Another attempt at bring religion into public schools.
Patrick, I’m amazed these kinds of intrusions are still happening. I would think that state education offices and school district superintendents would annually be reminding all school principals: “We can’t afford the inevitable legal costs of getting slammed in court for bringing religious recruitment events into our schools.”
It doesn’t even have to be a Constitutional issue (if that is too difficult for them to comprehend.) They can simply look at this as “Our budget has no room for poor decisions by principals which can easily be avoided with a little common sense.”
I wonder what the principal would say if told that there was a Muslim recruitment foundation which would come into the school at no cost and with no such $6000+ cancellation fee! How about Mormons or JWs? How about FFRF if they had some sort of speaking tour for schools?
I wonder what would happen if some group filed suit against the Todd Becker Foundation for repeatedly evangelizing unconstitutionally on school properties during school hours. How would courts deal with that? Could a court reason that Becker (under the reasonable person standard) should have known that he was repeatedly violating the Constitution?
Of course, I am also horrified that taxpayer dollars are paying such large fees for a single assembly. Is this common practice? Are the speakers worth such costs? I genuinely don’t know----but I don’t want even one dollar going to religious recruitment speakers.
If I were invited to speak at a religious studies or social studies class, I would be OK with receiving a fee to teach students on those subjects. If the religion class wants me to explain why I’m a Christ-follower, I’d be fine with that. But if the plan was to bring in people from various religious traditions to bring their tracts and “evangelistic” talks and try to recruit students, I would refuse. It shouldn’t be that hard for school principals to understand the difference between education and religious solicitation/recruitment.
FFRF gets about a 1000 of these a year all over the country. You would think that the numbers would be going down but they are going up. The real power behind FFRF’s efforts are the huge cost involved to the school district should a parent/student from that district sue. School districts are very cost conscience and their legal counsel knows it can’t win a case like these as FFRF win rate is 97%. Most cases end by the higher ups in the Board of Education or Superintendents fixing it before a lawsuit.
Regarding going after Todd Becker Foundation directly. Can’t. Todd Becker Foundation has protected free speech and freedom of religious expression.
True. But if I walk into a public school and start preaching in the hallway, it is a type of trespass. Of course, if I am invited by the school, it is not trespass. Yet, if the school invites me to come speak a religious recruitment message, both the school and I are violating the Constitution.
Of course, if there is no state or local law in place that describes enforcement and penalties for that Constitutional violation, there is no basis for arrest or an indictment from a prosecutor. So nothing happens—until a judge issues an injunction, I suppose.
Interesting topic. Patrick, I’m amazed that such cases are actually increasing. My jaw drops on that. It should be a no-brainer.
How many principals do this just because it wins support from their community—and they are viewed as “a fine principal, a good man. He’s God-fearing.”
In New Jersey, you wouldn’t get very far as you have to go through metal detectors manned with armed police officers.
Yes, and all over the country. You would think that they are concentrated in Tenn or Kentucky but it is all over the country. I have seen cases where it is really about illegal immigration given that Hispanic immigrates are mostly Catholic and this upsets white Evangelical Christians. I am personal working on a very interesting case where the Board of Education is controlled by Orthodox Jews who have business relationships with private Yeshivas. Talk about government/religion entanglement.
Which state was it which voted for a Ten Commandments sign in every school? How long is that one going to stand? No doubt, the FFRF go ready for that one long ago. But I wonder how the mechanics of the challenge will work.
I assume that some politician(s) grand-standed on that ballot issue and are just milking the issue for popularity purposes. It sure doesn’t fit the teachings of Jesus. (We should LIVE righteous living, not focus on signage.)
The Great State of Alabama. Roy Moore was the ring leader on that. Sure it gets in the Alabama State Constitution with the ban on same sex marriage ban but once the state tries to enforce it, that’s when the lawsuits happen and when Federal law (the Constitution) supersedes state law.
Ya know, I wonder how much about the total taxpayer cost of dealing with Roy Moore nonsense over the years. I had no idea that this is yet another of his debacles. (To say the least, so much of his stuff was not at all Christian in a Biblical teachings-of-Jesus sense.)
(If you have read the interviews with Moore’s law school professors and fellow students, he certainly didn’t sound like a guy destined to be Chief Justice of any state’s supreme court. I’ll leave it to readers to go research the details so as to avoid an unnecessary sub-thread.)
I’m not surprised at all. For every hundred honest Christians quietly practicing their religion as a private personal matter there are still a few Godbotherers who insist of forcing their views on everyone. Never mind that’s clearly illegal in most cases. They just know their righteous cause trumps any man-made laws.
The only thing we can do is to legally respond to these sort of illegal disruptions and hope over time the number of these people asymptotically approaches zero.
There are other things we can do too. The legal approach has major limits. For one, it is good that you emphasize this:
The problem is not Christians. I’d also say the problem is not even public Christians. The problem is the coercive use of power.
Ok, one of the school districts pulled out. Now is time for the other ones to follow and pull out. They can’t win a lawsuit. And it wastes school district money.