Thursday, September 24, 2009

St. Louis Public School Student Given Detention for Silently Saying Grace at Lunch

Raymond Raines was a 4th-grade student at Waring Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri in 1994. He was causing trouble. So much trouble, in fact, that he was separated from other students and given detention for a week. The infraction? He bowed his head silently before lunch in the lunchroom.

As with so many times when I find these stories, a non-profit organization stepped in to help straighten out the school's leadership on what the Constitution does and does not require. In this case it was the Rutherford Institute. The case was eventually settled and the school has a new policy that allows such prayer if it is not disruptive and does not interrupt a school activity.

How does this happen? How do we get from the words of the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...") to not allowing a student to bow his head silently? How did we forget the next part of the First Amendment: [Congress shall make no law] "prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]"?

More of this story (and many others) can be found in David Limbaugh's book Persecution: how liberals are waging war against Christianity.

1 comment:

LexAequitas said...

It happens because some teachers/administrators are idiots. I don't think it was ever the state of the law that this was permissible.

I think the general publicity given to church-state issues has helped, though. I think you'd have a harder time finding a much more recent case where a personal religious observance was punished in schools this way.

Keep in mind that idiocy can go both ways.