Florida Principal: First Amendment Only For Christians

The Weekly Bark
is a newsletter published by Principal Larry Davis of Clay Hill Elementary, in Clay County, Florida. It's meant to inform his 40-person staff of goings-on about campus. Last week, it read, in part:

Prayer Around The Flagpole: This is not to be confused with "Pray around the flagpole," which is annual on the 4th day in September. Our pray around the school's flagpole event is to pray for the nation, for each other, and for our school. Many outstanding people are leading information sessions to our new congress for them to understand the first amendment. Pastor Steven Andrew states; "Our children need God back back in schools,' and he is calling on Christians nation-wide to bring back the Holy Bible and Christian prayer to schools. The First Amendment was for Christianity, not other religions. The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise of [Christian] religion … Our Founding Fathers fought for God's unalienable rights of Christian life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Freedom comes from obeying God. Let's get active to bring back the Holy Bible and prayer to schools…

…and so on. Must be a fun guy to work for.

 The newsletter has caused some concern in Florida, even among Davis's fellow Christians. According to the Florida Times Union:

Pastor Ron Baker of Russell Baptist Church in Green Cove Springs, who conducts the prayer sessions at Clay Hill and three other Clay County schools, said he doesn’t agree with the quoted passage Davis included in the memo.

"If a Muslim wants to pray at the pole, go ahead, I don’t care, that’s fine," he said. "A Buddhist, I don’t have a problem with that."


  1. says

    Another fundamentalist shows his apalling ignorance.
    Matt 5:6
    And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    It takes a special brand of arrogance to act holier than thou when you don’t know even the basics of scripture.
    Notice I used the King James version. Not only does it have the most beautiful language, but it was produced by a Queen, also known as King James.

  2. scollingsworth says

    This man should be fired. Not only for not following the 1st Amendment but also for his appalling lack of knowledge of our Founding Fathers, who were mostly Deists, not Christians. Several, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin openly questioned Jesus Christ’s supposed divinity.

  3. E. Thor Carlson says

    What an idiot! He should be fired for being ignorant and/or lying about the meaning of the Constitution. The founding fathers were very distrustful of the christians. The anti-establishment clause of the 1st amendment was meant to protect us from the christians, not the other way around!

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion;…” – Treaty of Tripoli, June 1797

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law.” – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Third President of the USA

  4. jamal49 says

    2WILBERFORCE You use the very argument I use whenever these evangie-fundie idiots start their “America is a christian nation” b.s. and do their pathetic displays of public piety.

    BTW, while the KJV (original) may be beautiful in its writing, its translation (or, MIS-translation) of the Old/New Testaments) is appalling.

    Queen, I mean, King James admired Shakespeare and felt that the Holy Bible should sound in spoken word and read in meditative silence with as much majesty and poetry as its subjects (the history of the Jewish people and the fulfillment of OT prophecy in the life/death/resurrection of the man Jesus) inspire in those who read or hear Scripture.

    Beauty and poetry do not translate into accurate rendering of the original texts (or their scribal 2nd, 3rd or 4th generations of existing documents).

    Also, could Towleroad start using “spell check” before posting its news topics? Lately there have been waaaaaay too many typos. As a typographer and graphic designer, such editorial sloppiness has been getting on the one nerve I have left after 62 years.

  5. Steve says

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Where does he see “Christian” in that wording?

  6. Chicklets says

    Ummm…the First Amendment says nothing about “Christianity”–it only says religion. He inserts the word and thinks nobody will notice? This is the Principle of a school. Scary stuff. The bible is good for one thing–a primer on cults, violence and mind control.

  7. William says

    I guess this “educated” principal never read the letter from George Washington to the members of the Jewish Synagogue assuring them that they’re protected under the first amendment too. GW didn’t think the first amendment was only for Christians. But, hey, if Texas can rewrite history….

  8. Johnny says


    maybe it should read, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of [Christian] religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    which still doesn’t back up his point, but it just sounds so much nicer to me.

  9. Nicholas says

    What a twit !! Obviously isn’t capable of teaching young people. Time for him to resign and go back to school….or become a commentator on Fox News for which there are no known qualifications other than bigotry,ignorance and homophobia.

  10. Pete n SFO says

    It really is amazing that when writing the Constitution 200+ yrs ago, that the authors had the foresight to include a provision that would save us from people like this clown.

  11. Wavin' Dave says

    Dear readers,
    You’re missing the point:
    It’s FLORIDA, America’s pee-pee.
    Anyone ambulatory can teach. And those who can only manage a reptilian crawl become school administrators, board members or congressmen.
    Florida, kids! After New Jersey, it’s ALL the friggin’ South!

  12. mike/ says

    the word ‘god’ does not appear in the Constitution either; the founding fathers used the word ‘creator’ that was in keeping with their deist belief; that is, they believed that there was some being/thing/entity that created everything but has absolutely nothing to do beyond the creation and has no control over the happening of man, the world or universe.

    rereading this i realize how difficult a concept it would be for these people to understand; it’s sort of difficult when you are ignorant of your ignorance…

  13. TTan says

    My experience has been that the worst bigots in the world are Christians. Conservative, Caucasian and Christian – the three pillars of bigotry. I have not found any exceptions. Larry Davis is just another example.

  14. says

    Thanks for the reply. And you’re right that the King James is less accurate than it could be. But there’s still a ton of extremely profound content in there: about fairness and kindness and service to the oppressed. And I just can’t help it. The language is just too beautiful to throw away.

  15. Dale says

    Just like when they read their bibles, these wackos take out or add as necessary and call it the truth or the word of God.

    This is what I was taught the 1st amendment was.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Home schooling really sucks!

  16. Chuck Mielke says

    I am appalled at the ignorance of this Larry Davis character. I’m also appalled at his chutzpah! He inserts a word into the text of the first Amendment. Then, using brackets, he tells us that he’s inserted the word. Then, he wants us to believe that the word is there in the original text. This is the heart and soul of “religious enthusiasm” (phrase taken, I think, from “Anti-intellectualism in America”): the world will change if I pretend hard enough (and I happen to be in a position of authority).

  17. Gus says

    This is being said in a PUBLIC school, imagine the Christianist schools. Unless you want more kids exposed to this, you must be against vouchers. Vouchers let you pay with you tax dollars all kinds of nonsense.

  18. DearComrade says

    I’m going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I’m going to impregnate a woman with myself as her child, so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself. To save you from the sin I originally condemned you to. Ta dah!!!!

  19. says

    I have no problem with the free exercise of religion in schools. Pray, believe, do whatever you want. Just so long as those who are not religious or otherwise wish not to partake in this aren’t forced to do so. Systematic enforcement of christianity in public schools can be very dangerous however. The first amendment is NOT exclusively for Christians. There is no law requiring that one be a Christian either.

  20. jomicur says

    Since most Christians seem to believe that EVERYTHING in the Constitution–due process, for instance; equal treatment under law, for instance–applies to them and them only, this is hardly news. Moreover, since most Christians don’t have any idea what their own sacred book says, how can we expect them to understand the Constitution? Readin’, writin’ and understandin’ are for them there pointy-headed intellectuals.

  21. contragenic says

    I recommend that everyone read the First Amendment, clearly there are not too many people who know what it actually says.
    “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom or speech, or of the press, or the right of people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Govt. for a redress of grievances”.
    Sadly, many religious people are content to have their information fed to them by people who don’t have a clue what truth is.

  22. Robert says

    When I heard of the “prayer around the flagpole” in my community I contacted the state ACLU who dismissed my concerns saying that since it was not mandated by school authorities it was OK with them and that they “encouraged” students in their right to pray. When I rebutted their argument in objecting to the use of public property for religious activities (read Christian) and the participation of “local authorities” and school teachers and administrators I never heard back.

  23. Brian says

    permissible because outside of class time? How about if silent protesters show up at the flag pole every Monday morning with signs that read “separation of church and state” and “the founding fathers were Deists”…

    the hypocrisy and willful ignorance are breathtakingly, mind numbingly, grand canyonesque…

  24. bob johnson says

    contragenic – The constitution use the word “an” not “the”. The statement “respecting the establishment of religion implies there is only one establishment. There are mamy establishments (a noun not a verb) of religion that the government can not mess with such as the bible, prayer, and what the qualifications one has to have to be a preacher are a few of them.

  25. says

    @Wilberforce : I have to agree with you the King James Bible is pure poetry.

    On another issue, I see the bigots now not only speak for God but they are rewriting the Constitution for their own purposes…….a bit like the devil, really .

  26. Max says

    “These psychos are as bad as or worse than the ones in Iran!”

    Peter, they are indeed horrendous, but I think you have a very shallow grasp of the religious tyranny that governs Iran. Women are still stoned to death and gays are hung from cranes.

  27. Tim Goecke says

    The fundamentalists always conflate “the founding fathers” with the Puritan “pilgrims”, as if they were the same people and philosophy.

    The original pilgrims came to the new world not seeking religious “freedom” as every fundamentalist assumes. The real history is that the Puritans were kicked out of power in Britain, hence the Restoration. The last straw that turned the populace against the Puritans was the closing of all the theaters in London – look up ‘restoration comedy’ to see where that phrase came from.

    So instead of being graceful losers and remaining in Britain, the Puritans packed off to America to establish their own society to be run under strict biblical law. They banned all religions except their own, and by the time of Jefferson and Adams, 100 years of Puritan terrorism had left the colonies in an economic and political mess. When how you worship is more important than how you run your business or government, economies and countries begin to collapse (see Afghanistan).

    So that’s (essentially) why the actual founding fathers added the first amendment to the constitution.

    The U.S. probably wouldn’t exist had they not.

  28. SFRowGuy says

    I’m thinking he’s not going to be able to MSWord text edit the US Constitution for the GLARING oversight of Founding Father’s. He’s going to have to Photoshop it. And then he can also add his own signature too. (… ‘Just take out John Hancock and put it my name…. Who is the hell is John Hancock anyway? He wasn’t a president!)

  29. wade says

    This is all fine and dandy, there is just one problem. There are so many versions of christianity. Does this mean only the catholics, or the orhtodoxs or the protestants, etc etc. I think the forefathers were talking about freedom of religion but I think people today are tyring to say it was only their religion that should have freedom.

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