionalized bigotry, a lot of people felt that their tax money shouldn't be used to provide them a place to meet.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Again he said:
"but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

And that's completely true.

Not really. I suppose it depends on how you define "celebrating Christmas". If you mean having the tax-funded school serve as a stage for Christianity in particular, then sure. Parochial schools can do that all they want.
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MattP
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quote:
Again he said:
"but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

And that's completely true.

Only if you grant a rather bizarre definition of "openly" and allow him to use two different definitions in different parts of the same sentence.

Openly - Without concealment, deception, or prevarication, esp. where these might be expected; frankly or honestly

Nothing there at all about having no restrictions on behavior. Openly just means you are not required to hide or lie about your celebratory inclination. Permitted actions include:

* Singing Christmas carols (religious or otherwise)
* Wishing others a merry Christmas
* Using Christmas themes (religious or otherwise) in school assignments
* Wearing Christmas-themed clothing (religious or otherwise)
* Exchanging Christmas gifts and messages with other students.

Virtually any safe, non-disruptive behavior that a student might want to initiate in the name of Christmas celebration (or any other motivation, religious or otherwise) is permitted.

Back to DADT - When a gay person could not openly serve, any expression of their sexuality would be punished. If students truly could not openly celebrate Christmas, in a way that makes Perry's equivalency make sense, then any expression of Christmas celebration would be punished. That's just not even close to being the case. *Most* of the ways in which students typically celebrate Christmas are permitted.

"Openly" applies to the ability to do something in the open and without deception, not the ability to do so in every form possible.

[ December 11, 2011, 09:04 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
Permitted actions include:

* Singing Christmas carols (religious or otherwise)

I've already pointed out that singing Christmas carols of religious themes has been stopped at New Jersey schools. So you are just ignoring inconvenient facts at this point.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
* Exchanging Christmas gifts and messages with other students.

No, it's been banned in Fort Worth as of two weeks ago:
quote:

The district says Santa is welcome in the school cafeteria. And the lobby. But not in the classroom.

And no Christmas cards or presents, either.

One of the district’s lawyers is reportedly concerned that if they allow students to exchange presents, they would also be be required to let them distribute a religious message with the gift.

Link

Obviously, they can't ban students behavior before and after school hours (nor I suspect during lunch), but they can ensure that it doesn't occur during regular school hours.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
Virtually any safe, non-disruptive behavior that a student might want to initiate in the name of Christmas celebration (or any other motivation, religious or otherwise) is permitted.

I've already pointed out the New York ban on Nativity scenes also. There is nothing dangerous or disruptive about a Nativity scene displayed in or in front of a school.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
*Most* of the ways in which students typically celebrate Christmas are permitted.

Most is not the same as All. Over the last 3 decades various restrictions have been put in place. Do you deny that there are more restrictions today than there were 3 decades ago? There has been a persistent trend over the 3 years to gradually eradicate any non-secular activity in or around any Governmental building, land or activity. There is no indication that the process has stopped. Every year more restrictions are enforced.

The concept of separation of church and state was designed to protect citizens from state enforced religion. It has morphed into a gradually widening ban on any connections between the two.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
"Openly" applies to the ability to do something in the open and without deception, not the ability to do so in every form possible.

Restricting student prayer to isolated groups out of sight and hearing of other students or to 1 minute of silent meditation is not Open by any reasonable interpretation.

[ December 12, 2011, 01:13 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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AI Wessex
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JWatts, should any religious depictions or celebrations be prohibited? If so, be specific about what they are, because the word "All" implies anything and everything should be ok. Since you seem comfortable with Christian celebration, it might be easier if you think about it in terms of Islam or Judaism.

Can a school construct a life-size reenactment of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments?

Honestly, you're ducking the hard issues here in favor of nitpicking specific and narrow constraints in what amount to isolated or anecdotal situations.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I've already pointed out that singing Christmas carols of religious themes has been stopped at New Jersey schools.
No, you haven't. You've pointed out that the official choir program has decided to no longer feature such songs. There's a difference.

quote:
There is nothing dangerous or disruptive about a Nativity scene displayed in or in front of a school.
A Nativity scene is unambiguously religious in nature. One wonders, then, why a school would display a Nativity scene and not any other religious display. Or not. [Smile]

quote:
Restricting student prayer to isolated groups out of sight and hearing of other students or to 1 minute of silent meditation is not Open by any reasonable interpretation.
My neighbor is a passionately religious man, and he has worked to organize groups of students to pray loudly in the high school cafeteria here at lunch as a way of promoting their faith. Do you think students should be permitted to shout commercials at each other?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
. It has morphed into a gradually widening ban on any connections between the two.
Because visible connection between them is tantamount to endorsement and treats those that don't hold the visibly sanctioned belief as second class.
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scifibum
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JWatts, I don't think you're trying very hard to maintain a distinction between what a *school* or its agents may do, and what *students* may do.

The difference is completely crucial.

It's really important to acknowledge that restrictions such as these:

quote:
* Reading the Bible, or other religious text, aloud even if participation is voluntary and it is done without comment.
* Organized prayer even if it is denominationally neutral and participation is voluntary.
* Daily moments of silence for meditation or prayer even if prayer is voluntary.

...are not restrictions on what individual students may choose to do. Students can even *organize* such activities outside of normal classroom time.

Those are restrictions on what public schools and their agents are allowed to do.

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Wayward Son
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I still say that, until the day comes when a principal can lead a school in prayer to our Horned-Lord Lucifer, that overtly religious activities by school officials should be restricted. [Smile]
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kmbboots
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Exactly. To both scifibum and Wayward Son.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
I still say that, until the day comes when a principal can lead a school in prayer to our Horned-Lord Lucifer, that overtly religious activities by school officials should be restricted. [Smile]

Has such a principal actually been denied? [Smile] I would hope not. I know there was a principal in detroit that banned pentagrams, but I think the court upheld the wiccan's right to wear one. After all:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof;"

The law cuts both ways. I know plenty of youse out there believe that Christianity has been some sort of unofficial state religion, and in many ways you're right. But that doesn't come close to real state religion that you still saw in Italy and Spain 50 years ago.

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