A district in Pennsylvania has prohibited an elementary school principal from saying ‘God Bless America’ after the Pledge of Allegiance, following a single parental complaint on the practice.
Peter Brigg, the principal at Sabold Elementary School, had made a practice of saying the phrase as part of his morning routine for several years.
A parent at the school somehow took offense to Brigg’s patriotic statement, filing a complaint with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
“When a public school regularly proclaims, ‘God bless America,’ it sends a message to its students that the school is endorsing and compelling belief in God,” the group wrote in a letter.
They argued it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution
The district caved almost immediately.
“Sabold Elementary School has ceased its practice of announcing the slogan, ‘God bless America’ over the loudspeaker immediately following the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance,” a district attorney wrote in response. “None of the schools in the School District currently engages in this practice.”
Way to teach your kids how free speech can be trampled on by the hurt feelings of one person. That, and how to cave in on your own principles (pun intended).
“We’re gratified,” the godless group boasted. “Young elementary school children don’t need to be coerced into affirming God’s name every morning.”
Actually thinking a common phrase is a way to coerce children into religion is a prime example of how the education system has failed people, particularly members of this group.
Will the principal also be banned from saying ‘God bless you’ to sneezing students with the concern that he might be coercing them into affirming God?
Perhaps we shouldn’t give them any ideas. This is, after all, the same group who targeted a high school football coach in Georgia for praying with his team.
Students and fans alike – by the hundreds – responded to that effort by praying for the coach. Let’s hope the students at Sabold Elementary respond in a similar fashion.
The district writes that they “[have] not prohibited students from deciding on their own, as their own form of self-expression, whether or not to state the words, ‘God Bless America.'”
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