Separation of church and state is a hard thing for people to grasp. Without it, you have things like the Thirty Years’ War, a brutal war between Protestants and Catholics in (where else?) Europe that killed as much as 20% the entire population in Germany and was the worst disaster to hit Germany until World War II. With it, all religions are treated as equals and none have a foothold as “dominate religion.”
That’s why stories like this one are so frustrating: according to Raw Story, recordings made of a high school principal in (where else?) Texas reading the Christian Bible as part of each morning’s school announcements, in blatant disregard for the separate of church and state, have been made public.
The recordings were made by a high school student in White Oak, who asked to remain anonymous. The recordings were given to Hemant Mehta, a blogger and high school teacher better known as The Friendly Atheist.
Mehta, writing for his blog, noted that the reading happened “every morning,” and was conducted by the Principal, Dan Noll:
Every morning, students at White Oak High School in Texas hear their morning announcements along with a daily Bible verse read by Principal Dan Noll. If you’re thinking that sounds illegal, you’d be right. The 1963 Supreme Court case Abington School District v. Schempp put a stop to school-sponsored Bible readings and subsequent rulings have only affirmed that idea
Despite that, Noll continued to insert Bible quotes in his daily address to students:
Proverbs 28:10: He who leads upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
Proverbs 15:8: The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him…A moment of silence.
Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 38: Surrendering is the best demonstration in obedience and trust.
Like all good Christians, Noll insists on ramming a faith down our throats that he doesn’t completely understand. As Mehta noted, not only is the reading of the Bible illegal, he’s also factually wrong with his Luke citation, to boot:
“So not only is Noll illegally reading Bible verses to students via the loudspeaker every morning, he’s not even doing it correctly,” Mehta said.
The actual quote found in the Book of Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 38 is “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”
“These beliefs are perfectly fine for Noll to have privately,” Mehta said, “but the preaching has to stop the moment he puts on the Principal hat. Students aren’t targets waiting to be converted — certainly not while Noll is on the clock.”
When you’re an employee of the state, and therefore, the people, those people — all of the people, all of the religions, and all of the races — come first. If you can’t handle that, then get a different job you can do correctly.
Mehta said that he contacted the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and is current waiting for Principal Noll to respond to them. I hope the student remains anonymous; this sort of thing is definitely an act of bravery and that student and their family could end up in a lot of trouble, just like every other student who’s done something like this in the past.