WHITE OAK, Texas — The superintendent of a school district in Texas is standing firm after a prominent atheist activist group sent a letter of complaint regarding a high school principal who allegedly quotes Scripture over the intercom during the morning announcements.
According to KETK-TV, an anonymous student at White Oak High School contacted atheist blogger Hemant Mehta after recording Principal Dan Noll quoting from the Bible during the announcements. The practice reportedly goes back to the 1970’s according to former alumni.
“He who leads upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance,” Noll read from the book of Proverbs in one of the announcements. “The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.”
Mehta then contacted the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) about the matter, which in turn sent a letter to the district, asking that it order Noll to cease and desist the practice.
But Superintendent Michael Gilbert, who is also a Christian, has now released a statement noting that he had been contacted by two area residents and FFRF about the matter, and asked the media not to “waste your time and effort on these few detractors.”
“The residents were offended at the use of Scripture, demanding that it be stopped and calling for disciplinary action against Mr. Noll,” he stated. “I am fully aware of the practice at the high school and will not pursue any action against our high school principal or any other member of our faculty/staff concerning this issue.”
“Let me also be clear that we have not (in my opinion) violated anyone’s rights and/or subjected anyone to undue stress,” Gilbert continued. “Bible studies and Scriptures are allowed in schools. The requirement is that the material be presented in a neutral manner. It is my position that we met that standard with the morning announcements.”
He said that he will keep FFRF in his prayers.
“My recommended response to the FFRF is, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way. I will be praying for you and your staff daily,'” Gilbert said.
“[A]s a Christian Brother, it will not promote the values we hold so dear to assail those that disagree with the gospel. We will state our case,” the superintendent added. “We will make sure our rights are just as protected as anyone else that lives in this great country. We will continue to provide for all the needs of our students and we will do so while traveling the High Road.”
Students and former alumni have also taken to social media with profile pictures that simply state, “I support Dan Noll.” A Facebook group called “Support Dan Noll and White Oak School” has over 600 members.