Education | Florida | Religion

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."

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  1. These psychos are as bad as or worse than the ones in Iran!

    Posted by: Peter | Oct 23, 2011 10:10:07 AM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: Corey Lynxx | Oct 23, 2011 10:53:52 AM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: jomicur | Oct 23, 2011 11:00:55 AM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: contragenic | Oct 23, 2011 11:24:49 AM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: Robert | Oct 23, 2011 12:07:20 PM

  6. Prayer is allowed in school. It's called SUNDAY SCHOOL. Where you go to learn about mythology not 'readin, 'ritin and 'rithmatic.

    Posted by: JonnyOzark | Oct 23, 2011 2:12:59 PM

  7. 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...

    Posted by: Brian | Oct 23, 2011 4:00:38 PM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: bob johnson | Oct 23, 2011 5:43:26 PM

  9. @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 .

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Oct 23, 2011 5:58:53 PM

  10. "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.

    Posted by: Max | Oct 23, 2011 7:25:14 PM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: Tim Goecke | Oct 24, 2011 10:56:28 AM

  12. 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!)

    Posted by: SFRowGuy | Oct 24, 2011 6:48:34 PM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: wade | Oct 25, 2011 9:51:44 AM

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