Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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Backpack Blowback: Religious Right Activists Want Preferential Treatment From Public School Forum

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]navytron89) From Americans United Blog:[info]audotorg

We commented last December on a Pagan group in Albemarle County, Va., that took advantage of a Religious Right-sponsored move to open a public school’s “backpack mail” system to religious promotions.

The backlash was swift and harsh when parents received flyers announcing a Pagan holiday celebration at the local Unitarian Universalist congregation. One mother was livid that the school would send home in her child’s backpack anything it did not endorse. A “pagan ritual” is “an educational experience my children don’t need,” she fumed.

“Backpack mail” systems are common in public schools. Albemarle uses it to advertise extra-curricular activities such as children’s theater, summer camps and recreational sports events.

The Albemarle School District previously had a sensible policy barring “distribution of literature that this for partisan, sectarian, religious or political purposes,” but it was revised at the behest of the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel to allow religious content.

Liberty Counsel relied on a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling earlier in 2006 that public school districts do not have “unbridled discretion to deny access to the oft-used forum” because that would not “ensure the requisite viewpoint neutrality.”

So, the Religious Right got want they wanted from the federal courts (the same federal courts they accuse of “kicking God out of the public schools”) and now they’re hopping mad…again.

World Net Daily reports
that the Albemarle School District is under attack by a Religious Right group for sending students home with flyers for Camp Quest, an overnight summer camp for young atheists, agnostics and freethinkers.

This time, however, the problem has been exacerbated by a handful of teachers who have refused to send the flyers home. The group assailing Albemarle School District, Rick Scarborough’s Vision America, says “it’s outrageous to force teachers to distribute these flyers.” He’s urging members to contact the district to protest its “establishment of disbelief.”

An anonymous spokesman for the rebelling teachers told World Net Daily some teachers refused to hand out the Camp Quest flyer because they were “disgusted” and were concerned parents would think the school was endorsing the camp. Even though there is a disclaimer distancing the school from all extra-curricular information sent home, “it’s still coming from me and my classroom,” he said.

Mr. Anonymous is partly right. Anything that comes home from a public school, no matter how strong the disclaimer is, may be perceived as having the school’s stamp of approval. But that’s water under the bridge. Religious Right activists, through the 4th Circuit ruling that they sought, have forced public schools to allow their religious messages in the “backpack mail” system.

Now that they have opened the forum, they can’t close it to perspectives they don’t like. Although these religious conservatives demand people listen to them, they appear unwilling to listen to others.

If public schools allow private groups to use “backpack mail,” they must prohibit teachers from deciding which messages are and are not worthy. It is absolutely unacceptable for public school teachers to decide that one religious belief is “offensive” and “outrageous” but others are not and then promote that perspective in their official capacity.

Personal Comments: It always amazes me that the Religious Reich goes through so many hoops to make their way heard by the masses, (court and everything) and now the teachers who are obivously fundies as well are censoring backpack mail. 
What a buch of fucking hypocrites!!!! 
Last time I checked; you fucktards demanded free speech and this forum was your way to get it and now that everyone is capable of using it from Pagans to Atheists, you suddenly cry foul. Foul towards those same free speech forums you pushed in the first place. 
Well newsflash here folks, you make your beds and now sleep in the them. 
Maybe this will teach you to be nice and tolerant of others or shut the fuck up and quit bitching, when you make so much noise over nothing. This my way or the no way is completely unexceptable of a democracy and free society and very unprofessionally of the teachers.

I hope that the ACLU steps in and bitch slaps the teachers union on limiting freedom of speech and uses the Religious Reich own machination against them again. It fun to watch the drama this will cause and hopefully out the fundie teachers including Mr. Anymouse. 

World News Daily of course warps the facts for the Reich to make them seem like the "godless liberals" are to blame. But as always the Reich forced themselves into the backpack mail, so they left the door open for others to follow and they did.

I wonder if they sent home free copies of Skeptic or Parabola:
How would the fundie parents react to it as the children would learn maybe a bit more that Fundie Christianity exists out there? 

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