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snopes
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Comment: Can you look into whether or not a girl who supposedly wrote a
research paper on Jesus was given a "0" as a grade and told that it was
not an appropriate subject actually took it to the courts and lost? The
other part of this story is that supposedly other students had written
about witchcraft and other questionable subjects and recieved good grades.

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Eve MG
Happy Holly Days


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I have a friend who told me that when she wrote a poem about herself for a high school English class, and mentioned her Bible, the teacher insisted she remove the Bible reference. (Apparently all my friend said in the poem was that her Bible was something she always carried with her.) The teacher's reasoning was that the non-Christians (including those who claimed to be satanists) in the class would be offended.

So I wouldn't be surprised if this was sort of true.

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Jinx McHue
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Is it this case?

http://www.law.emory.edu/6circuit/may95/95a0141p.06.html

quote:
MERRITT, Chief Judge. The issue before us is whether Dana Ramsey, a junior high school teacher in Dickson, a small Tennessee town, violated the free speech rights of one of her ninth grade students, Brittney Settle, by refusing to accept a research paper entitled "The Life of Jesus Christ," and by giving her a "zero" for failing to write on another topic. Although this paper topic concerns religious subject matter, the plaintiff does not bring her case under the Free Exercise Clause or the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Instead, she has chosen to challenge Ms. Ramsey's rejection of her topic as restricting her rights of free speech under the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and dismissed the case. We now affirm the district court's judgment.
A stupid ruling, imo, and not just because I happen to be a Christian. It just doesn't make sense to pre-judge a research paper before it's written based solely on a person's personal religious beliefs.
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John Stephens
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Go back and read ALL the background information. The student didn't get a F for writing about religion. She got an F for failing to write any paper at all, after being told her subject was unsuitable, for reasons that I (and the court) consider perfectly valid.
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Plurabelle
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I bristle against any kind of censorship, personally, but I think the story is taken out of context--if the assignment was to write about something religious, then clearly Jesus is a suitable topic--but the topic could have been rejected because it has nothing to do with the assignment (e.g. a religious PRACTICE, a secular historical figure, chemistry...). If I turned in a paper about the civil rights movement when the assignment was to analyse Beowulf, then of course it wouldn't be racist of my prof to give me a zero.

What bugs me is that interest groups misquote and spread stories like this, so it sounds like the education system is biased against christians (never mind whether it is or not--it seems like this story shows no evidence of that). I suppose such is the nature of politics...but there are so many silly morons who take everything they hear at face value. [Wink]

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Eve MG
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Jinx McHue:
Is it this case?
http://www.law.emory.edu/6circuit/may95/95a0141p.06.html

Wow, this really clears things up. Thanks.

The link gives six reasons why the teacher didn't accept the paper. (Which, from what I can tell, never got to the point of being a paper anyway, it was an outline, or at least it was when she first rejected it). Among them: the student didn't get approval for the topic, the teacher wanted students to research an unfamiliar topic (and she knew this was not unfamiliar to the student), and the students needed to research at least four sources. (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John don't count as four? [Wink] )

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ASL
We Three Blings


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I just want you all to remember one thing. Christians in the US are not now nor have they ever been persecuted by the federal government in any way. Furthermore, any religious persecution that goes un below the level of the federal government is all too often inflicted by rather than upon christians. I am tired of some christians trying to make it seem like everyone is out to get them; that kind of persecution complex simply will not do, especially in a country where the majority of the population claims to be christian. Even if every now and then some idiot professor or highschool teacher takes things too far, that doesn't mean the government is out to get christians.

I'm sick and tired of it.

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cstam1979
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I read the link and I was surprised to say the least. As for Christians being persecuted for there beliefs by the government this is true. However, Christians are persecuted by those americans who are not Christian. The first amendment gives us freedom of religion not freedom from it. We are told where we can place our symbols, where we can practice our religion, and where we can hand out our literature. As far as I'm concerned the supreme court has their interpretation of the 1st amendment backwards and they need to know it. Now, as far as the students paper is concerned the reasons for this were more religious then anything else. All but one of the teachers reasons said this. As far as the others go such as what we go to school for and whats appropriate for an assignment such as this. This student may write what she wants and she may pass out Christian literiture in the hallways, classroom, where ever she feels like it and the school can't say anything about it. Students come to school to learn. They learn about reading and writing but whose to say it isn't a place to learn about god as well. I support the idea that the judge made a bad decision and I hope the student tells the school to stick it.
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Silas Sparkhammer
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"This was a place of learning, but you have made it a den of plagiarists."

"Grade not, lest ye be graded."

"Memorize this, in honor of me."

"In my father's calculus there are many infinitesimals."

"It is harder for the Dean of the College of Sciences to pass through the window of the women's dorm than for a student on a sports scholarship to enter Phi Beta Kappa."

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Silas

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Casey, making hot chocolate
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I knew a guy once in my OChem I class that submitted a test as Jesus. His SSN? 777-77-7777. Unfortunately, Jesus did get an F from the wicked learned ones, and he droppeth that class before the third cock crowed. [Razz]

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
I read the link and I was surprised to say the least. As for Christians being persecuted for there beliefs by the government this is true. However, Christians are persecuted by those americans who are not Christian.

I don't even know how to respond to this. Are you saying that there is a real threat to christianity comming from us non-christians? Do you honestly believe we're out to get you or something? In what way are you being peresecuted by this non-christian minority?
quote:
The first amendment gives us freedom of religion not freedom from it.
That's an interesting little play on words, but that doesn't mean it's true. Has it ocurred to you that not everyone wants to be immersed in your religion? Do you want to be immersed in my lack of eligion? You want to be protected from my agnostic beliefs don't you? Don't you want to be protected from those who would like to promote devil worship in our schools?
quote:
We are told where we can place our symbols, where we can practice our religion, and where we can hand out our literature. As far as I'm concerned the supreme court has their interpretation of the 1st amendment backwards and they need to know it.
Well, the problem with placing symbols is that if you start doing that then everyone gets to. It's like public schools allowing the Boy Scouts of America to meet on the school grounds. If you let the boy scouts in, you have to let everoyne in, inlcuding the KKK and the Gay Nazis For Christ (if they exist that is). If you want to put an image of christ on the cross in our public schools, then you're also going to get an upside down cross, a pentagram, and a big poster saying "God does not exist." You can't have it your way and your way only.

quote:
Now, as far as the students paper is concerned the reasons for this were more religious then anything else. All but one of the teachers reasons said this. As far as the others go such as what we go to school for and whats appropriate for an assignment such as this. This student may write what she wants and she may pass out Christian literiture in the hallways, classroom, where ever she feels like it and the school can't say anything about it. Students come to school to learn. They learn about reading and writing but whose to say it isn't a place to learn about god as well. I support the idea that the judge made a bad decision and I hope the student tells the school to stick it.
Did you actually read the courts decision and rationale, or did you just pull that out of your ass? Because right now I'm thinking option # 2. Although some of the reasons the teacher gave were faulty, many of her reasons were quite sound and I whole-heartedly agree with them and not all of the reasons were related to religion. Furthermore, the faulty reasoning does not demonstrate an intent to deprive the girl of her constitutional rights and is at worst a bad decision. But again, the other reasons were in and of themselves perfectly valid and alone sufficient justification for first not permitting the research topic and then giving the girl a zero.

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
The first amendment gives us freedom of religion not freedom from it.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. You couldn't be more wrong. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," means precisely that we do have freedom from religion. Only after making that clear does the First Amendment continue, "... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The difficulty is that "the free exercise" of some people's religion includes "establishing" it for everyone else.

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quis_custodiet
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Instead, she has chosen to challenge Ms. Ramsey's rejection of her topic as restricting her rights of free speech under the First Amendment.
Okay, this hangs my munchkin...incorrect assumption of the Constitution. A teacher limiting topics does not contravene the first ammendment. The first ammendment states, and I quote:

quote:
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.
The government has done no such thing in this case. A teacher did. End of story.

BTW, I'm Canadian and a film student and if I understand the laws of the US why can't an American lawyer [Big Grin]

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quis custodiet

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep - everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

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ULTRAGLORIA
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by quis_custodiet:
The government has done no such thing in this case. A teacher did. End of story.

Not quite.

While I agree with the court, that the teacher did not violate the student's right to free speech, a teacher in a public school is an agent of the government.

The entire school is an arm of government. If the teacher had asked the students to write about someone who influenced their life (for example) and the student had chosen Jesus Christ, the teacher would have been out of line (IMO) to forbid the topic, only because it was a religious figure.

Even though it would have been a teacher forbidding that topic, not the 'government' it is still wrong, because the teacher is an agent of the government.

All bets are off in private schools. They can do whatever the heck they want if they don't receive any public funding.

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Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
While I agree with the court, that the teacher did not violate the student's right to free speech, a teacher in a public school is an agent of the government.

The entire school is an arm of government. If the teacher had asked the students to write about someone who influenced their life (for example) and the student had chosen Jesus Christ, the teacher would have been out of line (IMO) to forbid the topic, only because it was a religious figure.

Even though it would have been a teacher forbidding that topic, not the 'government' it is still wrong, because the teacher is an agent of the government.

All bets are off in private schools. They can do whatever the heck they want if they don't receive any public funding.

Everything you've said is correct, including the last statement. It is worth noting, however, that the courts currently consider an educational institution to be federally funded if even one student pays for his attendance with money that comes from the federal government. (I happen to think the courts are full of crap on this matter, but that's how it is.)

ETA: I'm only aware of a court holding it for colleges and universities, but I can scarcely imagine that the same court would find differently for elementary or secondary education.

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quis_custodiet
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by ULTRAGOTHA:
quote:
Originally posted by quis_custodiet:
The government has done no such thing in this case. A teacher did. End of story.

Not quite.

While I agree with the court, that the teacher did not violate the student's right to free speech, a teacher in a public school is an agent of the government.

The entire school is an arm of government. If the teacher had asked the students to write about someone who influenced their life (for example) and the student had chosen Jesus Christ, the teacher would have been out of line (IMO) to forbid the topic, only because it was a religious figure.

Even though it would have been a teacher forbidding that topic, not the 'government' it is still wrong, because the teacher is an agent of the government.

All bets are off in private schools. They can do whatever the heck they want if they don't receive any public funding.

Ahhhh...that's one area where we difer here in Canada. Even in public schools the teachers are not agents of the government. They are employees of the Board which is not neccesarily an extension of the government.

Ya learn something new everyday [Big Grin]

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quis custodiet

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep - everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
I read the link and I was surprised to say the least. As for Christians being persecuted for there beliefs by the government this is true. However, Christians are persecuted by those americans who are not Christian. .

actually, during the 1840s and 1850s some christians were persecuted for their beliefs. Some Catholics were persecuted and many others were discriminated against, but the persecutors were other christians.

for those who contend that christians are "persecuted", it might be interesting to hear your definition of persecution. there are interesting international human rights definitions of this term. whatever you pastor might tell you, being satirized on the simpson's does not rise to the level of persecution.

i am also surprised that so many christians seem to dispute the authority of a teacher to assign writing subjects to her class.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

THUMP, THUMP, THUMP

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ULTRAGLORIA
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by quis_custodiet:
Ahhhh...that's one area where we difer here in Canada. Even in public schools the teachers are not agents of the government. They are employees of the Board which is not neccesarily an extension of the government.

Here, any entity that receives public money has pretty much been found by the courts to be bound by Constitutional rules.

As an example, Virginia Military Institute, whilst more or less a "private" school, does receive public funds. As a result, when a young woman sued to be allowed to attend on the basis of sex discrimination, VMI was faced with a choice--either refuse all tax payer funds or allow women to attend the school. They chose to admit women.

The teachers at VMI are paid by whatever non-government entity runs the school, which relies mostly on private funds. But because government money is also used, the teachers at VMI are bound by the same laws, rules and regulations that any teacher at a completely publically funded school is bound by.

Here it only takes a smidgeon of public money, and you fall into all the public laws.

Those organizations that do not use any public funds at all are allowed to admit or not admit anyone they wish (Boy Scouts exclude Athiests and homosexuals; the Augusta Golf Club excludes women). And, if they are schools, they can admit or not admit any student they wish, and teach any kind of religious information they want.

At the risk of veering this away from the original topic: That's what the whole debate about "school vouchers" is about. If government money can be used by a voucher recipient at a Private School, then which, if any, of the non-establishment, free exercise, non-discrimination rules must the school follow?

With no voucher funds, and no public money, the answer is easy--the school isn't bound by any of those rules.

But if they accept voucher students, then
Are they obligated to accept ANY voucher student, just as public schools are?
Can they exclude all boys? All Girls? All Blacks? All non-Hawaiians?
Must they refrain from 'establishing' a religion?
Must they allow the free exercise of a religion that isn't the one followed by the school (Sikh students in a Calvary Temple Baptist school?)

It's a whole can of worms that no one has addressed in it's entirety.

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quis_custodiet
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quote:
Originally posted by ULTRAGOTHA:

At the risk of veering this away from the original topic: That's what the whole debate about "school vouchers" is about. If government money can be used by a voucher recipient at a Private School, then which, if any, of the non-establishment, free exercise, non-discrimination rules must the school follow?

With no voucher funds, and no public money, the answer is easy--the school isn't bound by any of those rules.

But if they accept voucher students, then
Are they obligated to accept ANY voucher student, just as public schools are?
Can they exclude all boys? All Girls? All Blacks? All non-Hawaiians?
Must they refrain from 'establishing' a religion?
Must they allow the free exercise of a religion that isn't the one followed by the school (Sikh students in a Calvary Temple Baptist school?)

It's a whole can of worms that no one has addressed in it's entirety.

I see...I never understood why that was such a problem from the schools perspective but now I see.

So, if someone, only one person, is at the school on a voucher, the school is seen as receiving public funds and therefor are agents/part of the government and therfor must follow the rules as they are in the constitution...very interesting.

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quis custodiet

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep - everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by ULTRAGOTHA:

Here, any entity that receives public money has pretty much been found by the courts to be bound by Constitutional rules.

As an example, Virginia Military Institute, whilst more or less a "private" school, does receive public funds. As a result, when a young woman sued to be allowed to attend on the basis of sex discrimination, VMI was faced with a choice--either refuse all tax payer funds or allow women to attend the school. They chose to admit women.
[/QUOTE]

Not quite; VMI was and still is part of the Commonwealth Public Higher Education System, as The Citadel was and is a branch of the University of South Carolina System. There are still some private all-male colleges, such as Hampton-Sydney, Wabash, Morehouse, and Hobart.

While private schools that accept government funds must abide by SOME of the government's rules about equal access/nondiscrimination, they don't have to abide by ALL of them. Which ones vary by program. (I used to work for a church-related college; it did accept some public funds, but the school's religious nature was very much in evidence. I know that there were certain gvt. funding programs that the school did NOT participate in because their rules were regarded as too restrictive. I'm not sure of the details because I wasn't in the finance office.)

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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just to get back to the assertion that christians are persecuted in the U.S.

i've worked on a number of legal cases defining the term "persecution". it is quite clear that persecution does not mean "being made to feel weird" or being laughed at or even discriminated against. in her excellent work "law of asylum" deborah anker of harvard says that "persection encompasses extreme physical violence including severe beatings, death, and torture...persecution also includes lesser form of physical harm, such as non-life-threatening violence and physical abuse..." some forms of emotional abuse, such as threats of death may also constitute persecution. being forced to witness the killing of a family member is an example of non-physical abuse which rises to the level of persecution.

persecution is an extremely strong word and should not be thrown around lightly.

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resELution
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
just to get back to the assertion that christians are persecuted in the U.S.

i've worked on a number of legal cases defining the term "persecution". it is quite clear that persecution does not mean "being made to feel weird" or being laughed at or even discriminated against. in her excellent work "law o asylum" deborah anker of harvard says that "persection encompasses extreme physical violence including severe beatings, death, and torture...persecution also includes lesser form of physical harm, such as non-life-threatening violence and physical abuse..." some forms of emotional abuse, such as threats of death may also constitute persecution. being forced to witness the killing of a family member is an example of non-physical abuse which rises to the level of persecution.

persecution is an extremely strong word and should not be thrown around lightly.

Thank you Pat. Persecution has been used so heavily anymore, it seems like everyone is claiming it.
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cstam1979
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Jay Temple that first line of the 1st amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," meaning that congress cannot make any law regarding establishment of religion. That precise enough for you? As for me being wrong I'm not wrong I have the right to believe in Christ and you have the right not to. But you do not have the right to limit me in any way should I establish a Christian group in any school or building or place whether it is federally funded or not.
I read in another post about persecution and what constitutes it. When the Simpsons satirize Christianity I'm not put off in any way because I know its fake. As for when the Supreme Court decides for the person who has a problem with a Christian display I feel that this constitutes persecution. In the bible a man named Saul went to different towns and killed Christians for what they believed in. As he is traveling one day he is hit with bright light and hears the voice of God asking "Why do persecute me?"
Now take it the way you want but any time the government oversteps its bounds or when someone demands that a Christian display be removed from some public area that this constitutes persecution. A very mild form of it. As for this case though I still believe that the decision was wrong and she should never have gotten an F. I did read the decision and all but one reason for the F was based on religious grounds. So I still say she should tell the school to stick it.

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ULTRAGLORIA
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
But you do not have the right to limit me in any way should I establish a Christian group in any school or building or place whether it is federally funded or not.

Actually, courts have repeatedly found that if the school allows groups to use it's facilities, it cannot forbid groups to use it's facilities based on whether they are religious or not. There you are correct.

However, if the school doesn't allow any groups, then it doesn't have to allow any religious groups, either. And the school would have the complete right to stop you from holding a Christian group meeting there. Or Chess group. Or History group.

quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
As for when the Supreme Court decides for the person who has a problem with a Christian display I feel that this constitutes persecution. In the bible a man named Saul went to different towns and killed Christians for what they believed in. As he is traveling one day he is hit with bright light and hears the voice of God asking "Why do persecute me?"
Now take it the way you want but any time the government oversteps its bounds or when someone demands that a Christian display be removed from some public area that this constitutes persecution.

God chastized Saul for killing. God, correctly, used the term persecution.

You do not use that term correctly. Demanding that a Christian display be removed from a Government building is not only NOT persecution, it is the law of the land.

If a court ordered that you remove a Christian display from in front of your privately owned home, that would be a massive violation of our Constitution. But it wouldn't be persecution.

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A Lie can run around the world before the Truth can get its boots on. - Terry Pratchett

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
Now take it the way you want but any time the government oversteps its bounds or when someone demands that a Christian display be removed from some public area that this constitutes persecution. A very mild form of it. .

umm, here's your problem. there are no mild forms of persecution. were the court to order the killing, torture, or rape of those who erected the display, then you could argue those people had been persecuted.

God correctly understood the term persecution in God's communication with saul.

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pat "Megadittoes Rush" young

THUMP, THUMP, THUMP

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pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
As for this case though I still believe that the decision was wrong and she should never have gotten an F. I did read the decision and all but one reason for the F was based on religious grounds.
You think someone who didn't turn in a paper should get a higher grade than an F? What logic is that?

pinqy

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Don't Forget!
Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming!

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brick
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
We are told where we can place our symbols, where we can practice our religion, and where we can hand out our literature.

No you're not. As a private citizen, you may place a religious symbol, practice religion, and hand out religious literature anywhere that placing symbols, performing ceremonies, and handing out literature is otherwise permitted.

You just can't get the government to help you.

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
We are told where we can place our symbols, where we can practice our religion, and where we can hand out our literature.

Schools were not created to be a showcase for your god. Schools were created by the government so that people could receive a secular education. Schools have no right to promote a religion, even yours. This country's government does not exist for your religion or for your god: it exists for the people of the United States, regardless of religious affiliation. And yes, government includes public schools.

You are no more entitled to have public schools sporting crucifixes and the ten commandments than I am entitled to have public schools blaring "God does not exist!" over the intercoms every morning. Why do you think you deserve more than I do?

You are aloud to pray, you are aloud to believe, you are aloud to follow the religion of your choice. Your choice... that means your religion. You don't have to beleive what I believe or what the government tells you to believe and you don't have to worry about the government asking children to repeat the words "God does not exist" or "Satan is my lord and master" or "Praise be to Allah" or "Buddah is the enlightened one" at the beggining of every school day.

All I ask is that you follow the same rules as everyone else and leave religion out of schools and out of the government. And no, my request is not evil.

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"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Cobra4J
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
quote:
Originally posted by cstam1979:
We are told where we can place our symbols, where we can practice our religion, and where we can hand out our literature.

Schools were not created to be a showcase for your god. Schools were created by the government so that people could receive a secular education. Schools have no right to promote a religion, even yours. This country's government does not exist for your religion or for your god: it exists for the people of the United States, regardless of religious affiliation. And yes, government includes public schools.

All I ask is that you follow the same rules as everyone else and leave religion out of schools and out of the government. And no, my request is not evil.

I am a devout Christian, (don't let the nickname fool you) - and I do not feel your request is evil.

I agree - government should not be telling my child what to believe, or how to pray, and the public schools should not be "forcing" your child to pray.

However, if a child wants to say grace over lunch, or if a school chooses to put up a Christmas tree, (since 90% of the kids in the school are from Christian families and/or celebrate Christmas) or if a child writes a books report about a religious figure (who will read the report other than the teacher?) why is this a problem?

Everyone wants to talk about "their rights" - what about the other guy? I respect your right to not believe - and I will not try to force you and your children to pray. But, when someone is telling me, or my kids, they cannot pray here- is that or is that not a violation of my rights?

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Antipodean Wanderer
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Cobra4J:
However, if a child wants to say grace over lunch, or if a school chooses to put up a Christmas tree, (since 90% of the kids in the school are from Christian families and/or celebrate Christmas) or if a child writes a books report about a religious figure (who will read the report other than the teacher?) why is this a problem?

Everyone wants to talk about "their rights" - what about the other guy? I respect your right to not believe - and I will not try to force you and your children to pray. But, when someone is telling me, or my kids, they cannot pray here- is that or is that not a violation of my rights?

As far as I understand it, noone is stopping your child from praying as an individual, if your child wishes to say a prayer before a meal or a sporting event that is fine. If your child wishes to organise the whole school to congregate to say a prayer before a meal or sporting event, or to broadcast the prayer to the whole school, that isn't fine.

I personally would not object to your school placing a christmas tree in a common area. If it was allowed however, I would lose the right to complain about some other group placing a poster saying "There is no such thing as Santa, your parents are lying to you, and BTW Jesus was not the messiah, they are lying about that too."

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Cynestria
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Cobra4J:
or if a child writes a books report about a religious figure (who will read the report other than the teacher?) why is this a problem?

Well, it might be if it completely ignores what the assignment is. You're not being persecuted if you get an F on a report about Jesus when you were told to select from a specific list of books which the Bible isn't part of or something.

Or if you're supposed to be writing a book report and write a sermon instead. That's not doing the assignment either, since the assignment is to approach it from a literary point of view.

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Antipodean Wanderer
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Cynestria:
quote:
Originally posted by Cobra4J:
or if a child writes a books report about a religious figure (who will read the report other than the teacher?) why is this a problem?

Well, it might be if it completely ignores what the assignment is. You're not being persecuted if you get an F on a report about Jesus when you were told to select from a specific list of books which the Bible isn't part of or something.

Or if you're supposed to be writing a book report and write a sermon instead. That's not doing the assignment either, since the assignment is to approach it from a literary point of view.

Or in this particular case a research paper quoting 4 sources rather than an opinion piece based upon one source.
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ULTRAGLORIA
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Cobra4J:
However, if a child wants to say grace over lunch, or if a school chooses to put up a Christmas tree, (since 90% of the kids in the school are from Christian families and/or celebrate Christmas) or if a child writes a books report about a religious figure (who will read the report other than the teacher?) why is this a problem?

Every single one of these things is allowed. There is no problem at all.

A child praying over his lunch in a public school is protected by the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.

A child leading the rest of the school in prayer in a public school is prohibited by the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Courts have repeatedly found that Christmas trees in public buildings, are not a violation of the Establishment clause. It doesn't matter what the percentage of Christians in a school is. The Constitution protects us all from the "Tyranny of the majority". Christmas trees are allowed even if not one single child in the school is Christian. Alternatively, the school administration could choose to not erect any decorations relating to the holiday and that would not be a violation of the Free Exercise clause.

If the teacher's assignment for a book report included books on religious figures, then it is certainly allowed to write a book report on a religious figure. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare is a Newberry Award winning book. A book report exploring the role of Jesus in this book would be very appropriate, if that book was one of the ones the kids were assigned to write a report about.


quote:
Originally posted by Cobra4J:
But, when someone is telling me, or my kids, they cannot pray here- is that or is that not a violation of my rights?

No, it's not.

If I, as your employer, tell you that you may not lead a prayer service on my property, is that a violation of your rights? No.

If I, as your employer, tell you that you may not open a meeting with the customer with a prayer, or even pray aloud for yourself in front of the customer, is that a violation of your rights? No.

If I, as your employer, tell you that you may not pray aloud over your lunch, is that a violation of your rights? Yes.

Ditto for schools. A child may pray in a public school in any manner or time that does not disrupt class. Praying aloud while the teacher is talking wouldn't be allowed. And forbidding a student from doing so is not a violation of the Free Exercise clause.

Forbidding a child from silently praying, or even quietly praying aloud during the child's free time, where it isn't disrupting school activities, is a violation of the Free Exercise clause.

Make sense?

--------------------
A Lie can run around the world before the Truth can get its boots on. - Terry Pratchett

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. - Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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