Saturday, August 11, 2012

SCHOOL Religious Freedom: “Right To Pray” Constitutional Amendment Passed

Every public school in America is about to receive a wake-up call that will eliminate any excuse for stomping on students’ and teachers’ religious liberty. Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” activists of various stripes – most recently from atheist and homosexual groups – have tried to find ways around the ruling, to squash free speech, and religious speech in particular, in America’s public schools. Ads by Google Ohio K-12 School at HomeGive Your Child A Better Education. 100% Tuition-Free. Enroll Now! Will You Boldly Proclaim"I am a Christian"? Sign the pledge now! Last year, for example, Florida teacher Jerry Buell at Mount Dora High School faced suspension after the homosexual advocacy group Equality Florida demanded he be disciplined for voicing disapproval of same-sex marriage on Facebook. Though Buell used his personal computer, on his personal time to post his opinion on his personal Facebook page, he lost three days in the classroom to suspension before the Lake County School Board realized its mistake and decided to exonerate and reinstate the teacher. Just this month, Missouri State Rep. Mike McGhee explained to the Missourian that the state’s newly passed “right to pray” constitutional amendment was needed because he heard about children who were asked not to pray after getting a school lunch, a girl being told not to take her Bible to study hall and a parent explaining how an adult at her child’s school told her son to change the words in the song “Jesus Loves Me” to “My Mom Loves Me” while he was on the school playground. Though voters passed the “right to pray” amendment by a roughly 5-to-1 margin, standing against it was the Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State. WND has covered dozens of stories in recent years – such as the censorship and humiliation 15-year-old Brandon Wegner faced from Wisconsin’s Shawano School District for writing an assigned paper in opposition to homosexual adoption or a Virginia lawsuit against a display of the 10 Commandments or a New York City attempt to ban churches from using school buildings – in which students, teachers and community groups have been wrongfully told it’s “unconstitutional” to carry their faith onto campus. But now Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, has announced it is sending 99,750 copies – one for literally every public school in America – of an exhaustive guide on religious liberty in school to principals, vice principals and school administrators around the country. Thousands of sponsors have made the mass mailing possible. “Over the past few years, Liberty Counsel has seen a surge of complaints from school administrators, educators and students, whose rights were egregiously violated,” said the organization in a statement. “Secular activists attempt to remove religious expression from our public schools, indoctrinate students in alternative lifestyles and bully through intimidation and blatant misrepresentation. To be proactive in countering this growing threat, Liberty Counsel developed and distributed the ‘Patriot’s Handbook of Religious Freedom in Public Schools.’ “This booklet,” the organization explains, “clarifies the rights of students to pray, form Bible clubs and engage in religious expression in public schools, including holiday celebrations and the rights of teachers, parents and guardians.” “The public school is not a faith-free zone,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Students need not leave their spiritual beliefs on the schoolhouse steps. Liberty Counsel is here to educate and, if need be, litigate to defend their First Amendment rights.”


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