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A young high school junior attending Muldrow High School in Oklahoma, contacted the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation), because plaques of the Ten Commandments were posted in all of his classrooms. He kept his identity anonymous at first, then later decided to reveal himself. His name is Gage Pulliam, and he is an Atheist. After the school received a call from FFRF threatening to sue the administration, if they did not take down the plaques, some Christians took up arms:

 

“It’s Christianity under attack within our own country,” said Josh Moore, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Muldrow, Oklahoma. “The irony can’t be missed by anyone who’s lived in this country or grown up in this country.” .
My first response? Oh, please. An attack? What if I told you, Pastor Moore, that under my rights as a Muslim, I want to have the Koran posted next to the Ten Commandments. Or how about as an Atheist, I’d like my views on there being no God, posted in all the classrooms. Let that roll around in your brain for a few minutes. This country was partially birthed from people who wanted to get away from religious restraints. We are a nation founded on freedom of religion. We are not a Christian nation of free religions.

A petition was started in the school by some of the Christian students to save the Ten Commandments plaques. A parent of of one of the students told local KHOG, she supports the students’ efforts:

“If other kids don’t want to read the Ten Commandments, then they don’t have to,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that they have to make everyone else do what they want.”
What? Does she realize the contradiction in her statement? Another parent said:
“I moved here in 2001 from Texas. The first thing I saw when I went to a parent teacher conference was the Ten Commandments. Then I noticed the lack of school violence, lower number of teen pregnancies. It was a pleasant surprise,” McGee said.

“Now it’s almost like a fear is gripping this small community because God is being removed and when God is removed something else will take its place,” he said.

Again my response is.  Please. God’s not going anywhere because of signs being take down. Of course, under U.S. law, the plaques are likely to be taken down. Not because there is anything wrong with them, but because placing them in classrooms goes against the separation of church and state — an early principle established in the U.S. Constitution. Since public schools are funded by American taxpayers, specifically Christian doctrine does not belong there.

Even lawmakers see that Christians are fighting a losing battle here:

“A majority of teachers and students didn’t agree with the Freedom From Religion Foundation letter, so they contacted myself and Senator Mark Allen. After talking with numerous Christian organizations and constitutional lawyers, it became clear that the superintendent and local school board has no choice but to remove the plaques if they want to avoid a lawsuit,” State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, said.
I think most agree with Gage Pulliam. Nobody wants others trying to force-feed their religion down our throats. More and more extremists are appearing in the media, and  calling themselves Christians, as if it makes them exempt from wrong-doing. F*ck that. And look at the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) using God’s name to spew their hate. They’ve even named their website “GodHatesFags.com.” I imagine if there is a hell, God has a very special place for WBC. And let me tell you, WBC … This does NOT go over well with most Christians,  just as the Taliban does not go over well with most Muslims. Sadly the extremists have the louder mouths.
I commend Gage Pullian for speaking out courageously. I imagine he might make a great lawyer one day.

So now what? Well, Pastor Moore is printing up 1,000 t-shirts with the Ten Commandments for the students who wish to wear them on Wednesday. That’s okay. What’s not okay is the peer pressure that will take place on that day. What’s not okay is the harassment and unkindness Gage Pulliam and his younger sister are receiving from schoolmates. And what’s not okay is ignorance, bullying and religious brow-beating.

The good news? Young people in our our country are taking a stand for what they believe. Last week another feisty high school student in Texas stood up to an unresponsive teacher in his classroom for a better education. A fellow student recorded it on their cell phone, posted the video to YouTube, and it went viral.

This week Gage Pulliam spoke out for his rights, and Christian students will join him in protesting on Wednesday. If done peacefully, whether we agree or disagree, it will be another great day in American democracy. Welcome you young feisty activists.

I had to do some soul-searching before writing this story. I am a Christian. To me, that means striving to live Christlike. Of course, I fail miserably on most days. I have strong spiritual ‘persuasions’ in Buddhism, and I look for the good in other religions. This messes with some people in my Bible study group. Yes, some Liberals do such things. The group accepts me and loves me, because that’s what Christianity really teaches. Sure, some roll their eyes when I start on my, “Gay is Okay with God” rant. And some agree with me. The bottom line is, we have respectful conversations about religious issues. We talk about how we can help others in need, and how we ourselves can grow. Christianity goes beyond the words that have been transcribed over centuries and taken out of context to meet the agenda of some less than loving folks.

For a refreshing liberal and left-wing view of Christianity, visit:  The Christian Left

Diarist Also Posted Story In AddictingInfo

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  good for him... (15+ / 0-)

    ...there's a big difference between freedom of religion and cramming your insane religious crap down everyone else's throats.

    We need more of these types of suits.

    And isn't it about time that we started a movement to stop our federal government from subsidizing Christian and other religious institutions with their so-called "faith-based" initiatives (which forces people like me to give money (through taxes) to religious organizations that are repugnant to me.

    •  we support religions (10+ / 0-)

      with which we don't agree in lots of ways-

      we pay for their police, roads, water infrastructure, etc.

      we pay higher taxes than we would otherwise need to to make up for teh taxes they don't pay- adn more importantly, for the deduction which people take for giving to their church.  I can't deduct membership fees or money given to my priovate club- but they can deduct money given to their club.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:46:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  roads, police and infrastructure are not (0+ / 0-)

        specifically designed to benefit religions. They are designed to benefit people, many of whom may belong to religions.

        However...directly giving money to religious organizations which financially benefit by providing so-called "faith-based" services is dramatically different than building roads and bridges that our entire society can use.

        •  My point (0+ / 0-)

          Is that the churches get those services for free -ie we pay for them. Everybody gets to upse the fire department nd the police and the roads because we all pay for them.  A fire at a church is paid for by the rest of us.

          As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

          by BPARTR on Wed May 15, 2013 at 03:01:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Under certain circumstances, (7+ / 0-)

    I can see placing the Ten Commandments on a classroom wall, strictly as an educational cultural artifact--perhaps as part of a "world religions" montage that also included Buddhist artifacts and so on. The display of the Ten Commandments wouldn't properly be accompanied by the overt or implied pedagogical drivel they love in Red States, about the "U.S. being a Judeo/Christian nation, first of all."

    Doesn't sound like that's what was going on here.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:28:36 PM PDT

    •  no issue at all (4+ / 0-)

      with religious discussion in literature class (Canterbury tales, etc...) and History

      The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

      by gossamer1234 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:37:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  just so long as you (4+ / 0-)

      1) also put up cultural artifacts of other bronze age religions
      2) use the more original commandments ( as seen in the dead sea scrolls- which state that to honor the Sabboth, not only should you not work, but your slaves should not work.)

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:43:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Teach students about (0+ / 0-)

        world religions in "appropriate cultural contexts." (I like that phrase.) Allow teachers the discretion to decide responsibly what those "contexts" should include.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:49:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, Karmsy... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      The Ten C's are a perfect cultural artifact that demonstrate how petty the god of the ancient hebrews was... really, he was so worried about Baal, he had to make sure the first commandment was to call him the one and only.

      •  Hey, you have every right to your opinion. (0+ / 0-)

        If you hate the God of the Old Testament, you won't offend me in the slightest.

        But an awful lot of Western Civilization derives from peoples' understanding of that text down through the ages. So it's good to study it in high school.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:15:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

          When?

          What civilization can you say has been heavily influenced by the Ten Commandments? They aren't particularly interesting as cultural artifacts go, and just because people mouth platitudes about something now and then doesn't make it particularly influential.

          The Code of Hammurabi, for example, I would argue is a lot more important in the grand scheme of things.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:43:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh no.. not that old chestnut! (0+ / 0-)

          You know, my children managed to get through high school, college and grad school without studying the biblical texts. I'm tired of that being used as an excuse to push religion in the public schools.   By the way, I can't "hate God" since that entity does not exist.  Plus, you are mixing up "God" of the Christian traditions with Yahweh who not only "gave" the commandments to the hebrew tribes, but a whole lot of crazy laws attached to them. The commandments actually don't stop at number Ten.  Plus which version of them would you teach anyway?  Yahweh and God are NOT the same deities despite the claims to the contrary.  Yahweh did not send a savior and God did.   Why people blended these two gods is beyond me.

    •  Even if you are christian (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, yet another liberal

      It is important to have freedom from these bigots who want to force their form of christiantiy upon others.  These are the bozos who want to come up to you and try to convert you to their form of jebus worship because only they now about the almighty.  They want you to pray with them even though the bible says that prayer is a personal thing.  They are so insecure, if everyone does not agree with them, it destroys their faith, their marriage, their life.  Losers.

      When someone talks about the 10 commandments, I always ask which one.  If I were to protest this, I might have one on back and one on front, and remind everyone about bearing false witness.  

    •  That is the argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, jayden

      they have been using to keep the Ten Commandments in full view, at public buildings.

      "They are just an historical display"

      It's bullshit, even though I know you didn't mean it that way, the fundies do and they are serious about it.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:31:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  one brave Oklahoman (5+ / 0-)

    The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

    by gossamer1234 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:33:18 PM PDT

  •  It's nice to be a skeptic. (3+ / 0-)

    We have all the evidence. Sometimes I feel guilty because the fight isn't fair. Rumble young man, rumble.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:34:39 PM PDT

  •  they did decide to take it down by the way (6+ / 0-)

    lawsuits would have cost the district too much money

    The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

    by gossamer1234 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:36:17 PM PDT

  •  Brave guy. I wish him and those dear to him (6+ / 0-)

    happiness and -- yes, it's necessary to say this -- safety.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:51:00 PM PDT

  •  Superintendent contact info below. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prinny Squad

    May I suggest polite but firm requests that he not be a douchebag?

    roger.sharp@staff.muldrowps.org

  •  They may have to turn t-shirts inside out. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prinny Squad, jayden, twigg

    http://www.sequoyahcountytimes.com/...

    Students have reportedly been told if they wear them they will be made to turn the shirts inside out or go home and change.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:56:04 PM PDT

  •  These are the Ten Commandments (13+ / 0-)

    that should be posted at every classroom

    1.    You shall not mingle religion with politics.

    “And here, without anger or resentment, I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right, and be, in your turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of AMERICA.”

    Italics and capitalization in the original.

    Thomas Paine - Common Sense. From The Online Library of Liberty: The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume I page 126

    2.    Your neighbor’s religion is none of your concern.
    "...on the subject of religion, a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his maker, in which no other, & far less the public had a right to intermeddle."

    Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, May 31st, 1813. From The Online Library of Liberty: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Volume XI, Page 292

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; thus building a wall of [eternal] separation between Church & State.”

    Underlining his. Bracketed word is crossed out in the original manuscript.

    Thomas Jefferson - Letter to the Danbury Baptists: The Library of Congress Information Bulletin.

    3.    You shall not establish any religion above any other.
    “We the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled “A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill…

    --- [Break] ---

    “3. Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?”

    James Madison - Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments c. June 20, 1785.

    4.    All religions shall have equal recognition.
    “The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally past; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion’ the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”

    Thomas Jefferson - Autobiography. July 27, 1821.

    5.    You shall exclude the clergy of any religion from public office.
    “Of this General Assembly, the treasurer, attorney general, register, ministers of the gospel, officers of the regular armies of this State, or of the United States, persons receiving salaries or emoluments from any power foreign to our confederacy, those who are not resident in the county for which they are chosen delegates, or districts for which they are chosen senators, those who are not qualified as electors, persons who shall have committed treason, felony, or such other crime as would subject them to infamous punishment, or shall have been convicted by due course of law of bribery or corruption, in endeavoring to procure an election to the said assembly, shall be incapable of being members. All others, not herein elsewhere excluded, who may elect, shall be capable of being elected thereto.”

    Thomas Jefferson - Proposed Constitution for Virginia. From The Online Library of Liberty: The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, page 493.

    6.    You shall exclude the clergy of any religion from public schools even more so than from public office.
    BILL FOR ESTABLISHING ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS.

    “In the 6th and 7th lines of the first section, the following words, “and not being ministers of the gospel of any denomination.”

    “The note of the same section of these words, “Ministers of the Gospel are excluded to avoid jealousy from the other sects, were the public education committed to the ministers of a particular one; and with more reason than in the case of their exclusion from the legislative and executive functions.””

    Thomas Jefferson - Note to Elementary School Act, 1817. Making of America Collection pages 96 & 97.

    7.    You shall not disturb the religion and peace of other nations with Christian missionaries.
    "I do not know that it is a duty to disturb by missionaries the religion and peace of other countries, who may think themselves bound to extinguish by fire and fagot the heresies to which we give the name of conversions, and quote our own example for it. Were the Pope, or his holy allies, to send in mission to us some thousands of Jesuit priests to convert us to their orthodoxy, I suspect that we should deem and treat it as a national aggression on our peace and faith."

    Thomas Jefferson to Michael Megear, 1823. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition 15:434

    8.    You shall not ban any books.
    "I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book* [a book about the Universe] can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offense against religion; that a question like this can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? And are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe?…. for God's sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose."

    Italics in original.

    Thomas Jefferson to N. G. Dufief, 1814.  The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, page 102

    Sur la creation du Monde un Systeme d’Organisation Primitive by M. De Becourt.

    9.    You shall question all religions.
    “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.”
    ...

    “EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.

    “Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”

    Thomas Paine The Age of Reason, The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume IV. Pages 22-23.

    10.    You shall question the Bible, even to the point of blasphemy.
    “But the whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.”

    Thomas Jefferson - Letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

    The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams page 421. Edited by Lester J. Cappon

    “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

    Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason. From the Online Library of Liberty - The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume IV, Page 34

    “But the belief of a God is so weakened by being mixed with the strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible, and the obscurity and obscene nonsense of the Testament, that the mind of man is bewildered as in a fog.
    ...

    “A man, by hearing all this nonsense, lumped and preached together, confounds the God of the Creation with the imagined God of the Christians, and lives as if there was none.

    “Of all the systems of religion that were ever invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity.”

    Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason. From the Online Library of Liberty, The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume IV, Pages 189-190

    “The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschell’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.”

    *The statement above is in reference to Christianity’s central teaching about Jesus dying for Humanity’s sins. Jesus was spat upon on his way to the crucifixion.

    John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, January 22, 1825. From The Online Library of Liberty: The Writings of John Adams, Volume X, pages 414-415.

    “IT is upon this plain narrative of facts, together with another case I am going to mention, that the Christian mythologists, calling themselves the Christian Church, have erected their fable, which for absurdity and extravagance is not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the mythology of the ancients.”

    Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason. From The Online Library of Liberty: The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume IV, Page 28.


    “The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."

    Thomas Jefferson - Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823.  

    The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams page 594. Edited by Lester J. Cappon.


    This knowledge is of divine origin; and it is from the Bible of the creation that man has learned it, and not from the stupid Bible of the church, that teaches man nothing.

    Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason. From The Online Library of Liberty: The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume IV, Page 192.

    See the complete book on http://www.amazon.com/...
  •  Logic Fail 101 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy
    “I moved here in 2001 from Texas. The first thing I saw when I went to a parent teacher conference was the Ten Commandments. Then I noticed the lack of school violence, lower number of teen pregnancies. It was a pleasant surprise,” McGee said.
    So obviously the lower violence and teen pregnancies were a result of there being the Ten Commandments on display.  How am I not surprised by this kind of Republican logic.  

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:09:43 PM PDT

  •  posting of the commandments in that way (5+ / 0-)

    violates the 2nd commandment not to worship graven images.

  •  There's the answer (0+ / 0-)
    What if I told you, Pastor Moore, that under my rights as a Muslim, I want to have the Koran posted next to the Ten Commandments. Or how about as an Atheist, I’d like my views on there being no God, posted in all the classrooms.
     

    Include a whole range of moral precepts, from various sources. Include the multiple versions of the "Golden Rule" /Ethic of Reciprocity from a wide variety of traditions.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/...

    Post the Humuanist Manifesto
    http://www.americanhumanist.org/...

    They all offer words of wisdom to live by - and at the same time they inculcate an awareness that many cultures and faiths can offer words of wisdom to live by - none of us have exclusive ownership of them.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:16:06 PM PDT

  •  I don't know why some communities persist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, jayden, twigg

    in this kind of thing.

    It's pretty clear -- in a public school, the school cannot be seen to endorse a religious view, but the school can't penalize students for their religious views, whatever they are.  

    It's not a hard concept and -- in most instances -- it's not that tough to understand the difference between a school expressing or endorsing particular religious views (not permitted) and a student being allowed his or her own religious views (generally ok).  

    Yet some school systems out there persist in this kind of thing.  The best thing they did was take this down, recognizing that defending a lawsuit would have been a waste of taxpayer money.  

    •  They do it because they can (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Williston Barrett

      Washington is a very long way from rural Oklahoma.

      They do it because the adults in those communities support and condone it.

      They do it because they feel that "God's Laws" are a higher power than man's.

      They persecute anyone who tries to stop them.

      I will be very surprised if that student graduates from that school, unless he is already a Senior.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:37:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The video at the link for another feisty student.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden

    was taken down. But not before being reloaded by others...

    It's a cracker of a rant!

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:49:24 PM PDT

  •  I live less than twenty miles from Muldrow... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, twigg

    ...sigh. This story was on the local news stations last night. I was so impressed with this young man's poise and courage...we obviously have lots of fundamentalists in this area. I am in my mid-40s and remember going to high school in the 1980s...we were always forced into religious assemblies, lectures, etc. Me and some friends would always beg off/skip...but we could never accomplish what Gage Pulliam did...to derail the whole crazy train.

    •  I was also mildly surprised the city attorney... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden

      ...or the attorney representing the school district decided a legal fight wouldn't be worth it. Most of these fundy types are all too glad to waste taxpayer dollars on court costs...

  •  Keep on fighting the ignorance, Gage. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishtroller01, Sparhawk

    Hundreds of years from now, Jesus will be thrown into the dustbin of history next to Zeus, Odin, Bast, and Minerva.

    It is indeed a shame I won't live to see it. But it is inevitable.

  •  I'm so glad to see support for the atheist (0+ / 0-)

    student, so thanks to the diarist for that.

    That being said, in my view this quote is in error..

    "Christianity goes beyond the words that have been transcribed over centuries and taken out of context to meet the agenda of some less than loving folks."

    Conservative views of Christianity are not based on the biblical texts being taken out of context.  The god(s) of the old and new testament are often harsh and tyrannical and "Jesus" was not exactly a nice guy. If you don't believe me... read the gospels for yourself and find every quote where Jesus threatens hell for whichever group he finds distasteful. Whole cities of people that neither "receive" nor want to hear the words of his disciples will be destroyed by God (Matthew 10:14-15).

    My point here being that the reason the Ten Commandments don't belong in a public school classroom is not because they are being pushed by the religious right who supposedly don't understand the meaning of Christianity.  It's wrong because the members of the right side don't understand our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The first commandment "Thou shall have no other gods before me." is a violation of the First Amendment.

  •  I might make some people mad here (0+ / 0-)

    but, as a Christian, I think that religion should be taught in school.

    Now let me elaborate. I think that kids should be taught about the world's major religions. What they believe, why they believe the way they do and the basic history of them.  Talk about these things openly and honestly and actually let them know about the things that people put their faith in. Bring in speakers who can answer questions that kids have and maybe help kids reach an accord with one another. Show them that people who believe differently than them are not some "other" to be feared, but a friend waiting to be made.

    The worst that can happen in this case is that some kids may actually put some thought into why they believe what they believe, and maybe some find something else to believe in.

    “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

    by bayushisan on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:00:05 PM PDT

    •  I’m an atheist, but I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

      Religions should be taught in schools if only because kids need a context to understand literature and history. Lots of great literature has a religious context (Much of Shakespeare, or Gulliver's Travels, or 1001 Arabian Nights, or The Divine Comedy). And without understanding the role of religion, you can’t cover things like Charlemagne or the Crusades or the conflict between Elizabeth vs. Mary Queen of Scots.

      "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

      by Dbug on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:35:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The speakers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden

      First speaker will be the guy that teaches about the evils of Charles Darwin.

      Second speaker will be abstinence only zealot who could teach the kiddos about "sins of the flesh".

      The issue is so old, I can predict what those lessons would be like before they even try it again!

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:42:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

        I really did mean what I said. Teach kids the history of the world's major religions and the reasons why they believe what they believe. I don't mean teach them what you mentioned, I mean having, say a Buddhist talk about the mechanics of his faith, have a practicing Muslim talk about the history of his faith. The worst that can happen is that some kids start looking to other religions for inspiration.

        “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

        by bayushisan on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:00:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Public school is not the place (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, BPARTR

          to teach the mechanics of anyone's faith.

          Who would you have represent Christian beliefs? A catholic? A protestant? A baptist, methodist, episcopalian, lutheran...? Do you drag in evangelicals, fundamentalists, dominionists to explain the mechanics of their various beliefs? By the time you invited all those people to speak to students just about Christianity the school year would be over.

          Keep religion and religious studies out of public schools.

    •  No. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      Religious studies should be done at the university level. Public schools cannot be trusted to handle the material objectively. Half the kids in this country aren't even given proper instruction in sexual health issues because parents and educators weigh in with their personal beliefs and agendas. To think the same or worse wouldn't happen to any type of religious study is naive.

    •  This happens already (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, jayden

      My 7th grader has done world religions in 6th and 7th grade (CA public school). No outside speakers though and I agree that is unnecessary, you are asking for evangelism. Just an overview by the teacher which is fjne.

  •  Key things not in the Ten Commandments (0+ / 0-)

    Someone following them is free to
    o beat their children
    o rape
    o take bribes
    o bully

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:01:47 PM PDT

  •  Pro school prayer, etc. (0+ / 0-)

    This will not be a popular comment here.
    First, The only possible reading of the founding documents tells us that any trace of religion in govt. sponsored settings is illegal.  The Founders would have to a man protested White House prayer breakfasts, chaplains in the Senate and House, or mention of God on our currency.  (In fact Jefferson prohibited prayer in the White House and Madison vigorously protested chaplains for the legislative bodies.) At the same time the Founders agreed that religion played an important (if separated)role in America.  Jefferson contributed sizable amounts to the Presbyterian and Catholic churches
      However, frankly, I'd like to see progressives leave this issue alone. We can win every time, but what do we gain?
    I don't see how a creche on the courthouse lawn impinges in the slightest on my civil liberties. Some of my teachers (50 years back) had classroom prayers.  On the average the prayer takes 27 seconds.  I can spare that. And I don't mind if that seems unfair to non Christian faiths or freethinkers like me.  We were established predominantly as a Christian culture. Let the good people have a little nostalgia.  Just because we can win every time doesn't make that a good use of our time. Why torment the Christers when there is so little to gain?

    •  Fuck that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wayoutinthestix

      Being christian does not automatically equate to being "the good people" by any reasonable measure.

      There is plenty to gain by standing up for separation of church and state. Ask anyone who doesn't share christian religious beliefs. The fact that keeping the separation intact torments "the christers" is their problem, not mine.

      Read up on Dominionism and its adherents' goals for this country before caving in so readily to the complaints and demands of christians. Some christians won't be satisfied until we're all living under the draconian laws of their religious dictates in a christofascist state.

      This country is better than that. Giving in to whiny christians doesn't solve anything and goes against the very idea of a progressive and free society let alone a stable and healthy one.

  •  Small town traditions (0+ / 0-)

    are difficult to change. These are not sophisticated people. The Ten Commandments have always been there, why should they be removed because one snotty  kid complains?   They fail to recognize they are defending a tradition. It's only a tradition. It looms large where people don't have much money or much to do & worry about tornadoes.   It's really no big deal to take the plaques down. Everything else will stay  the same: the small town prejudices &  narrowmindedness. The Muldrow football team probably does a prayer huddle before every game,  & that won't change.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:55:33 AM PDT

    •  Do any of the other school districts (0+ / 0-)

      around Muldrow in Eastern Oklahoma have the Ten Commandments displayed in classrooms? There's a good chance the answer is "No." To find this out, & point this out, would reduce the Muldrow practice to a local conceit of superior "Christianess."  That entire region is deep Bible Belt. If other school districts don't need it, why does Muldrow?

      "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

      by DJ Rix on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:21:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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