Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Controversy Erupted After AR Teacher Ordered to Remove Nativity Scene

Actual picture of nativity scene ordered removed

Nativity Scene in NE Arkansas School Was Put Back Up

"After receiving several phone calls regarding a bulletin board at Greene County Tech Primary School that had been decorated with a nativity scene, school district superintendent Jerry Noble decided to allow the board to once again be decorated with the nativity scene. School counselor Kay Williams had originally displayed the nativity scene on Nov. 29 but was ordered to remove the decoration after the school received a complaint from a citizen. However, Noble said after receiving numerous phone calls supporting the nativity scene, he decided to allow Williams to return it to the bulletin board."

“I think it’s due to the fact that most of us are Christians and this is a Christian community,” Noble said “We just decided if we are going to offend someone, we would rather not offend those who have Christian beliefs. The majority of people wanted us to take a stand and that’s what we’re doing.” See entire article at this link. The article noted that the superintendent had no contact information for those complaining about the bulletin board. In other words they were anonymous.

Information in the article also says the newspaper, the Daily Press, was provided "with several memos from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a legal alliance that defends religious liberty, that cited several legal precedents where courts had ruled the display of nativity scenes in public schools did not violate the Establishment Clause." The superintendent had originally acted on the school attorney's advice.

I seriously doubt that this issue is over. With all the publicity, ACLU may still file a suit. If you have not already, please contact the superintendent, the principal and Kay Williams to help in this controversy. As far as I know, the superintendent was courteous to Kay. For those who don't like to send negative messages, this is your chance to send a Thank you message to the superintendent for allowing Kay to put the nativity scene back up - and still serve the same purpose - that the community wants the nativity scene up. These emails were obtained online. Superintendent Jerry Noble (If you ever need other superintendent or principal emails you can find them at this Ms Sherry Vance who was very ugly when commanding Kay to take down the nativity scene bulletin board and sent her home from school even without the proper discipline procedures. Kay Williams, the counselor who had the courage to put up the nativity scene bulletin board and risk her job by being honest with the reporter to get this information out.

Following is the link to the original story I sent out on this controversy.


Blogger Linton said...

I've always felt ambivalent about Nativity scene controversy around Christmas. People who are offended by them remind me of how annoyed I am by how people on both ends of the political spectrum seem to be constantly looking for something to be offended by (we are not guaranteed freedom from offense).. But once someone expresses offense at the Nativity, I'm also annoyed by the way supporters turn the display into some kind of flag planting ("I claim this land for..."). Then it becomes less about showing love for Christ and more about claiming turf and trying to use government to force everyone to recognize a certain religious view.

8:38 PM, December 14, 2011  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

But isn't the idea that religion has no place in the public square also a view on religion?

Linton the problem as I see it is that government subsidizes 1 type of school, so Christians and anti-Christians fight over "who gets to hold the gun" and make everyone else do it their way.

The answer is to have 2 schools within a school, one where the teachers are agents of the parents and can openly teach their values and even faith (this is called IN LOCO PARENTIS and was the dominant public school model 60 years ago). The other school the teachers would act as agents of the state, and be bound accordingly. Then, LET THE PARENTS DECIDE. Whoever made that call asking it be taken down can win, and the parents who want it up can win.

The root problem is the government trying to impose a 1 size fits all solution using taxpayer dollars. People who want faith taught pay taxes, and those who don't want it taught pay taxes. Why can't everybody win?

8:58 PM, December 14, 2011  
Blogger Linton said...

But the issue arises of what faith? Would that mean that Islam could be the religion parents would want taught in, say, a place like Dearborn, MI? Fine and dandy if you're talking about a private school, but a public school, even if it's one answerable to parents? I see this leading to more fragmentation of schools. It could work 60 years ago but with the decline in some religions and increases in others, I think an imperfect attempt a one size fits all (on the religion issue) is the best bet.

10:21 PM, December 17, 2011  

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