Back in 2004, the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ (based at Dr D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries) praised the efforts of a school board in Delaware to promote Christianity among the children under its care:
Despite threats of litigation from the ACLU, one Delaware school district has made it abundantly clear that they will not surrender America’s Christian heritage without a fight.
For years, the Indian River School District (IRSD) Board of Education of Sussex County, Delaware, has opened with an invocation. Recently, they received a threatening letter from the Delaware chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) demanding that they discontinue their tradition of prayer.
After seeking legal counsel, a meeting was called, and community residents gathered at the Frankford Elementary School. In response to the ACLU’s threats, IRSD board president Harvey Walls asked board member Dr. Donald G. Hattier to deliver a prayer. Amid the crowd’s loud cheers, Hattier rose and recited George Washington’s prayer which was offered during America’s fight for independence…
The Delaware Daily Times added:
Many begged the school board not to take Jesus away from their children. Others read scriptures from the Bible citing instructions given by Jesus.
One parent announced that a petition was being circulated and so far more than 300 people had signed it.
Board members listened for more than an hour during the public comment period, making no opinion statements themselves.
Commenting on the ACLU’s complaint, Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America asked (link in original):
Where are the self-proclaimed ‘Guardians of Liberty‘ when a California school district is indoctrinating school kids with Islam?”…“This is one more example of the ACLU’s jihad to end public acknowledgement of the God of the Bible.”
(LaRue is referring to the California case discussed here)
However, the school board’s “brave stand” appears to be itself a bit of a “jihad” (as LaRue defines the term), according to Jews on First:
A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they’re suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."
The lawsuit by the Jewish family (the Dobrichs) alleges that the local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for "our heavenly Father’s" guidance for the graduates with:
I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus’ name.
In addition to the ruined graduation experience, the lawsuit alleges that:
- The district’s "custom and practice of school-sponsored prayer" frequently imposed … on impressionable non-Christian students," violating their constitutional rights.
- The district ignored the Supreme Court’s 1992 Lee decision limiting prayer at graduation ceremonies — even after a district employee complained about the prayer at her child’s 2003 graduation..
- District teachers and staff led Bible clubs at several schools. Club members got to go to the head of the lunch line.
- While Bible clubs were widely available, student book clubs were rare and often canceled by the district.
- When Jane Doe complained that her non-Christian son "Jordan Doe" was left alone when his classmates when to Bible club meetings, district staff insisted that Jordan should attend the club regardless of his religion.
- The district schools attended by Jordan and his sister "Jamie Doe" distributed Bibles to students in 2003, giving them time off from class to pick up the books.
- Prayer –often sectarian — is a routine part of district sports programs and social events
- One of the district’s middle schools gave students the choice of attending a special Bible Club if they did not want to attend the lesson on evolution.
- A middle school teacher told students there was only "one true religion" and gave them pamphlets for his surfing ministry.
- Samantha Dobrich’s honors English teacher frequently discussed Christianity, but no other religion.
- Students frequently made mandatory appearances at district board meetings — where they were a captive audience for board members’ prayers to Jesus.
War on Christians? Hardly. For some, it’s a war by Christians.
Jesus’ General writes the Stop the ACLU Coalition, who published personal information about the Dobrichs (which resulted in their having to flee the school distract after getting threats).