At a small Nevada charter school, we are seeing the latest battle between the First Amendment and the separation of church and state. At publicly-funded Somerset Academy, one man is threatening to sue after his daughter was told to leave her faith at the door.
Back in February, Mackenzie Fraiser presented her “All About Me” project to the teacher. Included amongst the slides was one that displayed the full text of John 3:16, a Bible verse that forms the crux of the Christian religion. “For God so loved the world,” reads the verse, “that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
For Fraiser’s teacher, this was too much. She told Mackenzie that the slide would have to be omitted from the project. But the plot thickens. See, Mackenzie’s father is a pastor at Grace Point Church in Las Vegas, and he was not happy to learn of this in April. He approached the school, asking in an email if what he had heard was true. “Perhaps she misunderstood you? Since I am certain you understand that this clearly infringes on my daughters/your students right to freedom of speech, I want to make sure we understand your instructions.”
The school did not back down. The assistant principal contacted Fraiser to explain that “the matter became one of having a captive audience that would be subject to her religious beliefs.” Seeing as how they are a taxpayer-funded school, the AP said, Mackenzie’s teacher “appropriately followed school law expectations.”
Fraiser, though, is not backing down either. He has contacted the Liberty Institute to make sure that his daughter’s First Amendment rights are not trampled by an overzealous administration. The religious-rights law firm is demanding an apology from the school as well as an acceptance of the assignment, Bible verse and all. If Somerset does not comply, the Liberty Institute vows a lawsuit.
It remains to be seen where things go from here, but the last couple of years have given Christians little hope of seeing their rights upheld in court. Time and again, judges have ruled in favor of secularism, even in defiance of the Constitution. When it comes to the classroom, children must be sheltered from any mention of Christianity. For a bunch of non-believers, liberals are certainly afraid of the power of scripture.
Of course, this religious separation doesn’t come into play when schools are devoting units entirely to the study of Islam. Some children have even come home with assignments that make them memorize verses out of the Quran. Yet if a child wants to spend exactly one slide’s worth of a presentation talking about Christianity, it’s a no-go.
The Bible is everything liberalism is against. Traditional values, moral imperatives and absolutes, and free will. They are right to be afraid of its power. That power was enough to guide the Founding Fathers to create a country that has eclipsed every civilization from the dawn of man. It’s certainly strong enough to undo decades of liberal nonsense. They want it as far away from kids as they can get it.