Friday, March 13, 2015

Texas School Supt. Tells Atheists to Go Fly a Kite

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is threatening a lawsuit over a covert audio recording of White Oak (Texas) High School Principal Dan Noll reading a Bible verse on the school intercom.  Superintendent Michael Gilbert confirmed to the FFRF that indeed the accusations are true and that Scripture and prayers will continue to be heard at the school because the U.S. Constitution ensures freedom OF religion.
"I am fully aware of the practice at the high school [of reading Bible verses] and will not pursue any action against our High School Principal or any other member of our faculty/staff . . . [working] to ensure our students experience a morally sound, positive character based education. There are a multitude of options to provide our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to express their First Amendment Rights as provided for in the United States Constitution. Let me also be clear that we have not (in my opinion) violated anyone's rights and/or subjected anyone to undue stress. Bible studies and scriptures are allowed in schools."
-- Statement from Superintendent Michael Gilbert
For background, read Texas Law Tells Schools to Ignore Atheist Threats but a Texas Teacher Confiscates Bible from Second-grader

Also read of myriad other school districts in several states that stand up to the atheist threats.

UPDATE 5/24/15: Atheists Can't Stop Prayer at Graduations, Federal Judge Rules in South Carolina

In addition, read Florida School Teaches Islam Including Prayer Rugs and Pseudo Prayer is Mandatory at School in San Francisco -- No complaints from atheists.

And yet read about the outrage against any Christian presence in public schools across America, including the war on Christmas, and read how the schools support atheists, even though polls show that most Americans support prayer in school.

In addition, read Atheists Threaten to Sue Every School in Tennessee and in Mississippi but admit they're Short on Lawyers to Sue ALL Christians

And also read U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of public prayer, and read the resulting resurgence in public prayer following the Supreme Court decision including the long list of states enacting laws to bring prayer back to schools.

-- From "ETX principal targeted by anti-religion groups for reportedly quoting Bible verses over intercom" by Reagan Roy, News Manager/Reporter, NBC KETK-TV56 (Tyler, TX) 3/12/15

The White Oak High School student, who would not reveal their identity, turned the recordings of Principal Dan Noll over to Hemant Mehta, a blogger and self-proclaimed atheist activist.

Former White Oak students tell KETK this has gone on for years, even back in the 70's, and they have no problem with it. They say it creates a positive energy and mood to kick off the school day.

According to Mehta [owner of blog The Friendly Atheist], he has reached out to Principal Noll and the Freedom From Religion Foundation and is awaiting comment.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Organization claims local school district acting unconstitutionally" by Valerie Kilgore, Reporter, NBC KETK-TV56 (Tyler, TX) 3/11/15

Since KETK’s report of Superintendent Michael Gilbert’s response to the organization, there has been an outpouring of support for the district on social media.

One former White Oak student said “This is a first amendment right and the FFRF and local atheists are taking the rights away from not just students, teachers, and staff, but Christians in general.”

Another comment said, “I stand with Mike Gilbert and all others who stand up for God, Christ and his message of freedom in the good news that Jesus saves!”

Gilbert declined to comment beyond his written statement to avoid any more publicity to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "White Oak ISD confronted about Bible verses" by Calvin Maynard, Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph 3/12/15

Mehta, who first gained fame “selling his soul” on eBay, gave the recordings to the FFRF, which sent a letter on March 5 demanding the district cease. . . .

[FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover] said this is not the FFRF’s first dealings with White Oak ISD. The group sent a similar letter in October of last year, demanding that coaches cease praying with sports teams before games and broadcasting prayers during. Acting as spokesman for the district, Gilbert responded that on the day in question, “there was no coach-led prayer in the dressing room. There was no prayer over the public address system.”

Grover says the FFRF will pursue further legal action if its demands are not fulfilled.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "White Oak principal receives support following religious controversy" by Bridget Ortigo, Longview (Texas) News-Journal 3/11/15

In a statement released Friday, [Supt.] Gilbert characterized the group's effort as "an attempt to draw us into a contest of words" to give the organization what he described as "a large amount of free press/recognition that they and their very few members (1,200 in Texas) do not deserve.

"My recommended response to the Freedom From Religion Foundation is, 'I'm sorry you feel that way. I will be praying for you and your staff daily,' " he said. "As a Christian brother, it will not promote the values we hold so dear to assail those that disagree with the gospel. We will state our case. We will make sure our rights are just as protected as anyone else that lives in this great country. We will continue to provide for all the needs of our students and we will do so while traveling the high road."

Gilbert also cautioned community members to not get "drawn into a game of words" with "detractors."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Bible Study Limit in Homes in Texas City Rescinded

And read Houston is Ground Zero in President Obama's War on Christianity

In addition, read Texas Sharia Tribunal Judge Gives Muslim Prayer at Rodeo