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A group of atheists says grade school children should be able to use the Lord’s name in vain.
A student at Hope Sullivan Elementary School in Mississippi was punished after he uttered the name of Jesus Christ – in a very inappropriate way.
The boy had dropped some toys he was playing with and blurted out the words in anger.
Local news reports inaccurately reported that the child was just trying to be a good Christian child.
But the school district said they would never punish a child for saying Jesus Christ. They did acknowledge that a student could be reprimanded for using the name in a disrespectful manner.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation said children are permitted under the Constitution to blaspheme the son of God.
“It is well settled that public schools may not show favoritism towards, nor encourage or coerce belief in any religion,” FFRF attorney Chris Line wrote to the school district’s legal counsel. “Thus, a school district cannot mandate, encourage, or coerce students into complying with religious rules, such as prohibitions on blasphemy.”
The Wisconsin-based atheist group says the punishment was egregious and a traumatizing violation of the child’s rights.
“The child who was reprimanded is attending a secular public school, not a religious institution,” said FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. “This was an egregious and traumatizing violation of the child’s rights. The district must adopt clear policies ensuring such overreach will never recur and publicly apologize to the child and his family.”
No doubt the atheists would probably have been offended had the kid used Satan’s name in vain.