Unconstitutional Christian Assembly At Northwest Rankin High School

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

CHURCH STATENorthwest Rankin High School is a public high school located in Flowood, Mississippi. On Tuesday April 9th, a  student, representing Pinelake Baptist Church, addressed an assembly at the school and showed a video of two young men who had been “saved” from drugs and sex. Several students reported the mandatory assembly, during school hours, to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC). AHLC coordinator William Burgess sent a letter of condemnation to principal Charles Frazier.

Rankin County School District released a statement saying the assembly was not mandatory:

Our students have the freedom to organize student-led and planned meetings and the assembly in question was student-led and organized.

However, the AHLC letter claims that the assembly was mandatory and an e-mail, shown here with names redacted, from Frazier to faculty members bears this out. As the AHLC letter notes: “Making attendance voluntary would not cure the constitutional infirmity.” This is borne out by the Court’s frazier e-mailopinion in Lee v. Weisman (1992), where J. Kennedy wrote in the opinion of the Court: “the government may no more use social pressure to enforce orthodoxy than it may use more direct means.” The school can take no part any private student meetings promoting religion.

The AHLC letter notes that having a student deliver the presentation does not “absolve the school and its officials from liability.” That the presentation was school-sponsored and held on school property during class-time is sufficient for a violation of the Establishment Clause. The violation is exacerbated by Frazier’s promoting student attendance of the assembly as a requirement.

The AHLC letter also claims that several students, who tried to leave, were harassed by a principal and told to sit back down. One has to admire the students’ courage, in the face of official intimidation, in attempting to escape the proselytizing.

In her concurrence in Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), J. O’Connor wrote:

The purpose prong of the Lemon test asks … whether, irrespective of government’s actual purpose, the practice under review in fact conveys a message of endorsement or disapproval. An affirmative answer to either question should render the challenged practice invalid.

Clearly, school officials used the authority of their office to require and maintain attendance at a Christian proselytizing meeting. This is a blatant example of Christian privilege and a violation of the Establishment Clause. The Rankin County School District better rein in Frazier, or they’ll have to use taxpayer funds to pay for defense lawyers in a civil suit.

The intent of the Establishment Clause is found in the words of the founders, whose envisioned a “perfect separation” between church and state. The progression towards that “perfect separation” requires constant vigilance. History shows us that those in power will use that power to maintain their dominance. New converts are essential for religions to maintain the status quo. Let religion obtain those converts using the persuasion by argument, rather than the coercion by authority. The historical predominance of the latter testifies to the ineffectiveness of the former.

H/T: Hemant Mehta.

155 thoughts on “Unconstitutional Christian Assembly At Northwest Rankin High School

  1. It is a constant struggle in this country of ours, but the Constitution, as has been applied, is perhaps one of the most fortuitously crafted documents in history. However, be aware, America, that we get to pursue this fight of applying the Constitution, and elsewhere the rights of correction are, if they exist at all, much harder to carry out. Celebrate our fortune and example, and hope, for the rest of the world.

  2. Definition of PROSELYTIZE

    intransitive verb
    1
    : to induce someone to convert to one’s faith
    2
    : to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause

  3. I am struck by how good Christians like to LIE about their actions, and hate freedom for others to disagree with their religion. It is not too surprising that this takes place in the state where the cops were murderers and terrorists during the civil rights era. I recall the Governor of MS made an appearance at the trial of the white terrorists in Philadelphia, MS to give official support to the police terrorists. So this latest outrage is NO surprise and gives the LIE to the idea that Christianity is a religion of peace.

  4. Anyone see this story out of Charleston, West Virginia?

    A West Virginia high school student is filing an injunction against her principal, who she claims is threatening to punish her for speaking out against a factually inaccurate abstinence assembly at her school. Katelyn Campbell, who is the student body vice president at George Washington High School, alleges her principal threatened to call the college where she’s been accepted to report that she has “bad character.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/17/1883121/west-virginia-abstinence-assembly/

  5. If it wasn’t for Christanity and judism you’d be kissing some nazis ass right now, During WWII the Muslims sided with the Nazis

  6. The US sided with the COMMUNISTS too! How about that? In fact, if it hadn’t been for the Red Army, we would ALL be speaking German now. I hope that you will consider that.

    There were some Zionists who sided with the Nazis since they too wanted Jews out of Europe and into Palestine. In FACT, the Stern gang in Palestine was conducting attacks on the British in conjunction with the Nazis during WWII.

  7. Several students reported the mandatory assembly, during school hours, to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC).

    Kudos to those students… We need more of them.

  8. ” The Muslims joined the Nazis by choice”

    I suppose you may be onto something… if you believe all Muslims are exactly the same and that groups and issues never, never change.

    But except as an historical curiosity, what exactly does this have to do with anything that has happened it the past, say, 50 years?

    Cheers for those students who stood up to adult authority and for religious freedom.

  9. Bruce – thats just swell, you just go ahead and ignore the reasons why the “Muslims sided with the Nazis” – you may also want to ignore the fact that a very large number of American Christians did too and Ireland was also sympathetic. You may want to try finding out why that was instead of voluntarily siding with stupid.

    But that strawman isn’t going anywhere. If a Muslim student had attempted to hold this same assembly they would get the exact same response from the AHLC – same if a Shinto or a Hindu group tried. But I bet those would not have been permitted by the school administration. But the point remains, the constitution is quiet clear on this.

  10. Great job David. It amazes me that a principal would make an obviously unconstitutional decision like this and try to force students to comply. I guess when schools in Georgia still hold separate but equal proms, I should not be surprised.

  11. Bruce reminds us he lives in 1950-something with,, “If it wasn’t for Christanity and judism you’d be kissing some nazis ass right now, During WWII the Muslims sided with the Nazis”

    Neither accurate nor relevant.

  12. I think the principal figured that it was his ‘Christian duty” to try and stop the students who tried to leave and to let this assembly go on. An assembly like this belongs in some church, maybe aptly named the Assmebly Of G-d church, instead of the appropriately named northwest rankin high school, i.e. where the taxpayers are located who pay for the school and what goes on in it. (and sadly for the lawyers now because of this idiocy)

  13. Bruce retreats to third grade with, “The enemy of my enemy is my ally. The Muslims joined the Nazis by choice.”

    If you still need enemies to get by in life as an adult, time for the therapy, there, Old Bruce. Adults only have enemies they invent. Adults realize they cannot ever control the actions of others, even the ones they dislike. Adults therefore do not waste precious time assembling “enemies lists,” particularly those named en masse.

    You talk in such childish generalities… ALL muslims, ALL jews, ALL christians, ALL nazis… and so on, it does not surprise me a bit this disconnection from reality creates enemies in your pedantic mind.

    Too bad for Bruce they do not exist. Reality always exposes these alleged masterminds as barely literate cave-dwellers that we have named titans, and have armed ourselves as if we face divine armies instead of one-hit wonders who turn out to be sore losers.

    Sore losers such as Bruce.

  14. “Several students reported the mandatory assembly, during school hours, to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC).”

    Vigilance … good for them!

  15. I wish I had some organization to go to back in the 50’s when I was in Public School. As a Jew, in an elementary school where 50% of the students were Jewish, each Christmas and Easter I had to participate in official school activities celebrating these holidays. I hated it, but back in the 50’s you had no recourse. Today’s Right Wing Christians are trying to take us back to those halcyon days of the 50’s (Father Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet), when the reality is that the 50’s weren’t nearly as great as these souls nostalgically remember them.

  16. president obama, you will turn off the water in the white house to save money, it is my water and you have paid me nothing.

    since you are the president you can shut off the water in the houses so you don’t have to take any crap from them. it is written, and: i even have heard this taught.

  17. I learned a lott in school also. gee-alla-gee

    … he who is without sin will cast the first stone…
    core-all gabels, pet-toss-key is mi state stone…
    … on this rock i will build…
    … all that is holy will be declared…

    … in the beginning: genisis: GOD said that HE was coming to the earth bi declaring a day of rest, HE is 24, 7 and never rests

    Jesus said ! will pre-pair a great feast for them who worship him, and you will SEE it. and the signs will be revealed…

    … THEE FATHER WILL COME AFTER mi …
    tomorrow WILL bring other daze!
    there is the per-me-in bay-sin, a great basin and carsin sit-tee,
    to walk perfecktly with GOD you mite want to read lie-sins plates.

    they say that a war would break out in Heaven… there is know middle ground, the plan-its would be known,..
    .. from the beginning GENe-iSays the THE KNEW TESTAMENT WOULD BE WRITTEN ! … for the father has no mercy…
    … from the be-gin- all names were know that would be placed by others even if it were their names, fore GOD is everything…
    … so the best way to play golf is knot to even tee-off for I know where the rich’s going ! remember the whore-risen in the whole in one ! watt-ah fox…

    … it says that i would have problems with eletron-eeks in thee battle with satan, they will whine, and roar when ! work with them…

  18. How about schools just stick to education and not engaging in the personal politics of the administrators and employees. Too much to ask I guess.

  19. Just last night in downtown Delray Beach FL was a band playing and singing serial Jesus songs paid for by our tax dollars in the City bandshell, as part of the City’s obsession, er, promotions to bring people downtown to spend $$$ on Saturday night. As a taxpayer, I vastly prefer hearing of Jesus at church functions, and strongly object to having it forced down the throats of the citizenry at a public forum and public expense. Outrageous.

  20. The “student-organized and student-led” religious assembly is the ploy du jour to attempt an end run on separation of church and state. The evangelical right is absolutely fixated on this issue. I love injunctions.

  21. Mike S.,

    “I hated it, but back in the 50′s you had no recourse. Today’s Right Wing Christians are trying to take us back to those halcyon days of the 50′s (Father Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet), when the reality is that the 50′s weren’t nearly as great as these souls nostalgically remember them.”

    They are nostalgiac for the days when Jews, non-Christians, and other minorities “knew their place” and didn’t speak out.

  22. *
    hmmm!
    ** may be there is tuu of them, or moore
    the gos-spell says to she-illed your I’s and a good set of googles will duu !

    would the prophess-see aa dis-asster in a conception…
    … * I would weave shews in two clothes… from satans own mouth was said, on tee-vee, so you got on it down pat !

    … JESus sent sum-one to take an ass and the ass got away with the ass sow what did the ass dou the three asses went into town and gee-u.s. road it into town.
    now know body where the ass is.
    the church will count every step knowing the count-tease and perish-is. and you will here a loud scream.
    yahoo! an idiot, mountain dew the shelves were left mt. and they were looking for a baker. c a lie forn-nick ehhh-shun the church has made it’s ceiling with GOD ! … get over it !
    ( … i expect the president to keep his oath, i will not be tested. )
    in the coonception I left the seeds in the valley, like a bull in a china clause-it.

    you will see jesus evry wear! have you ben to mexeeko the are all over and go bi- hey Zeus there has to be a morning after and a po’side-in advent-sure, edg’r

    a chickadeed came from the tel-lee. the shews were thongs all the way up the crack of their asses. some-one in the colon-knees changed hisssss name two jesus christ the thurd.

    mist-her chin-shakes dick-wiggles hymn-self mike-all moore said: that cans-ass was a good place fore all ill-eagles and crow was herd. o is fore-ever!

    they say that there great supper-stich-shuns…
    THE EARTH DID SHAKE ?…

  23. … * *
    it has know scenter, know middle ground.
    the great power that was given to Satan was eternal lust, with horns coming from his body, several heads, claws, and appendages, to devour souls with PLEASURE …

    Y.M.C.A.

  24. I live in Rankin Co., MS, and I am not shocked, amazed or even slightly surprised by this. Had this assembly been called by someone other than a “mainstream” Christian (around here it is Baptist or Methodist,) the principle would not have allowed it. Hindus, Muslims, etc., in the school district are ignored. Atheists and gays are bullied (yes, by the Christians.)

  25. I’m a current 10th grade student at the high school. The assembly wa mandatory for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders but seniors WERE forced to attend the program. I’m a Christian my self and I didn’t attend the assembly because they didn’t preach about ALL varieties of Christianty. I’m a Catholic by the way. This was basically a rally for Southern Babtists and that’s it.

  26. I am a student at northwest this was awful we weren’t allowed to leave and if we tried we got questioned and the administrators made a scene I’m not a member of any religion and I had to sit through this and there was nothing I could do… I had to watch my friends cry and sit there while this so called religious group of so called converted Christians shove this religion down our throats, this violates our rights and I know for a fact if there was an assembly for Muslims or any other religion it would be shut down

  27. Hayden, thanks for stopping in to let us know your thoughts and the emotional toll this whole matter has taken on you and your fellow students. The school is obviously in the wrong, but they seem to have trouble understanding the First Amendment.

    Keep on going public, and if they do it any more, please let us know.

  28. I know jake personally and jake we were forced I am a junior and I tried to tell my teachers I didn’t want to go and my friend Justin also said he didn’t want to go and we were told we had to attend

  29. Hayden,

    You are not alone. The best defense against a religious worldview is a rational mind and a good education. Once you learn the counter-arguments, their proselytizing will have no effect on you.

  30. I am a student at Northwest High School and I attended the assembly. At the very beginning, a student spoke to us and made it very clear that if we felt uncomfortable at any point, that we were more than welcome to leave the building and go sit in the library until it was over. I felt as if the assembly was more of the students sharing their personal stories and testimonies as well as sharing hope with us students, not shoving it down our throats whatsoever. I never once felt harassed or forced to be there. The speaker even admitted that this whole thing would not be a popular thing to speak about, but they all decided that it was worth all of the ridicule and uprising in order to share the hope that they have before they graduate from their high school. I commend them for having the boldness to stand up in front of the whole student body for what they believe in because I sure couldn’t have.

  31. If either Jake or Hayden want their names removed from the comments, in case a school official reads them, I can delete their names. School officials cannot see the e-mail addresses.

  32. I don’t care they can look if they want I have a right to comment on the actions of an administrator if they think I’m breaking some kind of rule I’ll gladly take a punishment if that means that people see that the minority isn’t worried about I get the strangest looks from people when I say I’m not a full believer in Christianity I get called an atheist and then subject to a good 10 questions asking why I think the way I do and then at the end just told I’m wrong and that I’m going to “hell” if god is soooo accepting Christians should at least follow the example to at least leave my kind of people alone and let us just continue on our merry way you don’t see us trying to convert every person we see to our belief because its your right to think how you want so let the school just try and say something because of this

  33. If they want to punish me for this then ill gladly point out that forcing people to attend a religious assembly in a PUBLIC school is infringement on mine and everyone’s constitutional rights.

  34. Hayden/Jake,

    You two are good kids. It takes spine to stand up for your rights, especially in the face of a hostile majority and those in authority who might support them. When you defend your rights, you are defending everyone’s rights. I admire that in a person. It’s noble and a sign of good character.

  35. Thank you Gene hopefully people will finally understand that we need to be heard when it comes to our opinion on a situation like this were some will get offended

  36. Fellows, you have to look at it this way. They do not seem to be bothered that they offend you, but get their little feelings hurt if you disagree with them. This doesn’t quite balance out.

    Just stand your ground. If they are so fragile that you have to buy into their system, but are unable to see things from your point of view, then we do not have to guess as to who has the healthier belief system. Hang in there guys. This thread will stay open forever, so be sure to come back and update us as much as you feel comfortable doing.

    BTW, I had an office in Flowood for many years. I know the area well. Hang in there, we have your back.

  37. Thank You everyone.
    I’m not upset by the fact they had the rally. I’m upset by te fact that they forced over 400 kids of different beliefs Into a Christian rally without giving them the opportunity to leave. It’s going against our very constitution. They DO NOT hve the right to do this.

  38. I went to the assembly and I was not forced to go or stay there by anyone. Especially since there was not even a principle in the room. They even invited students of different religions to come and share their beliefs with them and they would gladly engage in a conversation. Just because they thought they would be judged doesn’t give them a reason not to leave. We were being judged for being in the room. By the way there were more than two guys in the video and they said they found hope not were saved. The teachers told us if we didn’t feel like going we could stay with them, and that there was nothing wrong with not going.

  39. Which assembly did you attend? Unless you are a junior or a senior then you weren’t in one of the groups that wasn’t allowed to leave

  40. Gentlemen and Lady,

    In his response to you Nal mentioned “a rational mind and a good education”. I second that most heartily. A good education is not one that gives you all the answers but rather one that teaches you how to think, how to use your mind in a rational manner so that you may discover the answers that fit your own questions.

    And there is a lesson to be learned from this assembly and the manner in which it was presented to you. One day you will find yourself in situations where you are part of the majority and that is when it is most important to listen to the minority so that you do not make the mistake of shoving your own views down the throats of others. It takes a rational mind to work your way through those situations and a good education that teaches you how to reason is invaluable in that process.

  41. The one where they taught about the only variety of Christianity, the one where Jesus is the savior… unless I am mistaken that is what Christianity is… following Christ. And which one did you attend again?

  42. “found hope”

    Do they teach English at NWR? See, there is this word . . .

    euphemism /ˈjuːfəmɪz(ə)m/, n.,

    :a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing:

    Say a word that is more accurate as well as harsh and blunt like . . .

    proselytize \ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtīz\. v.,

    1: to induce someone to convert to one’s faith
    2: to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause

    Well, here’s what I think of euphemistic language. It’s George Carlin speaking, but we’re on the same page . . .

    And combine that with what I think about organized religion but especially those that engage in proselytizing . . .

    “found hope” is a weak bullshit euphemism for proselytized in the context presented above.

    No rational being with even moderate much less advanced language skills wouldn’t see through that gossamer thin disguise.

  43. “A good education is not one that gives you all the answers but rather one that teaches you how to think, how to use your mind in a rational manner so that you may discover the answers that fit your own questions.” – Blouise

    And there it is.

  44. The one where unless you follow Jesus Christ you go to hell? Unless you believe in him you go to hell? If you have different beliefs you go to hell?

    That aside it’s still against the constitution for a school to sponsor a religious event durin school hours, even a student led one.

    I’m not going to bash you, MY OWN RELIGIOIN, Or any of the other students/teachers that attended. I only want to have everyone’s constitutional rights to Freedom of Religion recognized. That’s what the problem here is. The fact that this was an unconstitutional assembly.

  45. See what’s funny is how easy it is for you to discuss your ideas and act as though you are the minority when more people have attacked my comment rather than anyone who was on the other. But complaining about my lack of better words and then cursing is pretty ironic. I guess you didn’t know a better word that could have gone there.

  46. If you would like to discus this on more private terms I will gladly give you my email address, phone number, anything you would like if you feel like you are being attacked by people on this site

  47. To be clear, I’m attacking your euphemistic language. Euphemistic language is inherently a dishonest form of presentation. It is used by people seeking to obscure meaning – like advertisers and propagandists and proselytizers. People who want something from you and don’t want to be upfront about it.

    The world is full of enough bullshit as it is.

    I’m a cut through the bullshit kinda guy.

    And if you found the language offensive? Too goddamn bad. You don’t have a right not to be offended.

    You have a right to believe whatever you want. Just like Jake and Hayden and me and every other citizen. You have a right to talk about it too. Just like Jake and Hayden and me and every other citizen. But what you don’t have is the ability to force your beliefs upon others using either the mechanisms, institutions or laws of the government. This is not a “Christian Nation” and our government was expressly formed to be secular, maintaining a separation of church and state. This is not only evident in the jurisprudence surrounding the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, but in the writings of the Founders themselves. Particularly in the writings of Madison – the primary drafter of the Constitution – and the writings of Jefferson. They had seen the mess made in Europe by both theocracies and by state established/sanction churches and the Founders wanted no part of that. That is ultimately what is at issue here: using government money and facilities to proselytize while framing something as science – creationism – that is not science at all.

  48. Oh, and lest I forget . . .

    “There are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad intentions, and wooooords.” – George Carlin

  49. “I don’t need his number I already have it. We are a lot closer than you may think Jake.”

    Thinly veiled threats aren’t cool, or endorsed by any religion or moral code that I can think of. (Although if I was running the site I’d take a screenshot of that comment, and make a note of NWR student’s IP address just in case Jake gets beat up).

  50. I find it interesting that the only students asserting the “voluntary” nature of the assembly were anonymous posters. Hardly convincing. But more to the point is the fact that religious assemblies are inappropriate in public schools unless held outside of school hours, paid for by outside groups and open to the general public. I would also remind our young friends that Christianity is not a religion. It is a vast and growing family of religions having equally vast doctrinal and theological differences. The word “Christian” is not a copyrighted possession of fundamentalists, evangelicals, dominionists, pre-millenialists, post-millenialists, neo-Calvinists or snake handlers. Finally, students should understand that this “assembly” is merely the latest ploy designed to avoid the prohibition against religious instruction in public schools. It is part of a concerted effort by a particular branch of fundamentalism that rejects separation of church and state and wishes to eliminate religious pluralism entirely in favor of a government based upon scriptural literalism and Old Testament legal codes. It is a subversive movement in the truest sense of that word.

  51. NWR Student
    1, April 23, 2013 at 12:05 am
    I went to the assembly and I was not forced to go or stay there by anyone. Especially since there was not even a principle in the room.
    ==========================================================

    freudian slip?

  52. If you haven’t noticed its only people who believed in what the rally was about are the ones saying that it wasn’t mandatory I bet if I held one trying to change everyone to the way I see there would be a completely different story about inequality and infringing on others constitutional rights also just because you can put your opinion on a site without giving your name then going to be mysterious and come at jake really that’s super intelligent and since you are such a strong believer in what this rally is saying if all people are like you and are willing to angry and possibly violent what makes you think any of us want to listen to anything you have to say when we just want our opinion heard we aren’t starting a riot or anything we are just asking to be heard

  53. Mike A.,

    As always, very valid points. What is strange though is that unlike many other religions, some sects of Christianity *do* think that they have some exclusive use of the word.

    ************

    Hayden,

    No. That observation was not lost on some of us.

  54. Good for you Hayden. Too many think and teach that this is a ‘christian” country which is not the reality. You could be an atheist, a jew, a muslim, a taoist, many, many beliefs and faiths out there. It can be very hard especially when you are young to stand your ground. I applaud you.

  55. Jake, I say the same to you as I did to Hayden. It is hard, especially when you are younger and in school to stand your ground against what could be considered bullying: trying to force you into a belief the others want you to agree with. Good for you for having the strength to stand up against this..

  56. I am a Senior and we were the first to go to the assembly. I am Baptist Christian and I am proud of my religion but I do not condone the assembly as being just or right. That does not mean that I like all the Christianity bashing that seems prevalent in these posts. True, many people were uncomfortable but that does not mean that all Christians are shoving religion down peoples throats.

  57. I believe that everyone has a right to believe what they want but I believe it’s wrong when people begin to try to convert others to their religion when the people openly state that they feel uncomfortable this is the fault of the administration to allow such a meeting to be held there are your hand full of Christians that leave everyone else alone and do what they wish in the privacy of their home or church but the constant quest for global convertion is what began to drive me away from Christianity the feeling of being constantly judged and looked at like a criminal are the reasons for me leaving the church I don’t have a problem with Christians and Christianity it’s the way they go about trying to change other people regardless of if they like it or not

  58. Lucy, I am glad you did not condone the manner and means of this assembly. I only wish that more of your denomination would feel the same way, and since I live in the Bible Belt of the Southern Baptists, I have some questions about them. Do you know when and if the SBC renounced slavery since it was founded primarily to promote and defend slavery? The same question is about the SBCs positoin on segregation if they still defend that too, or have they changed positions?

    I have to admit if find it quite humourous that the SBC and the like promotes “freedom”, but does its best to get rid of it for others. It reminds me of the communists who pointed to their Constitution that said there was full freedom in the Soviet Union. At least they had the wit and some decency to give at least lip service to the idea. The founders of the SBC did not.

  59. Lucy,
    This has nothing to do with whether people are comfortable or uncomfortable. It has to do with the requirement that government must keep religion and government separate. A public school is a government agency, and all activities conducted by a school carry the full weight of the government behind it. The First Amendment says, in what is called the “Establishment Clause”:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . . .

    The Establishment Clause is followed by the Free Exercise Clause, which states, “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. These two clauses make up what are called the “Religion Clauses” of the First Amendment.

    In legal terms, this means that all governmental agencies which are controlled by Congress are bound by the Religion Clause. If you think your school is not controlled by Congress, think again. Public schools get money, either directly or indirectly from the government; i.e., Congress. Congress has to approve all expenditures of taxpayer money. The Department of Education is a Cabinet level agency created by Congress.

    In short, your school is in violation of the law by having a religious assembly, using school property and school resources. You say you were comfortable. Would you have been as comfortable if the assembly had been sponsored and presented by a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Wiccan group? How about an Atheist group?

    The Free Exercise Clause allows you to do your own thing anytime you want to. Say Grace over your meal in the school cafeteria, for example? Of course you can. However, you cannot ask (or demand) that everyone else in the cafeteria pray with you.

    You say you dislike “…all the Christianity bashing…” Let me say that we dislike the Constitution bashing done by your school administration. They should be advocating for the Constitution, not trying to shred it. The school administration acted illegally, in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That is the whole thing in a nutshell.

  60. Lucy,

    This is a blog that focuses primarily on Constitutional law and law in general. You can expect to see bashing of any religious institutions that try to violate or otherwise circumvent the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment. True, not all sects of Christianity are guilty of this kind of behavior, but in fact some are and this compulsory assembly is an example of that. In engaging in this kind of behavior, these institutions are acting in a blindly dangerous manner not just to the religious liberties of others, but to their own religious liberties. The 1st Amendment and the Doctrine of Separation of Church and State does not just protect “a chosen few” from the religious edicts of a particular dogma from being forced upon them by law and government. It protects everyone from the religious edicts of a particular dogma from being forced upon them by law and government. It is as if no one ever stops to ask “What if someone else’s religion gains sway over the law?” Demographics change. Religious beliefs evolve and fall in and out of favor with the majority and the minority. In trying to inject religion into government and law, would be theocrats don’t see that they are creating a weapon that could just as easily be turned against them by changes in future circumstance. Our government was specifically created to be secular to avoid these kinds of problems in the first place by keeping government’s house the house of all the people regardless of their religious beliefs (or even lack thereof). It was one of the wisest decisions made by our Founding Fathers.

  61. Well, I was just looking at the time of the postings…. And if they are in civics…. Which is a good idea….. Shouldn’t they be paying attention in class as opposed to blogging….. That is why I am skeptical….

  62. I think that yes, they should be in school paying attention, if it is not their study hall or other ‘free time”, but, I also think the education they are getting here, both from OS and Gene H, among others, as well as the unfolding of debate and free thought is learning that you rarely find in school.

  63. LeeJ,

    Too bad then don’t have a civics teacher like I had…. Miss Case, may she rest in peace… Was the most difficult because she expected you to Learn…. No exceptions…. If you didn’t learn, she would keep you after school until you understood the fundamentals of basic government….. It was teachers like her… That make a difference…

  64. “That is why I am skeptical”

    AY,

    I’m a little skeptical also and have been so all along. We don’t know if these are kids or not and if they attend that school or not..

  65. I think it’s different for me as a Baptist Christian because I just moved to Mississippi from Michigan and the whole religion thing is taken far more seriously. That sounds wrong but up North we don’t try and “shove it down peoples throats” as much, we preach God’s love and mercy versus fire and brimstone like down here in Mississippi. I am also fiercely against what my Administration allowed to happen not because I know a lot of atheists or because many people seemed bent out of shape, but just because it was wrong. Period. And I can assure you that I am a student and I know all of the students that have been posting, I even have a class with Hayden, who was very forthcoming with his thoughts on the subject during class. As I’ve said before, I am a Senior (Senior Privileges) and I leave class to go to the library when I have nothing to do and just surf the web and besides you can just get on the site on your phone, not all that difficult. And for the record, please try and refrain from calling us children it only further downplays our views and beliefs.

  66. Looks like no one is winning this moronic argument. I would encourage Hayden to ask for an assembly to present his beliefs. If Jesus chose to post on this blog, He might have invoked Old Testament scripture. Maybe Psalm 53:3 – They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
    Jesus spent three years focusing on the two greatest commandments (look them up) by teaching and showing others how to live by them. Because everyone is corrupt, however, blogs like this will continue to exist.

  67. It depends upon how one defines “winning”.

    If one is using the law and the Constitution as a measure, if one is using the extremist Southern Baptist dogma as a measure, if one is using science based in fact over religion based in belief as a measure, if one is using the rights of all over the opinions of the few as a measure – all of these measures yield different shapes of victory.

    The bottom line is what Jesus did or did not do is irrelevant to the legal issues at hand. Jesus didn’t write the Constitution nor is Christianity a basis for our laws. However, the fact that you think anyone not following your particular interpretations of the dictates of Jesus is “corrupt” is quite telling as to how you define “winning”.

    Your victory is forcing your dogma upon others no matter what it takes.

    Too bad that the 1st Amendment says otherwise.

    People are free to exercise whatever religion they wish or none at all and they are free to do so without governmental endorsement and enforcement of one particular religious dogma over another.

    Blogs like this will continue to exist until people bent on proselytizing wake up and realize that religion is a personal private choice and one that each individual has a right to make according to the dictates of their conscience, not the dictates of zealots who would use government to force their beliefs upon others.

  68. Kevin, you miss the point of blogs like this and what used to be the “American Way’, presenting opposing viewpoints, accepting that we do not all have to agree with only one point of view, and discussing them civilly. (And of course the days before way too many want to make this a “Christian nation.”

  69. Gene – the Psalmist didn’t say all “who don’t believe” are corrupt. He said “ALL”. That means everyone- me, you, John the Baptist, Joe the plumber. Other than that, I agree with the 3rd paragraph. If it’s ok to force my dogma, then it would also be ok to force Muslim dogma, Hindu dogma, etc.

    If I had written what I thought John Lennon would say, it would have gone something like this “hey man, none of us are perfect, we should just love one another”. (Exactly what the verse I referenced is saying).

    Lastly, I don’t think I mentioned a single thought in support of people using government to force their beliefs on others. The reason I would proselytize can be summed up in the YouTube video by Penn Jillette (an atheist). Do a search for Penn Jillette Christianity, it’s worth the 5 minutes.

    leejcarroll- I understand the point behind the blog, I just don’t think it accomplishes much. Sadly, we are not a Christian nation (even though the majority of citizens would claim to be Christian). I live in the Bible belt, in a county that votes 90% Republican and a higher percentage than that would claim to be Christian, but only about 30% of the citizens are regular church-goers. No point, just info – but I do think opposing views help to keep the foundation from crumbling. Look at the history of “empires” and I think most hindered opposing viewpoints. None of them exist today. (Babylonian, Roman, Turkish, Japanese, English, Russian).

  70. Kevin sez: “Looks like no one is winning this moronic argument. I would encourage Hayden to ask for an assembly to present his beliefs.”

    ********************************************
    This comment indicates that you appear to not “get it” Kevin. The whole idea is that religious assemblies are in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as I explained upthread (see link).

    http://jonathanturley.org/2013/04/20/unconstitutional-christian-assembly-at-northwest-rankin-high-school/#comment-548209

    Religious assemblies allowed? None. Ninguno. Aucun. никто. なし.

    Save it for church, synagogue, mosque or wherever.

    You say that, “…no one is winning this moronic argument.” Kevin, the Constitution wins. There really is no argument. And as far as “moronic” goes, keep in mind that you are on a web site interacting with some of the best legal minds in the country. You can stop with the ad hominem stuff.

    The youngsters who are critical thinkers, who are independent thinkers, and who are unafraid will ultimately win. Those who stubbornly refuse to comprehend the plain English in which the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses are written will lose.

  71. Origin of MORON
    irregular from Greek mōros foolish, stupid
    First Known Use: 1910

    I didn’t call anyone on this thread a moron, I said the argument was moronic. Big difference. I’m sure there are some really smart people on this web site. I’ll bet some of them are so smart that they understand my point about Hayden asking for an assembly. If Hayden asks for voluntary assembly to present his values, and is turned down, then surely someone would recognize that the voluntary Christian assembly that was allowed was a double standard.
    I support what the students did because they believed in what they were doing, thinking critically and being unafraid to voice their opinions. (portions of the previous thought borrowed from 6 inches above this space). I also understand the counterargument, hence my point that nobody wins. Maybe a better word would have been sways, converts, dissuages, or other big words people on this blog use more frequently than I.

    P.S Independent thinkers=open mindedness? Lyrics from MercyMe “Yet I believe in the One who says there’s life after this, Now tell me how much more open can my mind be?”
    Thanks, and if you say anything bad about me, then you are ad hoministic. :)

  72. And, again, what the Bible says is irrelevant to a legal discussion, Kevin. This isn’t a discussion about perfection. Perfection is a philosophical and mathematical abstraction and not attainable in the physical universe outside of abstraction. Even in laws and governments. As Justice Learned Hand once noted, “Law is the pale shadow of justice.” But he also said, “Right knows no boundaries and justice no frontiers; the brotherhood of man is not a domestic institution.” This includes the boundaries of religious dogma. This is a discussion about legality.

    As for your semantic argument on the use of the word “moronic” in this context: What you said is not an express use of ad hominem but rather an implicit use of ad hominem. The adjective “moronic” is based on the root noun “moron” meaning “a stupid person”. The implication being that morons advance moronic arguments. If you wish your above retraction/clarification to stand, that is acceptable, however, the argument that your original statement contained implicit insult is not without merit. Just so, there is nothing moronic about the nature of this argument from either a legalistic or logical perspective. It addresses a fundamental right being infringed upon by those who would use legal mechanisms to spread their particular religious dogma. There is nothing foolish or stupid about such arguments when they are based in sound legal principle and relevant facts as this argument is based. Whether you’re appreciative or not or whether or not you approve of the argument – for whatever reason – is irrelevant to its validity.

    As for “Yet I believe in the One who says there’s life after this, Now tell me how much more open can my mind be?” This is a statement of dogmatic belief and it is not in the least reflective of an open mind. A so-called open mind might “believe in the One who says there’s life after this” but a truly open mind would recognize that this is a statement of belief, not a statement of empirical fact or provable logic, consequently recognizing that there may not be either a “One” or a “life after this” as equally valid possibilities. Or the possibility that there may be more than “One”. Or the possibility that a “One” might be a different “One” or might even be completely incomprehensible to humans as gods by definition exist outside the constraints of the frame of reference that is our universe. An open mind is open to all possibilities, not just a notion of “One who says there’s life after this”. That belief is a constraint upon free thinking. It is in thought the polar opposite of an open mind.

    Belief does not constitute proof of anything other than belief. Beliefs are not ispo facto true or rational. They might be, but when they are, it is coincidence as beliefs are not based on facts, merely the acceptance of something being true without the benefit of proof.

    The law isn’t the realm of beliefs. It’s the realm of legal principle applied to empirical facts as bolstered by evidence and formally valid logics. As such, in form, it has far more connection to the methodology of science than the dogma of religion. Therein rests the fundamental dichotomy: a system based on reason and empiricism is at the taproot incompatible with a system based on belief and the dogma that sprouts from it. One requires proof. The other eschews proof for blind trusting acceptance.

    Christianity, no matter its form, has no place in the discussion of the theory, application or interpretation of modern secular law as based on the social compact model. The only place it applies is in sectarian versions of cannon law which only apply to members of that given sect and then only on a voluntary basis as far as the Constitutional laws of our country are concerned.

  73. As a parent of a Northwest Rankin student and a Christian, I’m reading this argument with great interest, and shaking my head. I am seeing, the typical liberal, anti-Christian rhetoric that I always see in these arguments, and I wonder if these types will ever come up with something else to argue this down. Christianity is not simply my system of belief, but the cornerstone of my life. I don’t have “religion”. I have a RELATIONSHIP with Christ. If the student(s) who led this assembly were of another other faith, no one would bat an eye or open their mouth. From what I understand, this was not mandatory and no student was forced to be there. To the best of my knowledge and research, there has been no ruling on the constitutionality of student led religious assembly or prayer. I’ve studied the Constitution, and the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t found, and while that phrase does exist in government, it has become so wildly misinterpreted that its original meaning has become lost. Its original intent was to ensure that government would not have the power to form a state church as they had in England. It did not mean that there was no room for basic Judeo-Christian tenets in government, or that Church and State could not coexist and work in tandem. They can and should work together. I’ve raised my kids to stand firm in their faith, and to pray wherever and whenever they feel led. My oldest son once asked me what would happen if he got in trouble for that, to which I replied that he has a mother that would stand with him. I’m not going to try to defend my faith. If doesn’t need defending, as it has stood for more than 2000 years. I won’t be insulting of anyone, either. There has been enough of that on both sides of this conversation already. The slant and tone of the above article definitely shows what side of the argument the writer is on, and while I may not agree, I will defend the writer’s right to opinion. But please bear in mind that everything stated in the article and in every comment (including mine) is simply that: opinion based on beliefs and our individual interpretation of the facts presented. From what I read of the comments, only two responders were actual students. I wasn’t there, and I seriously doubt any of the rest were. My son was, and I know what he told me about his experience with this. All I will say is that lawsuits like this ate exactly why America ceases to be the greatest nation on earth.

  74. “As a parent of a Northwest Rankin student and a Christian, I’m reading this argument with great interest, and shaking my head. I am seeing, the typical liberal, anti-Christian rhetoric that I always see in these arguments, and I wonder if these types will ever come up with something else to argue this down.”

    No one has said you cannot be a Christian. Under the 1st Amendment, your choice of religion is purely your business. Just so, every other citizen enjoys that same right to follow the dictates of their conscience free from either governmental or your interference.

    “Christianity is not simply my system of belief, but the cornerstone of my life. I don’t have “religion”. I have a RELATIONSHIP with Christ.”

    Good for you. And completely irrelevant to the legal argument against this manifestly unconstitutional forced assembly.

    “If the student(s) who led this assembly were of another other faith, no one would bat an eye or open their mouth.”

    You’ve obviously never read this blog before, have you?

    “From what I understand, this was not mandatory and no student was forced to be there.”

    Not according to both the press reports and the first hand reports of students posting to this blog.

    “To the best of my knowledge and research, there has been no ruling on the constitutionality of student led religious assembly or prayer.”

    The best of your knowledge is insufficient and this wasn’t a student led assembly. There is both legal precedent cited above to prove there are rulings on this matter and a copy of email evidence that the principal Charles Frazier made the assembly mandatory.

    “I’ve studied the Constitution, and the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ isn’t found, and while that phrase does exist in government, it has become so wildly misinterpreted that its original meaning has become lost.”

    That’s a semantic argument and as employed is a logical fallacy. Not all Constitutional legal doctrines bear their name from direct language found in the Constitution. This is the kind of misunderstanding that happens when laymen read the Constitution without any historical or jurisprudential context in which to properly understand the document.

    “Its original intent was to ensure that government would not have the power to form a state church as they had in England. It did not mean that there was no room for basic Judeo-Christian tenets in government, or that Church and State could not coexist and work in tandem.”

    Simply wrong as a legal and historical fact. The Founders, particularly Madison – the primary drafter of the Constitution – and Jefferson – whose work on the Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom was a primary guide and notable precursor in formulating the 1st Amendment as passed, were very clear that religion had no place in government and that religion was an individual choice left up to each citizen’s conscience. The notion that ours is a “Christian Nation” is a myth started by would be theocrats and zealots and has no basis in either law or history. Or in the words of Jefferson, “Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” (Letter to Virginia Baptists, 1808.) In his Virgina Act, Jefferson leaves no room for doubt and his language is clear when he says, “[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” In fact, most of the original settlers of this country were fleeing governments that tried for force a particular religious dogma upon them contrary to the dictates of their conscience.

    “They can and should work together.”

    Theocracy is one of the worst forms of government ever tried. One only needs to look at the history of Europe and the current states of Iran and Saudi Arabia for plenty of example of why combining religion and government ends in bloodshed and oppression.

    “I’ve raised my kids to stand firm in their faith, and to pray wherever and whenever they feel led. My oldest son once asked me what would happen if he got in trouble for that, to which I replied that he has a mother that would stand with him.”

    Well good for you. Just so long as you taught your son that others are free to ignore him and believe as they see fit and that he’s subject to criticism for espousing his beliefs according to the 1st Amendment’s Right to Free Speech.

    “I’m not going to try to defend my faith. If doesn’t need defending, as it has stood for more than 2000 years.”

    A wise strategy. The history of Christianity, like the history of all organized religions, is replete with examples of horrific things done in the “Name of God” by men with completely Earthly interests in maintaining power or acquiring wealth.

    “I won’t be insulting of anyone, either.”

    Good for you. Also wise.

    “There has been enough of that on both sides of this conversation already. The slant and tone of the above article definitely shows what side of the argument the writer is on, and while I may not agree, I will defend the writer’s right to opinion.”

    That starts with a mischaracterization, but ends well enough.

    “But please bear in mind that everything stated in the article and in every comment (including mine) is simply that: opinion based on beliefs and our individual interpretation of the facts presented.”

    Actually the article is based on both the facts of the incident and the laws of this nation.

    “From what I read of the comments, only two responders were actual students.”

    Read again. Those student’s speaking out were then treated to veiled threats from other students.

    “I wasn’t there, and I seriously doubt any of the rest were. My son was, and I know what he told me about his experience with this.”

    Which proves nothing. Unlike the email evidence that the principle made this a mandatory assembly. An assembly espousing a particular form of Christian dogma and trying to pass it off as science, done at a government facility, utilizing tax pay money to promote one religious view over another. Did I mention that’s unconstitutional? Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)

    “All I will say is that lawsuits like this ate exactly why America ceases to be the greatest nation on earth.”

    No suit has been filed . . . yet. And that is your opinion and you’re entitled to it. However, to Constitutional scholars, such a suit would be an indication of something that has been and remains a source of greatness – the freedom of every citizen to chose the religion (or none at all) that conforms to the dictates of their conscience free from government interference.

  75. KWalker:

    1. You mistake criticism of bigotry and ignorance for anti-Christian attitudes.

    2. The Tennessee state legislature recently abandoned consideration of a bill permitting state funding for private sectarian schools when it dawned on a few representatives that some of those funds could be used to build Muslim schools. If a student proposed a Muslim “voluntary” assembly at Northwest Rankin High School, the idea would never make it past the principal’s office.

    3. As I have noted in the past, stating that Christianity is a religion is like stating that a rainbow is a color. Another poster recently pointed out that there are presently over 400 Christian denominations and sects in the United States. So when you say you are a Christian, you are revealing nothing about your beliefs, unless of course you believe that only those folks who subscribe to your particular orthodoxy are “true” Christians. Indeed, Christians are not even in agreement on the contents of the Bible.

    4. In 1960 I was living in El Paso, Texas. You may or may not recall that John F . Kennedy was running for the presidency that year. I remember being handed pamphlets asserting that the United States was a Christian nation and that we would come to ruination were we to elect a Catholic.

    5. My family moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1963. That was where I first met a Southern Baptist who told me in no uncertain terms that Catholics were not Christians and that she believed that my family was condemned to eternal damnation unless we were born again. Since I had already been born once, I demurred.

    6. The idea of student-led religious assemblies is merely the most recent ploy of evangelicals to get around the problem of state-sponsored religious assemblies. Several states, including Florida, where I live, have been pushing legislation authorizing such assemblies. The purpose is rather transparent. We have churches and church halls for assemblies. We have public schools for public education.

    7. When I hear that self-proclaimed Christians have come up with plans for a schedule of Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. and atheist
    assemblies to permit open and honest discussion about the range of belief and unbelief in the world, I and many others will be more open to your insistence that you are committed to the religious freedom promised by the Constitution.

    P.S. I don’t know whom you have studied on the Constitution, but despite what you may have heard, David Barton is not a bona fide historian or constitutional scholar.

  76. leejcarroll- I understand the point behind the blog, I just don’t think it accomplishes much. Sadly, we are not a Christian nation (even though the majority of citizens would claim to be Christian). I live in the Bible belt, in a county that votes 90% Republican and a higher percentage than that would claim to be Christian, but only about 30% of the citizens are regular church-goers. No point, just info – but I do think opposing views help to keep the foundation from crumbling.

    Sadly? Kevin, so you would want religion, and by the way which denomination, to be the controlling voice?
    It accomplishes a lot because it embodies America, opposing views discussed, analyzed, dissected, debated. If you are a teenager I am saddened that you are not being taught the benefit of reasoned (for the most part (: ) debate.

  77. KWalker:

    I’ve studied the Constitution, and the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t found, and while that phrase does exist in government, it has become so wildly misinterpreted that its original meaning has become lost.

    Jefferson wrote that a consequence of the First Amendment was the “building a wall of separation between church and state.” That is the original meaning.

    Its original intent was to ensure that government would not have the power to form a state church as they had in England.

    That’s half of the original intent. A wall works both ways.

    As Justice Black wrote in McCollum:

    … the First Amendment has erected a wall between Church and State which must be kept high and impregnable.

    The founders and the Supreme Court don’t support your view.

  78. Nal,

    If I recall the Puritians came a calling to set up a religious colony…. For whatever reasons it turned into a dismissal failure….. But establishing the concept that Winthrops version would not be continued if the New Colonies were to succeed….

    But based upon historical notions that a certain god must be the head of each country…..something’s are continued something’s are abandoned for the betterment of all….. In this concept I agree with Jefferson totally….

  79. KWalker,

    Besides echoing what Gene and Mike A. have said, which you will note was said civilly and with no attack upon you or Christianity, I would like to add my own thoughts. I’m sure your deeply held beliefs are a comfort to you and I respect that. What I don’t respect is that you are being disingenuous, either knowingly, or unknowingly. This is why I believe that:

    You characterize the disagreement in terms of Liberal vs. Conservative and this is a false idea, spread by certain Christian denominations, who would mix Jesus into American politics for personal gain. This is not an issue of political leanings, it is an issue of the Constitution that has been settled decades ago by the Judiciary, were made up of both Conservative and Liberal Judges supporting the idea that religion has no place in our schools. That you ignore the past Judicial history is disingenuous. This because you either haven’t bothered to research the issue before opining on it, or because you ignore the prior ruling and wish to oppose them by creating a false history of them.

    Among certain Christian denominations there has been a movement to “Christianize America”. By that I mean impose that denominations particular moral values upon the entire country. This is factual on the face of it because there have been a multitude of statements by the leaders of those denominations voicing that intent. That you disclaim knowledge of this is therefore disingenuous. It it made more so by the false premise that it is Christianity somehow under attack. This is an assertion that reverses the situation in order to cover the fact that this is part of an open agenda to Christianize our country. One of the problems with this agenda is that as Mike A. aptly pointed out there are many versions of Christianity actively represented in this country. Doctrinally, many of these Christian faiths are somewhat incompatible and many believe that they are the only true representatives of Christianity. Most of those most active in this movement to “Christianize America” are doing so with the solid belief that Christian means what they believe and not what another denomination believes.

    Finally, you are being disingenuous by asserting that:

    “If the student(s) who led this assembly were of another other faith, no one would bat an eye or open their mouth. From what I understand, this was not mandatory and no student was forced to be there.”

    Flowood is demographically made up of 69% Southern Baptist Convention, 16% United Methodists, 5% Catholics, 1.3% Church of God, 1.2% Mormons and 10% other religious denominations or unaffiliated 3.2%. http://www.city-data.com/city/Flowood-Mississippi.html

    The only reason this assembly could be held is because 69% of the town are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. If Catholic Students, or Mormon students wanted to hold such an assembly it would never have happened. This is precisely why religion and public schooling should not be combined, because it results in a diminishment of the rights of a minority, in this case possibly 30% of Flowood. A major part of the Southern Baptist’s Convention is proselytizing. This is their right. but as someone of almost seven decades of life there is little I find more annoying then someone trying to foist their religious beliefs on me. Since I am not a Southern Baptists and do not agree with its teaching, I would be similarly annoyed by proselytizing attempts towards my children and grandchildren. While in a public sense this is free speech and I would do nothing defend the right to do so, public schools should never be part of this right to proselytize. This is so because doing so in a public school is done under the assumption that the educational institution endorses it. You are a man of strong religious belief, think about how annoyed you would be if your children were coerced into sitting through the preachings of some other religion of which you don’t approve? Especially, if that religion preaches that they are the one true path to avoid hell and damnation.

  80. ” Sadly, we are not a Christian nation ”

    Some Christians seem to forget that the reason for separating church and state is to protect everyone’s religious freedom.

    Once you admit that citizens can require a religious view then you leave open the possibility that the religion enforced will offend Christians.

    How would Christians feel if the religious practice required were Islam, or obeisance to Ra the sun king, or devil worship.

    If you believe in the decadence of modern society then it seems a likely bet that if religious practice is ever required it will be devil worship.

    In contrast to Christians, I have never heard any one who worships the devil claiming that everyone should have to worship the devil in our schools, courts, state houses.

    At the very least, those who worship the devil seem confident that the devil is powerful enough to make his appeal without using the power of the state to force his view on everyone else.

    Christians, through their actions, seem to be saying that their god so impotent that he cannot prevail without using the power and force of the state.

    If the point of evil in the world is to give men and women the opportunity to choose good, then why would Christians require religious practice.

    Doesn’t forced religion seem to contradict the will of god and the whole point of choice?

    What ever you say about the devil, at least he is not trying to use the power of the state to force children to pray to him in school.

    I admit it may be a mistake to try to infer the nature of deities based on the characteristics of their followers. But the Christian god seems to be a nervous, insecure fellow, a sort of Don Knotts of deities. In contrast the devil seems confident, powerful, and ready to engage in informed discussion.

  81. |”the Christian god seems to be a nervous, insecure fellow, a sort of Don Knotts of deities.”

    I’ll be chuckling all day at the image that conjures up, bfm.

    Thanks! :mrgreen:

    “And on the third day, God said, ‘Ange! We’ve got to nip it in the bud!'”

  82. UPDATE: Apparently the law suit has been filed as of today.

    The filing can be read here:

  83. I’ve spent years studying history and government on my own and in school and have studied such under the most liberal and the most conservative. I’m aware of the writings of Jefferson, but they are simply that: writings. The First Amendment allows for freedom of religion, but does not mention separation of church and state. I read it again before I responded last night, and before my response now.

    My knowledge of the facts of what happened at NWR comes now, not only from my own son, but others who were present at this assembly. One thing that struck me that everyone I spoke to, whether I knew them to be Christians or not, stated that not one person who claimed to feel their rights had been violated or who claimed to be offended made any attempt to leave, speak up in protest, or take any other step that the law allows them to do. Not one. My son went so far as to question one of theses offended students as to why they didn’t leave since they, by law, have the right to do so. The response was, “I don’t know”.

    There are many student-led, faith-based activities that go on at this school and many others across the state of Mississippi. Even when I was in school, when we were told things like this could not be school sponsored, but rather student-led, we moved ahead, with the understanding that all were welcome, if those chose to participate. Mississippi is a state that is predominantly Christian, predominantly Protestant. For most of us, our faith is what guides our life.

    For those of you who have a negative view of or experience with professing Christians, I deeply apologize. What you encountered was probably not true Christianity. As with any religion, there are always those whose speech or behavior taints and clouds the tenets of said faith. To say all Christians are judgemental, out to push an agenda, and every other negative thing that I face everyday, would be like saying that all followers of Islam are terrorists. It’s simply not the truth. Yes, we are called to share our faith with others, but many go about this the wrong way, and I have no doubt this is where many of you have had a negative experience with Christians. If you don’t see in my life what I’m sharing with you, then of course you will come away with a bad impression.

    To anyone who commented on my previous, I welcome the comments. Under different circumstances, in a different forum, we might find that in many ways we are not so far apart. We may differ in faith or political views, but we all get up everyday, raise families, make a living, and a million other tasks. Yes, I am a Christian and that is how I live my life. I raised my children that way, but gave them the freedom to embrace it on their own. It has been what has sustained us during some of the worst things imaginable. My son had admitted that at times his faith has made high school a bit lonely, but it has also saved him from some major mistakes. The students who were offended had the right to walk out, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hope and pray that it would lead at least one to at least explore Christianity. And if any of you are ever in Jackson, Mississippi (or if you live in the area) I’m inviting you join me any Sunday at 10:15 am at Southside Baptist Church. All are welcome, but no one will be forced to stay. But you will be welcomed and loved…

  84. KWalker sez: “I’ve spent years studying history and government on my own and in school and have studied such under the most liberal and the most conservative. I’m aware of the writings of Jefferson, but they are simply that: writings. The First Amendment allows for freedom of religion, but does not mention separation of church and state.”

    ************************************

    Therein lies the problem, Mr. Walker. You studied on your own. Apparently you are unwilling to pay attention to people who have graduated from top tier law schools and understand how all the footnotes and case law applies to explain and tie together the meaning of the original document. This is a law blog, and not just any law blog at that. It has been ranked the #1 legal opinion law blog on the Internet. When you argue with Gene, to just take one example, expect to have your layman’s butt handed to you. He actually went to law school. Religion is faith and opinion. You are certainly entitled to your opinion and no one is telling you how to worship or not worship whatever you want. By the same token, you have no legal or moral right to tell others what to believe with regard to religion.

    My first European ancestor (that we know about) to these shores was a Huguenot. He got out of France about one jump ahead of the authorities who wanted to either hang him or burn him at the stake for not believing in the official religion of the state. That made him an outlaw. The lesson was not lost on him or those that followed. State sponsored religion can be dangerous to your health.

  85. Don Knotts as God. LOL

    I can just read it in the Bible:

    Romans 12:19 “And Barney said, Opie, never take revenge. Leave that to me, SNIFF the righteous anger of The Law of the Land. For the county code says, Vengeance is mine! I will pay them back with this bullet in my pocket. So sayeth the law SNIFF”

  86. KWalker,

    “One thing that struck me that everyone I spoke to, whether I knew them to be Christians or not, stated that not one person who claimed to feel their rights had been violated or who claimed to be offended made any attempt to leave, speak up in protest, or take any other step that the law allows them to do. Not one.”

    That’s not what the complaint states:

    45. Indeed, the presentation was mandatory and faculty and parents stood near the exit door, preventing students from leaving.

    48. The School’s truancy officer, Jeff White (“Officer White”), harassed several students who attempted to leave and told them to sit back down.

    49. Many students thought the presentation was inappropriate and felt that it discriminated against their beliefs.

    57. Before the presentation started, M.B. and a few of her friends attempted to go to the library or another classroom instead but they were prevented from doing so by Officer White.

    65. During the presentation, some students attempted to stand up and leave upon discovering the nature of the assembly, but, according to M.B., “they were literally barred from exiting by teachers.”

  87. KWalker:

    One thing that struck me that everyone I spoke to, whether I knew them to be Christians or not, stated that not one person who claimed to feel their rights had been violated or who claimed to be offended made any attempt to leave, speak up in protest, or take any other step that the law allows them to do.

    It is not up to the students to overcome the social pressure and object or try to leave. It is up to the government (school officials) not to place the students in such a situation to begin with. As I noted in the original post.

    According to the lawsuit that Gene linked to:

    During the presentation, some students attempted to stand up and leave upon discovering the nature of the assembly, but, according to M.B., “they were literally barred from exiting by teachers.”

    Making a false representation in a complaint is a serious problem for the filing attorney.

  88. gbk I guess that lying for your religion is not only a so called Muslim “virtue”. Since I live in the South, I know these kinds of folks much too well, which is why I really dislike the SBC. Apart from being founded to promote and extend slavery and promote segregation.

  89. “It is not up to the students to overcome the social pressure and object or try to leave. It is up to the government (school officials) not to place the students in such a situation to begin with.” – Nal

    Bingo.

  90. Mike Spindell, sorry you had a bad experience growing up. I grew up in a town with a large Jewish community. Our grammar school holiday celebration shows would alternate every year. One year we would do a Christmas theme, the next would be a Hanukkah theme. While I was not Jewish, I learned things about the religion from my Jewish friends. (Always envious of seven days of gifts instead of only one. You think that way when you are 8) I had friends of several religions and never thought anything about it. Our friendships where not based on our religion. I did think it was strange that there was no problem with me going with my friend into her Catholic church, but her religion would not permit her to enter the Dutch Reform church I was attending at the time. Our class said the Lord’s Prayer in the morning, but I remember the Catholic children did not say the ending. I don’t remember why, but nobody was ever forced to participate. I guess I was lucky.
    On the subject of the article. If parents want their children to be taught religion in school, they need to send them to a religious school, or home school them. Both are an option in this country.

  91. KWalker,

    The facts asserted in the filing and the comments of direct participants made here all seem to belie your anecdotal counterpoint.

    As for being called to “share your faith”, you – as in everyone who thinks proselytizing is a good idea – should all learn the common courtesy to only do so when asked. Most people simply want you to leave them alone when it comes to matters of their choice in faith and if they are curious, they’ll ask for your thoughts of their own volition. This methodology seems to work quite well with the preponderance of world religions and it avoids unnecessary conflict. Proselytizing is a particularly intrusive and obnoxious habit that seems to be particular to certain sects of Christianity and Islam. Neither Hindus, Jainists, Jews, Sikhs nor Buddhists proselytize and yet there is no shortage of adherents for any of those faiths. I don’t think that the fact that Christians and Muslims are also the most likely to go to war or commit violence over their beliefs is a coincidence to their being the predominant proponents of proselytizing. It also reeks of insecurity. If “your God” is so appealing and so absolutely right, then a sales job or forced conversion done by humans would be entirely not required. A god by definition would not need your help in spreading “their word”. So perhaps the fault lay with those who would proselytize without being asked.

    Just a suggestion.

  92. Nal,
    I also notice there is a video record of the events. People everywhere should know by now that practically ever teenager on the planet has a camera-equipped phone and knows how to use it.

    Mr. Walker, what Nal was getting at in his last comment above, is that no lawyer would risk lying to a Federal Court in an affirmative pleading. Ergo, the lawyer who made that filing has the means to back up the claim.

  93. Americans United:

    Mississippi Burning: School Officials Coerced Students Into A Revival Meeting – And Now They’re Being Sued

    School officials are now claiming the events were student-sponsored, student-led and voluntary, but the facts seem to tell a different story.

    According to the legal complaint, Frazier sent an email to all faculty on April 9 ordering them to send all members of the senior class to a school hall for the religious event.

    Said the principal’s message: “Sorry for the late notice. All seniors will need to report to the [Performing Arts Building] during Cougar Connection. They should report directly from the 5th block. Thanks.”

    Hmmm. Doesn’t sound too voluntary to me.

    Even worse, students were not told the subject of the assembly. When some realized it was an inappropriate proselytizing event, they tried to leave but were prevented from doing so by a school truancy officer, as well as teachers and parents who were present for the preaching.

  94. Why does that not surprise me that all the so called Christians are lying through their teeth. I would think that they would be ashamed to testify for Christ as being shown to be liars and cheats. That is why when somebody says that they are a born again Christian. I put my hand on my wallet, and my back against the wall.

  95. I have found the debate interesting and the responses even more so. So far I can only see a “he said, she said”, by “alleged eyewitnesses” on both sides. I am sure a legal hearing will discover the actual truth. Being an Aussie who has only visited California and New York I cannot make any cultural comments on the South, what beliefs are dominant and so on. Also I will not get into a discussion on the Constitution and various amendments, their intent and context from the original document to interpretive law regarding the original document. I will leave that to US lawyers to debate over :) What I can say is “power corrupts”. No belief system is without that. If one is to assume that the school overextended its authority and this is unconstitutional, then the school needs a smack on the bum! On the other hand both Evolution and Creationism are faith based pseudo-sciences. No neither can prove their interpretation of the same facts and both need to start from a point of utter conviction in the origin of God or the utter conviction in the fairy tale of God, that there is no God and so life cannot have come from the bible “fairytale”. And yet Evolution is almost entirely taught around the Western world, especially the USA and Creationism is not. As I see it if there is meant to be a separation between belief and politics (you know the old Church and State chestnut) neither should be taught and only actual science, repeatable, observable etc and no origins theories, which both are just that – theories on how we all came to be. Secondly Roe vs Wade should never have happened. Human life is transitional. Pre born human, to post born human, post born human to child, child to adult, adult to old person! Form and function of the human life changes remarkably all the way through the process of life. But at no stage is the human ever non human. To murder a human, no matter what transitional state they are in is a violation of human sanctity and violation of a the next generations citizenry. To decide that human life is only potential life based on a capacity for independence of function and quality of that independence is a theory that is NAZI in conception and practice. Social evolution a humanist religious doctrine, Atheist-humanist in development and current form. For example Babies inhibit the ideal construction of the feminist world view and also the overpopulation eradication world views. Since humanist-atheism declares, (without proof, just like any divine religion, which also have no actual proof either), that God is a myth and a fairy tale invented by men that looked up at the sun and needed to explain it, they by doing – live by faith (no not the same form of faith but still faith – i.e. “the overabundant conviction in their own view without suitable proof or evidence”. And yet abortion, which ignores the actual presence of human life even if that life is transitioning and rather presumes that human life can under some circumstances be eradicated when the women, the state sanction it, is enforced as a right by law, but this is a humanist belief based on humanist doctrines. If there was a true separation of church and state neither evolution/creationism and abortion would be tolerated as these are examples of church (that is “belief”) being shoved down the throats of those of different beliefs. And yet I do not hear these being discussed or apologized for as inherently unconstitutional, using the same separation of church and state arguments I have read here. Consistency and fair and rational minds cannot allow these fundamentalist humanist doctrines being shoved down the throats of other religions. When I hear more about a unbiased and uncompromising defense regarding the eradication of church and state. When I see the schools teaching reading, writing and arithmetic instead of socialization and origins ideology and when I see the Hippocratic concept of life (yes that is right, those crazy pre-atheist/humanist/christian Greeks with their fanciful notions) instead of enforced humanist social Darwinist and NAZI religious doctrines in the law of abortion on the right to kill humans based on a set of predetermined situational ethics, then I will be more inclined to worry about a school’s student body speaking about their own particular brand of faith. Until then I guess the proverbial happens and we should all have thick enough skin to get over it! I had evolution shoved down my throat at school and although I object to someone else telling me what I should or should not believe, I am more than capable of making up my own mind I just accepted when in “Rome do it Rome’s way. If that school is more pro one faith than another well I guess that is just what you have to expect. Maybe its the tough skin of the Aussies but you blokes over there come from a colonial frontier past as well so I am surprised this is such as shock to you that those with the power enforce their won religious biases, Atheist, Christian, Buddhist, Communist and so on. In short many atheists don’t want freedom of religion if it contradicts theirs anymore than any other religion want their power base compromised or threatened. I wouldn’t mind so much the pointing out of hypocrisy against Christians and there are plenty of examples to dig up if the same hypocrisy was not so self evident and yet so the atheist indoctrination is so entrenched that they cannot see where their own hypocrisy lies. Contradictions and bias and basic irrational stupidity are self evident to any rational mind capable of seeing introspectively and seeing where their own beliefs have flaws and contradictions. Something I have noticed crosses all beliefs, both Christian and Atheist. Ignorance is a world wide phenomenon and not just inherent in divine based religions as I witness more and more in humanist based religions as they proselytize through evolution, social media and generally speaking, through state run schools. To the children I impart this wisdom, you stick to your guns and beliefs and do not let anyone, government, professor or teacher and especially lawyers and accountants, (God save us from these meddling busybodies) tell you what you must believe. If you think God is a fairy-tale so be it, if you believe in God don’t be pressured otherwise. As the poem by Kipling – If states “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;” In other words keep the conviction of your beliefs without feeling so insecure that you have to supplant or legally suppress their beliefs so that you feel safe in yours, then as the next generation you will be far better off than those that have come before. Just my two cents worth :)

  96. Evolution is a scientific fact. It’s not a religion or even a religious dogma. Creationism, on the other hand, is simply a concocted fiction and has nothing to do with science or facts and has everything to do with religious dogma. The reason creationism is not part of the vast majority of science curriculum as taught in the Western world is because it flatly isn’t science. Nor should it be taught as part of a proper education except within the context of comparative religious studies or other like sociology courses. If you choose to disbelieve the provable, that is your choice but it is an adoption of willful ignorance. Willful ignorance harms the self as does any act of delusion and self-deception. As Marcus Aurelius noted, “it is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance that does harm.” It was truthful when he said it. It is truthful today.

  97. Gene,
    you beat me too it. The idea that evolution is a religious idea is crazy. I agree that there is no place for so-called creationism in public schools. If you want to teach that nonsense in your private school, be my guest.

  98. Sigh! Delusion is rampant! Evolution is a pseudo-science, it is not fact and that is a fact, It deals in some facts but cannot prove its basic foundation premises. It is a origins theory, just like creationism and the self evidence of this atheist indoctrination process by the state over many many years in schools is proven in the claims that its not a human religious doctrine. Ummm time to start holding hands and singing our little atheist mantra…. “Evolution is a fact, evolution is a fact, I will not hear any alternative, for those that state it must be insane and completely crazy…. The state told me its all fact and this is what really happened, so it must be true. I learn’t it in school!” Oh deary me, church and state once again holding hands……

    Both sides begin with an act of faith, then look at the various facts of origins theory through those rose colored glasses of their own beliefs. I have nothing more to say. Sadly, blind leading the blind and enforcing their own religious dogma – Atheist dogma in this case.

    How about we teach our children actual provable facts, real science, maths and English in schools and leave all divine and non divine religious dogma to the parents to choose how they wish to indoctrinate their own.

  99. “Sigh! Delusion is rampant!”

    Apparently so.

    “Evolution is a pseudo-science, it is not fact and that is a fact, It deals in some facts but cannot prove its basic foundation premises.”

    Wrong. Evolution is a process described by science and it can be proven by repeatable verifiable experimentation. It is described by the fundamental modality of scientific exploration. For example, breeding fruit flies for specific traits is an experiment that proves evolution. It is also observable in nature in both the fossil record and in speciation of plants and animals such as the cichilds found in Lake Victoria which all spring from a common ancestor but have a multitude of variations. Here’s what some experts on biology have to say about it:

    The other 22 parts of this series can be seen on YouTube. They are all equally critical of the pseudo-science of creationism though. Sorry.

    “It is a origins theory, just like creationism and the self evidence of this atheist indoctrination process by the state over many many years in schools is proven in the claims that its not a human religious doctrine.”

    Gibberish. The origin of evolutionary theory (and just because it’s called a theory only means it’s incomplete, not wrong) rests on the observation, empirical data and experimentation.

    “Ummm time to start holding hands and singing our little atheist mantra…. “Evolution is a fact, evolution is a fact, I will not hear any alternative, for those that state it must be insane and completely crazy…. The state told me its all fact and this is what really happened, so it must be true. I learn’t it in school!” Oh deary me, church and state once again holding hands……”

    Atheism has nothing to do with it. Science is science. It is based on the scientific method which is a method consisting of systematic observation, measurement, and experiments, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses. It is the opposite of belief.

    “Both sides begin with an act of faith,” blah blah blah.

    No. Science has nothing to do with faith. Creationism begins with an act of faith and ends with an act of faith. Evolution is science based on systematic observation, measurement, and experiments, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

    “How about we teach our children actual provable facts, real science, maths”

    Like say . . . evolution? Which is accepted as scientific fact by 99% of the scientific community based on the evidence. And some of those scientists are even *gasp* Christians.

    “and English in schools and leave all divine and non divine religious dogma to the parents to choose how they wish to indoctrinate their own.”

    If you want to raise your children to be scientific illiterates who operate off of wishful thinking instead of empirical fact, then that is your choice, but it is a great disservice to the children and to society.

  100. Gene,
    Why would Jesus want us to ignore science? If I believe in God making man in his image, how can he make a scientist to use his brain and then not want us to believe him?

  101. It doesn’t make sense to me either, raff. Then again, I do suffer from a crippling excess of logic and reason. Magical thinking just doesn’t cut it for me.

  102. Seriously!

    There is truly a distinction between valid science and false or pseudo science. Real Science is concerned with the observation and classification of facts within the parameters of general laws and is done chiefly by induction and hypothesis (again with the parameters of verifiable laws). Evolution contradicts many known laws, like biogenesis and the second law of thermodynamics. Look up any dictionary on science and they all basically state the following “testable, repeatable, experimentation, verifiable and observable. If the subject cannot be observed, repeated and verified and subject to experimentation, then it is not science. Wow guess what evolution has never been observed, repeated, verified or been the subject of experimentation, therefore it cannot be a science but a theory. The issue is not religion vs science but religion vs religion, Umm hello church and state question all over again. As to whether atheism has anything to do with evolution, it is fact that the theory of evolution was invented by atheists as a means of combating the dominant religious pseudo-science views of the day. Many of the theories of evolution have had to evolve as they are discovered to be untrue. Darwin stated that Blacks are less evolved than other races like whites. Wow, so how come your president is black, i would be asking for a refund if Darwins gibberish were actually the case, because he is, according to Darwin, the father of evolution, being black – inferior? Evolution scientists (note the word scientists) rely heavily on the accuracy of their measurement systems like C dating etc said 100 years ago the world was 70, 000 years old then 50 years ago 3.5 million and 15 odd years ago 4.5 million and lets not forget that wonderful chestnut we all came from monkeys, despite pigs having a closer DNA similarity. So considering that students were taught all these so called facts and proofs which turned out according to later research and science to be false, exactly how is the idea of evolution anything other than just that a theory, constantly evolving a changing. Notice Gravity does not change nor does the theory of gravity, so please lets not use that rehashed record. Oh and lets not forget the growing speculations of multi-verse theory and many other modern atheist scientific theories that place current big bang theory in jeopardy. Yes clearly it is a science and not a load of gibberish. Brilliantly marketed, hence its current control over the scientific community, you know via schools and indoctrination over the last 70 odd years, breeding new evolutionists from childhood, despite its many clear flaws and I have only just touched on them. Too many contradictions and revisions of the theory have occurred by scientists preaching evolution and yet changing the facts as they decide when and where to………. Science is provable, verifiable, and repeatable and not constantly evolving and being changed when a old part of the theory is shown to be false. What else can I say, lets stop trying to prove the unprovable just so we can try and prove another beliefs to be wrong by saying science says. Evolution is a false prophet at best and a downright conspiracy at worst. Let it go and believe it personally but not in schools. Schools are about learning how to think not brainwashed what to think by modern religious dogma.

    Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 04:37:00 +0000 To: queveritas@hotmail.com

  103. “There is truly a distinction between valid science and false or pseudo science.”

    And apparently you don’t know it if you think evolution is pseudo-science but creationism isn’t. You apparently have no issue using words you don’t understand either. The rest of what you say is gibberish, but especially this gem: “Science is provable, verifiable, and repeatable and not constantly evolving and being changed when a old part of the theory is shown to be false.”

    Science is constantly changing as new information come available. The body of science knowledge is a continuum, not static. If it wasn’t, people would still think illnesses are caused by humours of the body being imbalanced or demon possession instead of using the bacterial and viral models of illness, Einstein wouldn’t have stood Newton on his ear, and we’d have no clue about molecular genetics which – by the way – confirms Darwin’s work in formulating natural selection as the prime mechanism that drives adaptive evolution.

    Also, you can perform radiographic dating on materials other than carbon. It is a very accurate process within limits as radioactive decay happens at constant rates.

    And you shouldn’t discuss physics you don’t understand. The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics pioneered by Hugh Everett in no way puts the big bang “in jeopardy”. Other discoveries in physics call the details into question, namely whether or not it is a cyclical phenomena or not, but the mapping of cosmic background radiation and other astronomical observations confirm the basic principle: that the universe started from a singularity. Careful with that word singularity though. It probably doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Learn to use paragraphs, too. Apparently learning grammar and style in composition is as missing from your folio as actual science literacy.

    Evolution is science fact. It is science fact regardless of your personal approval or denial. If anything needs to be “kept at home”, it’s the religious gibberish that is creationism. And that is what is at issue here: a public school propagating religious dogma under the guise of science in contravention of the Establishment clause.

    Your claim that evolution is also religious dogma best left out of schools is nonsense.

  104. God created neutron stars because he was frustrated and bored with humanity continually dissapointing him. He needed a bit of a diversion; and because he could being omnipotent and all.

    And God said “For thou hast so dissapointed me with such petty bickerings, and trivialities of no consequence, I have thus forth created a star the mass of your sun, and only 60,000 cubits around. It spins at 20% of my divine light speed and has gravity a billion times stronger. And thou thinkest thine Earth has problems. Go forth, but don’t multiply.”

  105. Wow! You didn’t even answer any of the real questions regarding evolution and why it is flawed and constantly having to be revised. Instead you attack the person, my sincerest apologies I was unaware I was back in school and in need of grammar lessons……..

    Yes science changes when it is proved wrong, that actually backs up my argument, Newton vs Einstein. And yet evolution doctrines which have been proved wrong still continue to be taught for years afterwards. The last 60 years worth of texts books demonstrate that. But please by all means keep giving yourself enough rope…….. Science changes when something believed to be true is revealed to be false. But somehow evolution still holds credibility as a science despite these overwhelming pile-ons of proof in its inaccuracies and racist propaganda…. But please by all means avoid all those issues…..

    Oh yes dismiss me for adding, in a a very way, the modern overarching themes of modern evolutionary debate and not getting down to the nitty-gritty which would take an age to go through properly. But I am glad by merely mentioning it you at least are aware of some of the latest explorations in these areas, pat on the back and good for!

    I am not trying to tear you away from your belief in atheism and or evolution, I am merely pointing out that “superiorist” thinking about a theory which is not a science but peddled as such despite having many of its major starting points not only placed in jeopardy throughout the course of the last 100 years but even flat out proven wrong makes for a very dangerous world.

    The discipline of science as a whole changes, but when certain ideas that have been accepted as fact are proved wrong the theory is debunked but somehow not so with evolution. That reminds me of that old catholic religions saying, “give me a child at the age of 7 and I will give you a catholic for life” Well I guess the atheist/evolutionary doctrine has worked just as well over the last 60+ years in the schools, “give me a child at the age of 7 and I will give you an evolutionist for life!” Congratulations you should be very proud you were well indoctrinated as a child, so I guess that all that is left to say (its Latin by the way)

    Frui stellato

  106. My son went so far as to question one of theses offended students as to why they didn’t leave since they, by law, have the right to do so. The response was, “I don’t know”.
    KWalker, I have been off a few days so this may have been written already but many, maybe most students will not get up and leave and therefore potentially make a spectacle of themselves, make themselves a bull’s eye. The fact that most in the school in Miss. where you went were “Christians” may well have made it hard for those who were of a different Faith to speak up and be a visible minority.
    I our high school we were 75% Jewish yet our Christmas concert was just that with most of the music being about Christ.
    In senior year one person finally spoke up and said this was wrong. She wanted to know why there was not music of other religions/religious at all?
    Most of us privately said we agreed and how brave of her yet publicly we stayed mute, letting her be the visible face of what so many of us actually thought. Only she, who was someone who always loved the limelight, spoke up.
    These kids were not adults, and how often do even adults not speak up and out? They were kids, in school, in control of school authority. Their grades may have been dependent on pleasing those in a position to cause them harm, with their college applications, with how easy the rest of the year was for them, or not. Etc, etc, etc.
    As an adult too easy for us to say well, heck if offended they should have stood up, spoken up and walked out.
    No KWalker, for a kid, much less for adults, that is not easy to do and may be the thing that has too many potential repercussions.

  107. “If the subject cannot be observed, repeated and verified and subject to experimentation, then it is not science. Wow guess what evolution has never been observed, repeated, verified or been the subject of experimentation, therefore it cannot be a science but a theory.”

    Drew,

    Reading your words is like the old con man joke: Who are you going to believe me……or your lying eyes?” Everything you said about evolution in your comment and in the above paragraph is wrong.

    “Wow! You didn’t even answer any of the real questions regarding evolution and why it is flawed and constantly having to be revised.”

    Those weren’t real questions since they were all factually incorrect. You are literally living in an alternate reality and it is impossible to get through to you to at least establish a grounds for discussion. I truly hope you are happy and safe in your contented bliss, but you must understand that because you live in a nother reality contentedly, that is no reason for us to humor you.

  108. “And God said “For thou hast so dissappointed me with such petty bickerings, and trivialities of no consequence, I have thus forth created a star the mass of your sun, and only 60,000 cubits around. It spins at 20% of my divine light speed and has gravity a billion times stronger. And thou thinkest thine Earth has problems. Go forth, but don’t multiply.”

    Darren,

    We all knew from your first time commenting on the blog that you were a man of intelligence, with a distinct, refreshing point of view. Of late though you’ve also disclosed a wicked with that is fast putting you into fierce competition with Pete as funniest man on the blog. :)

  109. See, this is how ad hominem works:

    “Your argument is logically flawed and your definitions faulty. You are arguing from ignorance.” – Not ad hominem. (Argument from ignorance is an informal logical fallacy. If you take that personally? I suggest learning to argue better.)

    “Your argument is flawed because you’re a dick.” – Absolutely ad hominem.

    The first is saying your argument is wrong on technical grounds. The second is saying your argument is wrong because you’re X. X = some personal trait.

    See the distinction?

    Now, back to the matter at hand. Actually I attacked your definition of science, but do dismiss people who do the equivalent of claiming the moon is made of cheese as being ignorant.

    As for your contention that “evolution has been proven wrong”, well, that’s your opinion, but the bevy of scientists I presented above disagree with you. Modifying a theory based on new information is not the equivalent of invalidating a theory. Einstein didn’t invalidate Newton. He explained things about gravitation that Newton did not/could not. He added to the continuum of knowledge. Just because some theories are invalidated by new theories or information does not mean all theories are invalidated by new theories or information. You are engaging in the fallacy of composition, a false dichotomy and a false equivalence. Logical fallacy is not the way to win an argument let alone compound logical fallacies. But this isn’t surprising. Your entire line of drivel is based on the false equivalence of creationism being science when it isn’t.

    Also and again, atheism and evolution? Have nothing to do with one another. I accept evolution as fact because I understand how the scientific method works and I’ve seen the vast preponderance of evidence that proves it true. Whatever my choice in faith (or no faith at all) might be has nothing to do with that. However, I do know some Christians who have no problem in reconciling the facts of science – including evolution – to their faith. Only those who feel like their faith is threatened by science gyrate the way you do in furtherance of creationism. Science is the search for truth. Science does this by continuously comparing its theories objectively with evidence in the natural world. This empirical search and gathering of evidence is the core of the scientific method.

    Adaptive evolution through natural selection is the scientific explanation for speciation. This is so whether or not you approve or agree because this is what the preponderance of evidence illustrates to be true. And in case you didn’t understand why fruit flies are important? It’s because artificial selection in a lab models natural selection in the wild as a process. Speaking of which . . . biogenesis? Is proof of evolution. While asexual reproduction does not lead to speciation unless there are replication errors, environmental factors or random mututation, diamorphic sexual reproduction is a key driver of speciation as the process involves literally combining disparate genetic material to form a new organism. And the second law of thermodynamics? As in in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state? Entropy does not conflict with biology. Self-organizing behavior is just as natural a phenomenon as entropy itself. Entropy is simply a measure of disorder within a system. Living cells are not disordered and thus have low entropy. The flow of energy into that system maintains order and life. Entropy wins when organisms cease to take in energy and cease to be orderly – i.e. “they get old and die”. That is the ultimate disorder in biological systems. Dead things have high entropy.

    Again, you should not use words you don’t actually understand. Like “science”, “evolution”, “biogenesis” or “entropy” (even if you do call it the 2nd Law). So far by doing so you’ve demonstrated nothing other than you argue from ignorance when it comes to both biology and physics.

    You’re free to engage in all the magical thinking you wish.

    I’m free to point out its magical thinking, i.e. irrational gibberish based in faulty logic, faulty definitions and a lack of evidence.

    Enjoy.

  110. “However, I do know some Christians who have no problem in reconciling the facts of science – including evolution – to their faith.”

    Gene,

    Do you think Drew considers the Roman Catholic Church, one billion strong, as Christians? They accept Evolution.

  111. Drew:

    And yet evolution doctrines which have been proved wrong still continue to be taught for years afterwards.

    Feel free to point out how Darwin’s theory of “common descent” has been proven wrong.

  112. Drew Birkmyre:

    Evolution contradicts many known laws, like biogenesis and the second law of thermodynamics.

    Not true. This has been debunked for a long time:

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics,
    Evolution, and Probability

    As will be shown later on, it is only the over-all entropy of a complete, or closed system that must increase when spontaneous change occurs. In the case of spontaneously interacting sub-systems of a closed system, some may gain entropy, while others may lose entropy.

  113. I never cease to be amazed at the people who know little or nothing about science making claims about scientific research and findings. Then want to argue with real scientists. People who actually do know stuff. They like to use Charles Darwin as a punching bag because every jot and tittle he wrote about his studies in the 1830’s has not held up 100% over the past 170+ years of scientific progress since he first made his observations. For that matter, Freud was wrong about a number of things too, but that does not make his insights about the existence of the unconscious mind less valid.

    When my oldest son was in pre-med, on the first day of class, the professor gave a short cautionary talk. The prof said that if anyone wanted to propose creationism as a scientific theory they were in the wrong class, and should dis-enroll immediately. The professor continued, “Consider evolution to be a law, not a theory.”

    That particular college is renowned as a ‘doctor factory’ because 100% of the students who manage to make it all the way through pre-med to a degree get into medical school. It is run by the Methodist Church. The laws and scientific principles governing evolution do not conflict with the religious teachings of the Methodist Church.

    In the meantime, here is some food for thought. The story at the link below has photos of an actual “science” test given to elementary school students in South Carolina. What are the chances kids from this school will do well on the MCAT if they want to go to medical school?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/26/1205102/-South-Carolina-Christian-School-Fourth-Grade-Science-Test?detail=hide

  114. Gene,
    I once had a client who was, surprisingly, well educated with a Master’s degree in a medical field (not physician), who thought anyone who was not a member of her church was going to Hell. She was not even a member of one of the mainstream churches. Her church was nationwide in membership, but one of the smaller Christian denominations. I questioned her about various people, and was gobsmacked when she informed me that Mother Teresa was going to go to hell too, because despite her medical work with the poor, Mother Teresa was not a member of her own church. Same with Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

    So let me get this straight. Of all the billions of people on earth, only the few thousand who belong to her particular church are exempt from eternal damnation. As George Carlin said, “But God LOVES you.”

    It must be great to be privy to all the truth about the creator of the universe with a hundred percent certainty. With smug satisfaction.

  115. What are the chances kids from this school will do well on the MCAT if they want to go to medical school?

    Their chances are zero of course, which is FINE by me since I would not anyone of those kids to get close to a medical facility as a health care worker, much less as a doctor. Such people as this will self select for low paying jobs which require no thought and that is fine by me. It is too bad that any talent which the kids might have will be lost, but that is what the parents want so they are the ones to decide, not me.

  116. OS I was given what I and a number of my docs call a Miracle.
    What amazes me is that the ones who disagree with what happened to me tend to be members of other churches and denominations apparently similar to the one of the person you described.
    When I tell what happened they immediately reply “It did not happen the way you said. This is how it happened.” and they take what I said and absent the Miracle, it has nothing to do with how I described what happened: it has to be according to their beliefs, the teller and direct recipient of what happened being irrelevant to their truth.
    (I realize many here would discount Miracles so I have left out the particulars, and irrelevant to the discussion.)

  117. leejcaroll,

    I think it depends upon how one defines “miraculous”. While many here would discount divine intervention, I think most of the hardcore logicians (such as myself and Tony) would consider the massive good fortune of an improbable but possible outcome as “personally miraculous” in it is transformative good chance – outrageous fortune – even though we’d discount divine agency. The miracle of good fortune or the good fortune of miracles is in the end a distinction without a difference when considering the outcome. How one attributes it is a matter of faith (or not). Act of God or act of chance, in the final wash a good outcome is a good outcome.

  118. OS,

    Yep. It’s truly amazing that some think because they worship an omniscient omnipresent being that it by association makes them omniscient omnipresent. It’s truly a delusional state of mind.

  119. OS & Gene,

    What amazes me about such a mindset is looked at from the perspective of a believer in God, that kind of attitude itself seems blasphemy. It makes the concept of “The Creator of the Universe” into a vain sadist. They just can’t get this blinded as they are by their unreasoning faith.

  120. Gene it was improbable with an improbable outcome. (I have written about it at Experience Projecthttp://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Believe-In-Miracles/222139 )
    My point was to agree with OS about the small mindedness, and vision, of those who see only their particular version of Belief is acceptable.
    (and absolutely no matter to what or whom you ascribe it, a good outcome is a good outcome.)

  121. The muslims joined the nazis in ww2 in order to get the british out of palestine. the enemy (germany) of their enemy (england) was their ally, exactly like the enemy (russia) of our enemy (germany) was our ally. to ascribe other motivation to muslims in that conflict would be a very strange choice.

  122. MISSISSIPPI HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT VICTORIOUS IN LAWSUIT CHALLENGING SCHOOL’S RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLIES:

    A judgment has been entered by a federal court in a case brought by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center on behalf of a student at a Rankin County, Mississippi high school challenging the proselytizing religious assemblies it staged for students earlier this year.

    The judgment includes an admission of liability by the defendants that they violated the Establishment Clause, the provision of the Constitution that requires separation of church and state. It also requires the school district to comply with a new policy that prohibits future such violations and orders the defendants to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees.

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