Some public school districts are using a Religious Right group’s materials for health and “character education” classes, church-state activist Zack Kopplin reported yesterday for ThinkProgress. Focus on the Family’s children’s shows, parenting training and other instructional materials are currently promoted by a number of school districts in several states.
A former Marine has sued the Charles County, Md., school district over a world history unit on Islam. Kevin Wood, who served in Iraq and identifies as a Catholic, announced the suit yesterday and is represented by the Thomas More Law Society (TMLS).
As school districts around the country become increasingly diverse, some have begun to debate closing for non-Christian holidays, The Washington Post reports.
For example, minority communities in Montgomery and Howard counties, both in Maryland, have requested that school calendars recognize more major religious and cultural holidays.
John Oliver is a comedian; his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, is satirical. But this week’s episode highlighted a real problem: Flawed sex education in public schools.
“There is no required standard for sex ed in this country,” Oliver pointed out. “In fact, only 22 states mandate that kids receive it, and only 13 require that the information presented be medically accurate.”
It’s a sorry state of affairs – “a weird patchwork system,” to quote Oliver – and it exists largely because of the Religious Right.
Late last year, I told the tale of a public high school assembly gone terribly awry. Justin Lookadoo, a prominent Christian motivational speaker, appeared at Richardson High School in Dallas, Texas, to dispense “relationship advice” to students. In a startling twist, Lookadoo’s presentation on “Dateability” turned out to be sectarian—and sexist, too.
Just in case you’ve forgotten about him, let me remind you.
The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that public schools may not impose religion on students, but some school administrators apparently don’t care.
Earlier this week, the Rankin County (Miss.) School District was sued in federal court for sanctioning evangelism during three mandatory assemblies at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood. Attorneys with the American Humanist Association (AHA) charge that Principal Charles Frazier and other school officials coerced students to attend events that featured a fundamentalist Christian video, proselytizing and prayer.
I’m all for “Religious Freedom Day,” an annual nationwide event that takes place Jan. 16 to mark the passage of one of the great milestone of freedom of conscience in America: passage of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom.
But I’m not for people using the anniversary of this important document to spread misinformation about church-state separation and religious freedom in America – and that’s just what the Religious Right is doing.
Tomorrow is “See You At The Pole 2011,” an annual prayer observance at public schools. Students gather around the flagpoles at their schools before classes to engage in Christian devotions.
Because most of these SYATP events are voluntary and student-initiated, they generally do not violate the constitutional separation of church and state. Each year, however, Americans United gets complaints about schools where teachers and administrators participate inappropriately.
Good news from Macon County, N.C.!
A public school system there has agreed that it made a mistake in allowing a controversial preacher to speak at Nantahala School’s graduation ceremony in June.
At the commencement, the Rev. Daniel “Cowboy” Stewart, pastor of a small Baptist church in Robbinsville, delivered a sermon to the nine graduating seniors. He brought a volunteer on stage, bound the person with a rope and then placed a bag over the volunteer’s head. The demonstration served to warn students about the machinations of Satan and included references to the Bible.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) lost another battle this week in its ongoing crusade to bring religion into public schools.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Idaho Public Charter School Commission acted constitutionally when it ordered the Nampa Classical Academy not to base its curriculum on the Bible or any other religious texts.
In August 2009, the Commission told Academy officials that using religious literature as primary teaching materials violates the state constitution and would not be permitted.