Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana is vying to have the school system with the best record of teaching its students contempt for the Constitution of the United States. The local public schools have been sued over improper promotion of religion five times over the past thirteen years.
I previously discussed the disclaimer the school board ordered to be read whenever evolution was taught to the effect that the instruction was to "inform students of the scientific concept and [is] not intended to influence or dissuade the Biblical version of Creation." Other cases involved the schools allowing a minister — the so-called pizza preacher — to give out pizza and teach Christianity on school grounds during lunch periods; prayers being broadcast over the intercom and promoted at school-sponsored events such as football games and at school board meetings and permitting a teacher to lead prayers in the classroom. Though most of the cases have been settled, the ACLU has had to file a number of contempt-of-court motions because Tangipahoa schools officials have defied orders set forth in the settlements.
The latest case involves not only a blatant flouting of the law by local officials but also a demonstration of disdain for the right of parents to bring up their children in the religion of their choice or in no religion. The plaintiffs are the Catholic parents of a daughter whose class:
... was told by their teacher to pick up their [Gideons] New Testament Bibles in front of the school office. The girl ended up in a line with the entire fifth grade, while two men handed each student a Bible and said, "God bless you."Catholic Bibles have a number of differences from the King James version distributed by the Gideons International. As Joe Cook, the ACLU executive director for Louisiana, stated, it is permissible to stand outside a school and hand out the Bible or any other information:
... but they can't do it on school grounds, during school hours, because then it appears as though it's being sponsored by the school.Cook went on to say that the U.S. Constitution:
It's important that people of all religious traditions be made to feel welcome in their own schools and not like outsiders.
... requires government neutrality in matters of religion and non-religion to prevent tyranny by the majority. School officials who choose to ignore that fundamental principle, especially with children involved, act un-American and undermine the very freedom and democracy that makes this country great.Being ignorant of the Constitution is bad enough but, strangely, these people who supposedly revere the Bible so much have apparently never bothered to read Matthew 22:21 either.