Louisiana School Board Rejects ACLU’s Demands Over Prayer Boxes, Use of ‘God Bless You’

Airline HS-compressedBENTON, La. — A school board in Louisiana has rejected the demands of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to not allow students to place prayer request boxes on campus and that its principal stop mentioning God on the school website.

As previously reported, the organization sent a letter last month to the superintendent of the Bossier Parish School System to complain about the activities at Airline High School. It asserted that the prayer boxes, which were allegedly placed by the student-led Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Principal Jason Rowland’s use of the phrase “God bless you all” on the school website, are illegal.

“This letter is to inform you that these practices violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and comparable provisions of the Louisiana Constitution, and they must stop immediately,” the correspondence read.

“The United States Constitution requires public schools to ensure that state-supported activity is not used for religious indoctrination,” it continued. “When school staff crosses the constitutional line, … the courts have declared these activities unlawful. There is no question that the principal has violated these legal mandates by invoking God, prayer, and Christianity in school publications and on school grounds.”

The ACLU then demanded the removal of the prayer boxes and asked that Rowland be instructed not to reference religion in any school communications.

On October 1st, the Bossier School Board issued a statement rejecting the ACLU’s assertions.

“The board’s counsel has investigated the allegations raised by the ACLU and found them to be without a factual or legal basis,” it wrote.

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“At the same time, the board wishes to publicly reaffirm its intent to operate a successful school district in which equal access is recognized and the legal rights of all students are respected, including those of its students who wish to engage in student-led, student-initiated religious expression,” the statement continued.

The board found that the prayer boxes had not even materialized yet, but even so, would be permissible because the concept came from students. The board also had no problem with Rowland’s words, and did not find him to be engaging in proselytization, contrary to the ACLU’s claims.

“As the facts of the case we didn’t think we had any problems, so no corrective action is being taken because we don’t have problems,” board member Dennis Bamburg told the Shreveport Times.

The board also unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to the religious rights of students.

“Now therefore be it resolved that the Bossier Parish School Board does hereby proclaim to the citizens of Bossier Parish, the citizens of the State of Louisiana, and to freedom-loving Americans everywhere that in Bossier Parish schools the constitutional and statutory rights of students to engage in student-led, student-initiated religious expression shall be respected, allowed and defended,” it reads in part.

On Saturday, hundreds attended a rally in support of Airline High School, praying and listening to speeches from local leaders.

“What the enemy meant for evil, God is certainly turning around for good,” declared Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City. “They have kicked awake a sleeping giant, and we need to keep this momentum going.”‘

Some also wore t-shirts to the Friday night football game that read “We support Mr. Rowland” or “#IStandWithAHS.”

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  • Dave_L

    Paul tells Christians to be subject to Government. But what if government goes through gradual changes that rub us wrong? In fact becoming another government, totally different over time, only bearing the name of the old? Even then, are they not the Government God ordained and tells us to submit to? If Jesus tells us to render unto Caesar the things that belong to him and to God, the things that belong to God, can we justly force the support of our “prayer box” or anything else pertaining to our vocation on those who do not pray?

    • Jeffery Kinkead

      No one is being forced to use the prayer boxes.

      • Dave_L

        True, but who is paying for the property where they are located? And what if any religion, even satanists to do the same?

      • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

        That is true.Why are some so afraid of those Prayer boxes?

  • bowie1

    The ACLU (and the FFRF) are just engaging in another form of bigotry against those whom they hate. They make it their full time mission to spread their vitriol.

    • Dave_L

      You’ll be glad to see those same folks if God ever sets up Islam on these shores.

      • bowie1

        If they have prayer boxes that would be no problem since those using them would do so voluntarily. If no coercion is involved then we should be able to live in peace. On the other hand it is the anti-theists that try to coerce and intimidate those who dare oppose their anti-theist creeds through hitler like tactics.

        • Names_Stan

          They have prayer boxes that would be no problem since those using them would do so voluntarily

          But where does it end? A prayer box for every denomination of every religion known to man? Plus all the different creations of atheists that they may want displayed?

          Dave is right, and the men who designed our government, some who were Christian, were right. Why try to please every citizen’s particular religious leaning with tax dollars?

          Why not simply use tax dollars for the business of the state, and let personal and collective expressions of religion and spirituality and atheism be accomplished outside of the governmental system?

          I don’t get why this is so hard to understand. And I don’t get why the most self-proclaimed religious among us see God as so helpless and powerless that He needs government to indoctrinate the young.

          (And those same people claim that government should actually stay out of everything else because it is so ineffective! Now if that’s not a complete insult to God, I don’t know what is. “Well, government is pathetic, but without them, God would probably just disappear from the face of the earth.”)

          • bowie1

            God doesn’t really need those prayer boxes since we can talk to Him directly. It’s more for the benefit of those who would like someone to pray for them. Unfortunately some just don’t want people to have this extra assistance.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            What assistance does prayer provide? Lots of studies say that prayer actually has a negative effect, especially if they know they are being prayed for.

          • bowie1

            It is our lifeline to God and for many they sense they are being prayed for and are encouraged. The thing about studies is that often they may contradict each other perhaps depending on how the questions are framed.

          • Rebecca Spellmeyer

            Usually when that comes up they are referring to people that pray over getting medical help and not please pray that I get through this hard issue.

          • LionKing

            Not true. Lots of studies show that prayer has a positive effect. I can provide you with a few if you care.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Yes, please link one. Two if you have them.

  • BarkingDawg

    If the ACLU takes this to court, the School District will lose.

    • LionKing

      How? Why?

      • BarkingDawg

        Putting religious messages in official school communications is not allowed.

        As far as the prayer boxes go, do they really want to create an open forum? Next thing you know, the Muslims, Satanists, Buddhists, Santerists, and Catholics will want their own offering receptacles.

        Can you imagine the Santeria shrine? A skull, a candle, and a bucket of chicken entrails.

        • Lexical Cannibal

          As a Norse Pagan, I demand my children get Norse Pagan prayer boxes. One for each of our gods. All 54 of them.

        • LionKing

          “God bless you” is NOT a religious message. I’m not aware of any court where this has been litigated and deemed so.

          The prayer boxes are a student-driven initiative that is meant to help and not harm (or being imposed on anyone). How is this any different from setting up a food collection bin for the hungry? It makes no sense to deny them their desire just because we worry about what adherents of other religions might or might not do.

          If this goes to court, the ACLU will lose.

      • Rebecca Spellmeyer

        because the school district has other things the funds must be used on where as the ACLU and FFRF do only one thing sue. So the school will get to a point they can’t afford to keep going and they will be forced to give in. That is how they win all of these religion/school/government lawsuits

        • LionKing

          Not if one of those law firms (such as christian legal defense, liberty institute, Thomas Moore etc) that defends folks against those bullies take up the case. They usually represent pro bono or at very low cost. We cannot and should not bow to the whims of bullies.

  • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

    ACLU/FFRF and other Anti-Christian groups will most likely win many of these battles against Christians. But there is a battle they can not win. They can take God out of Public places But they can not take God from us who believe.The one battle the will not win is the one the God will win when the time is right.

    • Emmanuel

      They will never stop us from voting with God’s direction. so at the booth, can’t separate church from state, ever.

      • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

        You are right.

        • Emmanuel

          Your welcome sister, we can vote for Christ.
          I laugh at all these fools preaching separation but they know they can’t stop me at the booth.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            Sometimes some of us forget that.We can and will vote for Christ.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            I didn’t know Christ was running for public office.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            That is not quite what was meant. But that’s okay 🙂 I have a feeling you can not and do not really want to understand. That too is okay 🙂

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Oh, did you mean you vote for the most peace loving, open borders, non-violent hippy that’s running? Because that’s who Jesus would vote for.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            No. Like I said you will not understand. *Someone* you would rather cause trouble with people over what they say than to understand what they are saying 🙂
            Shalom < 🙂

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Please explain then. Would Jesus vote for a gun nut? Would Jesus support the death penalty? Would Jesus support allowing American businesses to use slave labor from third world countries? What policies would Jesus vote for? I’m confused. And why did you say shalom?

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            No thank you. I do not play with Children like you . I see how you are talking to Christians. I want no part of it. But do have a good day 🙂
            Shalom < 🙂

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Why do you keep saying shalom? I’m not Jewish. That’s like me saying “Heil Hitler” to you after every post. Since Hitler was a Christian I can assume you agree with him on everything. Get it?

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            Shalom < Have a great day! It is such a beautiful day today.The sun is just coming up. The birds are just starting to sing their songs. What a beautiful day the Lord has made. Enjoy it 🙂 I sure will 🙂

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Ok… Heil Hitler to you then. I’m glad Jesus is represented by nazis like you. Praise be unto Allah.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            No thank you. But have a good day.Enjoy this day that the Lord has made. The sun is now shinning bright . We are alive. We have breath. Our hearts are beating ((By the way Allah is “not” God.)) Shalom < Praise to the God of Abrahan,Issac,Jacob and Israel !

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Wow you are really uneducated. Allah is the Arabic word for god. So yes, the word Allah literally means god, sorry to burst your bubble. We have life because of our parents, not some imaginary creature. Your parents gave you life, their parents gave them life, and so on.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            Shalom is just peace. can be used for both Jew and Gentile .
            Allah is not the true God.
            I take it you are Muslim. I do not serve your god. I serve the God of Abraham.
            God through my Mom and Dad gave me life.
            Shalom < "Peace"

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Let me slow it down for you. Allah means god in Arabic. That means Christians that speak Arabic call their god Allah. Why don’t you say shalom to anyone else in any of your other posts?

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            God with a little g is false. God with a big G is not false.
            Shalom “Peace” to the Anti-Theist

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Both are imaginary. I have no respect for imaginary beings.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            One day you will see you are wrong.
            Shalom <

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            If I’m wrong, I’m going to have some nasty words for your god. He ignores suffering, starving children. He causes death and destruction world wide. I will probably spit in his face.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            You are too full of (((HATE))) and you are unable to understand. The day will come that you will understand.
            When you face (((((God))))) you will be speechless unable to speak. You will see who really kept you from understanding the truth. The one who kept you from God. The one who convinced you that God is to blame.
            My hope and my Prayer for you is to be Delivered and to be saved.Even if it s by the skin of your teeth.
            Shalom <

          • BeccaJoe

            “The first Arabic translation of the Bible was made about the 9th century. Nowhere is the name of Allah found in the Old or New Testament as a name for God. When Islam became the dominant political force people were coerced to use the name Allah for God or suffer the consequences from the hands of militant Muslims. Because of Islam’s dominance Allah became the common name of God. The translators of the Bible gave in to the religious pressures and substituted Allah for Yahweh in the Arabic Bibles, but this is not the name of the God of the Hebrews, nor of the creator who made heaven and earth because of its source in paganism. His nature and attributes have only a few basic similarities and many more differences. And the most important point is that all through the Qu’ran it says Allah has no son.”

            From “Let Us Reason”

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            “Let us Reason” is a Christian organization, check your source.

          • LadyGreenEyes

            Addressing your last first – she actually does. As for the rest, you can claim whatever you want, but Muslims do not follow the God of the Bible.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Yes, they do. Educate yourself.

          • LadyGreenEyes

            Not even close. The God of the Bible is about love, and Christians are not told to go around killing all that disagree. Educate yourself, or risk being a slave.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            You haven’t read the bible. It’s very violent. Have you heard of the crusades? Hitler? Catholic molestation? How about Kim Davis?

          • LadyGreenEyes

            Nothing in the Bible tells believers in Christ to torture and behead those that reject Jesus. They are told, if not welcomed, to simply shake the dust from their sandals and move on. The Crusades were a response to five centuries of Muslim incursions. Hitler was an occultist. Molestation occurs in many places, and is not about religion. Davis isn’t even related to this discussion.

            The simple fact is, we do not follow the same God.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Nothing in the bible is violent eh? Why does your god kill people, tell the Israelites to kill people, helps them do it, then promotes rape and slavery among the survivors?
            The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. So to this day the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the people of Benjamin. The descendants of Joseph attacked the town of Bethel, and the LORD was with them. They sent spies to Bethel (formerly known as Luz), who confronted a man coming out of the city. They said to him, “Show us a way into the city, and we will have mercy on you.” So he showed them a way in, and they killed everyone in the city except for this man and his family. Later the man moved to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city. He named the city Luz, and it is known by that name to this day. The tribe of Manasseh failed to drive out the people living in Beth-shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and their surrounding villages, because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region.

            When the Israelites grew stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them out of the land. The tribe of Ephraim also failed to drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, and so the Canaanites continued to live there among them. The tribe of Zebulun also failed to drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron and Nahalol, who continued to live among them. But they forced them to work as slaves. The tribe of Asher also failed to drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob. In fact, because they did not drive them out, the Canaanites dominated the land where the people of Asher lived. The tribe of Naphtali also failed to drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath. Instead, the Canaanites dominated the land where they lived. Nevertheless, the people of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath were sometimes forced to work as slaves for the people of Naphtali. As for the tribe of Dan, the Amorites forced them into the hill country and would not let them come down into the plains. The Amorites were determined to stay in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim, but when the descendants of Joseph became stronger, they forced the Amorites to work as slaves. (Judges 1:21-35 NLT)

          • LadyGreenEyes

            Try reading what I actually stated. I said, “Nothing in the Bible tells believers in Christ to torture and behead those that reject Jesus.” I didn’t say that there was no violence in the Bible. Go back, reread my comment, and post on what I actually stated if you expect a response. I am not playing the misquote game.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Oh so you worship a violent maniac, but since he doesn’t kill for rejecting him, he’s ok. I get it. He does kill for rejecting him by the way, remember Noah? Eternal torture is a much more moral thing for a god to do.

          • LadyGreenEyes

            Again, read what I actually stated. As it stands you are simply trolling.

          • Taylor the Sturdy

            Here is a specific quote from the bible telling us to kill people. Your argument is invalid. You haven’t really read the bible, have you?

            If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

          • LadyGreenEyes

            Again, read what I stated. Comment on that, and stop trying to misquote and misrepresent.

  • Emmanuel

    Airline High School students, we stand behind you and keep praying for you. Don’t give up.

  • Tim

    If the ACLU or FFRF want to continue this challenge and they will, we as Christians, Jewish, Muslim religions will stand with our students in advancing the principles of prayer, the rights of religious activities on school grounds by students wishing to take advantage of their rights to religious gatherings in groups, teaching History with proclamations of God such as the following examples as educational to the students of public schools in which important statements of leadership come from our past leaders and representatives.

    Isaac Newton English physicist and mathematician (Dec 25, 1642 – Mar 20, 1727) “We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.” –

    John Quncy Adams Sixth President of the United States (Jul 11, 1767 – Feb 23, 1848) “So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society.” –

    Blaise Pascal French mathematician, physicist, inventor, and writer (Jun 19, 1623 – Aug 19, 1662) “Jesus Christ is a God whom we approach without pride and before whom we humble ourselves without despair.” –

    Albert Einstein

    Physicist and agnostic (Mar 14, 1879 – Apr 18, 1955)

    “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene….No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Russian novelist, writer, essayist and philosopher. (Nov 11, 1821 – Feb 9, 1881)

    “Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    American essayist, lecturer, and poet (May 25, 1803 – Apr 27, 1882)

    “The unique impression of Jesus upon mankind – whose name is not so much written as ploughed into the history of this world – is proof of the subtle virtue of this infusion”

    “Jesus belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eyes the mystery of the soul. One man was true to what is in you and me.”

    “Thus is [Jesus], as I think, the only soul in history who has appreciated the worth of man.”

    H.G. Wells

    English Novelist, teacher, historian, journalist (Sep 21, 1866 – Aug 13, 1946)

    “I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”

    Napoleon Bonaparte French military and political leader (Aug 15, 1769 – May 5, 1821)

    “Well, then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I myself have founded great empires ; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for Him I think I understand something of human nature ; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man : none else is like Him ; Jesus Christ was more than man. . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me, . . but to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, of my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lighted up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man towards the Unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart ; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally ; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful ! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable supernatural love towards Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable ; it is altogether beyond the scope of man s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame ; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it which strikes me most ; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.” –

    Thomas Jefferson Third President of the United States of America (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) “I hold the precepts of Jesus as delivered by Himself, to be the most pure, benevolent and sublime which have ever been preached to man…” “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” “The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man.” – Jefferson Memorial –

    John Adams Second President of the United States of America (Oct 30, 1735 – Jul 4, 1826) “It is no slight testimonial, both to the merit and worth of Christianity, that in all ages since its promulgation the great mass of those who have risen to eminence by their profound wisdom and integrity have recognized and reverenced Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the living God.” “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were … the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” “As the 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.” –

    Samuel Adams American statesman and Founding Father. (Sep 27, 1722 – Oct 2, 1803) “The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.” “I [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” “We have this day [Fourth of July] restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.” –

    George Washington First President of the United States of America (Feb 22, 1732 – Dec 14, 1799) “It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to.” “Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ.” –

    Mahatma Ghandi Leadership of Indian independence movement (Oct 2, 1869 – Jan 30, 1948) “Jesus; a man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” –

    Francis Bacon English philosopher, statesman, scientist, and author. (Jan 22, 1561 – Apr 9, 1626) “There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power. Let no man … think or maintain that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficience in both.” –

    • Disqusdmnj

      Copy and paste much? 😉

  • Katrina Cooper Hammond

    Rise up. Rise up!!!!

  • Nidalap

    Ha! Gotta love the South! (^_^)

    • Taylor the Sturdy

      Yep, leave it to the south to hold all of humanity back.

  • acontraryview

    I guess they have money to burn.

  • Rebecca

    The ACLU is just a group of whiny fools.

  • LadyGreenEyes

    Now there’s a school board with some sense!!