The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues its attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and religious expression as it targets school districts in Mississippi and Kentucky that have held to their long-time traditions of public prayer. On August 18th the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the Wisconsin-based secularist group had sent a letter to the superintendent of the DeSoto County, Mississippi, school district, the largest in the state with 40 schools and 32,000 students, demanding that the district stop allowing prayers at school athletic events and high school graduations.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has put out a list of “gay friendly” churches in the area to assist students and faculty in choosing a politically correct place of worship. According to FOX News, the list is part of a “broader guide to gay-friendly businesses, nonprofits, health centers and other services in the area.”
The leading homosexual activist group targeting children is receiving some special help from the federal government in its campaign to recruit in America’s schools. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) announced in a press release earlier this summer that it has received a five-year grant, worth $285,000 annually, from the federal Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) AIDS prevention department to establish “safe spaces” for supposedly “gay” students in 20 schools across the nation.
A conservative legal advocacy group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of high school students in Roswell, New Mexico, charging that the Roswell Independent School district retaliated against members of a Christian club after they distributed doughnuts with Bible verses to members of the faculty. According to a press release by Liberty Counsel, in addition to giving away doughnuts to teachers, members of the Christian group Relentless in Roswell had, in the past, distributed chicken salad, hot chocolate, and candy canes to both faculty and students. In an effort to use their faith to reach out to others the club had been involved in such projects as assisting teachers with trash in their classrooms, helping fellow students with their trays during lunch, and distributing rocks with encouraging messages such as “U are wonderful” painted on one side and the Bible reference “Psalm 139” on the other.
Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin school district (Anoka Middle School for the Arts, pictured left)) is battling legal efforts to force it to abandon an official policy of neutrality concerning homosexuality. Two liberal legal groups, the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) recently contacted the district, one of the largest in the Minneapolis area, threatening a lawsuit on behalf of clients they said had faced harassment and abuse as a result of the district’s policy.
Despite threats of an ACLU-driven lawsuit, seniors at Louisiana’s Bastrop High School continued a tradition of prayer at the school’s graduation ceremony. One of the graduates had demanded that the prayer be canceled, and the ACLU had followed up by contacting school officials to make sure the prayer was scratched from the commencement.
Legal action by the ACLU has prompted a school district in White County, Tennessee, to ban the Gideons from distributing their Bibles to students in classrooms. According to the Tennessean newspaper, members of a local chapter of the Gideons, an international Bible distribution organization headquartered in Nashville, “came into the classroom, and students were invited up to get a Bible if they wanted one.” The paper reported that one student “said she didn’t want to take [a Bible] but felt pressured to do so. Her mother later complained to school officials and then to the ACLU….”
One of the nation’s leading home school groups is urging the Department of Defense (DOD) to change its policy on how many home schooled recruits are allowed into the armed forces. Since 1998 the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) “has been working with Congress and the Department of Defense to extend ‘Tier 1’ status — the military’s highest enlistment option — to home schoolers,” reported CBN News.
Homosexual activists fighting for the acceptance of their lifestyle in every corner of society have found a prime target: Christian colleges and universities. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reported on the formation of a support group for homosexual students at Wheaton College, one of the nation’s most prestigious evangelical universities. The organization, called OneWheaton, was launched as an effort to provide “a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning” (LGBTQ) students, according to Wheaton alumni Kristin Winn, the group’s spokesperson.
A Tennessee State Senate committee has approved a bill that would prohibit elementary and middle school teachers from discussing homosexuality in their classrooms. Time magazine reported that the legislation, which has been nicknamed the “don’t say gay” bill, “would mandate that before ninth grade, teachers not ‘provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.’”