‘Seminar more pertinent than ever when considering a recent letter sent by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to North Carolina school districts,’ says executive director.
By M.H. Cavenaugh
Christian Action League
September 5, 2014
BURNSVILLE – “The information shared by Rev. Creech was a timely presentation for our communities in western North Carolina. I have no doubt that many parents, students, and school administrators, who listened to the seminar presentation, gained a new sense of confidence in their constitutional rights to express their faith within the public schools,” said Garland Honeycutt, head of the Blue Ridge Values Coalition.
Honeycutt was stating his view on the positive influence of a Students Rights in the Public Schools Seminar, led by Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League on Thursday, August 28th at the Yancey County Court House in Burnsville and simulcast live on radio station AM 1470, WKYK-WTOE.
The request for the seminar was prompted by an event that occurred two years earlier when a first-grader in McDowell County was told she would need to remove the word “God” from a poem she had written for her school’s celebration of Veteran’s Day. This year, during the short session of the North Carolina General Assembly, lawmakers sought to address the issue with legislation that clarifies students’ and school administrators’ rights to religious expression in the public schools.
SB 370 – Respect for Student, requires local boards of education to include in their policies the freedom for students to pray at school, including at extracurricular events. There is even a provision that school employees may demonstrate respect for students’ exercise of their religious freedoms. The new law also creates complaint procedures and administrative remedies.
“Most of the new law simply re-articulates rights provided in the First Amendment and case law precedents that govern the rights of students. The problem is too many are either unaware of these rights, or they are hostile to religion, more specifically, the Christian religion,” said Dr. Creech. “The purpose of the Students Rights in the Public Schools Seminar is to clearly explain to students, as well as school administrators, what these rights are. Contrary to what some think, schools are not God-free or religion free zones. There are provisions for students and school personnel to express their faith,” he added.
“The need for our seminar becomes all the more pertinent,” added Dr. Creech, “when you consider that just this week, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) sent a letter of misinformation to school districts across our state warning schools not to comply with some parts of SB 370, advising them to “not allow public school faculty and staff to participate in prayer and worship with students.”
But Dr. Creech said these are common bullying tactics by the left and they should be resisted. Dr. Creech also noted that Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) had followed up the letter from AU to school districts with a letter of their own, arguing AU’s assertions were “inaccurate and blanket demands.” “The ADF letter seeks to set the record straight by explaining neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” he said.
Honeycutt said he strongly recommends churches host a Students Religious Rights in the Public Schools Seminar for their youth who go to the public schools and school employees in their school districts. He said the seminar produces a sense of empowerment and captivates the hearts of students to boldly witness of their faith in Christ.
Take Christian Action:
To find out more about the seminar or to plan one for your community, contact the Christian Action League by calling (919) 787-0606.
To listen to the audio of response by participants Click Here
Daniel Whetstine is Director of Missions for the Mitchell County Baptist Association, you can read his recommendation letter for the seminar by Clicking Here