CEDARTOWN, Ga. — Officials at a middle school in Georgia have apologized after a poem used during a sixth grade mythology lesson seemed to attack God as being a “naked lie” and a “mythical creature.”
“God is like a mythical creature/A unicorn with silver blood/If you drink the blood, you will live forever/It makes a good story in a book like Harry Potter,” the poem, distributed to students at Cedartown Middle School, reads.
“The idea of God makes young children laugh and feel safe at night/But when you grow older and see the evil in the world/And the face of death like a shadow behind the eyes of every living thing/Then where is God?” it continues. “Then God is revealed in all his foolishness/A naked lie, a childish dream, a mythical creature like the unicorn.”
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, some parents became upset after reading the poem as it seemed like the composition was teaching children that God is a lie.
“They felt that it was just very disrespectful to God,” Principal Shannon Hulsey told the outlet. “And then there were some concerns about the basis of the poem and who wrote it.”
However, the three-teacher language arts team at Cedartown said that the poem in its context of the lesson was supposed to refer to the Greek gods of mythology, and that taken out of that context, it would be understandable why parents would be upset.
“One of the teachers has been teaching for over 20 years, and she had just a folder full of materials, and the poem was just pulled out of there,” Hulsey explained. “So, we’re not exactly sure where it came from [or] who even put it in the pile of materials, but that’s where it came from.”
She advised that the poem will never be used again.
“This was a mistake. In no way whatsoever would we want to defame God or go anywhere in that direction at the school,” Hulsey said.
School administrators likewise released a statement on the district website, calling the poem a “mistake,” but advising that there was no intention to attack God in utilizing the piece.
“After listening to the concerns and investigating the work and circumstances surrounding its selection, we recognize that it was an unfortunate mistake to have included the work as part of our classes here at our school,” it said.
“We met with a group of parent stakeholders and central office representatives, including Ms. Laurie Atkins, assistant superintendent and Mr. Greg Teems, interim superintendent, early this morning before school to seek resolution and express the shared school and community concerns over this selection,” the statement explained. “We had meaningful conversations and believe that the inclusion of this article to have been made not by malicious intent nor the desire to denounce the faith or beliefs of any of our students, staff or community members.”
“We expressed that the selection will not be used in our school in the future. We are in full support of educating the whole child, including supporting the parent’s right to choose what personal beliefs about religion will be taught to their children.”
According to reports, the undated poem was written by a ninth grader in the UK only identified as Kiefer or K.H., and is stated to come from an atheist perspective. The selection is included in a collection of youth-penned poems shared by Muslim teen Johar Mohammed entitled “Reflections on God, Islam and Life.” He explains in the document that his tuition teacher’s students had written the selections, some of which are clearly atheist.