Monday, December 03, 2012

God Censored at N. Carolina School, Citizens Rebel

After one parent learned that a six-year-old at West Marion Elementary School might mention God in a poem during the November 8th Veterans Day assembly, the school took immediate action to strike mention of The Almighty.  Local residents lined up to teach the Constitution at today's school board meeting.
[In censoring God,] “We wanted to make sure we were upholding the school district’s responsibility of separation of church and state from the Establishment Clause.”
-- Gerri Martin, Superintendent, McDowell County Schools
For background, read ACLU Warns of Christianity in S. Carolina Schools and also read Atheists Say Illegal Christianity 'Rampant' in Georgia Schools as well as School Tells Atheists that Prayer is NOT Illegal

UPDATE 9/13/13: God is NOT Your Idol, Says Tenn. Teacher - Michael Jackson Is

-- From "Mention Of ‘God’ Taken out of Student’s Poem" posted at CBS News Charlotte 11/30/12

The student reportedly was told not to read the line during an assembly at the school because of its religious implications.

“We had one parent concerned with the use of the word God in this program,” Chris Greene, an employee of McDowell County Schools, was quoted as saying. “This parent did not want the word God mentioned anywhere in the program. When the demand from this person was heard, the rights of another stopped. It did so by hushing the voice of a six-year-old girl.”

Greene added that he felt the girl’s rights were violated, a sentiment with which area resident Esther Dollarhyde agreed.

“We need to keep in mind what was our country founded on,” she reportedly said. “It was founded on God and Jesus Christ, and our veterans went out and fought for us so we would have a free country, but if we aren’t allowed to honor them the way that the children want to then America is getting lost.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "'God' removed from student's poem" by Landdis Hollifield, Hickory (NC) Daily Record 11/20/12

In [the poem], she wrote, “he prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength,” which Greene stated she was told she could not read during the school assembly.

Greene said the girl wasn’t trying to force people to pray, but was just telling them what her grandfather had done.

When contacted after the presentations, School Board member Lynn Greene, who is also Chris Greene’s father, said school officials had overstepped their authority.

“My understanding on the law is a teacher cannot promote any certain religion, but when it comes to students voicing their opinion or expressing themselves in a poem we pretty much have to give some leeway,” Greene said. “To me this whole thing is a violation of that child’s rights. Nobody forced her to write the poem, that was her part of the program. She was asked to write a poem about veterans and she did. My personal opinion is that her rights were violated.”

When asked why other schools were allowed to hold programs containing poems and student writings with the word God in them, [Supt.] Martin said that was because West Marion was the only one who had asked for consultation about their program.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "'God' issue prompting local preachers to attend school board meeting" by Landdis Hollifield, Hickory (NC) Daily Record 12/1/12

The Rev. Scott Hagaman, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Marion . . . plans to attend Monday’s meeting, along with several other pastors from the community.

“I don’t plan on speaking at Monday’s meeting, but I do plan on being there,” Hagaman said Friday. “I know of several pastors who plan on speaking, and I think this situation will work itself out. Hopefully this will ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Click here to view video of public comments.
From "Pastors, public speak out on West Marion’s ‘God’ issue" by Landdis Hollifield, Hickory (NC) Daily Record 12/3/12

During Monday’s meeting, more than 50 members of the public, including pastors from several churches, concerned parents and other community members, filled the Central Office boardroom to show their support for the little girl and the poem that started it all.

The first to speak was Rev. Dr. Carl Manuel from Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church [who said, in part,] “. . . maybe if we put God back in schools, maybe we won’t have the problems that we currently have, like babies having babies and kids laying out of school, this is a disgrace.”

Like Manuel, Pastor Greg Owenby also spoke in favor of the young girl and implored the board to create a policy protecting students in the future from such an injustice.

To clarify how the poem came about, the mother of the little girl, Renata Crawley, with the support of her husband, Greg Crawley, spoke to the board and those at the meeting about their feelings concerning the incident.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "School Censors 'God' In 1st Grader's Poem" by Patrick Wright, CBS WFMY-TV 2 (Greensboro, NC) 12/3/12

Alliance Defending Freedom, a group dedicated to promoting the right of people to freely live out their faith, said this in a letter to the school district:

"The censorship of this young student's poem about her grandfather is repugnant to the First Amendment rights of all students and sends an impermissible message of hostility towards religion. The First Amendment protects the right of the student to discuss their faith--especially when they are discussing a historical event like this student in her poem honoring her grandfather."

The Alliance is asking the McDowell County school district to change its policies to make sure "unconstitutional censorship" doesn't continue in the county.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Riot act read to school censoring 1st grader's poem" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 12/3/12

ADF noted that many school officials incorrectly think allowing a student to express a religious idea violates the “separation of church and state.” But, the [ADF] letter [to the school] said, the Supreme Court never had held that the Constitution requires “complete separation of church and state.”

“The court has merely held that the establishment clause of the First Amendment requires the state to be neutral in its relations with religious believers and non-believers.”

Further, the student’s speech is private, not government speech, the letter explains.

“What’s next? A student being told that she can’t publicly recite the Gettysburg Address because President Lincoln refers to ‘this nation, under God’ or the Declaration of Independence because of references to the ‘laws … of nature’s God’ and the rights endowed to all people ‘by their creator.’”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.