It’s back to school time in Burnet, Texas and the school district thought it would be good to start off the new semester in prayer.
“Pray to the First Day.” That’s what they called it.
Starting in July – the community was encouraged to pray for something specific in the district. On July 26 they prayed for Burnet High School. On August 2 – the food service staff – and so on and so forth.
On August 16th – the first day of school – citizens were encouraged to pray for the safety and wisdom of students.
School leaders had no idea that their prayer would trigger a bunch of atheists.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation took issue with the prayer marathon. The FFRF is a Wisconsin-based gang of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers.
“By promoting prayer, the district sends an official message that excludes all nonreligious district students and community members,” FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote.
They demanded the district cease and desist – saying the school district is required to uphold constitutional neutrality. Which by the way – is not a thing.
Instead of reading the Constitution, the school district surrendered.
Supt. Keith McBurnett emailed the atheists, stating, “The Facebook post has been removed, and the district will refrain from posting anything similar in the future.”
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“We’re glad that school officials are taking action to uphold constitutional neutrality,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “A school district does not need to pray for their students and staff. It needs to focus instead on providing a secular education free from religious indoctrination.”
In hindsight, they should’ve kept the prayers and ditched the atheists.