An Obama-appointed district judge fined a Mississippi school district over $7500 after a pastor led a prayer before an optional school assembly.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said the Rankin, Miss., public school district defied his prior order barring prayer at school events by allowing Rev. Rob Gill to begin an assembly honoring students with above-average ACT scores with a prayer.
“The district’s breach did not take very long and it occurred in a very bold way,” Reeves stated. “Its conduct displays that the district did not make any effort to adhere to the agreed judgment.”
The judge, appointed by Obama in 2010, also barred the distribution of Bibles on the school district’s campuses by Gideons International, the evangelical Christian association best known for placing Bibles in hotel rooms.
The case came to fruition after a high school student sued the school district over the assembly with help from the secular American Humanist Association.
“Along with the $7,500 in fines, the school district will also have to pay the student’s legal fees, an amount that will be determined at a later date,” the Christian Post reported. “Reeves also threatened the school district with a $10,000 fine for any future infractions of the order.”
The school district’s defense team argued that the assembly wasn’t mandatory, but the judge countered by accusing the district of trying to “indoctrinate students” with Christianity.
“It deliberately went out of its way to entangle Christian indoctrination in the education process,” Reeves said. “From the accounts detailed in the record, it appears that incorporating religious script and prayers with school activities has been a long-standing tradition of the district.”
While there’s been a long-standing debate over the separation of church and state, keep in mind such a separation is also intended to protect religious believers from state interference.
“When the state insists that one’s religious beliefs be supplanted by another’s, in this case by secularism, then might one argue that the state is establishing a religion in contravention of the Constitution’s intent?” Columnist Kathleen Parker once asked.
As a result, the government is turning Christians into second-class citizens.
“Today courts wrongly interpret separation of church and state to mean that religion has no place in the public arena, or that morality derived from religion should not be permitted to shape our laws,” author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza wrote. “Somehow freedom for religious expression has become freedom from religious expression.”
“Secularists want to empty the public square of religion and religious-based morality so they can monopolize the shared space of society with their own views.”