We post an entire article on rare occasions. Today is one. This Blaze story is another example of citizens courageously stepping forward to oppose the destruction of America.

Public School Defends Posting Nativity Scene Despite Potential Church-State Challenges

A superintendent at Green County Tech Primary School in Paragould, Arkansas, is taking a strong stance in support of a Nativity scene at an elementary school in his district — a scene that has been posted for 20 years without incident.

After ordering the bulletin board be taken down, Superintendent Jerry Noble has decided to allow it once again.

The traditional Nativity scene includes the words, “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” which Noble, a Christian, is adamantly defending. After receiving two complaints this year, the superintendent initially consulted with lawyers and decided to remove the Nativity. But — the community’s reaction led to a change of heart.

“Enough is enough,” Noble explains. “It’s His birthday. We celebrate Jesus’ birthday. One person should not be offended by that. We don’t leave it up all year. We’re not promoting religion. It’s not an effort to convert anybody.”

He explains that he initially removed the Nativity, because he didn’t want to put the school district at risk. “I could not take it upon myself to get the school in a legal entanglement over separation of church and state because we would have to use tax dollars to fight it and that’s not my job to do that,” he explained. But once he removed the display, the community criticized the decision.

Then, a group came forward to support the school if and when a legal challenge against the display was waged. So, Noble decided to put the board up again. “To be honest with you, we offended a lot more people by taking it down than leaving it up,” he said

The Paragould Daily Press has more about the legal issues potentially facing the district:

…the school district’s attorney, Donn Mixon, who advised him to have the decoration removed. Mixon admitted he was not given all of the details surrounding the controversy and was simply asked whether a nativity scene displayed in a public school was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. […]

“I gave the opinion that yes I believe, based upon what I was told about it, that if challenged, it could well violate the First Amendment,” Mixon said. “Prayer at graduation, the posting of the Ten Commandments, those are all issues that have been litigated under that establishment clause. The courts have generally held that if public schools do those types of things… that can violate the Establishment Clause.”

The district’s pro-Nativity stance is already frustrating those opposed to Noble’s actions. The American Civil Liberties Union Arkansas (ACLU) has already said that the school must abide by the Constitution. Rita Sklar, the state’s ACLU director, has come out strong, saying that it’s sad to see Noble and others not respecting the First Amendment. Fox News Radio has more about the controversy:

The Nativity scene was erected by Kay Williams, a counselor at the primary school. She’s been doing it for more than 20 years without any hint of controversy.

“We do live in the Bible Belt,” Williams told the Paragould Daily Press. “One thing that really disturbed most of [the supporters] was we hear about things like this all the time in other parts of the country. But, this is kind of a first for the Bible Belt, here in Arkansas.”

Noble says that Christians have been silent for too long.

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson: a mature Christian who understands the sweep of history, the unique role of America and these times clearly and precisely.
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  1. dougindeap says:

    It is important to distinguish between the “public square” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square–far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

    Here, it appears plain that it is the school itself (not individuals) that is presenting a religious display.

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