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Prayer and public schools

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by , 29th May 2011 at 11:47 PM (240 Views)
I hadn't posted anything in forever on this website, so I spent most of the weekend trying to figure out what to talk about. What I've been doing. An update on my fanfics that have seemingly stalled forever. You know, stuff along those lines.

That was before I came across the story of Damon Fowler and his high school graduation. I'm not sure how familiar people on here are with his situation, so I'll give the background here.

Damon Fowler recently graduated from Bastrop High School in Louisiana. Now, Damon is an atheist and his high school is in a very religious area. Every year at graduation, the students say a prayer, a practice which the school sponsored, even going so far as to publish it into their programs. Now this wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that Bastrop High School is a public high school and this action violates the Constitution.

Damon went to the school and told them to not say the prayer. Organizations such as the ACLU also stood with Damon, threatening a lawsuit if the prayer happened. At first, this seemed to work just fine. The school removed the prayer and replaced it with a moment of silence, allowing everyone a chance to personally reflect in their own way.

However, when word got out that Damon was involved in getting the prayer removed from the program, he faced backlash far beyond he probably could've imagined. He was berated by his fellow students, some even threatening to jump him. One of the teachers made a comment to a newspaper how this had never been a problem before, everyone else had just let the majority do what they wished. She also remarked, and I quote, "And what’s even more sad is this is a student [Damon] who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates."

The worst was yet to come as Damon found himself thrown out of his home by his parents. Yes, you read correctly. THROWN out of his home. His parents simply put his stuff out on the lawn and cut off any financial support to him. Luckily for Damon, his brother has taken him in and he will be helping to pay for his college.

But perhaps one of the more revoulting actions happened at the graduation practice and ceremony. Despite being told by the school not to say the prayer, the school's valedictorian, Laci Rae Mattice, went ahead with the prayer anyway, an action which was clearly directed at Damon for speaking out. The video to the prayer is linked below. On a side note, somebody in the crowd shouts out, "First Ammendment," supporting the prayer. However, it is pretty much common knowledge that the First Ammendment is what makes their action illegal to begin with.

Now, for those few of you on here who may have me as a friend on Facebook, you know that I identify myself as a Catholic. However, I feel like I must use that term lightly. I feel that there are many ways that religion can be good, but it should not be what a person is defined by. That's why I hate it when somebody comes out and directly states that they are a Catholic, or a Protestant, or a Jew, or a Muslim, etc. That doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is what kind of person you are.

What particular saddens me are the actions Damon's parents and the community of Bastrop. They have basically told Damon that his beliefs do not matter. They contend to be a Christian communtiy, yet their actions are very un-Christian. Unfortunately for them, there is a very good chance that thieir actions could lead to some serious consequences for the community. History is not on their side in cases like this and it is likely that, unless a settlement is reached outside of court, the school could be facing some major penalties.

However, I save my biggest hatred for this article, posted by the Christian Broadcasting Network. They attempt to make Damon seem like the villain in this situation, going so far as to make the headline: "Seniors Hold Prayer Despite Atheist's Threats." The content is particularly sickening. For that, I must give the Christian Broadcasting Network the one-finger salute. And no, it doesn't mean that Jesus is number one.

Honestly, I don't know what else to say. Damon deserves a helluva lot better than he got from this so-called Christian community and I hope that he is able to move on to better things in his future.

Related links
Article #1
Article #2
Video of prayer

-PH
The Outrage likes this.

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  1. mini-chan's Avatar
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    I hate this religious majority bullshit.

    Just because everyone is Christian, doesn't mean it evades state law.
  2. Jean Meslier's Avatar
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    Why are so many Christians so unlike Christ?

    I was actually on Reddit, where it all started. It was when Damon posted this:
    Threatened to contact ACLU for prayer at graduation: they seemingly backed down... : atheism
  3. ChinYao's Avatar
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    Wait, so the girl who said the prayer didn't say it because it is her belief and something she wanted to say, but because she wanted to personally attack another kid? I don't think so--just as Damon thinks it is wrong for them to pray, if the people wish to pray he cannot change that.

    If he doesn't want to do it, then he can be silent and wait it out--just like with our exchange students, they do not have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, as this is not their country, but they are expected to be quiet and wait while those who salute our flag and country do so. Why fight to ban something a community wants? If they want it and one person doesn't, then let them both do as they please. The ones who want to pray, pray--you can't stop them, really--and the ones who don't, don't.
  4. PokemonHero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallow♥
    Wait, so the girl who said the prayer didn't say it because it is her belief and something she wanted to say, but because she wanted to personally attack another kid? I don't think so--just as Damon thinks it is wrong for them to pray, if the people wish to pray he cannot change that.
    Listen to what she says before leading the prayer. She claims to be respectful of others beliefs, yet she must praise God. Now, say if it were a Muslim student who tried to do this. What do you think would happen? There would be a ton of backlash. But since it is a Christian doing this, it's somehow okay?

    If he doesn't want to do it, then he can be silent and wait it out--just like with our exchange students, they do not have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, as this is not their country, but they are expected to be quiet and wait while those who salute our flag and country do so. Why fight to ban something a community wants? If they want it and one person doesn't, then let them both do as they please. The ones who want to pray, pray--you can't stop them, really--and the ones who don't, don't.
    You seem to be ignoring the fact that the prayer is illegal. A public high school, funded by taxpayer money and run by the government, cannot favor one religion over another. If they wanted to, a moment silence could be observed so that everyone could reflect in the way that they wish.

    As well, what about all that has happened to Damon because he spoke up about it. Is a prayer that much more important than a human life, so much so that his parents kick him out of his home and cut off financial support? That his fellow students threaten him? That a teacher can pretty much dimish the entire fact that he is graduating?
  5. ChinYao's Avatar
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    It is not okay, honestly, but she acted on her own. As did Damon. They can both live with the consequences of it. However, I beg of you, do not define Christian's by the extremists you see in the news. They are the minority, and it is unfair to judge others by it.
  6. PokemonHero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallow♥
    It is not okay, honestly, but she acted on her own. As did Damon. They can both live with the consequences of it. However, I beg of you, do not define Christian's by the extremists you see in the news. They are the minority, and it is unfair to judge others by it.
    While she did act on her own, the school didn't take any step to stop her. Be aware that another girl also said a prayer at the same point during the graduation rehearsal. By not acting on it, school gives support to the action.

    And trust me, I do not judge a religion by their minority. That's why I said in the article the last thing that I want to know about a person is their religion.
  7. The Outrage's Avatar
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    The backlash to Damon was completely unnecessary, but at the same time, threatening a lawsuit to get rid of a prayer nobody else at the school cared about? Good that the school complied, but a lawsuit? Who's really benefiting from that?

    But the backlash is just ridiculous >_>
  8. Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    What the hell. Throwing out their own kid? How is that even LEGAL? Isn't that child abuse, or at least neglect? But at least they revealed themselves to everyone to be intolerable douchebags. It's people like that who should be publically mocked.

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