Atheist Group Takes Issue With Teacher Mentioning National ‘Bring Bible to School Day’ to Students

bring-bible-school-compressed
Photo Credit: Bring Your Bible to School Day/Twitter

VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. — A prominent professing atheist group is taking issue with an Alabama teacher’s recent promotion of national “Bring Your Bible to School Day” to students by telling students about the event.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) says that it was contacted by a parent who advised that Patsy Smithey, a third grade teacher at Vestavia Hill Elementary East, had mentioned the event to students.

Smithey reportedly told the students that it was their choice whether or not they would like to participate and that they should ask for their parents’ permission. “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” observed nationwide on Oct. 6, simply entails students taking their Bibles with them to school.

But FFRF believes that Smithey should not have told students about the event, as they assert that doing so promotes religion and is therefore unconstitutional.

“It is unconstitutional for district staff to plan, promote or participate in religious events,” its letter to Superintendent Sheila Phillips, dated Oct. 2o, read. “When a district teacher promotes her personal religious beliefs to students, she violates not only the Constitution, but also parents’ trust.”

“The promotion of a Christian event alienates those non-Christian students, families, teachers, and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school, including the 35 percent of young Americans who are not religious,” it contended.

FFRF is requesting that the district investigate the matter and ensure that Smithey and others do not mention religious observations in the future.

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“We request that the district investigate this situation and take action to ensure that Mrs. Smithey and its others staff members understand and respect their constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion while acting in their official capacity,” the organization wrote.

It is not yet known whether Phillips plans to respond.

As previously reported, in 1828, just 52 years after the nation’s founding, Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Scholarship and Education, wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

Webster, a schoolmaster, wrote the quote in his preface to the nation’s first dictionary, which often cited Christianity and the Bible.

123 of the first 126 colleges established in America were founded on Christian principles. Harvard University, named after Pastor John Harvard, held the motto “Truth for Christ and the Church.”

“Let every scholar be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life. Therefore, to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning…” its student manual read.

Princeton’s motto was “Under God’s Power She Flourishes.” The first president of Princeton, Pastor Jonathan Dickinson, said, “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”

Yale also wrote in its requirements in 1745, “All scholars shall live religious, godly and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s word, diligently reading the Scriptures…”


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  • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

    Harvard, Princeton and Yale are not government run schools. That’s why their administrators are allowed to support a religion. Vestavia Hill Elementary East is government-run, which is why its administrators may not support a religion. If administrators start supporting a religion, it opens the floodgates to EVERY religion and none. I very much doubt that the school has the staff necessary to support all the other religions, including Satanism, Islam, Wicca, Hinduism, Asatru, Buddhism, Vodou, Sikhism, Druidism, the Baha’i faith and to support atheists.

    • Craig Reynolds

      Don’t see why bringing in other texts always appears limited to the Qur’an and the Satanic Bible – why not add in, say, “Mein Kampf” and the Tao Te Ching to balance out the argument?

  • G-Man

    Ooh, shamey on you Christians, I’ll go tattle to FFRF, and they’ll fix you but good! Nyah!

    Infantile people. Normal humans outgrow tattling by the time they’re in 4th grade.

    • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

      Erm… a PARENT called the FFRF because a teacher broke the law. Maybe if you Christians obeyed the law, we wouldn’t need organizations like the FFRF to remind you to follow the Constitution. If you don’t like US law, maybe you should go live somewhere else – Iran is a theocracy – maybe there you’d find out what it’s like to have religion imposed upon you.

      • meamsane

        The teacher broke no law here. The teacher in question simply told the students about a nationwide event and that they can participate or not. Get your facts straight.

        • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

          Bring Your Bible to School Day is a program of Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization. Telling children about such a program clearly violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment – it gives support to a religion. If a teacher does that, he/she is breaking the law.

          • meamsane

            Not so! you should try reading a little bit of history on what an Establishment of Religion means and meant Historically when the Constitution was Ratified Instead of un-critically consuming Judicial propaganda and Judicial whims!

          • Worf

            Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the U.S. Supreme Court decided the following.
            “The establishment of religion clause means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government may set up a church. Neither can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion… . ***Neither a state or the federal government may, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa.*** In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’”

            In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, I put the relevant part between the ***s.

          • Rookheight

            Convenient to call modern law a “judicial whim” when it doesn’t support your religion’s longstanding privileged position. The law of the land is that government actors can’t endorse religion. Deal with it.

    • TwoRutRoad

      That’s right, shame on you Christians. Quit breaking the law.

      How you equate “tattling” with reporting a violation of the Constitution is what’s infantile.

      • meamsane

        No violation of the Constitution has taken place! And no law has been broken!

        • TwoRutRoad

          How many times are you going to post that on ONE discussion topic? If you click on the link “letter” in the article, you can read what the courts have said about this type of violation. It’s real, and it’s true.

      • Amos Moses

        There are unjust laws just as there are unjust men ………….

        • TwoRutRoad

          Breaking the law is STILL breaking the law, whether you agree with the law or not.

          • Amos Moses

            funny ….. coming from one who is lawless …………… homosexuals are breaking Gods law ….. but your “whether you agree with the law or not” nonsense does not seem to apply to that ……….. lies and deceit ………

          • Craig Reynolds

            “God’s law” is NOT the law of the land, thank god. Otherwise there’d be a lot of people lying around dead in their mixed-thread garments.

          • Amos Moses

            It is law you do not want to recognize …………… so therefore the comment stands ………

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I don’t hear anyone making a value judgment about the law in question, only people stating that it exists and was violated.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    All children need the Holy Bible or the secular culture will make them blasphemous and immoral and meaningless and desperate. They will also belittle the life of the unborns if the world continues. Mankind need Christianity to be saved and to be humane.

    • uninvitedguest

      Mankind has no need for religion. Its the single most divisive thing in America. Keep your religion at home, in church, and between the ears. It has absolutely no place in our educational system.

      • Reason0verhate

        Pretending to be a big man of courage.

        LOL

        You’re a cowardly little girl.

        • uninvitedguest

          How so son?

          • Reason0verhate

            You’re just one more generic atheist.

          • uninvitedguest

            Not spewing hate, sweetie. Standing up for what I believe is right. Less than nothiing? Your trite insults make me laugh! Too funny!

          • uninvitedguest

            How pathetic…..editing your post. Lol!

          • TwoRutRoad

            You’re the one who’s spewing hate, here. Look at your posts! “Nerds, cowardly, gals, little girl.”

          • TwoRutRoad

            ReasonOverHate, you’ve proven my point by editing those things out of
            your posts. Glad to see that you chose Reason Over Hate this time and lived up to your name.

          • Reason0verhate

            Nothing wrong with speaking the truth.

          • TwoRutRoad

            This is true. When will you start?

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Secular education brainwashes children to conduct blasphemy and sexual immorality and infanticide and suicide. Western children have a right to God’s truth that gives life and light.

        • TwoRutRoad

          Christian education brainwashes children and is what causes suicides. They won’t be accepted for who they are because of religion, and they take their own life because of it. It’s Christian hate that’s to blame.

          • Amos Moses

            “Christian education brainwashes children and is what causes suicides. ”

            Nope ……. Secular education brainwashes children and is what causes suicides.

          • Jenny Ondioline

            Teaching people about the world they live in doesn’t cause suicides.

          • Amos Moses

            teaching them they can do whatever they want without consequences is a lie ………. and does cause suicides ………… because deep down …. in places they do not want to acknowledge ….. they KNOW they are wrong …………… and it kills them ……..

        • uninvitedguest

          Strange but daughters arent immoral or blasphemous. The only brainwashing going on is with religion.

        • Craig Reynolds

          Well, just for starters –
          Genesis 7:21-23, Exodus 12:29, Numbers 16:41-49, 1 Samuel 6:19, Numbers 31:7-18, 2 Kings 2:23-24.
          Yeah, sure, this is all Old Testament stuff – so as soon as Christians rip this part of the Bible out from under their Gospel, we can talk about what a non-murderous, non-conniving non-sadist their god manifests himself to be.

    • tatoo

      Hope they read the part about Lot’s daughters screwing their father. And the part about God urging Hebrews to rip out the fetus’s from the womb of pregnant women who did not believe in him. And, of course, God killed everyone but Noah, which means these school kids would have died then also. Yeah, all children need the Bible.

      • Mr Cleats

        Flagged.
        Take your filthy talk to the saloon. If you can’t show respect for other people, move on.

        • TwoRutRoad

          Respect? Here’s how YOU show respect. On another discussion, you said to me:

          “Effeminate males pretend to be tough on the web.
          Cowards.”

          You’re hissing and spitting like a cornered, frightened pussycat. It’s a sure sign of weak position when you resort to name calling and puffing out your chest. Either argue for your position in the discussion (if you can) or go home.

          • Mr Cleats

            I’m going anywhere, so tough luck.

            There are gay blogs for your sort.

  • Sister Boogie

    Vestavia Hills is one of the nicest suburbs of Birmingham. There are some vibrant evangelical churches in that area, so there are probably lots of Christian kids in that school.

    • Chris Hall

      As Christians are a majority it’s OK to break the law? You are confusing democracy with mob rule.

      • Sister Boogie

        A child with a Bible is “mob rule”?

        You’re crazy.

        • TwoRutRoad

          Not ONE child, but MANY, with an authority figure (teacher) to back them up. That’s mob rule. AKA: Tyranny of the majority.

          • Denny

            Tell us how many people have been killed by a mob of kids with Bibles.

            You don’t have to give us a precise number, just round it off to the nearest million.

            Please provide links.

          • TwoRutRoad

            Great debating skills, Einstein.

        • TwoRutRoad

          I think a child with a bible is what’s “crazy”. They aren’t old enough to buy spray paint, or drive a car, or buy a house, or get married, or vote. Yet somehow, people feel they are old enough to decide who is the creator of the universe and what that implies. It’s child abuse, and it’s frightening them with threats of burning in hell for themselves and their loved ones.

          • Amos Moses

            “I think …………”

            No you dont ….. you react …….. and the basis of your reaction is your belly …..

          • Denny

            Admittedly, they are some of the funnier trollposts in recent weeks.

          • TwoRutRoad

            I think I’ll react to your statement by saying that it does not contribute to the discussion.

          • Denny

            You gays take a very unhealthy interest in other people’s children.
            You want to take them away from parents – not hard to figure out why.
            You’re predators.

          • Sister Boogie

            Gay men accusing Christians of “child abuse” is truly ironic.

        • Chris Hall

          No, your suggestion that because a majority of the local population is Christian that it’s OK to trample on the rights of people who don’t follow your religion is mob rule.

          • Duke of Dixieland

            You dumb cluck, there is no “right” not to see a Bible.

            You clowns have the brains of an amoeba.

      • meamsane

        No law has been broken here!

        • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

          If you think that, then you do not understand that the Constitution is a legally binding document, and that anyone working for the government is required to support it. This is why people can force schools to prevent teachers from doing what this teacher did, and if teachers do this, the school can be forced to bring in texts from other faiths, and from none, in order to redress the imbalance.

          • meamsane

            No. The teacher simply told the students about a nationwide event in early October which was “Bring a Bible to School Day”. They could participate or no. He wasn’t preaching. There was no violation of the Constitution here.
            Your “Imbalance” scenario is Irrelevant since it does not exist.

          • Rookheight

            Did the teacher also encourage kids to bring their Quran and Satanic Bible to school? No? Then it’s imbalanced and the teacher is favoring Christianity in violation of the First Amendment.

          • TwoRutRoad

            The teacher also favored religion over non-religion.

        • TwoRutRoad

          “When a district teacher promotes her personal religious beliefs to
          students, she violates not only the Constitution, but also parents’
          trust.”

      • Sister Boogie

        Oooh yeah, noting as TERRIFYING as some kids with Bibles.
        Every day millions of people are killed by kids with Bibles.
        It’s genocide.

        • Chris Hall

          Maybe I’ve not made myself clear and that’s why you’re completely misrepresenting where I’m coming from. I don’t care one bit whether school children carry a Bible, a Koran, the Vedas or Dianetics. I could not care less.

          What I find objectionable is people in authority who are employed by the state supporting such an endeavour.

          • Sister Boogie

            Bless your little heart, if you ever see a child holding a Bible, the thing for you to do is run as fast as your little legs can carry you. A child with a Bible is lethal, sho nuff.
            Everybody knows that any adult who gives a child a Bible intends for that child to kill in God’s name. There’ no doubt about. Who tipped you off?

          • Chris Hall

            Are you alright?

    • TwoRutRoad

      There may be “lots” but not “all”. Why give those who aren’t a poke in the eye?

      • Sister Boogie

        You love feeling offended, it’s all you’ve got. Without Christians to hate, you’d have no lives.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Irrelevant.

      • Sister Boogie

        Sorry, coming from a troll, your post is irrelevant.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Why? Do facts change based on who provides them?

        • TwoRutRoad

          Sister: I haven’t seen you post a relevant comment yet. You run around poking everybody and never contributing to the discussion.

          It’s not helping your cause.

    • Cady555

      Then I expect these fine churches are fully capable of advertising and promoting religious activity, including the carrying and reading of religious texts.

      I would think that the parents and religious leaders would want to direct the religious activity of their kids rather than putting it in the hands of the government.

      • Sister Boogie

        Actually, you don’t think at all. You don’t have thoughts, you have stances.

        • TwoRutRoad

          Cady said, “would” think. The word “would” implies an “if”, which leaves room for changing what was said if other, better suggestions are given. It’s perfectly acceptable.

          Your reply to him did nothing to advance the conversation. Like these ridiculous comments you made to me:

          “You love feeling offended, it’s all you’ve got. Without Christians to hate, you’d have no lives.”

          “Gay men accusing Christians of “child abuse” is truly ironic.”

        • Cady555

          Really? So kind. So thoughtful. So entirely classic smug Christian.

          Yet that doesn’t change the fact that religious instruction should be provided by parents, and whatever religious organization they choose to take their family to.

          I don’t want public school teachers telling my kids which religious text is the correct one. I expect you would have kittens if a teacher told your kid that they should read the Koran or that the Bible was nonsense not worth reading.

          Why is it so hard to treat other people’s kids with the same respect you would want for your kid?

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Why don’t you try to actually make an argument instead of attacking everyone’s character?

  • Ira Pistos

    These atheists preach the veracity of the very Word they rage against.

    • tatoo

      How so?

  • bowie1

    Best not mention Earth Day either then since it may be perceived as kind of a pagan notion especially when it comes to the idea of the earth as a living organism. Of course being a good steward is a good thing but if they say that it may be perceived as a religious statement especially if God is mentioned.

    • TwoRutRoad

      What an odd statement. How does Earth Day suddenly get a bad rap for NOT being religiously motivated? If the churches want to support Earth Day, that’s great! Just don’t tell school children that THAT’S WHY they should care.

      If God is mentioned, then, yes, it becomes a religious statement. Otherwise, it’s neutral on religion.

  • Croquet_Player

    Any child may bring religious texts of any kind to school at any time. Teachers may neither encourage nor discourage them from doing it. It is against the law, it violates students’ constitutional rights, and it has to stop. School districts need to take action and publish clear guidelines for all employees, or they will continue to waste taxpayer dollars on entirely preventable lawsuits.

  • TheBottomline4This

    2 of my kids brought their Bibles with them to school. If someone said something against it, they just simply ignored them. My kids didn’t make anyone else read it, so it basically was none of their business.
    You don’t like the book, mind your own business and move on with your life. You know that tolerance thing ya’ll usually mention…get some.

    • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

      It’s not about what your kids do. It’s about what a government employee does. If the teacher had told kids about a Satanist book, you’d be on the side of the atheists on this. What the teacher did has potentially opened the floodgates, mandating the distribution of literature from all religions. The fact that you don’t understand that is quite telling.

      • TheBottomline4This

        No, what is quite telling is there are worse things than this in schools already. You’re cherry picking if you think some religions aren’t already in schools. But you wouldn’t understand those facts.

        • Rookheight

          Whether or not there are worse things in schools is beside the point. Teachers have to understand that they aren’t allowed to promote religious events.

    • TwoRutRoad

      We should be tolerant of teachers violating the Constitution? That’s the issue.

    • Cady555

      Guess what – it is perfectly totally bokay for kids to bring religious texts to n school. .

  • the greedy boat

    when is bring your koran to school day?

    • Bacchus

      When you’re old enough to attend, you can bring your Koran.

      • the greedy boat

        zing. you funny.

    • Rookheight

      I don’t know, the teacher didn’t make a point of promoting it. /s/

  • tatoo

    Suppose you don’t have a bible? Can you bring your Koran? Your Rig Veda? What Wre the kids going to do with it? Force others to read it?

  • XaurreauX

    Secularism is for grownups.

    • Bacchus

      The kind with no morals.