Today's times Daily printed and article concerning the annual "See You at the Pole" event. This has come to be an annual event involving the gathering of school children around the school flagpole for religious purposes--prayer, hymn singing, scripture reading, etc. The article is at:http://www.timesdaily.com/stories/Students-gather-for-See-You-at-the-Pole,182481?content_source=&category_id=&search_filter=students+gather&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=stories&town_id=
The article quotes the lament of a Muscle Shoals High School student, Katori Mobley, to this effect:
“It saddens me that there are Christian students in other places who don’t have this amazing opportunity,” he said. “I consider it a real privilege to be able to do this and I’m thrilled to see so many students in attendance.”
I have to wonder where this student gets his information. The See You at the Pole event is observed all over this country. It s constitutionality is affirmed in a Supreme Court interpretation of the First Amendment (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District). Its legal and constitutional validity are affirmed by the ACLU! The legality of See You at the Pole and other student-led religious exercises is expressly recognized in Presidential guidance published by the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, and remaining in force today
So where, one might ask Mr. Mobley, are those “Christian students in other places who don’t have this amazing opportunity”? One suspects that Mr. Mobley could not cite any example of a public school where the See You at the Pole event has been prohibited. If there is any place where such prohibition is in place, it can easily be dislodged. Any number of religious freedom advocacy groups (e.g. Rutherford Institute, American Center for Law and Justice) would find it a simple matter to appropriately notify the offending school system of its defective policy and persuade it to abandon such a prohibition. I suspect that even the ACLU would be willing to intervene to correct such a situation.
I suspect that Mr. Mobley’s undocumented, unverified assertion proceeds from his having heard or read from extreme and ignorant elements the religious right, their sundry and unremitting jeremiads about the alleged denial of religious freedom and alleged rampant hostility to the Christian religion within the land of the free and the home of the brave. Having been thus propagandized, Mr. Mobley has assumed that there must be public schools in this nation where the evil anti-Christian forces have interdicted the opportunity for public school students to enjoy the kind of religious observance he and his fellows enjoyed yesterday in this Bible Belt community.
Mr. Mobley, should he care to do a little research on this matter, might be able to turn his sadness into joy. If Mr. Mobley would, in addition, do a little additional research on constitutional and definitional matters, he might discover that his opportunity to gather 'round the pole is more than a "privilege;" it is a RIGHT. The difference is significant.
Additional useful information on this topic is available from the conservative American Center for Law and Justice at http://media.aclj.org/pdf/syatpletter.pdf