The Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding that several
teachers be "permanently removed" for allowing students at a
Georgia school to skip class and attend a prayer rally.
Four Lumpkin County Schools teachers left their classes
unattended on May 1st to attend a prayer rally with about 50
students in a coach's office. According to media reports, it began
about 7:30 a.m. and lasted for more than six hours. One student
claimed that "between 12 and 15 fellow students turned their lives
over to Christ during the prayer."
But FFRF says that was a dereliction of duty, presenting a danger
to the students who were left unsupervised.
Though FFRF claims it is not asking Superintendent Dewey Moye to
punish people for exercising their religious faith, it has sent a
letter informing the superintendent that such leniency shows
"unconstitutional favoritism" to religion and that it will
"encourage participants to repeat the crime."
"We are asking you to discipline teachers for violating the law
and abandoning their duties and to discipline students for skipping
class," the letter reads.
Matt Staver of the Liberty Counsel sees the situation
"The only thing that's dangerous about this is the Freedom From
Religion Foundation that's literally trying to intimidate people in
the school and exclude any kind of Christian viewpoint from the
public square," he contends. "That's antithetical to the First
Amendment and certainly to the history of America."
Staver points out that teachers and students have the right to
exercise their religious freedoms at school.
"I don't see that the school was creating a situation where
they're literally forcing students to attend," he observes. "It
looks like any of the students that attended any of these private
religious activities were doing so in a voluntary fashion of their
own volition without the school forcing the issue."
Superintendent Moye has publicly stated that there will be no
"consequences for any employee of any student" who participated in