Scripture Signs Removed From High School Choir Room Following Complaint From Atheist Activist Group

SEARCY, Ark. — Several displays featuring quotations from Scripture have been removed from a choir room at a public high school in Arkansas following a complaint from one of the nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist activist organizations.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter in November to the superintendent of the Searcy School District to assert that the signs, displayed by choir director Tina Niederbrach at Searcy High School, are violative of the U.S. Constitution.

According to reports, the signs included the verses, “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19); “Love binds us together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14); and “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1).

“The district violates the Constitution when it allows schools to display religious symbols or messages. Public schools may not advance, prefer, or promote religion,” the FFRF claimed in its correspondence.

“The display alienates those non-religious students, families, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school,” it asserted.

The atheist and agnostic group asked for the Bible-themed displays to be taken down.

“The district should remind its employees of their constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion while representing the district and ensure that its schools do not contain religious displays,” FFRF wrote. “Please have these posters removed from Ms. Niederbrach’s choir room.”

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Read the letter in full here.

On Monday, FFRF advised in a press release that it had been notified in a letter from Superintendent Diane Barrett that the displays are no longer present in the Searcy High School Choir room.

“A music room should should not be a place of discord,” Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. “We’re pleased that the school has taken action to ensure that student chorus members of minority faiths and no religion feel equally welcomed.”

However, as previously reported, while some state that God and government must remain separated, others note that the nation was founded by those who believed that America could not expect to be blessed if it failed to acknowledge and honor Almighty God.


On March 23, 1798—less than 12 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution—John Adams, the second president of the United States called for a day of national repentance, prayer and fasting.

“[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness cannot exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed,” he wrote.

James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, similarly called for a national day of prayer on July 9, 1812.

“I do therefore recommend the third Thursday in August next as a convenient day to be set apart for the devout purposes of rendering the Sovereign of the universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes; of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness and His assistance in the great duties of repentance…”

The first textbook used in the American colonies even before the nation’s founding, “The New England Primer,” was largely focused on the Scriptures, and was stated to be popular in public and private schools alike until approximately the early 1900’s. It used mostly the King James Bible as reference, and spoke much about sin, salvation and proper behavior.

“Save me, O God, from evil all this day long, and let me love and serve Thee forever, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son,” it read.

Noah Webster’s famous “Blue Back Speller” also referenced Christianity, including God-centered statements in reading lessons such as “The preacher is to preach the gospel,” “Blasphemy is contemptuous treatment of God,” and “We do not like to see our own sins.” Webster, a schoolmaster, is known as the “father of American education” and strongly advocated teaching children the Scriptures. Many of the Founders’ children are stated to have learned to read from the primer.

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  • Quince

    School employees cannot promote religion or religious beliefs while on the clock.

    Likewise, a teacher could not put up a poster declaring “There are no gods” or advocating that reincarnation is true.

    Government spaces need to remain neutral so that each student can observe their personal religious beliefs without government influence.

    If you want your kids to be protected from teachers pushing religious views that contradict what you teach at home, you must extend the same courtesy and protections to other people’s kids.

    • Netizen_James

      Just so. I wish more people understood the ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ aspects of this issue. Far too many don’t bother to think about the fact that they wouldn’t want their child’s school pushing someone ELSE’s religious beliefs on THEIR kids, but are just find when the school pushes THEIR religious beliefs on someone ELSE’s kids.

  • legaliis

    They should STOP pandering to these small, obscene, minor groups and put the signs back up for the good of one and all. GOD BLESS ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kieran Dyke

      So, you would be fine with posters saying “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”? Or is it only your religion that you think should get special treatment?

    • Mikey Jacobs

      You mean Allah bless us all, don’t you?

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

      Amen!!! and Amen!!!

  • JustNTyme

    Oy. The “usual suspects” again. They think signs create an established religion. Too crazy.

    • Quince

      This protects your children, too.

      An estimated 30% of young people are not religious, and these people will be the next generation of teachers. Pretty soon, at least 3 in 10 of your children’s teachers will not believe christianity.

      Unless you are fine with your child sitting in a classroom for 9 months looking at posters that read “Imagine No Religion,” “Man Created Gods in Their Own Image,” and “Each church accuses the others of unbelief. As for me, I disbelieve them all ~ Thomas Paine”, then now is the time to join with the FFRF to keep public school employees neutral on matters of religion.

      Children in public schools have an absolute right to freedom of religious belief. Protect this by making sure that teachers and administrators do not impose their beliefs while on the job.

      • The Skeptical Chymist

        Very well said!

    • Guzzman

      What constitutes an “establishment of religion” is often governed under the three-part test set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). Posting religious messages (Bible verses and gospel song lyrics) on public school property fails each and every part of the Lemon Test: 1) The primary purpose of the posters were religious in nature, not secular; 2) The messages promoted and advanced religion and 3) there was excessive entanglement between government and religion in that public school officials authorized the display of the posters.

      So there you have it. By any legal standard, the posters containing Bible verses and gospel song lyrics would constitute “an establishment of religion.” The school realized their mistake and removed the posters.

    • 98C3LCMT9Y4

      Oy, the “usual suspects” – so ignorant of our Constitution and that desperate need to LIE over & over.

  • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

    Teachers can’t push their religion on other people’s children, and who would want that anyway? It might not be the same as the parents’ religion.

    • Trilemma

      Interesting way to spell Westley.

  • Reason2012

    Notice all these “atheist” activists pretend you cannot talk about Christianity, yet they ignore how in more and more public schools, kids are forced fed all about islam while Christianity is censored in those same schools, and these “atheist” activists have no problem with that whatsoever. You think they’d care of Christianity was just flat out taught to everyone while islam was censored? Of course. This behavior shows these “atheist” (and LGBT) activists are actually pro-islam activists using atheism and LGBT to eradicate Christianity while islam is replacing it instead. Search on public school islam and read all about the promotion of islam in public schools while these activists will actually find ways to defend that as being fine. Our country is under siege from within by islam, as islamic activists continue to infiltrate our government and schools.

    • Quince

      When and where did any public school in the US teach that Islam is true?

      Evidence, please.

      If it happened, contact the FFRF to put a stop to it.

      HS social studies classes teach about various major religions, including deity(ies), common beliefs, holidays, etc, This includes protestant and catholic Christianity. But they cannot/should not express a preference or state one is true and the others false,

    • 98C3LCMT9Y4

      Wow, aren’t you the good little LYING kristian! I certainly do hope that you have never reproduced or this great nation is on a dive into become the sh!thole that the unethical orange one & Pence the hypocrite want & desperately need.

    • Netizen_James

      This is simply not so. Got facts? Please provide names and dates and objective unbiased sources which support your claim that public school kids are being ‘force fed’ Islam. Bet you can’t.

      We have a RIGHT to be free from ‘Government Religion’.
      And when your child’s teacher is teaching them about reincarnation and praying to Lord Ganesha, you might begin to gain some appreciation for that right.

    • Enniscorthy

      (Sigh) No. Just no. Islam is not allowed either, and if there was any instance of it, it would be treated exactly the same way. Your country is not under siege.

    • Mikey Jacobs

      What does being gay have to do with Islam?

      • Netizen_James

        Not a thing. These folks don’t understand that Islam denigrates gay people even more than they do, presuming that’s possible, and many Muslims no trouble with their theocratic states executing people on mere suspicion of homosexual tendencies. This is just part of the paranoid persecution syndrom, where in order to feel part of the ‘in’ group, they must pretend that everyone else is out to get them.

        • Chet

          Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals where they are merely adhering to God Almighty’s decrees as written in His Word the Holy Bible, which BTW, includes sins of adultery and fornication et al. And Christians by no means are following OT standards on the matter, yet, it’s understood Islam destroys, no…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            Why are Christians accused of the “denigrating” of homosexuals

            Because they denigrate homosexuals. It doesn’t really matter if their motive is religious or not.

          • Chet

            You’re mistaken, dude, they denigrate no one, they merely observe what thus saith the Lord, that’s it. Sinners, sexual and otherwise, need to take up their complaints to the God of all flesh for it is Him with whom we all have to do, sooner or later. The Holy Bible is the source document, the answer to all complaints as it truly shows the Lord Jesus Christ of Calvary to be the answer to all man’s problems, sin and daily living. FYI, Christians are to share the Word of God wherever possible and men are to in-turn make their own decision as to whether to repent and believe the good news gospel or no. The authority to spread the Word is found at Matthew 28 and Mark 16, Holy Bible… Jesus saves from the guttermost to the uttermost, no exceptions, no turn-aways…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You’re mistaken, dude, they denigrate no one, they merely observe what thus saith the Lord, that’s it.

            Refresh my memory on what Jesus said about homosexuals.

          • Chet

            You might start with the Old Testament regarding such as was/is stipulated in the Jewish Law. Then, read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction cause by its residents lusting after Angels who were thought to be ordinary men guests. Then, you might move forward to the New Testament where Christ again specified marriage as the union of male and female in a number of places. Then, read the Apostle Paul’s warning regarding sin in general, to include sexual sins of adultery, fornication and homosexuality. See Galatians 5:19-21 and 1st Corinthians 6: 9-11, Holy Bible. The Word of God is replete with admonitions against homosexuality and other sexual sin, whether we like it or no, whether we agree or no. God has the last say in all such matters and Christians merely understand such and believe it and adhere to His Word, period. Those who have a problem with what God Almighty has clearly decreed must needs take it up with Him. God in no wise hates any sinner and neither do Christians. God loves all us sinners without exception but we must understand His perfect plan of salvation and forgiveness of all sin via Christ Jesus.
            We Christians merely warn fellow sinners of the truth of God’s Word and afford such the opportunity to learn of God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ of Calvary, who willingly gave his life on behalf of all us sinners… Please know Jesus saves from the guttermost to the uttermost, no exceptions, no turn-aways… Thanks for this opportunity to state clearly, God indeed loves you, W2…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            You might start with the Old Testament

            To find out what Jesus said about it? No, that’s why I specified Jesus.

  • Guzzman

    Public school officials admitted they were wrong to post Bible verses and gospel song lyrics on the walls of the school’s choir room. Such postings are blatantly unconstitutional.

    This should have never happened, but thankfully the school took corrective action and removed the religious posters.

  • Netizen_James

    Good that these school administrators decided not to waste their community’s taxdollars on a useless and losing lawsuit to defend this clearly unconstitutional behavior.

    Our religious liberty necessarily includes the right to be free from Government Religion.

    The only appropriate stance of any government entity toward religion is strict neutrality – promoting none, prohibiting none, encouraging none, enjoining none. Anything less is a violation of our right to religious liberty.

    And Heather – pulling quotes out of context to attempt to prove that the Founders didn’t want a separation of church and state is fundamentally dishonest and demonstrates some pretty severe bias. Are you a journalist, or just a propagandist? There’s a difference you know. Even if you’re working for a Christian newspaper, you still have a Journalistic responsibility to be fair and balanced, rather than biased toward or against any given perspective. The founders wrote and ratified a godless Constitution ON PURPOSE. (do note that neither the word ‘God’ nor the name ‘Jesus’ appear EVEN ONCE in the Constitution – the ONLY references to religion in the Constitution is in the NEGATIVE. No religious tests for public office, no laws to establish religion, no laws to prohibit religion.) Daily prayers were suggested by Franklin at the convention, and were REJECTED. Adams himself signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which states without ambiguity that “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

    Madison, the AUTHOR of the first amendment wrote this:
    “Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. …
    The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain? To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers. or that the major sects have a right to govern the minor.” (from ‘Detached Memoranda’ – let me know if you need a link)

    To get a better feel for what Madison was saying, replace ‘Quakers’ with ‘Muslims’, and ‘Roman Catholics’ with ‘Scientologists’.

  • Chet

    Try taking a stand against this FFRF and let them cry foul and throw dirt in the air till they cry themselves to sleep. Who cares? The most they can do is sue, and they may lose, or win. The tide is turning again in America under new WH leadership. Worst case, should they win, continue on as usual as did Daniel of old till they have the schoolhouse closed down. The kids will be turned out into the streets and in very short order parents will demand it be reopened in concert with law enforcement and all will be well again. Fear not the anti God anti Christ sorts…

    • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

      The most they can do is sue, and they may lose, or win.

      And the school would end up losing a lot of money for stupid reasons.

      • Chet

        No, no stupid reason. And we know not just how God Almighty will work in the case till we slug through the case, dude. Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus Ye Soldiers Of The Cross…

        • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

          No, it really would be stupid to think a public school can violate longstanding case law. But since school officials appear to have stopped the violation, there’s no problem.

          • Chet

            There is no Constitutional support for so called separation of church and state, but, rather, no allowing of the state to stipulate some specific faith system such as existed in old England – Catholicism, being the state “religion”. Such is why our forefathers fled and came to America, religious freedom, dude…

          • W2.718281828stl2.718281828y

            There is no Constitutional support for so called separation of church and state

            The supreme court disagrees with you; also, Madison.

  • glenbo

    My tax dollars pay for public schools.
    Religion is tax exempt.
    If you as a Christian resent your tax dollars paying for abortions, then I as an Atheist can resent my tax dollars being abused to recruit children into religion within the schools I pay for.
    It works both ways..