Christians Need Not Apply

In yet another disturbing public school incident, it seems that First Amendment Rights apply to everyone but Christian students.

“Pray” is considered the new four-letter word

The Common Cause club at Mountain Ridge High School in Arizona simply wanted to exercise the same rights given to other student organizations.The school district permits student club members to submit written announcements to be read over the school’s public address system, as well as video announcements to be played to the student body. In these announcements, club members are allowed to inform the student body not only of club meeting logistics (date, time, and location), but also to share information about the specific types of activities that will occur.

As an example, the Young Democrats of America club aired a video announcement which shared the following information:

  • “In 2006, young voters ages 18-29 supported Democratic candidates by an impressive 58%”
  • “Remember …we’re young. We’re Democrats. We’re Voting”

On the other hand, Common Cause club has been prohibited from communicating even the fact that religious activities will take place at its meetings.

On January 14, 2007, a club representative, Erin, submitted a weekly announcement which read, “Common Cause will be having weekly prayer every Friday morning at 7:20 at the administration flagpole, come join us!” The same day, the club submitted a video message communicating, “Our motto is…don’t worry about anything…instead, PRAY about everything! Common Cause presents…we pray…together…encouragingly…hopefully…upliftingly.”

The next day, Erin met with the school’s assistant principal and was told that her written and video announcements would not be allowed because they contained the words “prayer” and “pray.”

The assistant principal claimed the announcements would violate the supposed “separation of church and state.” When Erin responded that the First Amendment provided protection for such announcements, the assistant principal claimed none of that mattered. In other words, the First Amendment did not matter! Erin then asked to have the announcement back, but the assistant principal, perhaps in an attempt to assert her authority, ripped it up in front of her and discarded it.

With situations like this becoming increasingly common, it seems that “pray” has become the new four-letter word. While clubs like the Young Democrats of America, the Gay-Straight Alliance, and Students Against Destructive Decisions are allowed to operate freely on school grounds, expression of religion is prohibited.

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2 comments so far

  1. Tate on

    When I was in high school, a student walked around the building posting flyers announcing his club’s activities. One of our assistant principals followed him around and took down each flyer he put up. After a few hallways of this, the student turned to him and said something to the effect of, “What are you doing? I have a right to advertise my club!” The VP replied, and this is a direct quote, “This is a school, not a free-speech-atorium.”

    His quote was then put on the following year’s “President’s Club” t-shirts (this was a club of all the presidents of the school’s various clubs, and the VP was the faculty advisor).

  2. Jay on

    Wow. Thanks for the comment. I suspect there are a lot more incidences that never get reported.


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