A fourth-grade schoolteacher has been forced to remove a banner from her classroom that contained the popular phrase “In God We Trust” after a number of atheist parents complained it was unconstitutional. The Wisconsin teacher was ordered to remove other “Christian symbolism” from her teaching space at Roosevelt Elementary School, including a cross and a picture frame that contained the American flag and the words “God Bless America.”
Parent Rob Moore was reported to be “infuriated” and “fuming” over the classroom decorations, according to television station WTMJ. Moore is president of one of the chapters of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF),” according to Fox News.
According to its website, FFRF’s purpose is as follows:
“The purposes of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., as stated in its bylaws, are to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”
The group has been involved in many high-profile cases where they routinely protest against any hint of Christian symbolism or expression in the public sphere. “There is an undeniable Christian theme in (the) classroom decorations and instruction,” Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Ryan Jayne wrote in a letter to the school district, demanding the removal of the religious items.
Jayne went on to assert that the religious-themed decorations directly violated the U.S. Constitution.
“Religious classroom decorations violate this basic constitutional prohibition by creating the appearance that the District prefers religion over non religion, and Christianity over all other faiths,” the attorney wrote. The atheists were also mad that there was “Child’s Christian Bible” present in the school library – “but no other religious texts.”
“Religion is a divisive force in public schools,” the attorney added.
A Feb 12. news release on FFRF’s website reads:
“Several concerned Kenosha Unified School District parents have contacted FFRF to report instances of staff at Roosevelt Elementary School promoting Christianity. A fourth-grade classroom at the school includes multiple displays that propagandize for Christianity. Religious displays must be removed from classrooms and school walls, FFRF asserts.
“The district violates the Constitution when it allows its schools to display religious symbols or messages,” FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne writes to Kenosha District Sperintendent Sue Savaglio-Jarvis. “Public schools may not advance, prefer, or promote religion. The teacher’s religious classroom decorations violate this basic constitutional prohibition by creating the appearance that the district prefers religion over nonreligion, and Christianity over all other faiths.”
The atheist organization has also announced their commitment to destroying the legacy of the late evangelist Billy Graham. They stated that Graham “worked to destroy our secular government” and “helped corrupt America’s secular foundations by riding the wave of religious fervor.”
“Graham leaves behind a legacy that has severely damaged our Constitution and the wall of separation between state and church,” the organization added. “FFRF will continue to work to undo this legacy.”