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California School Board Must Read Bible At Meetings Or The Terrorists Win
The school board of Chino, California, is being sued by the mean old Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) just because it likes to open its meetings with a few prayers to Jesus. Plus some proselytizing during board meetings, and, OK, offering Bible classes taught with materials from a church, too. Members of the board are pretty sure they're just doing what George Washington and Jesus want, which is to make sue that God isn't excluded from public life. At a meeting last week, during which the board voted to seek an attorney to volunteer to defend the case, one board member compared the lawsuit to the recent terrorist attacks in France, because of course the First Amendment is a lot like an automatic rifle.
The FFRF sued in November, asking the board to stop it with all the prayers. The complaint says that the board's meetings
resemble a church service more than a school board meeting, complete with Bible readings by the Board members, Bible quotations by Board members, and other statements by Board members promoting the Christian religion[.]
The complaint, filed by the FFRF and 22 parents (most listed as "Doe"), cites multiple parent complaints about the board meetings involving prayers and proselytizing, even during portions of the meetings beyond the initial invocation; at one meeting the board's then-president James Na
mentioned a tragic news story and said this tells us how much we need God in today’s society; thanked God for sending his son Jesus Christ so that our sins are forgiven and may have eternal life in heaven; and wished everyone a nice Easter.
At another, Na "said we have a short time on this earth and that he wants misconceptions to be cleaned out, the cloud removed, and for God to give us wisdom." And on another occasion, Na explained that "we have all different fingerprints and are all specially made by God," which we suppose could make for an interesting course of study in a vocational education class for students wanting to go into law enforcement.
The complaint alleges school board meetings have also treated the community to Bible-based commentary on Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, plus regular readings from the Bible, a document that doesn't actually include anything about elected representative bodies or public schools, but which is no doubt vital to the smooth operation of educational institutions.
At a January 15 meeting, the board, supported by members of the community who carried signs in favor of prayer, voted to find an attorney to defend the suit without pay, and board member Andrew Cruz explained that the lawsuit was a lot like a terrorist attack, but that it's not enough just to condemn the terrorists. Rather, he said, the real villains are politicians who oppose God:
“What is happening today, what the terrorists are doing, but what is really important is that you can’t look at the direction of the terrorist, you’ve got to look at the direction of our leaders because what our leaders are doing is they are eroding our rights and they’re also moving away from God,” Cruz said. “It’s so bizarre when you really think about it, that a century ago they had people who were promoting freedom, our rights, and now things have changed dramatically."
Members of the FFRF failed to live up to Mr. Cruz's expectations; instead of attacking the school board with automatic weapons, they plan to move forward with their lawsuit.