What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 14, 2013

Kentucky Gets It Right

While perusing World Net Daily (aka birther-central) this morning, I saw this.  The headline reads:
WND writer Drew Zahn writes:
A Kentucky school district is yanking down multiple displays of the Ten Commandments after an atheist organization sent the county a letter warning the plaques were unconstitutional.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, or FFRF, a Wisconsin-based organization of “freethinkers” – explained on the group’s website as atheists, agnostics and skeptics devoted to spreading nontheism – told Kentucky’s Breathitt County School District it had received complaints about the displays.

Earlier this week, the district agreed to take down the displays, which had reportedly hung on area high school, middle school and several elementary schools’ walls for years.
Here's the letter the FFRF sent to the Breathitt County School District.

WND embeds this coverage of the story from WYMT-TV and in that story there's a telling quotation from a local resident who disagrees with the School Board's decision to take down the Commandments.  Mary Lou Campbell says:
Makes me angry. Because my grandchildren, I want them to have the Christian upbringing.
And so she wants the Ten Commandments to remain hanging in the public schools.

To its credit, the Kentucky Board of Education released this statement:
The display of religious materials, such as a painting of a religious figure or a copy of the Ten Commandments, in a public school violates the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on the establishment or endorsement of religion by a public agency. A school or district that displays copies of the Ten Commandments without the inclusion of other historical documents and not as part of a historical/comparative display is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. See the U.S. Supreme Court's holding on this issue in Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39, 101 S.Ct. 192 (1980). The Kentucky Department of Education's focus in Breathitt County is on student achievement and college and career readiness and using its resources to support those efforts.
The 2012 Kentucky School Laws says that:
No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
And in discussing the unconstitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on school property, it reads:
Since the pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature, this section has no secular legislative purpose and is therefore unconstitutional as violative of the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; it does not matter that the posted copies are financed by voluntary private contributions, for the mere posting of the copies under the auspices of the Legislature provides the official support of the state government that the establishment clause prohibits.
Each is correct.  And as a result the unconstitutional displays have been removed - all within a couple of weeks  It's been about 8 months since the FFRF sent letters to two local school districts about theirequally unconstitutional Ten Commandment monuments.  As of right now, those two monuments have yet to be removed.

If Kentucky can get it so right so quickly, why can't New Kensington or Connellsville?

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