I was going to comment, but KW is doing such an excellent job that I've nothing more to add other than this:
Everybody please re-read KW's comments word for word. They're the only thing on this thread that is written by somebody who actually understands the spirit and ideals of American freedom.
Here's KW's insight, with my commentary:
KW to CrusadeRex:
You suggest that bullying of this girl was because she asked for it,I don't know to what extent she has actually been bullied. She has admitted lying-- she claimed in a radio interview a while back that she really wasn't offended by the prayer, but now she claims that she suffered much and that she lied back then to deflect bullying.
So the bottom line is that she is an admitted liar. The question now is: what part of her story is a lie?
If she's being threatened physically, or seriously harassed, that's very wrong. If kids and others are just telling her what they think of her tactics, that's fair game. She sued them. They were minding their own business. If she's entitled to feel 'ostracized, harassed and intimidated' or whatever by an innocuous prayer on a wall, they're sure as hell entitled to feel 'ostracized, harassed and intimidated' by a federal lawsuit. She basically called the police to censor her classmates and friends. Blowback, cupcake. Censorship ain't free.
If you sue somebody, expect blowback. If you don't, you're too stupid to be suing anybody. But the little Fraulein isn't stupid. She's disingenuous, pretending to be a victim to elicit sympathy.
and if she doesn’t like the giant prayer in her school she can go somewhere else.
Millions of Christian kids, and Jewish kids, and Muslim kids are in private school or homeschooled, at great sacrifice to their families. Why are atheists exempt from seeking other educational venues?
As if that wasn’t enough, you then go on to suggest segregated schools for atheists.If you want Christianity (which is what you actually mean by "religion") sandblasted from schools, get your own schools. You can have censorship and scientism and narcissism ten periods a day. "Trofim Lysenko High School of Science". Has a ring.
Is this your idea of religious liberty?Yep. Free choice. The government can't establish a religion, and can't interfere with free exercise of religion or with freedom of speech. A non-compulsory prayer in a school doesn't establish a religion, anymore than the President saying "God Bless America" establishes a religion or any one of the thousands of prayers and invocations of God by government officials establishes a religion.
The ACLU/atheist use of federal power to censor prayer does violate the right to free exercise of religion and the right to freedom of speech.
If a public school painted a giant mural of the Bakunin quote “He who desires to worship God must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but bravely renounce his liberty and humanity”There is no Constitutional issue with such a mural, if assent to it was not compulsory.
So let's take a look at what I'd do if my school put up the Bakunin quote:
1) I'd go to the principal and I'd ask him to place a quote next to it that refuted Bakunin (e.g. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."). I'd ask him to include an analysis of Bakunin and the subsequent expression of his ideas in the history curriculum, and to ask the kids to compare and contrast the expression of Christian ideas. This would be a wonderful opportunity to discuss the political manifestations of atheism and Christianity.
2) If he didn't, I'd get my friends and neighbors to go with me, and ask.
3) If he didn't, I'd go to the next school board meeting and ask.
4) If someone at the school board meeting stood up and said "Take down the quote", I'd disagree emphatically. I'd point out that Bakunin's ideas were very important, and that this was a superb opportunity for the kids to take these issues seriously. I would only ask that opposing views be presented as well.
4) If they didn't, I'd get involved in the next school board election, and work for candidates who agreed with me.
5) If that didn't work, I'd tell my kids that the quote was a lie, I'd tell them what I thought the truth was, and I'd tell them a lot about Mikhail Bakunin and anarchism and atheism and materialism. I'd tell them that this experience with the school is a good lesson about living in a democracy. Learn to deal with ideas you don't like, without using force.
Not only would my approach be the right thing to do, but my kids would learn a lot from it. They'd learn a lot more than if I sued the school.
,would it be fare to say that the offended students deserve to be bullied, or should find somewhere else to go to school? Of course not.A Christian student who sued in federal court to censor people would deserve harsh critique by the people he was suing. I'll say it again: censorship has a price.
A giant mural that offends the religious sensibilities of the minority is no more appropriate than one that offends the majority.
No one has a right not to be offended. If you're offended, tough sh*t. You have the right to reply with your own idea. No one has the right to censor.
Using force (e.g. a federal suit) to censor someone who "offended" you is itself a violation of the Constitution, which prohibits the government from regulating speech.
Neither one of them belongs in a public school because we all share the same rights.
They both belong in public school, because we all share the same rights. It's a free country. Ideas should be challenged with ideas, not censorship.
Why is your default always to silence ideas? Why not insist on expression of all ideas?
It’s not up to you or anyone else to decide the level of offense a religious minority should be forced to suffer.There's no "suffering" from reading someone's opinion. There is no force in a wall prayer or in a Bakunin quote. None whatsoever. It is merely an expression of an idea, and you have no right to silence that idea by force. You do have a right to express your own idea.
Public schools must remain absolutely neutral on the subject of religion to protect the religious liberty of all students,What a stupid thing to say. There is no such thing as "neutral" in religion. "Religion" is a menagerie of beliefs, not points on a line. Catholicism isn't at 10 to the right of zero, and Buddhism isn't at 4 to the left of zero. There's no "neutral". There are just different religious viewpoints, related to each other in complex and unquantifiable ways.
What you really mean by "neutral" is no religion, which is atheism, functional or explicit. But "no religion" isn't neutral. The Soviet eradication of religion from Russian life wasn't "neutrality" about religion. The eradication of religion from schools isn't "neutrality" about religion.
What arrogance to call eradication of religion "neutral". Atheists have been trying to eradicate religion for a couple of hundred years, and it's been anything but "neutral".
and in the case of the youngest students, the right of the parents to teach their children whatever religious conviction they want without completion from a public school.Public schools teach kids countless things that don't coincide with parents' views. My kids are indoctrinated in left-wing cr*p in history class all the time. My options are to take it to the teacher and discuss it, to go to the school board, or to take my kids out of public schools.
I have no business going to federal court to silence left-wing instruction in schools. I despise leftism, but I have no right to silence it by force, invoking the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech.
If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to have overtly religious expression by your kid’s school, it’s you who can pull them out and stick them in a private school.If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to have overtly irreligious expression by your kid’s school, it’s you who can pull them out and stick them in a private school.
Until then, don’t expect non-believing students and their parents to sit idly by while you fight to have your public schools send unwanted messages of religious inspiration.Until then, don’t expect believing students and their parents to sit idly by while you fight to have your public schools send unwanted messages of irreligious inspiration.
Welcome to freedom, pal.