If students don’t want to hear prayers over PA system, they can “put their fingers in their ears.”

With the testing pressures and economic woes battering public education today, why do so many school leaders wander into First Amendment minefields and take on the explosive issue of the church/state divide?

Administrators of yet another high school –  Soddy-Daisy High School in suburban Chattanooga –  have been permitting Christian prayers over the loudspeaker at football games and graduation ceremonies. Contacted by some frustrated students from the school, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has taken up their cause and warned the Hamilton County superintendent about the “unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.”

Under the law, students are free to bow their heads and pray in school. As the U.S. Department of Education states, students may “read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour or other non-instructional time.” But a public school can’t compel students to participate in prayer or other religious activities and it can’t lead the entire school in prayer over the PA system.

According to the news story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Hamilton County Board of Education member Rhonda Thurman, who represents Soddy-Daisy, said the prayers were part of the school’s tradition, and that anyone who didn’t want to hear could “put their fingers in their ears.”

“Everybody is offended by something,” she said. “I’m offended by a lot of those little girls running around with their thong panties showing, but I can’t make that go away.”

Annie Laurie Gaylor, director and co-president of the foundation, called Thurman’s remarks “irresponsible.” She cited several U.S. Supreme Court cases in which prayer before football games and graduation ceremonies were found to be unconstitutional.

The school system, she said, “has no leg to stand on” and the practice should be stopped immediately.

“Students are a captive audience, they’re required to go to school. When there is a violation like a prayer at a school, they’re really vulnerable; it’s a violation of their civil rights,” she said.

“This is the harm of religion in government, that the people who are religious believe they are the true citizens and the other people have no rights,” she said. “It’s very dangerous to go down this path of government and religion; someone will always be on the outs.”

Gaylor mentioned another area case from 2006 in which students from Bryan College, a Christian school in Dayton, Tenn., were coming to give “hour-long Bible instruction” to students in Rhea County’s public school system. The foundation eventually took that case to federal court and won, Gaylor said.

Many First Amendment violations crop up during sporting events, she said.

“It’s a lack of understanding where their personal rights stop and other people’s civil liberties begin,” she said. “It’s perfectly ridiculous to have prayer at football games. Is their deity going to help them win the game? Whoever prays the hardest wins the game? I don’t think so.”

In Hamilton County, religion in public schools is far from uncommon. From prayer before sporting events and privately funded Bible-history classes to student-led group prayers and Bible verse classroom posters, Christianity is widely accepted.

But the times may be changing, says David Eichenthal, president of the local Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies. As more people move into the area, he said, there is likely to be a greater population of people who push against the status quo, including the tradition of pre-game prayer.

165 comments Add your comment

ohmy

October 21st, 2010
4:04 am

I sometimes mourn the fact that I won’t have children to raise. Yet the more I read the news these days I feel quite content I won’t be responsible for bring a soul in this world to contend with the cooks running our world. We are suppose to be a FREE country. FREE from communities where others will is imposed upon us.

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Perturbed

October 21st, 2010
5:15 am

The Gwinnett BOE always opens with a prayer. Every time I’ve gone, the leader of the prayers ends with “In Jesus’ name, amen”. Uh, World Class schools? Only about 30-35% of the world is Christian. I was raised as such, but also with respect for the beliefs of others, especially if we’re “world class”.

JenniferHelfrich

October 21st, 2010
6:33 am

@ DavidSims
I’m not sure how questioning the Holocaust relates at all to prayer in school, but let me say this….

My family comes from Germany – my Opa was forced to serve in the Nazi army or his family would have been killed. Another relative spent 2 years in a concentration camp because someone overhead him saying disparaging remarks about Hitler. I’ve heard the stories from the mouths of people that lived through it. Let me assure you – that “modernized religious fantasy” was very real.

I’ve stood at Dachau where the stench of burning humans never completely goes away. It was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life – and I sight I will never forget. When you trivialize the Holocaust, you perpetuate ignorance and hate in a world that could use peace and understanding.

DeborahinAthens

October 21st, 2010
6:41 am

We are a Republic, So the amount one pays in taxes really is irrelevant. By David Sims reasoning, Bill Gates should get more votes than he or I. That is not the way this country works. Anyone that has studied Thomas Jefferson’s work knows how he was meticulous about keeping the church out of state and the state out of religion. All of you that want prayers in public places must understand that. Should you insist on prayers before games, during school, at civic meetings, then you must allow prayers from Muslims, Wiccans, Buddists, Hindus, etc. Do you not get that? The world and this country is so very diverse, you cannot allow one without the other, so, you allow none. And to all of you holier than thou Bible thumpers…doesn’t your own Bible admonish you to pray in a closet? There are many examples where the wise men of the Bible chide those who want to show the world how devout they are with public works and deeds. They were wise because they knew that those that want those types of public displays are usually the most hypocritical. If you want to pray, do it at home or do it in the house of worship of your choice. And if you choose not to pray at all, our Constitution allows that–without being put into stocks in the public square or being burned at the stake for heresy. If you don’t like that, I suggest you move to a country with an institutionalized religion, such as Iran or Saudi Arabia.

SBinF

October 21st, 2010
6:45 am

David, I am a bit incredulous at your claim to be an atheist, perhaps you said it so that people wouldn’t discount your argument as fallacious and hackneyed. We have a Constitution to protect the MINORITY. So what if most of the country identifies is Christian? The establishment clause is pretty darn clear.

To the philosophical point, I don’t understand why so many Christians feel the need to force their religion on everyone else in a showy fashion. Jesus taught that if we live like Christians, we will bring others to Christianity by our ACTIONS, not by our empty, public words. After all, isn’t that where he diverged from the religious thought of his day? He preached against the Pharisees who were sure to pray loudly and openly in public, just so that everyone could see how “pious” they were. Prayer is not supposed to be public, it’s a private matter, so says the Bible. Unfortunately, the Bible seems less of a guide for Christians, and more of a bludgeon, to beat people over the head with.

It’s truly very, very ironical.

look closer

October 21st, 2010
6:45 am

Too bad these supposed Christians have spent so little time study the Christian scriptures. Jesus made it pretty clear how he felt about this sort of public prayer.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6, King James Version)

CP

October 21st, 2010
6:46 am

@ David Sims: I don’t understand your connection of prayer in public schools and the Holocaust. It certainly smacks of an anti-semitic belief on your part.

I grew up in a neighborhood where 30% of the poulation was Jewish. They were required to listen to the lord’s prayer everyday. I felt at the time that this prayer for the Jews was wrong.

If anyone wants to pray in school they can, but silently, don’t make me listen to it. I am an atheist also and prayer is offensive to me and may be offensive to others.

SBinF

October 21st, 2010
6:46 am

Darn, Deborah, you beat me to it!

allyanaz

October 21st, 2010
6:53 am

When I was a kid (back in the 1950s) we had prayer in school. Those of us who were not religious did not pay attention and we went on to sin our way through the day. Those of us who were religious did what we were told. We were none-the-worse for wear. Nor did we know or care that adults were off somewhere arguing the issue.

redweather

October 21st, 2010
6:59 am

School administrators like the ones at Soddy-Daisy are not confused about the Constitution; they don’t give a flying you-know-what about the Constitution, unless of course someone tries to deprive them of one of their rights. Then it’s a different story.

d

October 21st, 2010
7:02 am

I remember a few years ago David Scott had a campaign ad saying that he got prayer back in public schools because he was the one who sponsored the moment of silence law.

Deborah for Governor

October 21st, 2010
7:13 am

Deborah…would you run for governor? Please?

catlady

October 21st, 2010
7:28 am

Well, our Georgia-required minute of silence to reflect on the day’s activities is about 10 seconds, so I guess we are breaking the rules as well!

I am uncomfortable at any of the praying led by school groups or governmental groups. Our school regularly has prayer before teacher meetings if there is food involved. I think it would be better done privately and individually.

We also have a “Christian Learning Center” contiguous to the high school campus where students can go for classes. As a Christian, I have been opposed to that all along.

ugatiger

October 21st, 2010
7:44 am

The way I look at it: As long as they give test in school, there “will” be prayers!

Aquagirl

October 21st, 2010
7:59 am

Just another reason we need to abolish elected school boards.

Mark

October 21st, 2010
8:08 am

From the article…”“Students are a captive audience, they’re required to go to school. When there is a violation like a prayer at a school, they’re really vulnerable; it’s a violation of their civil rights,” she said.”

Football games are not a captive audience, no one is required to go. Graduation ceremonies are likewise not a required event.

In any case, I submit that just because there is prayer that does not mean you have to listen or take part. You ever talk to someone at a game that has no clue as to the score, who has the ball, or any details at all about the game even though is it being played in front of them, and called over the loudspeakers? How is it they don’t know? They are not listening, or paying attention. It’s the same with prayer. If you don’t want to listen, then don’t. Keep talking and socialized with your friends. Personally, I do not care if there is public prayer before a game or not. If there is not private prayer in the lives of those there, playing or not, it doesn’t matter anyway. A prayer over a loudspeaker before a game won’t make a bit of difference to anyone that doesn’t pray for themselves privately. In fact, a small group praying together during the game might be a better way to go.

As for biblical prayer, Jesus said to not make prayer a public spectacle. He himself prayed before meals, with his small group of disciples, to large groups of 15000 or more. There are many examples of public prayer in the bible.

Someone asked what are the prayers for. No, not to win the game, but for the safety of those involved. With all the debate these days on how to stop injury due to the hard hitting nature of the game, that seems like a good idea to me.

And lastly…atheists. What can you say about atheists? They get all worked up about something they “say” they believe to be no more real than Cindy Lou Who. But I do not believe in atheists. Romans 1:19-20 says “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” God says all people know He exists. He also says in Psalms 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, `There is no God.”

OK, one more thing, why does someone always call Christians “Bible thumpers?” Really? Because we have a relationship with God and believe the Word He gave, we are “thumpers?” Stereotype much?

ND

October 21st, 2010
8:22 am

@ David Sims — your argument only makes sense if atheist beliefs are currently being taught to children in public schools. It’s not like atheist taxpayers are able to force their atheist agenda on children right now. Non-Christians only ask that nobody’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, are forced upon them. That’s not an unreasonable request.

Commenting on David Sims?

October 21st, 2010
8:28 am

Think before you post. There is an internet phenomenon known as “trolls”—sad, pathetic losers who deliberately post inflammatory comments to get a reaction. It’s the only way they can get attention, Lord knows no one pays attention to them in the real world.

aboch

October 21st, 2010
8:29 am

@ Mark,
So if everyone prays before a game then there will be no injuries? And if there are injuries, of course it will only be the foolish pre-Christians for not believing right? Your claim that football games and graduation ceremonies are not required events is laughable. There are many people who are forced to go, whether it be the faculty and staff for the graduation ceremony, to the players, cheerleaders and band members of the game. Should a non-believer, Jew, Muslim, etc. skip their own graduation ceremony in order to avoid being offended and peer pressured into participating? I haven’t read the Bible in a while, but surely there is something in there that can teach you the dangers of your arrogance, Mark.

This whole story is just further proof to how arrogant many Christians can be. It’s funny that they believe that forcing others to hear their public prayers and preaching is a good Christian act. It’s actually the opposite, it turns many people away from religion.

Yet another teacher

October 21st, 2010
8:35 am

As an agnostic, I’m not thrilled about organizations like FCA on the school campus, but I understand and basically agree with the legal reasoning behind allowing them to meet there. Other little things are really starting to bother me, though. Once again, my school’s big December charity project will be to gather donations (toys, socks, personal items) for an international organization that’s an arm of a highly evangelical church. The promotional materials the sponsoring teacher shows here on campus are secular, but if you go to the website, it’s all about “spreading the word of the Good Lord”. (I won’t say which organization, but you can probably figure it out.) This is at a metro Atlanta public school. I’m quite fine with donation drives for groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and MUST Ministries, because they provide assistance without directly proselytizing. Giving — as a school — to one with an explicit evangelical mission bothers me because of the implied endorsement. Obviously, these types of events are opt-in/out, and they don’t quite fall under the First Amendment’s perview. But from what teachers at other schools have told me, this type of thing is getting more and more common in metro Atlanta public schools, and it blurs too many lines.

Mark

October 21st, 2010
8:46 am

@aboch… I did not say there will be no injuries, I said that should be the point of the prayer.

There are some that have to go to the games. You are right.

I guess it’s me. I am not offended by someone praying to a false god, or doing anything else I see as a waste of time. But I also understand that being offended is a choice. I choose not to be offended.

Please don’t miss where I said I do not care whether there are public prayers or not. What I contest is being offended by it if there are.

I did not mean to, or see where I did, come off as arrogant. Can you tell me where you got that idea?

David Sims

October 21st, 2010
8:52 am

Ah, I mention the Holocaust tale tangentially, as an illustration, and promptly does the Jewish reaction team arrive. All right then. Let us examine the Holocaust tale in some detail.
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@JenniferHelfrich. “I’m not sure how questioning the Holocaust relates at all to prayer in school…”

It’s simple. The Jesus story is a Christian pseudo-historical account of how someone was put to death in a cruel and unjust manner, from which everyone should learn moral lessons. The Holocaust story is a Jewish pseudo-historical account of how many people were killed in a cruel and unjust manner, from which everyone should learn moral lessons. I used the Holocaust as a metaphor. However, it has become a matter of religious fervor with Jews, nearly all of whom defend the “historicity” of the Holocaust in the same way that Creationists defend the “inerrancy” of the King James Bible. Does that make my purpose clear?

“My family comes from Germany…”

What a coincidence. So does part of mine. This means something?

“…my Opa was forced to serve in the Nazi army or his family would have been killed.”

You’ll understand that I don’t know whether you are telling the truth or not.

“Another relative spent 2 years in a concentration camp because someone overhead him saying disparaging remarks about Hitler.”

That’s certainly possible. After all, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s first trip to the gulag was for making a disparaging remark about Stalin. But, again, I don’t know whether you are telling the truth or not.

“I’ve heard the stories from the mouths of people that lived through it. Let me assure you – that ‘modernized religious fantasy’ was very real.”

You “assure” me, you say. But how good is your epistemology? How is it that you really know what you say you do? Lots of people think that Jesus was the Son of God. I don’t. Possibly, you don’t either. Belief ought to be examined more carefully than it usually is. Alas, it isn’t, and just because you believe that something is true does not make it so.

“I’ve stood at Dachau where the stench of burning humans never completely goes away.”

Hyperbole. Why do you use it? Take a bunch of blindfolded people, separately, to Dachau, don’t tell him where he is, and have him smell the air. How many of them will report smelling “the stench of burning humans” or something similar thereto? Not many, I suspect.

American and British soldiers did find large piles of human corpses when they captured Dachau (and also at Belsen), but the dead had not been murdered. They died of typhus during an epidemic of that disease late in the war. The Nazis had been cremating the bodies to prevent the spread of infection. And that’s where the smell of burning corpses came from. Not that you can actually smell it today, of course.

There’s something about the official Jewish version of the Holocaust tale you might not have heard. Nobody, any more, is saying that the Nazis gassed Jews at any of the concentration camps within Germany itself, including Dachau and Belsen. Although years ago, the Jewish Holocaust promoters held a firm conviction that the Nazis were mass murdering Jews in Dachau, this is no longer the case. The Holocaust promoters are still claiming that large numbers of Jews were gassed in the Nazi concentration camps in Poland, although the numbers of alleged victims has been reduced by about a factor of three since the claims were originally made. But here, too, the major cause of death was typhus, and there is no reliable evidence for gas chambers at all. There’s Jewish testimony, but not everyone considers that to be “reliable.” What physical evidence there is weighs against the gas chamber story. For example, the chemical compounds normally to be found on and in iron-bearing bricks that are exposed for a long time to hydrogen cyanide gas are not present in the alleged “gas chambers” except in traces consistent with an annual fumigation (to kill rats) which are also found in the guards’ barracks.

“It was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life – and I sight I will never forget. When you trivialize the Holocaust, you perpetuate ignorance and hate in a world that could use peace and understanding.”

No, when I correct the popular misunderstandings about the historical events related to the Holocaust story, I combat ignorance and lies in a world that could use more freedom and understanding.

Let me try to teach you something. The Second World War killed somewhat more than 50 million people. The biggest claim (and false) about the number of Jewish victims in that war is 6 million, or 12% of the total. Why, therefore, is WW2 victimhood today regarded as an especially Jewish thing?

Norman Finkelstein, a Jew himself, says that Jews (such as Elie Wiesel) have been using the memory of the Holocaust as an ideological weapon, so that Israel, “one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, can cast itself as a victim state.” Bingo. That’s not only the reason for the “abuse” of the Holocaust story; it’s the reason that story was fabricated in the first place.

More recently, the Holocaust story has been put to use as a basis for extorting money corporations and European governments for alleged complicity in “Nazi war crimes.” The reason it works is that the Jews can deny trade in the United States (and perhaps elsewhere) to corporations, and contrive sanctions against governments, that reject dishonest Jewish demands for “compensatory” payouts.

Do you see why the most informed people are sometimes the most antisemitic?

Norman Finkelstein’s claim is supported by Raul Hilberg, who is regarded as the founder of Holocaust studies. Hilberg said that Finkelstein’s book expresses views that he, himself, subscribed to in substance, in that he too found the exploitation of the Holocaust “detestable.” When asked whether the book might play into the hands of neo-Nazis for antisemitic purposes, Hilberg replied: “Well, even if they do use it in that fashion, I’m afraid that when it comes to the truth, it has to be said openly, without regard to any consequences that would be undesirable, embarrassing.”

That’s what I’m doing now.

David Cole is a Jew who went to Auschwitz with his yarmulke and a video camera in order to take “the tour.” Because he was Jewish, the tour guide gave him the works. But, unknown to her, David Cole was a skeptic. He was a perceptive and logical fellow, and he made a film documentary about the flaws in the “Nazi gas chamber” story that he noticed. If you want to read about it, go here:

http://www.codoh.com/gcgv/gccolevisit.html

Sometime later, David Cole found himself being threatened with assassination by the Jewish Defense League. Under that pressure, Cole recanted. He was like Galileo, in that sense. But, despite the recantation, his first opinion was probably the right one, and his video documentary remains good as a critical examination of inflated Holocaust claims.
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@CP. Have you considered the possibility that an antisemite is simply someone who knows what’s going on?

On the matter of rights and religion in regard to public schools, you say that everyone is free to pray silently. But that’s like saying that atheists are free to put their fingers in their ears. The issue, it seems to me, is who may control school policy on religion. If the Christians have control, there will be prayer. If the atheists do, there won’t be. Taxation should serve; it should not enslave. Minorities should have their rights protected, but not so aggressively that the rights of the majority are sacrificed. To a real “freethinker” that would have been obvious.
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@DeborahinAthens. Bill Gates should get what he pays for. He has no more and no fewer civil rights than I do. His money buys him things that I can’t afford, but the law doesn’t exist to equalize economic outcomes. Or, anyway, that isn’t what it should be doing. I guess that my point is that whether you count by dollars or by heads, the Christians are the largest group in the United States directly concerned with religion, and so they ought to have the right to decide what the relationship between the church and the state will be. The fact that they do not, that they are required to labor to further some other group’s agenda with respect to religion, implies that Christians in general are in a subservient social class, in violation of their rights.
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@SBinF. David, I am a bit incredulous at your claim to be an atheist, perhaps you said it so that people wouldn’t discount your argument as fallacious and hackneyed.

Not so. I am truly an atheist. I’ve published essays on the idea that there is no need for God to explain existence, in which I assert that all you need are (1) the uncertainty principle, (2) gravity, (3) the Pauli exclusion principle, and (4) the weak anthropic principle. Right here in this blog (in the “Peachtree City middle school meanness” article), I wrote this:

Quote —–

@CynthiaM. …There’s another, and a better, way to find truth. Use an empirical method, such as the scientific method. It might take a while to work, but when it does work, it works for everybody. Anyone with the intelligence and the material prerequisites can do the same research, carry out the same experiments, get the same results, and usually reach the same set of conclusions about what the truth is. You might need a microscope, a telescope, or a chemical laboratory. But you won’t need a priest.

What the “Word of God” might be, I won’t claim to know. Christians say that the New Testament is God’s word on certain matters, such as what happens to people after they die, and the conditions for having good Afterlife circumstances rather than poor ones. But someone of a different religion will disagree, and I don’t see how aligning my thinking with the beliefs most common in my native land is a valid way of answering metaphysical questions.

Truth is not something you can find by the method of voting on what the truth is.

How do you know when a method for seeking truth is the right one? By whether it works or not. And who should be the judge of whether the method works or not? Certainly, not those with an interest in seeing it prevail. No, the judge of a method for seeking the truth should be those who do not have any reason to cheat, and who will, therefore, fairly grade the method upon its measurable results.

When do you have measurable results?

When a method for seeking the truth can, really can, cause a light to spring forth and banish darkness. When it can, really can, heal the sick. When it can, really can, allow people to communicate across thousands, or even millions, of miles. When it can, really can, bring to us knowledge of other planets and other suns. When it can, really can, give people powers that they did not have before.

Try praying up a light the next time you find yourself stuck in a dark place. When that doesn’t work, reach for your flashlight and switch it on. And instead of thanking God for your light, you should thank James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, Joseph Henry, James Watt, and Thomas Edison. Although some of these men believed in the same God that you do, they’d have accomplished nothing if their method for discovering the truth remained limited to reading scripture, for the answers are not to be found there. Some scientists are religious. Their success as scientists depends on their consistent abandonment of faith as the means by which truth is discovered, in favor of the same empiricism that every atheist scientist also uses.

And if trying to pray up a light never works for you when you are in a dark place, then why should prayers have any effect upon the course of a sick person’s disease, or speed someone’s recovery from injury? The only difference is that you can’t avoid the fact that the light still isn’t there after you’ve prayed for it—you’ll still stumble around and bump into things in the dark as much after praying as you did before. But when the supposed results are not in your direct sight, you can deceive yourself into thinking that you have “done something” that “made a difference,” although you have not.

—– end of quote.

So, yes. I’m an atheist. Really!
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“We have a Constitution to protect the MINORITY. So what if most of the country identifies is Christian? The establishment clause is pretty darn clear.”

No. We have a constitution to describe a form of government and to specify the powers that properly belong to it. The protection of minorities’ rights is a good idea, provided that it does not involve the sacrifice of the rights of the majority. That’s an important caveat that leftists frequently enjoy ignoring. The epitome of a minority having all the rights while the majority has none is a dictatorship. The more the majority is required to sacrifice their rights, so that minorities can have more rights, the closer to dictatorship the country moves.

What the Establishment Clause in the US Constitution says is that government will keep its hands off the people as they pursue certain freedoms. Congress shall, for example, make no law respecting an establishment of religion—and, by extension, government agents shall not infringe on the freedom of religion as if there were such laws. What the people do with their freedom, under constitutional circumstances, is entirely up to them. If they want to have public schools with prayer in them, they should pay to have them built, and then their prayers should be allowed to propagate through them as copiously as they might wish them to. Anyone who does not like to hear Christian prayers should do what the Christians did: tax themselves to build their own schools, then send their children to attend them. Socialism is BAD ENOUGH when minorities are robbed through taxation. It’s EVEN WORSE when the majority is robbed thereby.

“To the philosophical point, I don’t understand why so many Christians feel the need to force their religion on everyone else in a showy fashion. Jesus taught that if we live like Christians, we will bring others to Christianity by our ACTIONS, not by our empty, public words.”

If Christians controlled the media and could determine which kind of character on television programs were the heroes. If they could choose which good deeds shown the most brightly on the evening news. If they could, though the talent of movie actors, demonstrate why their culture is better than another, then their message would reach the people who otherwise would have no contact with it. But Christians don’t control the media. Jews do. So what you get is perversion, violence, vapid sanctimony on gender issues, political correctness on racial issues, and a kind of stealth advocacy for socialism.

“After all, isn’t that where he diverged from the religious thought of his day? He preached against the Pharisees who were sure to pray loudly and openly in public, just so that everyone could see how ‘pious’ they were.”

Jesus also said, “Go ye unto all the world and preach the gospel.” He probably meant wherever it seems that the gospel needs a greater hearing. A Christian might tell you that you don’t need to go far. Certainly, Jesus despised the Pharisees, who were greedy Jews who spoke fine prayers with their mouths while cheating money out of people with their hands. I don’t think it was the prayers that bothered him most.

“Prayer is not supposed to be public, it’s a private matter, so says the Bible. Unfortunately, the Bible seems less of a guide for Christians, and more of a bludgeon, to beat people over the head with.”

The Bible is their scripture, and they believe that it contains value and wisdom. Now, you and I might disagree on how much value and wisdom the Bible contains, but that’s not really the point. The point is they are having to do most of the work to generate the money to build public schools, but when the time comes to make religion-related policy for those schools, the Christians aren’t getting as much say as they have paid for. We atheists are getting the whole of that pie by a misinterpretation of the First Amendment, whereas they are left with none.

T. S. Cobb

October 21st, 2010
9:08 am

Would it be okay of we bowed toward Mecca? Really hate to offend you, but….If you say “no” I may go on a spree.

Religion For The Feeble Minded

October 21st, 2010
9:10 am

Religion is for the feeble minded who need someone to tell them how to think. Just because you are lacking in mental faculties, doesn’t mean the rest of us should be subjected to your propaganda. Everyone but agnostics are delusional. Although there is a good chance atheists are right, they have no proof either.

David Sims needs to find gainful employment instead of making uninitiated, asinine comments that only show his lack of comprehension of the various subjects he attempts to write about.

Michael

October 21st, 2010
9:12 am

Memorize the Ten Commandments and walk into any courthouse or school and there they are. Same with prayer…memorize your favorite prayer and walk into any event you want and you have it with you…I don’t need ten foot high stones with the Ten commandments cut into them to remind me what they are. I don’t need Jimmy Swaggart in school either if I feel like saying a prayer before the kids come in.

Kelly

October 21st, 2010
9:31 am

Maureen, why do you let David Sims post so much? Hes looking for his 15 minutes and you’re giving him more than that. His posts inhibit the rational debate and diminish the quality of your blog.

November

October 21st, 2010
9:38 am

Soooooo, all you folks who find prayer in schools objectionable…….how do you feel about the muslim practice of staging a mass rally in the streets of New York City to bow down and praise allah. Do you also find this objectionable? and if not, why? It’s the same principle. You know, I grew up in the forties and fifties and we had a prayer and the pledge of allegiance each and every morning at school…….I must tell you, this practice did not hurt me one little bit; as a matter of fact, it strenghtened by faith in my god and my country. So as far as I’m concerned, all of you who object to prayer and pledging allegiance to our great country can take that finger out of your ear and stick it in another orifice so as to keep all that stink inside :) Remember to vote on November 2nd :)

David Sims

October 21st, 2010
9:47 am

@Feeble Minded. Would you care (or dare) to be more specific about any errors you believe I’ve made? I thought not.

The intelligence of the Christians is not the point, here. The amount of wisdom to be found in the Bible isn’t the point, either. The central issue is whether the Christians ought to pay taxes to build schools in which we atheists have religion related policies all our own way.

Naturally, we think that our way is a better way, and that school children will be better educated if they don’t have to spend hours out of their day listening to a priest or a preacher, instead of a math or a science teacher. And, likewise naturally, THEY think that a Bible class would have the greater value. They and we disagree. Verily. Certainly. But why is the law backing us against them? Whence came our leverage on government, sufficient to cause an interpretation of the First Amendment that favors our way of thinking so much?

I think that this leverage isn’t really ours, and that atheists (militant ones unlike myself) have the benefit only coincidentally. The purpose of that interpretation isn’t really to benefit us, or to benefit the United States. It is, rather, to destroy the Christian culture which once was dominant here. Conservative Christian writers, with whom I have often disagreed on one thing or another, are probably right about that.

“Everyone but agnostics are delusional. Although there is a good chance atheists are right, they have no proof either.”

You are, apparently, ignorant about what agnostics and atheists are. Allow me to enlighten you.

The word atheist is constructed from the Latin prefix a- and the Latin root word theist. The prefix means “not” or “without.” It does not mean “opposed to.” If you want to say “opposed to” in Latin, the prefix to use is “anti-.”

An atheist is, simply, “not a god believer.” Atheism is “without belief in gods.”

Atheists have permission to be anti-theists as well, but this isn’t mandatory. A perfectly good atheist is someone who has no opinion about gods whatever.

Agnostics, though, do have an opinion, although it pertains to knowledge of gods, rather than to gods themselves. Agnostics have the belief that it is not possible to prove whether gods exist, or not.

Atheists don’t necessarily have that belief, either—although, once again, they may. Agnostics necessarily take a definite epistemological position that atheists may refrain from taking. Hence atheism (of the plain vanilla kind) is the most reasonable position in regard to theistic belief, because it is the only position that does not require faith.

David Sims

October 21st, 2010
9:52 am

@Kelly. Ah, the calls for censorship have begun. The pattern is tracking just as it usually does.

montymoose

October 21st, 2010
10:03 am

For those who really care..
Christs commandment to all who believe is to preach the gospel to all the world. He didnt say He would give Christians a pass when they are in school. He did also say render to Caesar what is Caesars regarding paying taxes… ”
If Peter Paul and the rest listened to the authorities, then Christ would not have been preached in those times.
In the old testament Joshua said ” Chose this day whom you will serve”,for me and my household we choose God.
My biggest question is what is wrong with prayer?.. If it offends some then they can do something else for a minute of two. If I dont want to hear about lets say the ” Inquisition, or the Holocaust, or Pol Pot and its taught should i run to a lawyer and complain.
The tail does not wag the dog…
I SAY THIS,, If you are afraid of Christ and Christianity or Judaism or Islam, then I pity you.
My bible says every knee will every tongue confess that Christ Jesus is Lord.
Now Christ was either
1) A liar, He lied to all about being the Son of God
2) He was deluded and just thought He was the Son of God
or
3) He is Lord who is whom He claimed to be
He didn’t leave room for other interpretations
Each person will have to chose which they want to believe that He is.
You can say I choose not to believe in any of the 3.
Well I can choose to not believe in gravity but if I jump out a 4 story window I will not fall UP!!
The 10 commandments Michael so aptly commented about were not given to show mankind how they should live.
They show mankind that they cant live up to them perfectly therefore exposing the fact that ALL have sinned…
Is there any here who can say they have never sinned…( and it be the truth) lets hear it.
David,
the Bible says with God all things are possible, if He wanted to give you a light He is able to do so. Read 1KINGS 18 about how God showed His might consuming the water rocks and all of the sacrifice of Elijah the prophet.
Well hopefully God will be allowed to attend school again one day.

Ashley

October 21st, 2010
10:23 am

I am loving you “Deborah in Athens” . Finally someone who makes good sense about Bible scriptures. The humility of prayer and not the boasting of so-called religiuous leaders is exactly what Jesus was talking about , hypocrites be warned, their heart is not in the right place and I shall clean the temple of all false prophets and fake healers.

DeKalb Educated

October 21st, 2010
10:50 am

For all you good “Christian” folks out there, let me tell you about my childhood in DeKalb in the 60’s where my third grade teacher had us read from the bible every day. We had one Jewish student, Jeffrey, our class. She would tell Jeffrey every morning that we would read the “words of Lord” and if Jeffrey wanted to go sit out in the hall so he would not have to listen, he could. Do you want to know how the good Christian boys would beat up on Jeffrey at recess because he was “different” or “he killed Jesus”? Children do not have fully developed brains – most men do not do not have their reasoning sides knit together until their late-20’s. In the case of Glenn Beck and Bret Favre, we are still waiting. Is prayer that is mandated really sacred? Will mandatory prayer without substance become a rote exercise like multiplication tables? Would you want your religious beliefs and customs dictated to you by the majority? If Catholics were in the majority would you want a crucifix of Jesus in every classroom or have your child required to recite the rosary? If Baptist were in charge would you to be denied school dances or the right to buy liquor on Sunday. Whoops! Personal Freedom to worship and conduct your life as you see fit as long as it doesn’t trample on the rights of others? Remember that Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness which is one of our dearly held beliefs? In defense of Jeffrey one day, I went outside to sit with him during the Bible reading. When our curmudgeon of a teacher asked me why since I was Episcopalian, I told her, “Jesus was Jewish and he wouldn’t want to sit in the hall by himself either”. I was punished for being a smart aleck. But I was smart and maybe just a wee bit compassionate?

Babs

October 21st, 2010
10:55 am

David – Once you stop blogging, I know we can all rest assured that you have been safely returned to your padded cell.

David Sims

October 21st, 2010
11:02 am

@montymoose. “My bible says every knee will every tongue confess that Christ Jesus is Lord. Now Christ was either…
1) A liar, He lied to all about being the Son of God
2) He was deluded and just thought He was the Son of God, or
3) He is Lord who is whom He claimed to be
He didn’t leave room for other interpretations.”

Your list of possibilities for what Jesus was isn’t exhaustive. The omitted possibilities ought to be considered, regardless of whether Jesus “left room” for them or not.

4) Jesus was a fictional character.
5) Jesus was a real person—and perhaps he was a brave, wise, smart, and nice guy, and a natural leader—but much of the story of his life and character is fictional: what historians call “interpolated,” the filling in of gaps with speculation (whether reasonable or not).
.

@ND. “David Sims — your argument only makes sense if atheist beliefs are currently being taught to children in public schools.”

Now here this. ATHEISM HAS NO BELIEFS. None! Atheism is negatively defined; i.e., defined by the absence of a particular belief, rather than by the possession of any belief. There are no beliefs which atheists hold in common. That being so, “atheist beliefs” cannot possibly be “taught” to anybody. Rather, atheists Get Their Way with regard to religion in public schools by denying a form of speech to religious people. The question is why atheists ought to have the power to do that denying, while the religious people are paying more of the costs of public education than the atheists are.

“It’s not like atheist taxpayers are able to force their atheist agenda on children right now. Non-Christians only ask that nobody’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, are forced upon them. That’s not an unreasonable request.”

Be careful when you assume I’m too stupid to notice semantic slipperiness. Atheists might desire that “nobody’s religious beliefs” be taught in schools, but atheists are only a small subset of the larger set of non-Christians. And whereas no one can force a lack of belief on anyone, it is certainly possible to suppress someone else’s expression of belief. The question is why anyone should have the power to do that suppressing, especially when the suppressed group is paying more of the costs of the forum than the suppressors are paying.
.

@”Commenting on David Sims?” “Think before you post. There is an internet phenomenon known as “trolls”—sad, pathetic losers who deliberately post inflammatory comments to get a reaction. It’s the only way they can get attention, Lord knows no one pays attention to them in the real world.”

If I am a troll, then I shall strive to be the highest quality troll since, oh… Socrates. Lost of people thought HE was a troll, too. They finally made him drink poison to shut him up.

@Deborah in Athens. I didn’t really answer your objection to my thinking that the largest say in policy-making for public institutions should go to those who pay the most to create them. You asked whether Bill Gates should have more than one vote because he is taxed at a higher rate than most of us. No, he shouldn’t. But it appears you don’t understand why it is reasonable for rich people to pay more, simple though the reason is.

There are nasty people in the world, and some of them have armies. No matter how rich you are, a big enough army can take all your property and wealth away from you. Then you’ll be poor. You don’t want to be poor, do you? Bill Gates pays (or should pay) more taxes than we do because he has more wealth to protect from powerful thieves. He benefits more from national defense and police protection than we do, simply because he has more to lose than we do. Since his benefits are greater, his part of the tax burden should be also greater.

David Sims

October 21st, 2010
11:12 am

Back @ Me. “The question is why atheists ought to have the power to do that denying, while the religious people are paying more of the costs of public education than the atheists are.”

There might be an answer to that question, and I just now thought a possible one. Various Supreme Court decisions have sort of semi-balanced costs and benefits widely on the moral see-saw, but at least an attempt at balance is there. Churches don’t pay property taxes. I’m not certain whether the Christians got a good bargain or a poor one, but this looks like a kind of historical transaction in which the churches bought a tax exemption at the cost of losing their free-speech rights in public institutions.

Pluto

October 21st, 2010
11:16 am

Those of you fearing religion encroaching on your privacy can take solace in the fact that Christianity isn’t about religion. It is ALL about a personal relationship with our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Many of those choosing not to pursue a personal relationship with Him somehow want to ensure that those in a questioning season of life don’t hear anything about Him under the guise of separation of church from state. Revival will continue however.
Am I a troll?? Where do you get your non-troll certification or is this labeling just another attempt to bully people off the internet?

irisheyes

October 21st, 2010
11:19 am

I’d guess I’d ask the folks who say, “Well, most of us are Christians, the majority should rule,” what would you do if your child was at a school that was a majority Muslim, like in the suburbs of Detroit with its large Arab American population? Or in Central New Jersey, where my middle school was a majority Jewish? Or in Utah, where most of the population is Mormon? I mean, there ARE places in this country where the majority of the population does not subscribe to traditional, fundamental, Southern Baptist Christianity. (I know, the HORROR!) Would you tell your child they can just “put their fingers in their ears”?

I’m all for free exercise of religion. I attend church, and I take my kids, but I certainly don’t feel that a public school is the proper venue for public prayer. Even Jesus, the very “first” Christian, told his followers not to pray like the Pharisees do, in public, so everyone could see them. Maybe we need to be less like the Religious Right and more like Jesus.

Shannon

October 21st, 2010
11:22 am

@montymoose: The liar/lunatic/lord C.S. Lewis choice doesn’t take into account that the gospel of John, where most of the claims of divinity are made, was written much later than the others gospels and long, *long* after Jesus’ death. If you want to get at the authentic Jesus, that would be in the book of Mark. If you read it with fresh eyes, you’ll see that it’s actually quite a disturbing book, where Jesus behaves oddly (poor fig tree) and shrouds himself in mystery. But even if Lewis were right, and the choices were liar/lunatic/lord, that’s a poor basis for public policy.

@Sims: the problem with your suggestion is that atheists aren’t suggesting that anyone teach that theism is foolish… or that theism is a matter of choice. We should all be able to agree that public, K-12 schools don’t mention God at all in terms of belief. (Learning about different religions is fine, including Christianity, so long as the school teaches it *academically* and does not require *practice*). Prayer is inappropriate according to the first amendment.

First amendment = no state establishment of religion
Public schools = funded by taxpayer dollars and governed through the state
—-
Ergo, public schools are not allowed to establish a religion.

Prayer as practiced in this system is a particular Christian practice.

Ergo, this school system is establishing a religion, which the Supreme Court has declared illegal.

That’s really the end of it, O’Donnell notwithstanding.

Grizz

October 21st, 2010
11:48 am

Under our Constitution, there are no powers granted to the state regarding freedom of conscience (religion), whether that would be an advancement or hinderance. While the the writers/signers of the original document thought that should be sufficient (especially Article VI which prohibits a religious test for office), there were others who felt it should be further amplified and nailed down. Thus, we have the First Amendment in case there was any doubt. Granted, there were few early cases on the issue due to the fact that most communities were fairly homogenous in their religious makeup, but as the country grew and a more diverse population came into being, that changed. Minorities who felt they were (correctly) being forced to aquiesce to the predominant religion went to court and began a decades long confrontation with the established majority over use of public facilities and programs to advance their beliefs. And so it goes.

V for Vendetta

October 21st, 2010
11:51 am

@Shannon,

I agree. As an atheist, I am consistently irritated by being inundated with christian-themed emails, clubs, and events (Fields of Faith, anyone?). There is no doubt that christians see themselves as being in the driver’s seat here in the South, and they take advantage of it whenever possible. I understand what David Sims is trying to say about their proportional piece of the pie; however, my intentions are not to promote antitheism–something I find to be a waste of time and rather foolish. Rather, I would like to see religion removed from public school because it clearly violates the establishment clause and, in my opinion, is contradictory to the mission of education.

A friend told me that a recent Fields of Faith event, the speaker said there was more evidence for Jesus than there was for the existence of the Roman Empire. He said this to a crowd of high school students on a high school football field. To me, when we have ridiculous speakers in a position of authority making wildly unsubstantiated claims to a crowd of students, a MAJOR line has been crossed.

Batgirl

October 21st, 2010
12:04 pm

For anyone who is interested, according to an article in today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press, Hamilton County superintendent Jim Scales sent an e-mail to all Hamilton County principals on Tuesday saying “the U. S. Supreme Court had ruled prayer before football games and graduation ceremonies to be unconstitutional and that the practices should be stopped.”

We have FCA at our school, and I can deal with this as kids are not forced to participate. However, last year following a situation in Walker County where cheerleaders got in trouble for holding up religious signs at football games, our FCA bought t-shirts for all the teachers that said “Take a Stand, Leave a Legacy”. Although no mention was made of Jesus on the shirts, I assumed that this meant we were all supposed to stand up for him. Plus the shirts had the FCA logo on the front. We were even instructed on what days we were to wear these shirts. I found the whole thing pretty appalling and made a stand and did not wear my shirt, although I’m pretty sure no one noticed.

Another thing that appalls me and is probably illegal is that my church rents out our cafeteria and a number of empty classrooms to a non-denominational Christian church every weekend. I’m just waiting for a Wiccan group to try to rent a room or two.

Another point that some of you might find interesting if you don’t already know is that Bryan College which is mentioned in Maureen’s post is named for William Jennings Bryan, the lawyer and presidential candidate, who was Clarence Darrow’s opponent in the Scopes trial back in the 20’s.

Chrome Gouda

October 21st, 2010
12:18 pm

Hiram High School, a public high school in Paulding County, GA, recently put a bible verse, complete with The book, chapter and verse number where it could be found, on the banner that their varsity football team runs through before the game.

I don’t know if anyone out there realizes that by doing this, they are breaking the law. It is shameful that the administration, cheerleading coaches, and school baord of Paulding County allow this to happen.

David Sims

October 21st, 2010
12:48 pm

@Shannon. The problem with your theory is that you’ve misread the First Amendment, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

That’s not the same thing as (the First Amendment doesn’t say this) “Congress shall not authorize public property to be used by religious groups or for religious purposes.” Laws don’t, in general, convey authorizations in the United States because in our country what has not been made illegal is already, automatically authorized.

The actual wording of the First Amendment makes it clear that there may not be laws pertaining to religions. The simple phrase “no law” means exactly what it says. Whereas it is certainly true that no legislative body may establish (found, prescribe, endorse, preferentially subsidize) a religion, it is also true that no legislature may prevent the use of public property by religious people for religious purposes, because to do so would require a law, and a law would contravene the clear meaning of “no law” in the First Amendment. And whereas the state may not build exclusively religious schools, it may also not keep religion out of the contest for influence upon the minds of children in public schools.

However, as I said a while ago, it might be that the churches sold away their right to have religious functions within public institutions in exchange for getting a religious property tax exemption. I don’t really know whether the two facts ought to be associated in that way.

Another problem with your theory about my suggestion is that it implies that my focus was on what atheists choose to do with their control of policies pertaining to religion in public institutions. No. That was not what I was intent upon. Rather, I was intent on the fact that atheists DO have that control, on the fact that they possess it, on the fact that the decisions are theirs to make, and the religious people can go suck a lemon if they don’t like what the atheists decide.

Mike

October 21st, 2010
12:50 pm

There was plenty of prayer in my schools when I was growing up. Of course much of it was along the lines of “Dear God, I forgot my homework. Please don’t let Mr. N. call on me,” or “Dear God, I forgot to study. Help me pass this test.”

As for the rest, don’t cheapen God by linking him to the average school event or shopping holiday. Jesus died for our sins, not for sales at the mall on the Friday after Thanksgiving nor to win a football game.

Samau

October 21st, 2010
12:59 pm

My principal prays before each faculty meeting.

montymoose

October 21st, 2010
1:33 pm

David :
I was just listing some of the most popular…If my Bible is right Jesus is who He claimed to be, your denial is problematical.
Your reasoning about Him not being a real person who lived in that time frame and did all the miracles He did and rose from the dead is attested by many. Historians of the period also vouch for the authenticity of His existence. The Jewish people of the time were under Roman rule and the attempt to kill him as a child, the particular incidents of historicity along with many many eye witnesses lead credence to His life. The fact that they killed Him for claiming to be the Son of God and God Himself was blasphemy to the Pharisees, Christianity’s spread and the power of the Holy Spirit that followed His resurrection is also true.
I myself was born Jewish, spent 7 years in Hebrew school was Bar Mitvahed at 13 and a college grad. I argued with Christians during the Jesus Freak period of the 60’s 70’s. In the 70’s friends preached Jesus and in studying the Bible I found out that He was real, God loved me, forgave me and much later filled me with His Holy Spirit and its undeniable that i’m saved from separation from God and He paid the debt I deserved to pay. I can and do attest to all this .
As far as the Holocaust is concerned Im in my 70’s . I witnessed people who were in the concentration camps who lived it so you cannot tell me it was not real. As a child I attended movies and they showed the news with horrific pictures of the camps and the people. I met people who lived it!

LASTLY,, NO ONE CAN MAKE A PERSON A CHRISTIAN no matter what they hear or read about it.
If sitting in church where the gospel is preached cannot make a person a christian listening to prayer will not do it either,
It is the hearing AND BELEIVING the Gospel that is in the Bible that leads a person to saving faith, but it is all on Gods side, its not like we can call God and force Him to have a relationship with us.
We have to choose who we will believe. Ephesians 2:8-9 and John3:16 are a few of the verses that tell us how God accomplishes reconciliation with hmankind
God already knows those who will respond to His call, for those who refuse, since they have free will, He will separate them from Himself, because they refused , not that He did not want them.
Whose fault is it if a person spends eternity separated from God,
Picture this:
A car is racing down a road , the driver comes upon a sign say BRIDGE OUT AHEAD,
He continues racing down the road, He sees red flashing lights on the side of the road
and a bigger sign warning BRIDGE OUT AHEAD
He ignores the lights and signs,
Farther down the road are men with flags waving trying to stop the car from continuing
on but the person ignores the men,
Finally He speeds to the end and drops into the chasm because there is no bridge to take him across
WHOSE FAULT IS IT THAT HE DIED
God is not the cause anyone is separated from Him forever since when we die physically we will live for ever either with God or separated, WE REFUSE HIS CALL
God gives all wondrous signs to avoid separation from His love

V for Vendetta

October 21st, 2010
1:47 pm

montymoose,

Though I often disagree with David Sims, one cannot deny that he is intelligent. (How he chooses to apply his intelligence is up to him.) Your response to his critique of your post is unfounded and only supported by the very thing of which he was being critical. Not a good leg to stand on, in my opinion.

“Historians of the period also vouch for the authenticity of His existence.”

Who? Josephus? That’s really about it, and his mentions of Jesus are somewhat spurious because they are not firsthand accounts, merely heresay and conjecture.

” . . . with many many eye witnesses . . .”

Now you’re just being silly and once again using the gospels to support your point. And, the fact that you used Lewis’s ridiculous “trilemma” argument to support your earlier point is enough to convince me that you have nothing new to say. I’ve read much of Lewis’s work, including Mere Christianity, and I found it to be empty and philosophically ridiculous. I’m still mystified as to why he is held in such high regard among christians.

Ole Guy

October 21st, 2010
1:49 pm

I, and I am quite sure 99.99% of taxpayers, “contribute” monies toward education so that we might, someday, see a younger generation armed with the smarts necessary to sustain civilization. If the kid wishes to pray, sprinkle foo foo dust, or exercise any form of personal belief, let this activity take place on the kids’ time, NOT MINE for which I am funding. The state of education is woeful enough without redirecting academic time toward issues of a religous nature.

Is religion an important ingredient of a well-educated individual? ABSOLUTELY! Just as important as affiliations which enable us to become broadened citizens…Scouts, Church, Clubs of one flavor or another…however, these affiliations come at appropriate times and places. Put the Crosses, along with the sports equipment, Scout uniforms, etc, in the bag and CONCENTRATE on learning the 3 Rs, for cryin out loud. THESE are what is enable the younger gens to become productive citizens. The other stuff? Thats what time at home, The Church, the ball fields, the weekends, etc are for.

Let’s learn to prioritize the limited resource known as the 12 year educational pipeline.

DeKalb Educated

October 21st, 2010
1:51 pm

After reading David’s and many others posts, can you express your thoughts in 100 words or less. I really hope David is only trying to “stir the pot” with his views on Hitler’s Final Solution. There are historical scholars who can take apart his pathetic reasons that innocent men, women and children were murdered. Not just Jews, but gypsies, the mentally disabled, homosexuals and anyone who spoke against the Nazi party. Worship in your place of worship. Do not worship if you do not want to. It is a FREEDOM of Religion not a requirement. Freedom to pray when you want, how you want and to whom you want to worship.