Monday, October 13, 2014


This School District Is Standing Up to an Atheist Group



An atheist group has demanded that an Oklahoma school remove a poster from its main office–but the school district said “no.”

For the last 18 years, a poster based on a painting, “Faith in America” by Donald Zolan, has been displayed in the main office of Kenneth Cooper Middle School in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation recently sent a letter to Dr. Fred Rhodes, the Putnum County Schools Superintendent, arguing that the poster violates the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. [There is no such clause]

Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Andrew Seidel wrote that the poster depicts “two children with their hands clasped in prayer, with an American flag background,” and as such is inappropriate material for a school.

“The meaning could not be more clear, real American children pray,” Seidel wrote.

Putnam County Schools attorney Anthony Childers responded to the atheist group, writing that the poster does not “promote any particular faith and does not create coercive pressure on students who may see the image.”

Childers added that the district will not be removing the poster.

In an email to Childers, Seidel called his response “insufficient” and threatened further action.

SOURCE


22 comments:

Anonymous said...

It may not be promotíng a "particular" faith but it promotes a superstitious appeal to a presumed deity to somehow intervene in the children's lives, and then by implication in favor of a particular nation by using the backdrop of a US flag.
Whether or not any of that is acceptable or legal in a public school of a country that thinks of itself as leading the World of the 21st century, is another matter.

Anonymous said...

And doing that in a world that is right now very dangerously at war because of religiously-related national interests.

Anonymous said...

Atheist groups like this claim they want the government to stop its "establishment of religion" but in reality they want no mention of religion at all, which in a sense, is a silent endorsement by omission of the religion of atheism.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:53/2:05 -- If it were depicting the religion that is threatening the world right now (as it has for the last 1500 years) those children would have their heads on the ground and their butts in the air.


Anonymous said...

It would seem the Freedom from Religion crowd want their own version of Sharia. In their world nobody is allowed to worship religion in public, particularly Christians. The US needs a test case in the Supreme Court to stop these bullies.

slinky said...

And religious leaders are not bullies? What do you call it when preachers demand that "you follow my brand of religion or you will live out eternity living in fire an brimstone."

Use the Name, Luke said...

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.
— First Amendment

A) It's a school, not Congress.

B) They are not creating an official church under the control of the government (what "establishment" means).

Bird of Paradise said...

I hope the prinipal tore up the FFRF stupid letter and wrote a return letter reading GO POUND SAND SELFISH ATHIESTS

stinky said...


Atheism as a faith was tried several times in the 20th century, in several countries. The results were multiple holocausts and holodomors, in Germany, in the USSR, in China, in Cambodia etc.

Those who like to argue the theory that we would be better off under atheism are advised to review the empirical evidence first, which is definitive on the point. When hypothesis and reality disagree, it is the hypothesis that is wrong.





stinky said...



B) They are not creating an official church under the control of the government (what "establishment" means).


They are using the power of the govt (judicial branch) to enforce one faith's beliefs over all others, a de facto state established religion. Remember, since the existence of God can neither be objectively proven nor disproven, atheism is as much a faith/religion as any other.

Anonymous said...

Stinky is stretching the definition of "faith" and "religion" to include "atheism", as the latter generally means the very opposite - ie. non-belief in religious faith.
And if you want to equate the totalitarian regimes of Communism and Nazism with atheism, then you must credit THEISM with all the religious wars that tore Europe apart for centuries, and the wars with Islam (which is also theistic of course).

Use the Name, Luke said...

de facto state established religion

A) The very same men who wrote the First Amendment actively supported teaching children and Indians the Bible, and that religion is necessary for this country to flourish. Thus this contention cannnot be what is meant by "establishment."

B) The First Amendment expressly forbids repressing religion, which is what such arguments are trying to accomplish.

C) It is not possible to have a "neutral" view of the subject unless you're in a coma. Atheism is not neutral, it is a truth claim, just as other views regarding spiritual things are also truth claims.

stinky said...


And if you want to equate the totalitarian regimes of Communism and Nazism with atheism, then you must credit THEISM with all the religious wars that tore Europe apart for centuries, and the wars with Islam (which is also theistic of course).

I would be very happy with this arrangement. We'll keep score:

Since differing systems have oft fought each other in war (Cold War, Islamic wars, Hitler etc), rather than having us assign blame based on designated aggression - too easy to dispute - let's just look at true "slaughters of the innocent" where no war was involved, such as the holocaust under Hitler or the purges under Mao, or Yahya Khan's genocide of the Hindus. In such events, the killers then have no excuse.

Under atheism, in the examples I cite above, the "kill rate" was some millions per year, possibly tens of millions.

Under Christianity, as an example, the Inquisition rate (oft overstated) was about 2 dozen per year. Not 2 dozen million, just 2 dozen. Look it up, do the math.

Under Islam, the numbers are in the millions again, but still less than atheism's kill rate (albeit much higher overall given Islam's longer history).

Them's the numbers.

Conclusion: Religion, where the core teachings center around humility and compassion, provides a powerful innoculant against killing. Not a pefect innoculant, but a powerful one nonetheless: said innoculation reduces the kill rate, not to zero, but significantly, like a vaccine. Some religions - Christianity & Buddhism (tho not the corrupted Shinto version) - provide significantly more protection than others. Political leaders generally try to corrupt the religion to their own purposes, but that is not the fault of religion but of politics. The core teachings still hold sway, tho, as the numbers indicate. You can play with those numbers all you like, the basic conclusions hold.

If the equation involved anything non-controversial, you would agree instantly, cuz the numbers are so overwhelmingly clear.

Those who favor proof by anecdote might still disagree. I would urge them to keep score.

I would further recommend to them to pay particular attention to the trendline changes; i.e. does the rate go up or down where a change from one belief system to another takes place. This is even more telling.


stinky said...


A) The very same men who wrote the First Amendment actively supported teaching children and Indians the Bible, and that religion is necessary for this country to flourish. Thus this contention cannnot be what is meant by "establishment."

Your conclusion is the opposite of your argument, at least to me. Perhaps I misunderstand you. Could you elaborate?

Go Away Bird said...

the ACLU was founded by a communists lets just start calling them the ATHIESTS COMMUNISTS & LAWYERS UNDERGROUND

Anonymous said...

Stinky - killing rates or persecution rates are not a numbers game. Any large number of victims is too many, and many countries or states have been guilty, but it's too simplistic to designate them as either just "Atheist" or "Theist", when many other factors and particulars are more relevant, usually of a purely political or territorial nature.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Stinky never mentions the horrific genocide and ill-treatment of indigenous peoples throughout the Americas by supposedly Christian "invaders", or the trans-Atlantic slave trade by supposedly Christian countries. Can he reckon up all that against his 20th Century godless Commies (Nazis are very ambiguous re their theistic beliefs).

stinky said...


killing rates or persecution rates are not a numbers game

No one said they were a "game", except you. And if the rates are dramatically higher, on a consistent basis, under atheism, that is evidence to be respected.

Your comment, in contrast, is essentially a plea for proof by anecdote. How quickly under pressure atheists abandon argument in favor of insistence.

Fact: atheism has been tried , multiple times in multiple cultures, and the result in each case was wholesale slaughter on a scale that dwarfs any other faith, even Islam.

Anonymous said...

Stinky fails to comprehend the points made to him and thinks in artificially simplistic terms of governments acting solely on the basis of being either "atheist" or "theist", which is totally unrealistc.
He was playing a "numbers game" by claiming vague comparisons of body counts as some kind of proof that theism "wins" against a-theism" no matter how many bodies pile up on the theist side.

Anonymous said...

According to Stinky the blood-bath of World War I was caused and carried out by THEIST governments.

stinky said...


According to Stinky the blood-bath of World War I was caused and carried out by THEIST governments.

Hitler and Stalin were WWII, actually, and Mao came later. Google it.

As for WWI, since there were few atheists at the time, and certainly no atheist govts, then there could be no dependent and independent variables, negating the opportunity for a comparison.

But once there WERE atheist govts, a proper comparison COULD be made, prob for the first time in history. Bloodbaths? They then went up by orders of magnitudes where atheistic govts were in charge. These historical facts are not in dispute.

Conclusion, stated yet again for the slow on the draw crowd: religion - and some religions more than others - reduce the violence considerably as compared to atheism. Not to zero, but a LOT.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest Stinky - the responsibility for the world's horrors aren't simply divided between two (fake) categories of governments - theist and non-theist !