Lawsuit filed by an atheist couple who believe that their children are being discriminated against because the Pledge of Allegiance – which is said every day in Mass. public school classrooms under state law – contains the phrase “under God.” … Oral arguments were heard in a Massachusetts Superior Court on Monday.
In too many instances, public school teachers tell Christian students they cannot include their faith in their homework assignments or classroom discussions. However, the U.S. Department of Education has issued guidelines explaining students’ religious liberties. Students can pray, read their Bibles, and talk about their faith at school during school hours. They can organize prayer groups and Bible studies and announce their meetings. They can express their faith in their class work and homework. — Gateways to Better Education
LA CHURCH & STATE EXAMINER
In an effort to increase awareness for Religious Freedom Day (Jan. 16), two advocacy groups have launched Religious Freedom Sunday planned for next week.
Gateways to Better Education and the Alliance Defense Fund are calling for Religious Freedom Sunday to be a national event in which churches honor the educators within their congregations and inform their members about the freedom of religious expression for students from kindergarten through 12th grade have at school… read more
Student body, football players remain ‘Warriors for Christ’ despite Bible-verses ban
Students at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Georgia were not going to let issues of church and state deter them from making a statement Friday night…
Georgia school district bans banners with words from the Bible at high school football games
For six years or so, cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Georgia have painted elaborate paper banners, adorned with Bible verses, through which football players have dashed at the outset of games, writes AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway.
For instance, recently, from Philippians 3:14: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me in Christ Jesus.”
After receiving a complaint, the Catoosa County school system cracked down… full story
LACONIA, New Hampshire — A homeschooled girl has been ordered into government-run public school for having a “bit too sincerely held” Christian beliefs, according to a legal team specializing in religious liberty defense.
In a report available online at the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) Web site, it states:
“Although the marital master making recommendations to the court agreed the child is ‘well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level’ and that ‘it is clear that the home schooling…has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the…public school system,’ he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering ‘the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.’ The court approved the order.”
ADF allied attorney John Anthony Simmons has filed motions with a New Hampshire court, asking it to reconsider its order to send the 10-year-old homeschooled girl into public school.
Simmons said the court acknowledges that the girl in question is doing well socially and academically, but he adds that the court went too far when they determined that the girl’s Christian faith was a “bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews.”
Simmons contends that parents have a “fundamental right to make educational choices for their children.” However, the girl’s parents divorced in 1999, and she is now living with her mother who has been homeschooling the child since first grade. As part of the schooling, the young girl has been attending supplemental public school classes.
As part of parental custody hearings, a court-appointed guardian (marital master) stated that the child reflected her mother’s “rigidity” on questions of faith and added that girl’s best interest would be served by exposure to a public school setting.
According to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, Home Education is an enduring American tradition and right. ADF concludes, based on that statement, that there is no legitimate legal basis for this latest court ruling.
Sources: OneNewsNow.com and the Alliance Defense Fund.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Florida — After a 7½ hour hearing in federal court, federal District Judge Casey Rodgers told Michelle Winkler that she would not be held in civil contempt over her husband’s prayer at an awards banquet. Ms. Winkler, who is a clerical assistant for the Santa Rosa County School District, is represented by Liberty Counsel. Senior Litigation Counsel Horatio Mihet and David Corry defended Winkler against the ACLU last Friday. On September 17, Liberty Counsel will be back in court defending Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman on charges of criminal contempt over a blessing of the meal at a separate luncheon to honor private contributors to the athletic program.
Last year the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District. Judge Rodgers entered a broadly worded injunction in January 2009 regarding prayer and religious activities of school employees. Winkler attended a privately funded event off campus at a nearby Naval base, held after school hours to honor noninstructional employees of the school district. She invited her husband, who is not employed by the school, to read a beautiful prayer blessing she wrote for the honorees. The ACLU ran to court, claiming that Winkler should be held in civil contempt of the court order. The ACLU claimed they had a “rock-solid case” against Winkler, but after 7 ½ hours, the ACLU had no case. Judge Rodgers ruled against the ACLU, concluding that Michelle Winkler’s husband’s prayer at a voluntary gathering outside of school did not violate the court’s order.
Upon hearing the ruling, Ms. Winkler hugged Liberty Counsel attorney Horatio Mihet and was overjoyed with the result. The courtroom was packed with people, who sat through the long ordeal to support Ms. Winkler. Dozens of additional supporters spent the day waiting and praying outside the courthouse.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The wheels came off the ACLU’s steamroller. While we are pleased with the ruling, we are saddened that a wonderful woman had to spend a day in court, with the ACLU’s crosshairs aimed at her back. Prayer is neither contemptuous nor criminal. It is outrageous that the ACLU sought civil contempt charges against an outstanding woman whose husband prayed a beautiful prayer at a privately sponsored event held off campus. The ACLU needs to take a good dose of the First Amendment and call us in the morning.”
Contact: Liberty Counsel Public Relations Department, 800-671-1776
Source: Christian Newswire
Charter school planned “not to teach religion” but state’s education panel rules against using Bible
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A state education panel has blocked a school’s plan to teach about the Bible.
The Idaho Public Charter School Commission said in a statement last week that the state Constitution “expressly” limits use of religious texts.
The Nampa Classical Academy, in southwestern Idaho, had said it planned to teach about the literary and historic influence of the Bible — not to teach religion.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty group, represented the academy and had argued that the writers of Idaho’s Constitution “sought assurances that the right of public schools to use the Bible as a teaching tool would be protected.” Nampa Classical Academy has a statutory right to choose its own curriculum, the defense fund argued.
Kyle Borger, chairman of the academy’s board, said the school will follow the commission’s directive. The school serves more than 550 students and is scheduled to open Sept. 8.