Atheist Activist Group Wants Illinois Principal Fired for ‘Promoting Christianity’ to Students

Photo Credit: Michael McGrone/Facebook
Photo Credit: Michael McGrone/Facebook

CHICAGO — A professing atheist activist organization is recommending that a Chicago-area principal be fired for promoting Christianity to students.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to the attorney for Rich Township Schools after becoming informed that Rich South High School Principal Michael McGrone announced that his goal is to “allow God back in school.”

It pointed to an article in the Chicago Tribune, which outlined that McGrone supports prayer in school and had a Christian woman, known as Mother Henderson, pray with students in the cafeteria over a microphone.

“This is how we ‘stop the killing’: Allow God back in school!! Prayer works,” he also wrote on Facebook.

FFRF further pointed to a quote in the Tribune article, in which McGrone stated, “Is [prayer] considered crossing the line? I would agree in part, but in so many ways I cannot deny who I am and what got me to become principal.”

It therefore recommended that the principal be fired.

“Given McGrone’s admission that he was aware that his activities violated the law, and his description of his unconstitutional behavior as ‘who I am and what got me to become principal,’ we see no reasonable alternative to terminating his employment with the district,” wrote staff attorney Ryan Jayne.

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“It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for district administrators to encourage students to pray, or tell students that ‘prayer works.’ Combined with ‘frequent references to Jesus,’ there is no doubt that McGrone is personally promoting religion in general, and Christianity in particular, to the students under his care,” he said.

FFRF also took issue that McGrone allowed Mother Henderson on campus to pray with students.

“The district may not allow its schools to be used as religious recruiting grounds during the school day,” Jayne wrote. “McGrone is not just complacent with Mother Henderson’s prayers and proselytizing of other people’s children, but actively promotes the activity by giving her a microphone, posting videos of her public school prayers online, and encouraging students to participate in the religious exercises.”

The church-state separation group therefore requested that not only McGrone be fired, but that Mother Henderson also be banned from campus.

“McGrone is plainly unfit to work at a public school in the United States,” FFRF opined. “We request written assurances that the district will protect Rich South High School students’ rights of conscience by replacing McGrone with a principal who is willing to follow the law. Additionally, we request assurances that Mother Henderson will not be allowed access to students during the school day in the future.”

In early America, 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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