AR School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

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AR School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri May 10, 2013 11:36 am UTC

Instead of just taking time at a 6th grade graduation to pray to a deity that not all students or their parents worship, an Arkansas school as cancelled the ceremony outright.

Spoiler:
A school district in Arkansas has decided to completely cancel 6th grade graduation ceremonies after some parents asked that Christian prayers not be included.

According to KAIT, Riverside School district made the decision after being contacted by a parent and receiving a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union.

“As Christians and a mainly Christian town I think, there were a lot of people hurt that our rights were taken away,” Sixth grade parent Kelly Adams told the station. “My daughter graduated last year from 6th grade and my son is graduating this year from 6th grade, and we had a pastor open our ceremony and my daughter actually closed the ceremony in prayer.”

“We just went to take a stand for God because we felt like out rights were taken away,” she added. “I realize they have rights too but you can’t take rights away from one group and give it to another.”

Adams said that a group of Christian parents were meeting to decide which church would host a substitute graduation, and that everyone would be invited.

“We are including everyone, everyone is invited, we want everyone to come and be a part of it,” she insisted. “We’re not trying to be pushy or ugly to anybody, we just want them to know there is a God who loves them.”


-_-

EDIT: Wrong state abbreviation! D'oh!
Last edited by Princess Marzipan on Sat May 11, 2013 4:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Angua » Fri May 10, 2013 11:40 am UTC

Yes, let's move the graduation to a church instead! That will solve everything!!!
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Re: AR School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Qaanol » Fri May 10, 2013 12:24 pm UTC

^FTFY
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby eculc » Fri May 10, 2013 1:35 pm UTC

It never ceases to amaze me that whenever something happens to disrupt christians from imposing their beliefs on others, someone always calls out that their rights are being violated.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Sero » Fri May 10, 2013 1:38 pm UTC

“I realize they have rights too but you can’t take rights away from one group and give it to another.”


This quote is fun, taken out of context. If I understand things correctly, what was being taken away was her 'right' to a 6th grade graduation with Christian prayers and no recognition of other religions, and the right given to other groups was to have their religions recognized in the ceremonies along with Christianity.

So, 'you can't take away my right to exclusivity to give other people the right to be included' would be an accurate portrayal of her complaint. I assume this woman also opposes women's suffrage and desegregation?
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri May 10, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

“We just went to take a stand for God because we felt like out rights were taken away,” she added. “I realize they have rights too but you can’t take rights away from one group and give it to another.”


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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby krogoth » Fri May 10, 2013 1:41 pm UTC

"We’re not trying to be pushy or ugly to anybody, we just want them to know there is a God who loves them."

As long as they follow our creed anyway. Otherwise he hates them.


"I realize they have rights too but you can’t take rights away from one group and give it to another."

Well you can say your Christian prayers as long as I can say my Satanic ones, fair?

I wrote that line before I saw Sero's update. But I'm happy as it stands.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 10, 2013 1:52 pm UTC

I chuckled at the idea of all faiths being included for fairness.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri May 10, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

Wait, the technicalities here are where the story is... but they don't seem to be answered. The school was going to hold graduation ceremonies at a Church, and I can understand the protest that this isn't a neutral ground (or maybe... that its not good because of separation of church / state). But if you invite a Pastor as your speaker to a graduation ceremony, doesn't the Pastor have a right to say what he wants on the stage?

I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away". The linked story is extremely light on details, and I'm not sure how to classify this story. Is this a story about forced secularism, or is it a story about forced Christianity? Or is it somewhere in between?

I'm against "forcing" of any kind, so the details of who did what are important...
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Tirian » Fri May 10, 2013 2:08 pm UTC

I think the school made the right decision. I wish more primary and middle schools would recognize that their graduation ceremonies serve no educational or social purpose and become vacuums for the misplaced priorities of individuals like this Kelly Adams. Have a party in the cafeteria if you like, but skip the gowns and the rehearsals and the speeches and I you'll find that nobody misses them.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby krogoth » Fri May 10, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

"right to say what he wants on the stage" as long as it isn't libel, slander, obscenity, sedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), a copyright violation ect.

Many of, could be subject to opinion(morals are somewhat a gray line these days), not definable fact.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri May 10, 2013 2:15 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The school was going to hold graduation ceremonies at a Church


I think you misunderstood. The unofficial ceremony being organized by parents to replace the cancelled official ceremony is planned to be held at a church. The cancellation was decided by the school board after a single parent had complained about prayers being a part of the ceremony, as had been the case last year.

The sparsity of details seems to be because the school has chosen to avoid commenting on the issue, probably because they realized it was an immensely stupid one.

Tirian wrote:I think the school made the right decision. I wish more primary and middle schools would recognize that their graduation ceremonies serve no educational or social purpose and become vacuums for the misplaced priorities of individuals like this Kelly Adams. Have a party in the cafeteria if you like, but skip the gowns and the rehearsals and the speeches and I you'll find that nobody misses them.


It's important for kids to feel good about their education. Even at excellent schools non-trivial amounts of students drop out before completing secondary education. The parents...yeah, I get you. But the important part is making students feel accomplished, that their hard work is paying off, and they should stick with it. Even if I agreed with you, that isn't the reason why they cancelled it. I suspect either the school board was scared of angering Christian parents in the community or they wanted to punish the student and their parents who objected as an example for others like them in the future, so that next year they can hold a prayer and avoid any further controversies.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Diadem » Fri May 10, 2013 2:17 pm UTC

]“We’re not trying to be pushy or ugly to anybody, we just want them to know there is a God who loves them.”

I never cease being amazed by how big the beams are that some people have in their eyes. "We're not trying to be pushy, we're just trying to push our religion". How can anybody be that willfully stupid?

KnightExemplar wrote:But if you invite a Pastor as your speaker to a graduation ceremony, doesn't the Pastor have a right to say what he wants on the stage?

No, he doesn't. The pastor (and any other potential speaker at a ceremony) has the right to say whatever he wants in his free time. But this is a state sponsored event, so no religion.

KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri May 10, 2013 2:23 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".


So, in order to protect the right of secularism, you must prevent people from choosing to not be secular? Is there such a thing as a right that an individual legally can not choose to not exercise?

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri May 10, 2013 2:30 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".


In the US, we have the right to practice religion, any religion you want. Religious Freedom (including the right to practice Atheism) is core to our country. Its not about "Secularism", its about "Religious Freedom".

Preventing people from practicing their Religion is a big no-no. So my question is, is that what happened here?
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Fri May 10, 2013 2:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Diadem » Fri May 10, 2013 2:30 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:
Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".


So, in order to protect the right of secularism, you must prevent people from choosing to not be secular?

Yes. Of course. Why are you pretending like that is some kind of surprise? You can't be secular and non-secular at the same time. An environment is only free from religion is no one brings their religion. I don't even know how to explain this except in tautology, because this is inherent in the very concept of secularism. If in a group of 6 people 5 are not forcing their religion on others, and 1 is, then it's not a secular group, even if only one person in the group is choosing not to be secular.

KnightExemplar wrote:In the US, we have the right to practice religion, any religion you want. Religious Freedom (including the right to practice Atheism) is core to our country.

Preventing people from practicing their Religion is a big no-no. So my question is, is that what happened here?

Religious freedom requires preventing people from practicing their religion, if that practice violates the religious freedom of others. Seriously, why is this so hard to grok? You are free to practice your religion, you are not free to force or push your religion on others, and the state itself does not respect any religion.
Last edited by Diadem on Fri May 10, 2013 2:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Chen » Fri May 10, 2013 2:31 pm UTC

I'm curious about a certain hypothetical. If I'm a validictorian at my public high school graduation, they can't prevent me from saying a prayer during my speech right? I understand the public school administrators (ostensibly representing the state) cannot drive a prayer, but part of the first amendment is not "prohibiting the free exercise thereof[referring to religion]". I presume this wouldn't restrict students from prayer themselves if they so wanted?

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri May 10, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:
Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".


So, in order to protect the right of secularism, you must prevent people from choosing to not be secular?

Yes. Of course. Why are you pretending like that is some kind of surprise? You can't be secular and non-secular at the same time. An environment is only free from religion is no one brings their religion. I don't even know how to explain this except in tautology, because this is inherent in the very concept of secularism. If in a group of 6 people 5 are not forcing their religion on others, and 1 is, then it's not a secular group, even if only one person in the group is choosing not to be secular.


Sure, perhaps over there. Over here, our rights are "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Ammendment). Two parts: Free Establishment, and Free Exercise.

I'm concerned about the 2nd part: was "Free Exercise of Religion" threatened here? The ACLU came over to the ceremony, and then prevented someone from praying during the ceremony. Sounds like a restriction of "Free Exercise" to me.

EDIT: Potentially of course. The devil is in the details... and no one seems to have those details.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby krogoth » Fri May 10, 2013 2:40 pm UTC

the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary.

As long as you you are in an area it is welcome in, Is how I read the rest of this wiki page.
As long as your aren't pissing the majority or 'important' people,whatever lines you wanna draw off, then you can say whatever you want.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Diadem » Fri May 10, 2013 2:43 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Sure, perhaps over there. Over here, our rights are "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Ammendment). Two parts: Free Establishment, and Free Exercise.

Not "Free establishment", but the exact opposite: Free from establishment. Your are not free to establish a religion, you are in fact explicitly banned from establishing a religion, where 'you' refers to people acting on behalf or with authority of the government (the original amendment mentions only congress, but it actually applies to all branches and forms of government).

Saying a prayer during a school ceremony is establishing a religion. Since schools are paid for with public money, they are part of the government (in the broadest, but relevant, sense of the word), and thus banned from establishing a religion.

I'm concerned about the 2nd part: was "Free Exercise of Religion" threatened here? The ACLU came over to the ceremony, and then prevented someone from praying during the ceremony. Sounds like a restriction of "Free Exercise" to me.

The 'free exercise' part refers to individuals, to what people do in their private lives. It doesn't refer to government officials acting as government officials. Those are not free to exercise religion, are banned even from exercising religion, per the 1st part of that admentment.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri May 10, 2013 2:46 pm UTC

Any instance of a government organization sponsoring a religious ritual is violating the establishment clause. This includes inviting a religious figure who then performs a religious ritual with permission of the government organization. From the way it is described, it sounds like the school fully intended to have a prayer held as part of the graduation ceremony.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 10, 2013 2:48 pm UTC

So, when the President has a religious leader involved in a prayer or anything like that, he's violating the constitution? I just chuckled at the idea of wingnuts declaring that Obama hates the constitution because he prays.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Adam H » Fri May 10, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Sure, perhaps over there. Over here, our rights are "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Ammendment). Two parts: Free Establishment, and Free Exercise.

Not "Free establishment", but the exact opposite: Free from establishment. Your are not free to establish a religion, you are in fact explicitly banned from establishing a religion, where 'you' refers to people acting on behalf or with authority of the government (the original amendment mentions only congress, but it actually applies to all branches and forms of government).

Saying a prayer during a school ceremony is establishing a religion. Since schools are paid for with public money, they are part of the government (in the broadest, but relevant, sense of the word), and thus banned from establishing a religion.

Iulus Cofield wrote:Any instance of a government organization sponsoring a religious ritual is violating the establishment clause. This includes inviting a religious figure who then performs a religious ritual with permission of the government organization. From the way it is described, it sounds like the school fully intended to have a prayer held as part of the graduation ceremony.

"CONGRESS shall make no LAW respecting an establishment of religion". You have to make several big leaps to reach the conclusion that no government organization can host a religious ceremony.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Darryl » Fri May 10, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".

You do know that KnightExemplar was linking to a law that banned students from wearing visible symbols of their religion at school, right? Which yes, is an infringement on rights, since several religions dictate certain things (such as Jewish men keeping their head partially covered, and Muslim women following hijab including, for many, wearing of a garment to cover the hair).
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby philsov » Fri May 10, 2013 2:52 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I'm curious about a certain hypothetical. If I'm a validictorian at my public high school graduation, they can't prevent me from saying a prayer during my speech right? I understand the public school administrators (ostensibly representing the state) cannot drive a prayer, but part of the first amendment is not "prohibiting the free exercise thereof[referring to religion]". I presume this wouldn't restrict students from prayer themselves if they so wanted?


Correct. This is how many of the admin bypass the restriction to still permit prayer and such. It's still legal if it's student-led.

Darryl wrote:
Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".

You do know that KnightExemplar was linking to a law that banned students from wearing visible symbols of their religion at school, right? Which yes, is an infringement on rights, since several religions dictate certain things (such as Jewish men keeping their head partially covered, and Muslim women following hijab including, for many, wearing of a garment to cover the hair).


It's a case where being "free to practice your religion" and being "not free to push your religion on others" are mutually exclusive. If there's a christian sect whose tenets include witnessing and preaching, it's a similar situation; they cannot be members of that sect, logically, if they aren't legally permitted to bother others about their worldview.

In this case, yes, it's unfortunate that it has to occur, but it's better to err on the side of people not messing with each. I'm free to flail my arms around wildly, but if I hit someone in the process it's a bad thing. If I'm stuck in a crowded room, I lose the right to flail because I will hit someone. Welcome to society.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Chen » Fri May 10, 2013 3:04 pm UTC

philsov wrote:It's a case where being "free to practice your religion" and being "not free to push your religion on others" are mutually exclusive. If there's a christian sect whose tenets include witnessing and preaching, it's a similar situation; they cannot be members of that sect, logically, if they aren't legally permitted to bother others about their worldview.


I'm not clear how wearing a crucifix or headscarf is somehow pushing my religions on others though. Proselytizing is one thing, but just wearing articles of faith seems a bit extreme. I can even see banning Kirpans as they are weapons, but a crucifix around the neck? Or turban? It feels like that's going a bit far.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Fri May 10, 2013 3:10 pm UTC

Sixth grade graduation? You graduate from elementary school by being alive and >= 11 years old, aren't those celebrations called birthdays?

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 10, 2013 3:38 pm UTC


In this case, yes, it's unfortunate that it has to occur, but it's better to err on the side of people not messing with each. I'm free to flail my arms around wildly, but if I hit someone in the process it's a bad thing. If I'm stuck in a crowded room, I lose the right to flail because I will hit someone. Welcome to society

I'd say that France and the US have a different view of which side is the side of caution. Americans prefer to err on the side of free exercise, the French on the side of a secular state. Americans are comfortable with ministers at formal presidential events, the French with bans on crucifixes.

That makes some historic sense: the US has always had a variety of religious streams, or at least various Protestant streams. So the historic worry is that one minority stream would hijack the state to make itself dominant. The historic French worry is that conservative Catholics would use the state to force a strict Catholicism on a mostly weakly catholic population.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Angua » Fri May 10, 2013 3:40 pm UTC

We had a graduation from pre-school to kindergarden, and between primary school and high school (after 6th grade you start in a different school at 1st form). Also between high school and 6th form college. And after 6th form college.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Xeio » Fri May 10, 2013 4:04 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:"CONGRESS shall make no LAW respecting an establishment of religion". You have to make several big leaps to reach the conclusion that no government organization can host a religious ceremony.
The constitution is not a strictly literal document. You realize how much case law there is for this issue that goes up to SCOTUS even, right?

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri May 10, 2013 5:27 pm UTC

American right wingers cutting off their own nose to spite a democrats face? Color me shocked :P
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Telchar » Fri May 10, 2013 6:38 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
philsov wrote:It's a case where being "free to practice your religion" and being "not free to push your religion on others" are mutually exclusive. If there's a christian sect whose tenets include witnessing and preaching, it's a similar situation; they cannot be members of that sect, logically, if they aren't legally permitted to bother others about their worldview.


I'm not clear how wearing a crucifix or headscarf is somehow pushing my religions on others though. Proselytizing is one thing, but just wearing articles of faith seems a bit extreme. I can even see banning Kirpans as they are weapons, but a crucifix around the neck? Or turban? It feels like that's going a bit far.


My understanding is that the law only bans overt displays and that there are exceptions made for pendants of the crucifix, star of david, etc....
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri May 10, 2013 7:47 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I chuckled at the idea of all faiths being included for fairness.

'We thank The Holy Father, Jehovah, Allah, Satan, Shiva, Xenu, Buddha, Zeus/Jupiter, Thor, Nergal, Frank down the street, Invisible Pink Unicorn, none of whom exist, all of whom may or may not exist...'


You forgot the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby CorruptUser » Fri May 10, 2013 7:55 pm UTC

He just used his noodly appendages to remove all evidence that he was in there all.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby cphite » Fri May 10, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So, when the President has a religious leader involved in a prayer or anything like that, he's violating the constitution? I just chuckled at the idea of wingnuts declaring that Obama hates the constitution because he prays.


No, he isn't violating any laws when he does that. And technically, neither is the principle of a school if he does the same thing.

Despite what many people think, there is no legal basis for banning anyone from freely exercising their religion, whether or not they work for the government, even while they are acting in a government capacity. In the vast majority of cases where schools, or towns, bow to complaints about this sort of thing, it's not because they've actually broken any law, but rather because fighting it would be far too expensive. The president, being who he is, has nothing to worry about.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby mousewiz » Fri May 10, 2013 8:09 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:I chuckled at the idea of all faiths being included for fairness.

'We thank The Holy Father, Jehovah, Allah, Satan, Shiva, Xenu, Buddha, Zeus/Jupiter, Thor, Nergal, Frank down the street, Invisible Pink Unicorn, none of whom exist, all of whom may or may not exist...'


You forgot the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


The pastor likely wouldn't be dressed like a pirate, therefore the pastor would not be permitted to preach the word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Therefore by not mentioning the FSM, the pastor is following the teachings of the FSM. Therefore the pastor is a Pastafarian and is validating the teachings of the FSM.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster was not (and cannot be) forgotten; it was all just a clever strategy orchestrated by a noodly appendage.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby philsov » Fri May 10, 2013 8:24 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:So, when the President has a religious leader involved in a prayer or anything like that, he's violating the constitution? I just chuckled at the idea of wingnuts declaring that Obama hates the constitution because he prays.


No, he isn't violating any laws when he does that. And technically, neither is the principle of a school if he does the same thing.

Despite what many people think, there is no legal basis for banning anyone from freely exercising their religion, whether or not they work for the government, even while they are acting in a government capacity. In the vast majority of cases where schools, or towns, bow to complaints about this sort of thing, it's not because they've actually broken any law, but rather because fighting it would be far too expensive. The president, being who he is, has nothing to worry about.


It hasn't been this way for about 50 years. Wikipedia!

In two landmark decisions, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), the US Supreme Court established what is now the current prohibition on state-sponsored prayer in schools. While the Engel decision held that the promulgation of an official state-school prayer stood in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause (thus overruling the New York Courts’ decisions), Abington held that Bible readings and other (state) school-sponsored religious activities were prohibited.[5] Following these two cases came the Court's decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), a ruling that established the Lemon test for religious activities within schools. The Lemon test states that in order to be constitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment any practice sponsored within state run schools (or other public, state sponsored activities) must adhere to the following three criteria:[6]

Have a secular purpose;
Must neither advance nor inhibit religion; and
Must not result in an excessive entanglement between government and religion.
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Aestatis » Sat May 11, 2013 1:43 am UTC

Let's at least be clear about one thing: Alaska (AK) has done plenty of terrible things in the past, but we aren't responsible for Arkansas' (AR) mistakes.

That said, my high school held multiple graduation ceremonies, and I imagine other schools could do the same. We had one unified school-sponsored ceremony that included no religious pushing, then also had other ceremonies held on separate days, sometimes on school grounds, that were religious in nature. I'm not sure the "held on school grounds" would be acceptable to all, but it did a good job of keep religion out of the general ceremony, but allowing students who were devout to participate in a ceremony that recognizes it.

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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sat May 11, 2013 10:55 am UTC

Darryl wrote:
Diadem wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I ask this because the forced Secular state in France scares me. And yes, forced secularism is indeed "rights getting taken away".

Secularism is a right, and like all rights has to be protected. That protection includes enforcing it against those who would violate it. The constitution is not optional. You might as well talk about "forced anti-slavery".

You do know that KnightExemplar was linking to a law that banned students from wearing visible symbols of their religion at school, right? Which yes, is an infringement on rights, since several religions dictate certain things (such as Jewish men keeping their head partially covered, and Muslim women following hijab including, for many, wearing of a garment to cover the hair).


The way this was put to me by a french friend (who is an english/french/outdoor ed teacher) of mine is thus... "In france, as a citizen you're FRENCH first, and everything else second... Your responsibility to france and your fellow frenchmen is the most important one; Religion can take up whatever space you have left if you like." (I'm not sure if he's as blunt in his mother tongue, he did learn English in glasgow)

By way of comparison: Americans seem to think of themselves as American after they've thought of everything else... Being a citizen of the US, figures somewhere behind say, being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan or the owner of a classic muscle car... From a European perspective it's a brave new world on the other side of the Atlantic.

That said the french are naturally laid back enough to not get all hyped up on their own self importance and go round annexing their neighbors, a strong national identity may not be for everyone!
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Re: AK School Cancels 6th Grade Grad Rather Than Not Pray

Postby Zamfir » Sat May 11, 2013 12:10 pm UTC

The US has a very similar patriotic streak as France. With examples as a pledge to the flag, people who say 'greatest could try on earth' without irony, or use 'unamerican' as a denunciation. Or the common rhetorical promise to emigrate if X happens, with the implication that X must be horrible if you are willing to live in a lesser country to escape it. American flag waving tends to look very French to me.


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