Grrr, TIL about Bible Belters flagrantly violating the Establishment Clause with open school prayer!

There are a great many court cases dealing with religious expression and schools. And rulings have come down where the faintest of nuance is the distinguishing factor between permissible and unconstitutional activity. Santa Fe seemed to hinge on the justices regarding a football game as a school sponsored event and thus forbade prayer on the public address system even if it was student led prayer.

Nonetheless there are issues that have not been litigated, or even challenged to the federal courts. Student led prayer at the flagpole outside of school hours is one such point.

Much like student led Bible Clubs, teachers or staff may be assigned to monitor a prayer around the flagpole. Duties might include ensuring that the facilities are not damaged and are left in an orderly fashion. But teachers or staff could not be assigned to lead such activities as that would likely be an Establishment Clause violation.

In 2003 (and thus after the Santa Fe decision and accounting for limitations that decision provides) the United States Department of Education provided a rather lengthy set of guidelines to schools Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools which notes, in part:

And from the majority opinion in that Santa Fe decision, “nothing in the Constitution … prohibits any public school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the school day,” Students can, simply, organize themselves to pray outside of school hours but while on school grounds, such as around the flag pole in the morning before classes commence.

So the only thing particularly questionable in the example offered in the OP is the extent of involvement of the teachers and administrators, assuming the flag pole in question is on school grounds.

It’s the Christian thing to firebomb houses? :dubious:

How’d it sound to paint any other religious group with such a broad brush?

Iggy, again: Not. Student. Led. And in a town this small, we can assume that “all students and staff” (after, obviously, the school bus has arrived at school) means that it includes very small children, making it actually far more egregious than a football game, since those kids are under the supervision and authority of the school faculty and staff.

Sorry, but having been raised atheist (with 1 sweet Christian grandma who practiced what she preached) I could think of worst things to get worked up about. This doesn’t even pop up on my radar.
Most of the Christian teachers & kids were polite & well-behaved compared to the rest of us rugrats.
Over the years a couple of kids had issues & were exempted from Christian activities in school with no problem. Had some Jewish kids who didn’t celebrate something, Catholic kids who celebrated others, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, etc. No one has ever made a stink except leftist atheists & muslims trying to shoehorn other people into following their special rules instead.

We didn’t have ridiculous offenderati climb out of the woodwork in droves to make a stink about this issue. IMO, atheists have become exceedingly obnoxious over the years about crap like this.
If there’s a serious issue with someone who’s hiding behind religion to abuse kids, then hell yeah, run that right up the flagpole & nail 'em.

Otherwise I have no shits to give on this issue. It’s stupid, wastes money & pisses a lot of people off for no reason over atheist/muslim special treatment.

The post above ironically shows why it is important to get worked up about violations of constitutional rights.

In Living the Secular Life, author Phil Zuckerman recounts a story about an atheist family moving to a small town. They had a child in grade school, and made the mistake of politely objecting to his being forced to take part in explicitly religious instruction and activities.

The wife was also dealing with the care of her aging mother.

One day, the nursing home called to tell the wife that her mother was near death. She went to retrieve the child from school, so that he could say goodbye to his grandmother. A school administrator refused to release the child. She didn’t give a reason, but suggested that the family instead tell the kid at the end of the day that his grandmother had died, and that he would be seeing her in heaven.

Do you genuinely not see the blatant sarcasm in that post?

(bolding mine)

That is spectacular.

Forced prayer in public school is okee-dokee! As long as it’s good Christian prayer! Don’t rock the boat and upset the Christians!

No group is more offederati than Christians surely!
(No cakes for gay people!)

I’m obviously sympathetic to your POV here, but can you flesh out what it was in that post that particularly illustrated that?

I grew up in the Bible Belt and they simply reject the notion that God doesn’t belong in school. In fact all I ever heard growing up was “We need to get God back in the classroom.” Some see it as their divine duty to defy the law in this regard and they will knowingly challenge court rulings in plain view of opponents. If I were in a larger city, that’s one thing, but in some of these small towns, they have their own legal system. I probably wouldn’t have the sack to challenge them on their turf.

See the bit I highlighted in my post above. The “Everything was fine as long as people with different religious beliefs (or no religious beliefs) didn’t complain about Christian hegemony” viewpoint and condemnation of anyone daring to complain about their own beliefs being overruled or sidelined is exactly the problem the Establishment Clause addresses.

Not to mention the idiotic dismissal of “Muslims making a stink”.

Right, for sure.

Ya know, a really conservative fundamentalist christian would object to having a prayer led by a girl, period. I was raised in the Church of Christ, and they really hammered this concept into us. Only guys could lead prayer, unless it was an all-female group. The whole “women should not have authority over men” thing. It never took on me, though…

You were raised atheist-Are you still an atheist? BTW, waiting until things get at their worst before giving a shit about them is either amazingly stupid or purposefully bad advice.

My money’s on “no”, although perhaps Lydia will return to enlighten us.

Some people only consider things to be a serious problem if it affects them personally. Problems that only affect other people range from less serious to trivial. And problems whose resolution poses any level of personal inconvenience are non-issues being stirred up by whiners wanting special treatment.

My high school had a lot of religion for a public school. It had the Bible giveaways (not student-led, and IIRC, recently determined to be illegal). Fellowship of Christian Athletes was huge, and not student-led. Prayers before a lot of non-religious club meetings (club “chaplain” was an elected position). It was ridiculous and rather uncomfortable.

Oh, but we had separate black and white proms until my junior year. :dubious:

I graduated in 1987 from a public school in central Florida.

I love Carolyn. :smiley:

I’ll tell you, it’s hard to do that.

In high school, my friends and I were threatened by someone claiming to be with the KKK – TWICE – because of what the high school newspaper (I was editor) wrote. Crazy stuff like “hey, maybe we shouldn’t have a black prom and a white prom.” and “maybe our ‘sex ed’ class shouldn’t be full of fake information.” (This was the height of the AIDS crisis.)

The administration wanted full prior review, which was still illegal. So we took on the administration and won.

But damn, those phone calls. My stepfather (a WWII vet) said “bring it” and hung up on them. So did a friend’s mom. Still scary to a teenager.

Wow. Good for you though!