Judge: Rankin school district in contempt over prayer

Jul 14, 2015

by Jeff Amy

A federal judge has found the Rankin County school district in contempt of court for continuing to promote Christianity during school hours after it agreed to stop.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ordered the district Friday to pay $7,500 to the plaintiff as punishment for violating a 2013 order and again ordered it to stop sponsoring prayers at graduations, assemblies, athletic competitions and other school events.

The district first got into trouble when a Northwest Rankin High School student represented by the American Humanist Association sued over having to attend a school assembly that promoted Christianity. The district settled the suit in 2013, agreeing that activities during school hours would not advance, endorse or inhibit any religion.

But six months later, the same student attended a district-wide honors assembly at Brandon High School. The program, honoring students who scored above 22 on the ACT college test, was opened with a prayer by the Rev. Rob Gill, pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

22 comments on “Judge: Rankin school district in contempt over prayer

  • 2
    Miserablegit says:

    It is obvious that again yet another group of American xtian God botherers thinks itself above the law, let’s see if the courts have the balls to do something about it.



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  • If prayer works, then these supernaturalists should just pray the judges towards their favour. As it clearly does not, one wonders why they bother with it all.
    I think it was Hitch, when accosted by a christian saying that he would pray for him, replied that if it worked: he would return the compliment.



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  • @OP link – But six months later, the same student attended a district-wide honors assembly at Brandon High School. The program, honoring students who scored above 22 on the ACT college test, was opened with a prayer by the Rev. Rob Gill, pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.

    [Judge] Reeves rejected arguments that he shouldn’t sanction the school district because the ceremony was voluntary and that school officials should be excused because the law was hard to understand.

    These people have difficulty in understanding and comprehending that Xtian prayers and Gideon Bibles are promoting Xtian denominations over other religions and none? – . . . . and they are in charge of schools!!!!!

    “The district’s breach did not take very long and it occurred in a very bold way,” Reeves wrote. “Its conduct displays that the district did not make any effort to adhere to the agreed judgment.”

    Reeves warned the district that it would owe the plaintiff $10,000 per future violation.

    That sounds like a good precedent for any student wanting some funding towards university if the officials persist in trying to reinterpret the law through biased faith-blinkers!



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  • 6
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    That sounds like a good precedent for any student wanting some funding towards university if the officials persist in trying to reinterpret the law through biased faith-blinkers!

    At $10K a pop, he’s probably wishing for them to violate the law again.



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  • We have seen this pattern of being slapped down by judges over and over, counting on the opposition running out of money to keep challenging them. What has to happen is the judge should say, “I ruled on this before. You are wasting the court’s and everyone else time rechallenging it. I hold you in contempt. The fine is $100,000. If you do it again within the next 15 years, I will fine you $200,000 doubling each time.”



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  • To a Brit this constant war in the USA between Xtians and anyone else who disagrees with them seems so utterly bizarre for a western democracy. It’s like the country with the world’s largest economy and by far the most powerful military is being run by escapees from a lunatic asylum. Maybe in another few centuries they’ll have caught up with the rest of the civilised world.



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  • I totally agree with you. I’m a Marine and it’s depressing to know this what I fought for and lost friends to protect. As an atheist I don’t care what you believe, just don’t push it on to others and keep it out of the government and public arenas. We need to evolve past religion if the human race is to survive.



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  • 14
    anonymous says:

    Maybe when religious people stop “persecute” people with they beliefs. Play with your religion at home as much as you want and prefer, meet people who think like you and do whatever you want, but stop telling others and expecting others to do the same, stop forcing people with spiritual blackmail to pray and participate to praying and so on. It is your right to religion, it’s our right to not have it. Just lets be respectful in the both sides. By the way a real belief, a real faith doesn’t need a crowd to pray together, doesn’t need even to tell me that you have faith. It has to be personal between you and your God. Otherwise is a hypocrisy. My opinion.



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  • Perry
    Jul 15, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    The Bible is not the Constitution.

    Ah! Evangelical “knowledge” of THE BIBLE
    It is true the texts are different, . . but preached “faith-knowledge”, usually comes from people who have not read either of them!



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  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re probably exporting this crazy to your country. Fundies see what works (well, in their minds) in the U.S. and are doing the same thing elsewhere.



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  • There was no persecution here in anyway. The school made a legally binding agreement with the court. They reneged on that agreement and got fined.

    [Slightly edited to bring within Terms of Use.]



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  • 19
    Edouard says:

    Your God is real for the public with a less than adequate IQ, unreal for the intellectual and useful for the fact resistant deep thinkers of the Republican Party.



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  • When will you religious maniacs stop using taxpayer money and taxpayer owned facilities to attempt to cram you religion down the throats of the better educated, better quality people?



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  • When I started reading the source of the follow-on story, I recalled from my religious days a comic mocking the separation of church and state about not praying in school. It depicted a school on test day and several quotation blocks of student inside praying to god that they pass, underneath is stated something like, “So, you think there is no prayer in school.” It’s always been a stupid argument by a shallow person arguing over school prayer. So I wasn’t disappointed when Superintendent Lynn Weathersby stated, “As long as there is testing in schools, we believe that teachers, principals and students will continue to pray.” What a moron. It still shocked me that she said it out loud. She’s obviously too stupid to realize there’s a difference between a student praying of their own volition and calling for students to pray at an assembly they have to attend. Even in my religious days, I never prayed to god that I would pass.



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  • As an American Expat in the UK, it’s been interesting to see the differences between the American Constitutional separation between church and state and the Anglican church being the state church in the UK. Looking at the UK’s past, it’s very similar to the fight between the Catholics and the Protestants. There are differences, of course, but fighting against a religious person is fighting against unreason. One big difference is the non-religious side has reason (both cause and intellect) and the backing of the US Constitution on it’s side.



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