Lawsuit threatened, BoE discards opening prayer

Those attending the January meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education might have noticed a change in the proceeding at the beginning of the meeting. The usual invocation presented by a local minister was replaced with a “moment of silence.”

That change will continue due to threatened litigation by a Washington, D.C. organization after a complaint over prayer at school board meetings was filed last year.

The school system in April 2012 received a letter from Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) saying the organization had received a complaint “regarding the Fayette County School (System) Board of Education’s practice of opening its meetings with prayer. We understand that students regularly attend board meetings. We write to inform you that the inclusion of an official prayer at school board meetings violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and to ask that the prayer be discontinued.”

The letter cited a variety of legal cases while maintaining that prayer at school board meetings is unconstitutional.

“Any prayers, even non-sectarian ones in the broad Judeo-Christian tradition, send the message to adherents of minority faiths that the board does not represent their interests or welcome their participation in debates over matters of concern to the public,” the letter said. “That matter is particularly damaging when students are in the audience, as they are here. Accordingly, because the board represents all students and their families, regardless of faith, we ask that you end the board’s practice of opening its meetings with prayer.”

Complying with a Ga. Open Records request, interim Superintendent Dan Colwell on Monday released the letter and additional communication by the school system’s attorney. In a May 18, 2012 letter from attorney Denise Jackson on behalf of school system attorney Phil Hartley, Jackson reviewed the case law cited in the AUSCS letter and noted that, “With other clients, we have suggested that the board consider opening its meetings in the same way that the school day is opened for all of its students, with a moment of silence.”

Hartley followed up with a letter to AUSCS, saying that he did not necessarily agree with the legal conclusion from cited in the April letter. Hartley also requested time to review the AUSCS position.

Though the item was not brought up in regular session due to its potential for litigation, one of the criteria for executive session meetings, it is widely known today that the school system is cash-poor and could likely not afford to mount a legal challenge even if one was desired.

As for the prayers that continued through the end of 2012, Chairman Marion Key on Monday said ministers had previously been scheduled to give invocations through the end of the year so the school board elected to have those scheduled appearances continue through December.

On the former practice of having a prayer at the beginning of the meeting, school board member and former Chairman Leonard Presberg, who said he is not Christian, offered a different perspective.

“We’re a public school system. What does that say to some of those in the room who might not be Christian? (Saying a prayer) can be interpreted as exclusionary even though it’s not intended to be,” Presberg said.

And addressing some speculation in the community concerning Presberg and his previous loose affiliation with the Fayette Free Thought Society, Presberg said he did not have anything to do with the complaint made to AUSCS.

rolling stone
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A moment of silence is a one size fits all solution

and a practical idea. If they quit taking public tax money then the board could be free to offer or decline whatever public praying they desired. How many people come to the BOE meeting to pray anyway? One is either waiting on a public prayer to end or the moment of silence to pass to get down to business.

PTC Observer
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Invocation

And what of Congress? If we can open Congress with an invocation, why not a school board?

It seems the country is without reason.

Larry.Sussberg
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Congressional Invocation

The Congressional invocation has been inclusive for many years.
In 2012 they called on LI Muslim cleric to lead the prayer.

Personally, I'm glad Mr. Barlow sees the need to be inclusive.

Maybe next, we can ban together to show outrage over the recent gunshots fired at a house of worship in Fayette!
Small, important steps.

Fred Garvin
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Or....

Maybe we can ban together to show outrage over the recent torture and murder of an American diplomat in Benghazi at the hand of Islamist militants, the attempted cover-up of the cause, and the failure to act to save the lives of the innocent lives of 3 men by the Obama administration.

Larry.Sussberg
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Garvin

Oh please... Militants come in all shapes, sizes and religions.
I'm glad to see you read and know that the house of worship that was fired upon was a mosque.

Not all who worship in a mosque are militants. As one who prays in a synagogue, I am outraged by this event as I would be outraged if shots were fired in any house of worship.

I have more fear of religious intolerance than an American Muslim.

Larry.Sussberg
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Americans United for Separation of Church & State

Thank you for changing the original headline on Mr. Nelms' article.

AU is not an Atheist group but a long established organization based in Washington DC led by a range of clergy who wish to protect the freedom of religion by protecting the principle of separation of Church and State.

father time
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X Playgound

Thinking a little longer about your list of questions, I don't have the answers.
Why do we allow oficials to lead our government whan they allow American people to be murdered in Bengazi and offering no help whatsoever and then finding out the truth that we had time to assist. Clinton"what does it matter now anyway".
Why do we put up with taxes that are rediculous as to the storm water runoff tax.
Why do people constantly abuse assistance from the government and the government knows that this is happening.
Why are there democrats and republicans, when we should be americans. We pledge alligence to the flag of the United States of America, not to the Demo or rep.
Why does the government treat veterans that go and fight for our freedom,
like second rate citizens and all they are asking is to help get them back to where they were before they left to fight.
Why don't we do something about the leader of the country that has yet to prove that he is a citizen and demand that when you renew your drivers license, you must bring in abundant info stating that you are who you are even though you have been in the system for years,decades.
Why do people think that by praying before a meeting constitutes teaching religion in schools? Could be for knowledge on how to help Fayette County I would guess.
Why do outside organizations step in to local areas and put there nose in our business that is none of theirs?

Things happen and answers for all of those are going to be different from ever point of view. But for you to blame God for those things, unbelievable. Your country is going to hell in a basket, you can beleive that whether you won't to or not. We turn away from God until we are desperate and then beg for stuff. For the answers about where was God when those things happened I would suggest that you go to a Church that believes in God and ask them. I am sure They would enlighten and entertain answers for you. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

XPlayGround
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That's my point..

When questions about GOD or religion are answered, it will be different from almost everyone that is asked. There is never any consistency with how the Christian GOD is portrayed. From it's GOD's will that something happened and we cannot change it to it's because we have free will and GOD doesn't interfere with our lives. But then believers pray to have GOD change someone's circumstance invoking him to interfere.
So going back to the story about the reason bad things happen is because we kicked GOD out of schools & government doesn't compute. You can't have it both ways, GOD either has the ability to alter our life's or we have free will and he doesn't interfere. Most believe that a GOD helps someone win the lottery, win the Superbowl or even heal some (but not everyone). If those things do happen then GOD does interfere and we do not have free will. But I think that things just happen: people win the lottery, teams win the Superbowl and sick people get better, all without any mystical help.
I have spoke to many religious people & their leaders, asking questions but never getting a clear answer on any.
And just to be clear... I don't have an issue with anyone believe anything as long as it does not bring harm to themselves or others & that it does not force everyone to conform to their philosophy by making laws from such.

madprof
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signs of the times

When one of the most conservative counties in GA made Leonard Presberg chair of its school board, I figured the country was pretty well done, and it was just a matter of time now. Nothing that has occurred since has dissuaded me from that expectation.

father time
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God

He was there but without the full facts of each case I cannot answer your Questions. I can only believe as I stated that things happen for reason that we do not have the answers. We pray and believe because that is our faith and I assure you God was not happy. These horrific crimes happen all the time. Even though we pray does not guareentee that we are beyond any of those things happening to us. We are merely asking for his grace that we can go through our life without being harmed. When a tragedy happens.i.e. 9-11 it is all about God. People search for him and answers. Then when the dust settles, its back to the old ways. You beleive what you will and I will also. I am not in anyway a Theologian or expert in religion, but a true believer in GOD. I have had personal tragedies in my life and have gotten through, but I relied on help from God.

father time
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God

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans area, a reporter ask Billy Grahams daughter, why did God let this happen. She responded, "you took him out of your government buildings and out of your schools and you have taken him out of about all of your surroundings. Now you ask God, Why?"
Our founding Fathers and country was built on Spiritual Foundation. We have in God we Trust on our money and other governmentally controlled things and just because some don't want the prayers protecting their rights,it takes away from the ones that want its, rights. They are trying to take away our second amendment, which could be argued forever, now take away our first? When they take away all your rights and you become a prisoner in your use to be free country, don't wonder why this all happened. Keep letting them get by with this stuff that we all know that it is wrong, and when its too late, try to change it. I understand that everybody has rights and that everybody has an opinion, but if you don't like the prayer, step out of the meeting until its over. If you don't like this message, push the delete button, either way it won't affect how I feel. GOD Bless America. Like it or don't, you have the choice.

father time
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Ms Graham interview

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson
asked her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding
Katrina)
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said,
"I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years
we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our
government and to get out of our lives.

And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can
we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He
leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I
think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body
found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we
said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school . the Bible says
thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as
yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they
misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might
damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an
expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they
don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill
strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.
I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the
world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but
question what the Bible says

Davids mom
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God

I remember when the word God was added to our pledge of allegiance to the flag. My parents had taught me about God before the word was added by the government . God did not enter my understanding because of the addition of a word. God cannot be removed from my understanding by an act of government or an organization.

XPlayGround
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Where was GOD...

when kids got molested in church?
when church leaders steal from their own?
when shootings happen inside of GODS's house?
when sex scandals, sodomy, drugs, corruption, hate, etc, etc, run amok with the religious leaders?
If none of these things ever happened under GOD's watch, then I would give you the "It happens because GOD was kicked out" rhetoric.

G35 Dude
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Where was God?

Where was God? He was there. Why didn’t he intervene? Well this question is similar to the one “If God is all powerful, all knowing and all caring, why does he allow evil to prevade the world?” Here is my take on that. You see I view this life as a test. God is testing to see who will choose him of our own free will. So like a teacher he provides us with the material that we need to ace his test by living a good life. The teacher like God in this example is all powerful in that he can give the answers to any student if he so chooses. He’s all knowing in that he knows this subject that he has just taught. He’s all caring in that he really wants all of his students to do well. But with all of this what does he do as he watches his students struggle with this test? Nothing! He can't get an honest grade if he intervenes. You see man asked for and was given free will. He thought he could manage things just fine without God. And a man with Reverend in his/her name is still just a human being. Putting a title in the beginning of a name does not make him/her anything else. Some Lions will don a sheep’s clothing to aid in their evil doing. If you choose to turn your back on God for this reason it will be your choice. After all we have free will.

ginga1414
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G35 Dude, Absolutely

And, Amen!

Dude, my little office is also my laundry room. I have many best thoughts plastered all over bulletin boards next to my computer here in my office. I just want you to know that your "Where was God?" will have a "place of honor" among my collection of "best thoughts!"

G35 Dude
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ginga1414-I'm honored

Thank you very much!!!

Davids mom
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G35

Thank you. Disciples: Students. In our country, we all have the choice (free will) to shape our own opinion based on our study. Thanks for sharing your opinion .

Husband and Fat...
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NO and Katrina

Granted, NO is not the place I would want to raise my family, (police corruption) though I do have friends who grew up inside the city and are very good people. But perhaps the devastation was more of a result of buiding a city below sea level and not building properly or maintaining the levees.

NeilSullivan
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RWM - When you look at history it is not just the budget

TO be honest I do not have the hard data. But intuitively when you look at the Jihad against God in public schools since the 70s, you will see a growth in problems from funding, performance, and ultimately to school violence. If you read parts of the Old Testement you can see where everytime the Isrealites turned from God, really crappy things happened.

That said, I also agree with Husband and Father, we do not need a "God Police" Sign up, we do them in order of sign up, given the population, if all parts sign up we will have representative distribution. Alternate a lottery.

I truly hope the BOE does not turn and run like they did with NAACP.

"All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke

Take Care,

Neil

Husband and Fat...
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One can say the decline is due to

The womans lib issue. Since the 1960's when womens lib took hold and more women started working instead of raising the family. Divorce rates, teen pregnancy, women in the work force, shot up dramatically, lessening the value of family. How about we blame women for the decline instead?

NeilSullivan
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H & F - One can make that arguement

But I will still stick to my hypothesis. Again no data and I think it depends on viewpoint. Personally I went to a private religous school growing up and we prayed everyday, and I have yet to see some of the violence in that sector.

But for the record, I pray for our schools and their leadership everyday, maybe that is a starting point of agreement for all of us regardless of faith?

Take Care,

Neil

Husband and Fat...
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Innvocation

I have no problem with a moment of silence in lieu of a prayer that may or may not make reference to a specific god. This is fair for everyone.

I don't send my kids to public school for a religious education. That is taken care of in the home and our place of worship. I want my kids to meet many different kids with various backgrounds (like the real world) and learn how to deal with everyone.

I do have a problem with the County Commission meetings with the new regime. In the past, we had one commissioner do the innvocation. Mr. Barlow is now bringing in various preachers to offer the innvocation and then had the audacity to state that he is dedicated to inclusivity, but first, you have to volunteer and have him visit so he can vet you. Who voted this man to be the religion police for the entire county. What special talents does he have to act as gatekeeper?

See the latest meeting minutes below:

Commissioner Barlow: Commissioner Barlow reminded the citizens that the current Board is dedicated to inclusivity, and it is interested in the citizens involvement and input. He also said he wanted to reach out tothe “community of faith” saying the County has been fortunate to have folks from various churches come to the meetings. He reiterated that the Board is looking for volunteers from the churches to offer the
Invocation, and he asked that those volunteers contact him so he could visit with them.

RKS
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Religious Freedom
Husband and Father of 2 wrote:

I have no problem with a moment of silence in lieu of a prayer that may or may not make reference to a specific god. This is fair for everyone.

I don't send my kids to public school for a religious education. That is taken care of in the home and our place of worship. I want my kids to meet many different kids with various backgrounds (like the real world) and learn how to deal with everyone.

I do have a problem with the County Commission meetings with the new regime. In the past, we had one commissioner do the innvocation. Mr. Barlow is now bringing in various preachers to offer the innvocation and then had the audacity to state that he is dedicated to inclusivity, but first, you have to volunteer and have him visit so he can vet you. Who voted this man to be the religion police for the entire county. What special talents does he have to act as gatekeeper?

See the latest meeting minutes below:

Commissioner Barlow: Commissioner Barlow reminded the citizens that the current Board is dedicated to inclusivity, and it is interested in the citizens involvement and input. He also said he wanted to reach out tothe “community of faith” saying the County has been fortunate to have folks from various churches come to the meetings. He reiterated that the Board is looking for volunteers from the churches to offer the
Invocation, and he asked that those volunteers contact him so he could visit with them.

I guess Mr. Barlow is the one to decide which religions can say their pray? Gotta love that kind of freedom. This is why it's easier to skip the prayer and get some work done. I don't want my tax money spent on teaching people anything about religion, that's the job of their church of choice. I want my tax dollars spent educating my kids and running the government, not legislation religion.

Spyglass
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Barlow and his request is a JOKE

I tried to tell you folks.

Husband and Fat...
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Exactly

Mr. Barlow clearly has chosen not to listen to advise that he is the county commissioner and not the county preacher. Couldn't believe the audacity of him requiring that he meet with anyone beforehand. Why would he need to do that? Who appointed him the gatekeeper?

For te past few years he campaigned for transparency. Now he doesnt feel that it's a problem to vote for a bandaid fix on a silly ethics charge even when the item was a late addition to the agenda. If this happened prior to his election we would have been hearing him spout his self righteous BS. The item was not that important to pass immediately.

Mr. Morgan pointed out how easily this new position can get out of hand and end up with some serious problems.

Barlow must go!

AtHomeGym
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H & F & Commissioner Barlow

I strongly suspect that the US House Chaplain has a word "pre-prayer" with guest Preachers to advise them to keep it "generic". Perhaps that's what Commissioner Barlow's intention was and if so, I find that proper--SOMEONE should do it and the guests may take it from him better than another Commissioner--just my guess here.

AtHomeGym
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H & F & Commission Meeting

Didn't you understand that was a Special Meeting called specifically to address the Ethics Ordinance? The agenda was posted on the County Website prior to the meeting and agenda actions (mintess) a few days after the meeting. I commend it to your reading!

Husband and Fat...
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Band aid fix

The meeting was not even necessary. Even the bedroom attorney stated that the fix was a Band-Aid

AtHomeGym
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H & F & BandAid Fix

You may say the meeting was'nt necessary but that's not your call--that's the call of the Board--and note the vote to eliminate what they did was unanimous, absent the Chairman,who had properly recused hmself and left the building.

Husband and Fat...
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It is not my call

But chicken Little called an emergency meeting without having all of the information from the interim county attorney and voted for a Band-Aid fix. All because Mr. Chairman wants to go to war, possibly at the taxpayers expense.

Robert W. Morgan
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We are going to solve a $20million deficit without God's help?

If there was ever a group that needs divine guidance, it would be the school board — admittedly the old one more so than the current one. I am so sick of a noisy 2% of the population enforcing their will on the rest of us. Why can't we just take the position that if these non-believers don't want to pray or even listen - don't. We can even warn them a prayer is coming up so they can attract attention to their pitiful little lives by leaving the room. I can't see Thomas Jefferson handlng these few whiners in this fashion.

AtHomeGym
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Bobby & Prayers

Doesn't it kinda tick you off that this person who lodged the complaint didn't have the guts to come to a BOE meeting and stand up and present the complaint instead of doing a 'skip echelon' action to some activist group in DC?

Robert W. Morgan
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Not really, cowards are cowards

Rather they didn't exist at all, but since there is about 10 of them in the state - let them act out and stand out as the cowards that they are. We need to take these people down instead of cowtowing to them. Atheists are 2%'ers and a burr under my saddle. Pray for them.

Husband and Fat...
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AHG

This was filed a long time ago and the BOE received the letter in April. The BOE chose not to address until all of the guests invited to perform the duties were complete before changing the format.

AtHomeGym
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H & F & Complaint

OK, so what's that got to do with the 'complainant' standing up in front of the BOE & making the complaint and keeping a distant activist group out of it?

Husband and Fat...
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Your assuming

The complaintaint knew when the board was finally going to address it. We don't know what has been going on behind the scences.

wildcat
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@ Husb and fat

..so you must know the complainant? You knew the complaint was filed a long time ago, you knew the board received the letter in April and you know that the complainant knew when the board was finally going to address it. I am guessing that you are not going to name the complainant?

I suppose it doesn't really matter, but I have to agree with AHG...no guts. If it is worth fighting for then why be ashamed to stand up for what you believe? I've taken a few stands in my life and I didn't take them anonymously. I guess we were all raised differently.

Husband and Fat...
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No

I didn't know anything about it. Just read the article, unlike you.

wildcat
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@ husb and fat

So you were just regurgitating the article. That's cool. No, I did not read the article (not enough time) ...just skimmed the comments.

Larry.Sussberg
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What makes Fayette so wonderful

Is that almost every religious faith is represented in this county!
We have every Christian denomination, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and others.
Forgive me for not mentioning all!

A minute of silent prayer respects everyone in the room, allowing them to pray in the manner they are accustom to.

My prayer happens to be slightly different and in the minority referenced here.

That's what makes us such a great country. I am American, we are all Americans!

Fred Garvin
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Sussberg

These United States of America were founded on Judeo-Christian values. There is a history and culture in America that binds it to these values whether the atheists like it or not.

We aren't going into other countries and demanding that they change their values and traditions.

pumpkin
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Fred Garvin You Make Sense To Me

live by example. not only our religious values are being rewritten our entire society and foundation is in a mire.

Davids mom
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Are we demonstrating

our beliefs and traditions? Are we teaching our children by demonstration? We are 'society'. What has changed? Who has changed?

Fred Garvin
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Degredation of Family Unit

Personally, I think that the degredation of the family unit is mostly to blame. The definition of what a family has traditionally been has been twisted into something unrecognizable. The of wedlock birthrate is a huge contributor; Without a father in many households, the mother is left trying to raise and discipline children on their own. Without a father teaching young men the difference between right and wrong, many children join gangs so that they have a sense of belonging to a family unit. Then there is the degredation of society itself with its glorification of violence and sex; 'music' that glorifies the gang culture and criminal lifesyle doesn't help matters.

Husband and Fat...
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Mr. Garvin: we agree, family

Family life has changed from the 1950's and not in a good way.

Now, I am going to sound sexist, but since women's liberation in the 60's the country has seen more woman in the workforce. Women now, want to be highly paid career people during the day and part time mommy's at night after a hard day at work and a hard day for the kids seeking attention from day care workers along with 20 other kids.

The first five years of a childs life is very important in terms of establishing relationships, learning skills, and RELIGION. As a parent, that responsibility is shared between the husband and wife.

Many woman today are selfish. They don't think that a child needs two parents. So they have babies out of wedlock and are praised. I have gone to church and been hit up for donations to help the single working mother to be. In church the 20 something mother to be is doted on and praised for this "accomplishment".

Now excuse me for being cold hearted or true to the judeo Christian values, but when the church dotes over an unwed mother, they are showing my young impressionable children that the church does not really represent the sanctity of my marriage when they reward an unwed mother with gifts and extra attention. Are the churches and parishioners really upholding judeo Christian values? Now some will call it compassion, but if a woman chooses to have sex outside of wedlock, the churches shouldn't be holding baby showers in the assembly hall. If the churches fail to withhold these values under their own roofs, how can we push prayer onto our public schools who have people of all faiths and non believers.

I haven't read of that many rapes in FC. So tell me, where are these women learning or following the judeo Christian values some are fighting on the blogs to uphold?

In yesterdays AJC, there was an article on page two of the front page section of the paper that a Lutheran preacher was reprimanded for taking part in a prayer vigil for the Newton, Ct children killed. This preacher was admonished because he took part along with other non Lutheran clergy. So, if the BOE allows prayer by a non Lutheran, all Lutheran believers are supposed to leave the meeting while the prayer takes place?

The world has changed. It is up to the parents to instill their moral beliefs into their children.

Davids mom
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Fred Garvin

So very true. Each individual must make sure that they are doing all they can to demonstrate 'goodness' in the home and in society. I agree with you - too much glorification of the wrong in society.

Husband and Fat...
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Mr. Garvin

You are correct, we were founded on Judeo-Christian values. Values I don't believe make it a law.

It's not just the athiests that are demanding this.

People all over the world are dieing to come to the good ole USA because of the freedoms we permit.

One might have a problem with the public school should a teacher start each day with a prayer and in lieu of praising your god, the teacher praised her god out loud every day.

A moment of silence allows everyone to pray or do as they please. Besides, have you taken a close look lately to see what the children actually do during this time? Mostly fidget, look around, tease someone, ect...

No one is telling anyone what to believe. Our public schools are designed to educate, not promote one religion over another. If one wants a religious education, no one is stopping them from seeking this out.

Fred Garvin
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H&F2

I didn't say anything about belief. I mentioned values and tradition.

The establishment clause of the Constitution was in reference to state sponsored or "establishment" of church by the state. It had nothing to do with tradition or our values. The framers did this to prevent the state from establishing a church. The left has twisted it the intent of the Constitution as an excuse to take American Judeo-Christian traditions out of society simply because they don't like it.

Schools are not trying to establish a church and no one is telling them what to believe. Don't try to misconstrue my words again, sir.

Larry.Sussberg
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Mr. Garvin

Let's clarify

I am neither to the left or an atheist and to categorize those who support separation of church and state as atheists or to the left is your opinion and assumption which some might view as religious intolerance. I will assume you are not but then I do not want to put words in your mouth.

Fred Garvin
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Sussberg

My response was not directed to you and I really don't care whether you're right, left, up, down, straight or queer.

Larry.Sussberg
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Garvin

You still are drawing an assumption that those who promote separation of church and state are twisting it because they are to the left or atheist which is totally wrong! As per the example I gave you.

Fred Garvin
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Sussberg

O.k. Sussberg. I'll bite.
How many that are in favor of the "separation of church and state", which is something that is not written in the constitution, are to the left, and how many are to the right?

Larry.Sussberg
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Garvin & The Consitution

So, you're implying that any thought or idea not written into the constitution might be to the left?
Shame on Mr. Jefferson! Are true leftist.

That's funny, since Declaration of Independence followed by The Constitution where written by men "to the left" of the popular thought and establishment of the day, the British monarchy!! It was rather radical and revoluntionary don't you think?

Davids mom
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The popular thought

Thank heavens for adhering to The Constitution. The 'popular thought' segregated me until the '60s; intimidated me while seeking 'the right' to vote; and for too long denied me equal opportunity in this, my homeland. I know, I know - the 'race card' again - but ignoring the truth of the history of this country may cause people to forget that people throughout the world believe that this country offers equal opportunity to all. We're getting there! My own personal belief is that God is all - in all. No one can interfer with that personal belief - and our Constitution allows us our own individual expression of our beliefs/non-beliefs. The word God is in our pledge, and for those who are religious - the concept of God is in our hearts. In the United States, we are free to practice that belief in our own individual way - with no direction from the government. All of our traditions are not based on religion. Our values are pretty much expressed in our 'laws'.

Fred Garvin
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Larry

I never implied any such thing. Did you just pull that out of your arse?
I implied that the majority of Atheists and those that call for the unconstitutional "separation of church and state" are leftists.

Feel free to prove my implication as incorrect.

Davids mom
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Religious citizens/Separation of church and state

There are many, many religious citizens in this country who support the separation of organized 'church' and the state. Our government does not dictate what religion the citizens of this country must follow. An atheist has no more right to dictate than does a Catholic, Methodist, Pentacostal, Islamist, Buddhist or Jewish citizen. Many public schools for years have handled this 'freedom of religion' part of our 'rights' through allowing silent prayer - or inviting clergy of all faiths to participate in government activities. Seven-day Adventist students are allowed not to participate in activities that are contrary to their religious beliefs. I am not an atheist. I pray whenever and wherever I please. No government or organization can interfer with this American 'right' that I treasure. I feel if our traditions and values are disappearing - it is the fault of individual Americans. Yes, degradation of family values is portrayed by the media - but often the media is portraying what is happening in our communities. This degradation of 'traditional values' has little to do with homosexuality or heterosexuality. As is coming to the forefront, many wonderful traditional families have a 'homosexual' member in their family . To citizens who believe that homosexulaity is against their particular 'religion' - that is their right. We do not base citizenship rights on the basis of our 'religious' belief. That is one aspect of separation of church and state. Our tradition of treating one another as we would want to be treated; respecting one another; etc., etc., etc. is still the American way. IMO

G35 Dude
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Separation of Church and State

The term "Separation of Church and State" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. The Constitution references religion in the establishment clause:

Quote:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

And the free exercise clause:

Quote:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

You see there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits places of Government from displaying religious items or partaking in prayer etc. In fact the Supreme Court says:

Quote:

The view is that the establishment clause was intended to protect local establishments of religion from federal interference. Rehnquist made numerous citations of cases that rebutted the idea of a total wall of separation between Church and State. A result of such reasoning was Supreme Court support for government payments to faith-based community projects. Justice Scalia has criticized the metaphor as a bulldozer removing religion from American public life.

So where did the term come from?

Quote:

The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter.

You may believe that the Government should stay completely non religious and if you do that is your right. But people need to stop misusing the Constitution as an excuse for their version of Separation of Church and State.

S. Lindsey
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G..the Constitution always fits the needs of the moment right?

Rather it is actually in it or not it's the intent and need of the moment that counts...?

Of course SCS is not in the Constitution and was NEVER intended as meaning Government my not have any Religious practices at all.. A Simple prayer harms no one.

Jefferson's letter to Baptist laymen simply meant that Government would not sponsor a Religion theirs nor anyone else's.

However, the letter is neither relevant nor binding on the Constitution but the FFR crowd will forever use this as a bludgeon to scare the Worker Bees into submission...

This is changing, many Jurisdictions are fighting the groups welcoming the fight.

AtHomeGym
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G35,"Separation" & BOE

OK, then pls tell me why the BOE shouldn't tell this activist gp in DC to buzz off--or did they get advice from our county attorney that said "you can't do that"--and you best knock off that prayer stuff!" or what?? Or did they just fold at first threat?

Larry.Sussberg
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Separation of Church & State and AU the activist group!

I haven't read one post here confusing the Constitution and Jefferson's doctrine on Separation of Church and State.

And, I'm surprised to see someone refer to Americans United For Separation of Church & State an "activist" group.
It's an organization led by clergy that is 64 years old.

Finally, as to Fayette Board of Ed, Commissioners, etc prayer is exclusive not inclusive, leaving out a range of faiths that people practice in Fayette!

If we want public prayer, then select prayers and clergy from all faiths. What is so hard in understanding that concept.
Barlow gets it!

Husband and Fat...
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Larry

I find it hard to believe that that you would promote a man such as Barlow who stood before a school board meeting and bombarded Mr. Presberg regarding his religious affiliation as that had anything to do with his qualifications to become a member of the board.

Barlow has done nothing to promote diversity or tolerance. Maybe you should ask members of the local synagogue or mosque, which I have, regarding their take on his tolerance.

Larry.Sussberg
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Husband & Father 2. &. Barlow

Frankly I am suspect of anyone who wears their religion on their sleeve. Any religion including mine!
They are usually the first to cut everyone else off in the parking lot after religious services and be dishonest in business and/or political dealings.
I was further horrified by how Mr. Presberg was treated, especially knowing that those who practice minority religions have been persecuted for decades and some for centuries. Many people do not wish to tell the public how they worship or believe its anyone's business.
Being religious, I respect people's right to worship, even in public as long as it is inclusive. If you re-read Mr. Presburg's comments in this article he is expressing the same point.
Mr. Barlow appears to be open minded and willing to invite clergy of all faiths to come and offer the invocation at Commssion meetings which shows an understanding of religious tolerance and inclusiveness which we need.
I respect that!

Husband and Fat...
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Larry

I am sure all clergy are racing to be vetted by Mr. Barlow, especially any minority.

As a Jewish man with a family who has dealt with discrimination and hatred, I don't see how you can trust someone who already made a public spectacle of himself and his religious jihad by grilling Mr. Presburg about his religious or lack of beliefs. You are a more forgiving/understanding man than me.

I don't think the leopard can change his spots.

Husband and Fat...
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AHG- the article

Does state that the BOE attorney after reviewing the letter feels that the moment of silence is appropriate and after 8 months they have not found any legal precedent to change their position.

AtHomeGym
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H & F & Legal Positions

But you dismiss the report that Attorney Hartley followed up with a letter saying he did not necessarily agree with the cited case law. Perhaps he checked and found that Federal Courts have historically ruled that nonsectarian prayer before local govt meetings was NOT unconstititional! All rather murky, don't you think?

Husband and Fat...
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So he didn't agree. It

So he didn't agree. It doesn't appear he was prepared to offer any logical support to back his disagreement. Sometimes one realizes they can't win so they are smart not to say anything.

Bottom line is I think we need to concentrate on the business of educating our children and not spend a lot of time on prayer at these meetings.

I pray every day. Don't feel the need to make it a public display or force my beliefs on anyone other than my kids. Dont want anyone forcing their beliefs on me either .

G35 Dude
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AHG-I don't know
Quote:

OK, then pls tell me why the BOE shouldn't tell this activist gp in DC to buzz off--or did they get advice from our county attorney that said "you can't do that"--and you best knock off that prayer stuff!" or what?? Or did they just fold at first threat?

I have no way of knowing who told who what they can or can't do. All I'm saying is that the Constitution does not prohibit prayer as written. If you don't believe me just read the Constitution for yourself.

AtHomeGym
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G35 & the Constitution

Oh I believe what you wrote--and I also believe history shows Federal Courts have usually ruled that nonsectarian prayer before local govt meetings is NOT unconstitutional. Those who make demands on local govts are using their OWN ideas & version of a definition for separation of church & state--no matter what they call themselves or how long they have been around or who their leaders are!

mudcat
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Na, that's the old Constitution. It is really, really old.

The new Constitution was quietly rewritten over the past 40 years while the 60's war protestors came of age and started gaining influence over the rest of us. Some even became lawyers.

Dude, the new rules are very simple - cut and run every single time someone decides that their class or group is large enough to be a victim of some sort and their agenda is sanctioned by the Democrat Party. Seem outrageous? Well explain, abortion, gays, atheists, unions, black, females, Lisa whatzername at the city, people on death row, people who don't have health insurance, drunken celebrities, prisioners at Guantanamo that need prayer rugs, Muslims who feel uncomfortable that there are actually other religions tolerated in this (I mean our) country, the Occupy crowd, single mothers, single mothers with multiple children, single mothers with multiple children who earn more from the government than many soldiers do, on and on and on.

Next thing coming will be white middle-aged conservative people who make responsible decisions in raising their children - why? Because they will most certainly be in the minority very soon.

S. Lindsey
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To the "Left' of popular thought?

Really? Where do you get that...

Larry.Sussberg
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A Lindsey

A revolution led by our framers and founders against a ruler who believed he was divinely appointed to rule his colonies as he saw fit.

An idea for freedom, contrary to the popular belief that they were "subjects of this divinely appointed king".
Quite radical and revolutionary at the time!

S. Lindsey
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Oh I understand the Revolution LS

I just wondered why you said it was to the LEFT of popular belief.

Unless you are joining the Neocons Fighting against the established Government is usually the purview of the Right...or at least that is what we are blamed with... i.e.. Teaparty.

Davids mom
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The Left?
Quote:

The left has twisted it the intent of the Constitution as an excuse to take American Judeo-Christian traditions out of society simply because they don't like it.

Interesting. Please clarify. Who represents your definition of 'The Left'? What traditions are being taken out of society? Thanks.

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