What do you think about schools banning religious meetings? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What do you think about schools banning religious meetings?

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The East Valley School District is being sued for $1 over a ban on religious meetings. The plaintiffs claim five students were barred from meeting for religious discussion and prayer in a room where other students could gather for nonreligious purposes.

What do you think about schools banning religious meetings? Scroll down, let us know and see what others think.

Your Responses:

I understand that religion is not to be taught in the classroom at a public school and I agree with that, but if kids want to get together outside of classtime (recess, after school, lunch hour, etc) and have their own meeting to discuss religion they should be able to.  What's worse, having them talk about religion or fooling around under the bleachers and smoking cigarettes while they wait for the school bus?  Give me a break.

- Zach Schafer
Spokane, WA

The constitution has been upheld in court numerous times. Students have a right to student lead Bible studies, prayer meetings and religious discussion. I don't understand why school officials don't know the law regarding this important issue.

- Rebecca Krels
Spokane, WA

The school needs to follow the law and let this group meet just as they allow the others.  They need to review the law and follow the law.

- Julia Hale
Spokane Valley, WA

I don't think that it should be in the school district for the simple reason that other students should not feel pressured by other students and their religions. It's an uncomfortable situation and in my experience that is what will happen, some students will pressure their friends to join them and be a part of their religious group. There is already enough Peer Pressure in the school systems.

- Stephanie Beaulieu
Spokane, WA

This occurred in a public school, and I fully stand behind the principal in prohibiting it.  The school is state funded, and the line of separation between church and state is crossed enough as it is.  If they want to have their indoctrination meetings on campus, they can go to a christian school.

- Janessa Todd
Spokane, WA

What about the separation of church and state? Public tax payer dollars fund the school and therefore religious meetings have no place on school grounds.

- Ellen
Spokane, WA

I figure after they get sued and the taxpayers hand over the court award to pay for their mis step they will figure out it isn't legal to bar one group from meeting as long as they allow other groups to meet on school grounds.  If they choose to ban all groups from meeting then they probably could push it through the court system.  I wonder who will reimburse the taxpayers?

- Mary Crandell
Spokane, WA

The school district is required by decisions of the Supreme Court to allow the students to have meetings or clubs which represent their religion. The School District may not interfere as long as the students are not being led by an outside adult. Why do the school districts not know the law or follow it? Any recognized religion including satanist are allowed the same priviledge

- Fred Rust
Spokane Valley, WA

If students want to gather on school grounds to have a religious meeting then they should take the necessary steps to form a Student union and practice their believe's behind closed doors. There they wont offend anyone who doesn't want to participate. 

- Angela
Newman Lake, WA

I feel that if students want to attend these meetings, they should be allowed to. At least they are doing something constructive and not destructive as many students are doing these days. As long as they don't interfere with school classes, they should be allowed. It should be considered like a meeting of a club or organization for students to improve minds.

- Pat Adams
Spokane, WA

So long as the meetings are organized and led by students, and meet the same requirements as any othe student meetings, there is no "separation of church and state" issue. The school MUST permit religious student meetings on the same terms they permit any other student meetings. Including meetings of Pagans, Druids, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and other religions, of course.

- Carl Paukstis
Spokane Valley, WA

It's funny that religious issues seem to be under constant attack.  What are we afraid of?  If the kids want to worship, let them worship.  They are simply celebrating their faith.  What's wrong with that?  Do we prohibit kids from swearing at school, or discussing other faiths?  It seems like we go out of our way to suppress the positive attitude Christians send, why is it that it's always under attack?  It would be different if they were promoting violence, sex or drug use.  What's wrong with us that we have to squash what is pure and clean?  It's their time; let them spend it doing something positive.  They could be planning parties with drugs and/or alcohol.

- Tena Braucht
Spokane, WA

I find it interesting that so many of your viewers as well as the school district administrators, do not know the law. If they allow any student meeting, they must by law allow religious ones. Separation of church and state does not exist in the Constitution. Mention of it by the founding fathers was to protect the churches from the state, not the other way around.
Organizations which lead our students toward a clean, honest, and responsible life should be encouraged not banned. Hasn't anyone noticed that the more we ban God, the more school killings, bullying, and crime we have?

- Constance Pentzer
Culdesac, ID

READ the LAW -"Freedom OF religion" not freedom from.. That's pretty straight forward and very clear. Let's get it right for once!!!!

- Al Crouse
Spokane Valley, WA

I think they should be able to meet at school.Students can join if they want there not being forced to join the group.Other actives meet at school.

 - Ann Marie

I was shocked to hear the response of the  principal regarding the christian group singing Amazing Grace. This  song is not only sung as a religious  hymn but has been used in secular groups too, Why is it that one student complains  and the rights  of  Christians are again taken away. Schools  around the country are bending  over backward to  make allowances for  other cultures such as the Muslim faith but Christians continue to be vicitimized because one person complains.My  grandchildren attended EV and I used to feel it was a great  environment for them. These students should  have the right to meet just as any other group.

- Glenda Elam

I see nothing but good coming from students and their religious meetings. Understanding comes from knowledge
and experience. As long as students are free to make a choice, I see no problem with them meeting.

- Cris Voges

I think there may more to this story than we know. I would like to know all the facts first.

- marilu garcia

As a student at East Valley I was extremely disturbed when we were told not to meet. It is a huge violation of student rights. The school rules are extremely bias. I think schools should not be allowed to ban religious meetings or gatherings.

- Amber Michie
Newman Lake

I was suprised when I heard this.  My kids go there and have had the occasion to go to some meetings.  I would much rather they get kicked out of school for carrying a bible than a gun. ALSO there is a Seminary class that the kids from the Mormon Churchare able to attend for credit.  Why are the rest of the kids not allowed to meet just for meeting?

- Julie Morris
Spokane Valley

To begin with the constitution says and I quote "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF". WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND. Also why is it offensive to talk about about God to some so we must honor that and yet if talking about gay lifestyle offends me its to bad.

- Dennis Middleton
Spokane Valley

Seperation of Church and State.... Go to school to earn a education, go to church to pray, rejoice and celebrate your faith.  This law suit is a waste of time.  We need to stop encouraging this.  We need to encourage diversity and inclusion with simple understanding that we live in a "melting pot".

- Ned Needleander

One Nation under God - has anyone read the consititution - read the consitution you morons - they arent gang meetings -

- Garrett
Rancho Santa Fe

Mormons and other religions have the right to do what they want but when a Christian wants to, there is almost always Agnostics and Atheists (which are both a religion and pretty much the same) out there to throw a childish fit.  They're the ones getting what they want.  I agree with the students' decision and hopefully they can get their point made.

- Ruben

Separation of church and state in schools is generally interpreted by most that the SCHOOL cannot sanction it.  That means a teacher cannot organize or lead the club group - the students however are free to do so.

I find it laughable that an educational institution is not aware of the contents of our constitution, and previous legal precedent.  I expect the students to win, and the school officials to eat crow.

- Julie
Spokane, WA

I find it funny that only if you believe in God is it wrong! If I were wanting to talk about a different religion it would be freedom of speech. Being Catholic I want to know where is my freedom of speech? I think those kids are doing the right thing and need to stand up for what we AMERICA believes in! God Bless them in all that they do!

- Karen Hawkins
Spokane, WA

I think that it is really funny that the Mormons can have seperate facilities adjacent to schools where the Mormon kids can get there education during school hours and yet this kind of thing gets all the press.

- Kent Brooks
Spokane Valley, WA

If these meetings are held in public schools, they are getting public funding. They are using the building, water and electricity. These meetings should in no way be funded or endorsed by the school, and if they are being held on school grounds they are using school resources.

- Julie M
Dayton, OH

I feel that since the group met on their own time, the principal should have left them alone.  If a group of students met and were using profanity that another student complained to the principal about, would that group have been told they could no longer meet in the school?  Any one of us could be offended by something we overhear somebody else say, does this mean nobody should speak freely?  This principal is usually fair and liked by most of the students at EVHS.  It surprises me that he handled the group the way he did.  I would prefer the numerous groups still meet, including the one that discussed religion, rather than skipping school, vandalizing or stealing property, doing drugs, etc.  Don't you?

- Barbara Jewell-Potter
Spokane Valley, WA

As long as the students want to do a Bible study and it's their choice and not mandatory, I believe they should be allowed to.  After all, this country was founded on Christian principles and religeous freedom.

- Sandra Gehrke
Smeltervielle, ID

I think the lawsuit is obviously frivolous. Forcing a school to facilitate religion has already been considered in FFRF v. Rhea Board of Education (2002) and McCollum v. Board of Education (1948).
Taxpayer money is not to be used to facilitate or further a religion. Religious liberty is not conditioned upon the whims and desires of a local majority. Constitutional protections exist precisely to reign in the actions of a majority.

- Paul Grimes
Spokane Valley, WA

I am sick to death of the majority bowing down to the minorty. For an example, if someone does not want there child saying the pledge of allegience in school, because of the word"God" then have that child go out into the hall when it's said, but don't penalize the rest of the class who want to say it.
If these students were learning about homosexuals or how to put on a condom then it would be embraced.
Let them have there meeting, just tell them they can't drink any water, God forbid they might use any school property that us tax payers pay for.  And if you don't want to "over here" anyone saying a prayer or the "J" word then keep your nose out of other peoples business.  Very simple.

- C. Johnson
Athol, ID

Be very careful when you insist on eliminating all beliefs in public education, or you may just shoot yourselves in the foot and force out your treasured belief in the THEORY of evolution, your belief in the commonality homosexuality, and your faith that this is still a country where all beliefs are respected and welcomed.  I'm wondering, exactly what harm could come of a few students meeting amongst themselves on their own time at school?  Maybe for some of you it's been a while since you've been in a public high school, but I cannot for the life of me see someone feeling "intimidated" or "pressured" to join in on a student led bible study or prayer meeting...  Can't wait to see what happens when somebody doesn't participate in homosexual solitude day coming up though... (and that's funded by the school..)

- A.K.
Newman Lake, WA

If the students are holding meetings on their own time without the leadership of faculty, staff, or other adult then they should be left alone.  By law, as long as the school allows other student meetings, ie Debate Club, Chess Club, Spanish Club, etc., then the school MUST allow religious students to meet as well.  It has nothing to do with "Seperation of Church and State".  Since the school district does not sanction, fund, or promote these meetings, they are strictly students gathering on their own time, not unlike a group of students at a lunch table saying grace together before they eat.

- Anonymous

This is just a bunch of BULL***t. This Country was founded on Christian belief's and we should continue it. George Washington and Abe Lincoln both said that we need God and the Bible in this Country. If someone doesn't want to hear or join in on a religious meeting, then leave. That is what is wrong with this Country today, to many people turning away from God. I pray that these people take their suntan lotion when they pass. Maybe if some of these students had more teachings about God, then maybe there would be less shootings and killings. I'm sick and tired of hearing about these "Devil people" who don't want anything Religious in school. If students want to hold relious meeting, then let them and anyone who don't want to be part of it, then leave, simple as that.

- Christopher Hohman
Clarkston, ID

It is very interesting to see just how many people do not understand the constitution and the fact that this country was founded on the Freedom to practice their faith without interference from the government.  Look at the increase in killings and problems in the schools since we took prayer out of the schools.  It is everyone's right to have prayer and to practice their faith.

- Becky Reber

"I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives.... It is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me. But this does not satisfy the priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolt those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there." - - - Thomas Jefferson, 1816

- Jeff Foster
Orange, CA

The Schools belong to all of us.  Were these folks trying to convert anyone?  Probably not.  Perhaps we all should look at what the schools are forcing on our students, that should be something to upset everyone with a brain.

- Judy Greco
Spokane, WA

People have wondered over the years why the violence in schools continues to not only get worse, but become more random.. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that the only way to defeat Satan and his evil activities is through praise and worship, and asking God and Jesus to protect us. We as a country have been kicking God out of every public place and building that we possibly can, this includes Schools. So the next time a school shooting or another 9/11 happens and you sit at home wondering why God would let such a horrible thing like this happen, It's because we asked him to leave and not protect us from evil activities.. Schools are the last place that God should be removed from!

- ron vt

It makes me sad that the land of the free is only free when it isn't religion.

- Marla Lindsay
Post Falls

It's simple enough separation of chruch and state. It makes no difference if the group is being held after school or not. It has no business on school grounds period. These students could meet anywhere, perhaps in a chruch uh. We need to keep religon out of public schools, it's just too volatile a subject. This would be the first steps to breaking down separation of church and state and it's so important we keep them separate. There are many religiously based schools all across this country, if you want to pray in school that would be a good place to do it.

- Aaron Oswald
Coeur d'Alene, ID

What happend to the freedom of speech and the land of the free? Where! Why not have the meetings before classes in the morning and have there own rooms to meet! I think the Kids today need this bad!

- Becca Diaz
Spokane, WA

Banning these meetings is ridiculous.  These students are not doing any harm so why ban something that is for the good?  Who says they are "converting others" like somone commented on?  These are obviously kids that go to church and just want to do what they feel is right.  If others want to join them that is their choice, and a good one.  I feel sorry for those who don't believe the same way.  They are the ones missing out.  These prayer meetings are not harming anyone.  Let them continue.

- J Jones
Moses Lake, WA

Believe it or not the phrase "separation of church and state", is not found anywhere in our U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights or Declaration of Independence.  I challenge anyone to refute this.  It is found in two other places.  The first is Thomas Jefferson's personal letter to the Danbury Baptist Church in Connecticut, in which he used this term to assure them that America would never have a national denomination running the country as was the case in England at the time.  This was the same position and interpretation that or Courts and Congress held for 170 years.  However in 1962, the Supreme Court decided that "separation of church and state" would now mean a "religious activity" in public.  This act itself was unconstitutional.  The second place where the phrase "separation of church and state" appears is in the former U.S.S.R. Constitution in Appendix II, Document C and Article 142.  "Breach of laws governing the separation of church from state and of education from the church.  Any breach of the laws governing the separation of the church from the state and of education from the church is punishable by corrective labor for a maximum term of one year or a fine of 50 rubles."  This makes it very clear "separation of church and state" as defined by our Courts since 1962, was not the original intent of our founding fathers, but a Communistic doctrine.  Let these kids meet.

If those pointy headed intellectuals who run this school are not going to allow religious meetings (ie. Christianity) Then please stop pumping these impressionable kids full of the religion of "Global Warming".  It takes just as much faith, if not more to believe this tripe, than to believe in Intelligent Design.  Based on junk science, Global Warming doesn't even pass it's own rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol.  Science says you have five senses you use to identify the world around you.  Has any of you who believe that Global Warming exists ever seen Global Warming?  Have you ever heard Global Warming?  Have you ever felt, tasted, or smelt Global Warming?  Or had any sensory perception of Global Warming for that matter?  NO!!!!  So like the many of us who rely on our Faith to believe in our religion, you too have only faith.  What's the difference?

- Armchair Johnny
Medical Lake, WA

Why can't the kids use a building owned by their church?  Public buildings should not be used for religious purposes. 

If the kids want to have prayer and discussion meetings, whatever, just use private resources such as a private home or church.  I, as a taxpayer, do not want to pay for any religious group using public resources.  Separation of church and state must be maintained at all costs, otherwise we run the risk of becoming what the original Pilgrims fled from.  Not all citizens believe that we are "One Nation, Under God"; we must respect not only freedom of religion, but freedom from religion!  I respect and defend your right to believe in whatever deity you choose.  I merely require that you, in turn, respect my right to not believe as you do, and not require me to support your beliefs with taxpayer money.

- Debra Lentz
Spokane Valley

Schools should not ban religious meetings of any kind as that is what is one thing that is wrong with this country today. This country was founded on religious principles and should always be maintained.

- Douglas Carpenter
Spokane, WA

The school has gone to far. Thye public school system belongs to all of us, the students in question were not doing anything wrong. I would rather hear students talking about religion, than how to make meth or making drug deals in the cafeteria. It is just as wrong to tell these students they can't talk about what they belief in, as some may belief that it is wrong to teach religion in school. I personally believe that it is a shame to leave religion out of the school system, after all our country was founded on religion. Did we forget "IN GOD WE TRUST"?

- Tom Kelly
Spokane, WA

O My, I can't believe the woman who was concerned that some students would feel peer pressure to join in the regious meeting so it should NOT be allowed. That made me laugh out loud!! O those poor kids- I can see it now- being accosted in the library "Hey you, you'd better come pray with us, OR ELSE!" or "You're not cool if you don't read this bible!" And as far as the gov't funding, laws separating church & state, etc: get a grip people, it's not the faculty holding this meeting, it's the students themselves- no one is being forced to worship anybody or anything they don't want to! And are you really concerned about the electricity and water they might consume and the impact on YOUR taxes? Now that's funny!! The school is NOT paying for it and neither are you! And 'Miss "Keep it separate at all costs?" I can't believe you people...So what if it's held on school grounds- the only kids attending are kids that choose to. I'm sure most of their parents are just relieved that their kids are not into crime, drugs, sex, etc. So many kids are led down dangerous roads, these kids are damn lucky they haven't yet. Why can't you just simply be happy for for them???  I'm not a believer in organized religion myself, but I say let them worship whoever they damn well please-wherever they damn well please. Now THAT attitude is more along the lines our forefathers drew for us!!

- Lisa G
Spokane, WA

I, as a taxpayer, don't like paying for sports when our education system can't even teach kids to read and write for God's sake.  How do you like that, Debra? I don't want to pay for band or pay for your "theory" of evolution?  I don't have kids in the public schools yet I pay for it anyway.  According to your rather flawed logic, I shouldn't have to!

- Michele Oestreicher

I feel that we have the right to have religious meetings, we are a free country,and this country was founed under GOD

- Bonnie Colvin
Deer Park, WA


- Kathy Rivera
Pinehurst, ID

I think under the constitution this is ok,if run by the students. I went as a teen in 7th grade to similar deal in music room in our school in Port Orchard in 1959-60. Was a non denominational group,made up of believers and non.Plus numerous denominations represented too,ones of no group belonging to. Sing together,read scripture,and discussion,Q and answer type. Was not a bad thing. Never was any drugs,guns,students doing like we see so much today. Maybe need to bring back bible and prayer than what we see today happening. When worst problems were passing notes and kids smoking or having a fist fight on schoolgrounds. lol. This is so silly

- Edna Naugle
Spokane Valley, WA

I thought I would just clear up some of the misconceptions about the LDS Seminary.  It does meet across the street on private property.

As far as I know, no credit is given for attending these classes.   I grew up in Utah and the state would allow credit for the year we studied church history, as that is actually part of U.S. History, but all the other years were not allowed for credit.  Seminary classes rotate these 4 subjects:  Book of Mormon, New Testament, Old Testament and Church History.  So,  in the 4 years you attend you should have a year of studying each.  In East Valley none of these classes count for credit.

In order to take Seminary you must take "released time",  this allows you to leave the campus to attend your class.  Non-LDS students can also get released time.  They usually take it in the morning so they can sleep in or at the end of the school day so they can leave campus early to get to their part-time jobs.  Because of the increased amount of credits students need to graduate these days,  most LDS students have to take Early Morning Seminary at least one year and maybe more in order to make up the credits they miss when they take Seminary during school hours.

- Celeste Goodall
Spokane Valley, WA

I think they should at least be consistant.  The mormons are actually allowed to take a whole period out of school time as well as waive their PE credit to study their religion.  It's not on school grounds but that isn't the point.  I had severe asthma and wasn't allowed to waive a PE credit.  I think it's rediculous. They should allow the christians, the jews, or any other religious group to do the same thing.  So, I see a prejudice in not banning all religious meetings, not just from school grounds but from school time.

- Amanda Postels
Spokane Valley, WA

School belongs in school. Religious instruction/meetings belong in a church. Period.
When will you Christians learn that your religion is not the only religion, that by allowing a religious group to meet on school campus, the school district then gives tacit approval of the religion? It is not the job of the school district to promote religion. Allowing one religion to hold sway over others discrimates against people of other faith. And I'm sure you wouldn't want that to happen. So we should let everybody go to school and have the worship/pep rally of their religious choice. Daily! So much for the 3Rs...but then many of the religious persuasion are suspicious of public education anyway...so do us all a favor:
For those of you who long for more gods in your school setting, you should send your kids to a religious school. Plenty enough god there for everybody.

- DeeDee Smith
Blaine, ID

I think it is wrong if someone doesn't want to listen to the religous meeting in school or anywhere else they can go to another room.  Why should a few force their beliefs on others.  This is America and we should be allowed to follow our own wants and not listen to those radicals who don't want trust in god etc. Let them move to another country like Russia.

- Barbara Roberts
Coulee City, WA

Kathy Rivera YOU ARE RIGHT! Nowhere in the Constitution do you find the words separation of church and state. Do you honestly believe that if GOD WAS STILL TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS WE WOULD HAVE METAL DETECTORS Installed in THEM TODAY? What's the worst thing that can happen if you let these children pray on their own free time? What's the worst thing that can happen if they talk about God on their own free time? I know! They might just turn out to be Civil American Citizens who follow the letter of the law! How dare anyone get in their way of finding the Bible and discussion of God to be bad or breaking the law. IT IS NOT and it isn't against the Constitution. If anything, they are exercising their constitutional rights. Whether America likes it or not 54 out of the 56 men who signed the Constitution were Christians and the foundations of America were established upon the B-I-B-L-E! Look it up! It's the forgotten heritage of America and our children are suffering for it. If you don't want God in your life then you better take that dollar bill out of your pocket and try to make the government change that. IN GOD WE TRUST is written all over it! Whether you like it or not!

- Abigail Fosther

Kathy Rivera YOU ARE RIGHT! Nowhere in the Constitution do you find the words separation of church and state. Do you honestly believe that if GOD WAS STILL TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS WE WOULD HAVE METAL DETECTORS Installed in THEM TODAY? What's the worst thing that can happen if you let these children pray on their own free time? What's the worst thing that can happen if they talk about God on their own free time? I know! They might just turn out to be Civil American Citizens who follow the letter of the law! How dare anyone get in their way of finding the Bible and discussion of God to be bad or breaking the law. IT IS NOT and it isn't against the Constitution. If anything, they are exercising their constitutional rights. Whether America likes it or not 54 out of the 56 men who signed the Constitution were Christians and the foundations of America were established upon the B-I-B-L-E! Look it up! It's the forgotten heritage of America and our children are suffering for it. If you don't want God in your life then you better take that dollar bill out of your pocket and try to make the government change that. IN GOD WE TRUST is written all over it! Whether you like it or not!

- Abigail Foster
Spokane, WA

Heck! Yes. leave it at church or home.

- Milan Lemmon
Spokane Valley, WA

As a former student of East Valley there was a time when the building just south of the school was built and used specifically for the gathering of Mormon students during the scheduled school day.  This seemed wrong to me as a non-Mormon student.  However, what students decided to do on their own time (lunch, free period, etc) is completely up to them. If they want to start a religious club that is non-school funded why not let them.  They could be doing worse things with their free time!,As a former student of East Valley there was a time when the building just south of the school was built and used specifically for the gathering of Mormon students during the scheduled school day.  This seemed wrong to me as a non-Mormon student.  However, what students decided to do on their own time (lunch, free period, etc) is completely up to them. If they want to start a religious club that is non-school funded why not let them.  They could be doing worse things with their free time!

- Kristi Hernandez
Spokane, WA

Please, prior to employing "separation of church and state" to back your opinion, understand it before you do so.
Church/state separation in the U.S. Constitution:
In 1789, the first of ten amendments were written to the Federal Constitution; they have since been known as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
This was ratified by the States in 1791.
The first phrase in the First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." is called the establishment clause.
Which means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion.

Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State'."
The free exercise clause of the First Amendment:
The following phrase "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof... is called the free exercise clause; it guarantees freedom of religion. This passage does not promise absolute freedom of religion.
The limits of this clause are continually being tested in the courts on a case-by-case basis.
Extension of the First Amendment to the individual states:
Initially, this amendment restricted only the powers of Congress regarding religion. However, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, proposed by Congress on 1866-JUN-16, required individual states to also follow the Bill of Rights. The 14th Amendment states that:
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
The 14th Amendment was proclaimed adopted on 1868-JUL-21. Since that date, the First Amendment, and other amendments guaranteeing rights to citizens, apply equally to all levels of government.
Hope this helps separate your opinion from the facts.

- J. Jensen
Spokane Valley, WA

It is discrimination, but since it is against religion many people think it is okay.  Those people have the same rights to the use of those public buildings as any other group of people do.  It is about time we realize that over 80% of this country has religious beliefs and stop prejudicing ourselves against them.

- Bill Gay
Spokane, WA

It's no wonder our kids have no chance today of living a clean and productive life. I only wished I had friends in high school to point me in a better direction in life choices. After 44 years of drug abuse I finally figured it out. My God teaches me today how to live  with respect. And, to pay to Cesar what is Cesar's. That means I don't mind paying my taxes to further any children,s education. I thank my God today for being clean and sober and responsible. Something I never got out of school. Leave these kids alone they are the future of your grandchildren, at least that my prayer.

- Rory Hance
Post Falls, ID

I am in agreement w/ellen. being a government funded institue, sep of church and state applies.  I advocate for both, however, law is law

You know the more i think about this, and discuss it with the wife.  Let the practice; however, if one allows for a prayer meeting, then you must allow for all faiths: wicken, satanism, ets. so how do you feel now?

- Mark Joplin
Buckley, WA

Are you seriously kidding me?  If this group was a bunch of gay and lesbians nobody would even have thought twice about letting them meet.  It truly amazes me that we now can not have a meeting in a building that is "owned by the state"  is the Public school system not owned and maintained by the tax payers?  We can use the Schools for Sex Education but God forbid someone might talk about something wholesome!  This country was founded for religious freedoms, that includes the right to have a religious meeting anytime anywhere we want and as long as the students were not mandated to attend then I would say it is nobody's business what they discussed and to butt out!

- Tina Kincheloe
Colfax, WA

First, Follow the Law, (Christians are even told to Follow man's Law, such as pay taxes and so forth) Having said that, I do not understand with or without a law, what is the problem? "Peer Pressure"? Well, THAT is everywhere ie: drugs, sex, decite, violence and on and on.
What concerns me most i think is What one would be afraid of here? I have not heard of anyone wanting to push the Law  or Rules on vulgarity, violence, dress codes, disrespect toward other's, truency's , cheating and the like.

I have always understood that School's are to "act" as a parent, hummmm? There are many things that go on in a school that parents do not allow there children to do and if they do, they receive severe consequences for! I know schools that though they have "rules" in place they DO NOT follow them, hense, confused and mis-guided students. My opinion, schools only "push" an issue when it suits them in one fashion or another.

- Sandy Smalley
Addy, WA

Religion is being slowly erroded in our country. The students who gather on non-class time in the school will, for the most part, be better citizens and more compasionate than those who choose to ignore a higher being.

- Jeanie Chestnutt
Spokane, WA

The problem as I see it is that Christains feel discriminated against. However if they won this lawsuit and kids were allowed to meet for religous reasons, would this same group be tolerant of other groups. Once you open the flood gates it's hard to stop the flood. How would they feel about a pagan meeting or worse satan worshipers meeting in the same room. My guess is they would tear the school apart. For this reason there must be limits on what kids are allowed to do in school. If this group wins they better hope it does not come back to bite them in the rear but I have the feeling if it does they will be the ones to cry the loudest. Before everyone gets in a frenzy over what I have just said just so you know I am Catholic, and do not support pagans or satanic cults. I just wanted to point out the possability of what could happen, it has happened before.

- Jim Lalo
Weippe, ID

You simply cannot ban prayer anywhere, anyime. Can't be done. There will ALWAYS be praying in school, and if teenagers are what they used to be...bible study right under your nose and you'll never know it.

- Lisa Burgess
Spokane, WA

I agree with Armchair Johnny (see above response).  Nowhere in the constitution is the mention of any Separation of Church and State! It has been taken out of context and used to confuse the uneducated in the matter.  Now it is thrown around as the Gospel! If my kids were peer pressured into either a Christian meeting or a gang initiation, which would it be?  We all can see what has happened in our schools now that prayer is gone, unless you live under a rock!

- Tina

when i first new about spokane,wa that it was a very bible God way place to live,because of what the late Rev,John G.Lakes did,by teaching people about God and his word,but now i been here for 2 yrs,and it is very hard to find a christian unless you show up at someone church. And some of them that is in church not save by the grace of God. now here is the school thing that have came up,it dont surprise me at all they do not want any christian setting in school. but thing is if you dont believe in it (the bible and God word) why do so many fight it (EXAMPLE) IF I DONT BELIEVE IN U.F.O  WHY SHOULD I FIGHT OTHERS WHO DO. WE AS REAL CHRISTIAN NO WHAT THE PROBLEM IS AND HIS NAME IS SATAN,AND THE DEVIL HAVE MANY PEOPLE FOOLED AND HE HAVE THEM RIGHT WERE HE WANTS THEM.BUT LET US KEEP PRAYING FOR THOSE NON-CHRISTIAN,AND ONE DAY BEFORE IT IT TO LATE THEY WILL GET CHRIST IN THERE LIFE, ONE DAY SOON EVERY EYES SHALL BEHOLD HIM,BUT NOT EVERY EYE WILL GO BACK WITH HIM AND LIVE WITH CHRIST FOREVER.

- Sandra Simon
Spokane, WA

I would hope, especially at the High School level, that our children have figured out how to deal with peer pressure in an appropriate way.  We need to love people for who they are, accepting that each of us is unique and deserves respect and love.  THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO ACCEPT THEIR LIFESTYLE OR CHOICES AS A PART OF OUR LIFESTYLE.  When did our society decide that we weren't allowed to form our own thoughts and ideas if it meant offending others?  I know men and women both who would fly into a rage of deep-seated offense if you suggest that the Lakers will lose to the Bulls.  =)  We need to stop acting like petulent children when we don't get our way.  The ball won't always end up in our court, we grow out of our shoes and need new ones, a song or speech CAN change lives for the better.  Let people be themselves even if that means being uncomfortable on occasion.  Even by the Bibles standards we are NOT to judge others for their actions. And remember, if in the end the school wins and these young persons lose the ability to meet for the purpose of worship and fellowship, they can still silently pray for their friends and show God's love by being a kind, compassionate human being with the morals and values the Bible teaches them.  And those are qualities that NO ONE will find offensive.  =)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

How exactly is this offensive?  Were they singing it to him? or to HIM?

- Nikki W.
Spokane Valley, WA

I think that the country has gone crazy trying to be politically correct. We try so hard to make sure that no one is offended, that we end up offending everyone. If you have a problem with their right to free speech and their right to practice their religion, than leave the room. What if some kids had been meeting who practiced the Hindu religion or something like that? Would they have been stopped? No, because of political correctness. I think there are a lot worse things they could be talking about or doing, don't you?

- Sara Harris
Spokane, WA

This is crazy!  There are so many people who are against God rather than Satan, which just doesn't make any sense.  Banning prayer in school was the work of Satan, and the schools have gone downhill ever since.  The public schools never cease to amaze me - and reading about the 5 students being banned for meeting is ridiculous - which is yet another reason I homeschool my children.  I commend the students for standing up for what they believe in - God!

- Terese Van Liew
Spokane Valley, WA

I hate that people think that christianity is harmless...Remember the crusades people? I am not a christian and proud to believe in mother nature and evolution. I hate even more that people think this is a christian nation. It is not. Nor should it be. Since taxd payers pay for public school  religious clubs should be banned from school gounds. ALL RELIGIONS not just christianity. Thats why they have private schools and if u cant afford one, keep ur religion at home. What if a Satanic person wanted to start a club at the school. Would you be fighting for their rights to express their belief. I dont think so.  What about the KKK. Same applies to them. If you can have a religious after school club than you shoud be allowed to have a KKK after school club.  In my opion Christianity has the same potential to cause harm as a KKK club or Nazi club does, or an ARA club. Keep those beliefs at home. They have no place in a public school. I support the kids, parents and school officials that are trying to keep this kind of thing out of schools. It has no educational value. NONE. In fact it... lets not go there. As for it does no harm theory.... Remeber the crusades people. History has a tendancy to repeat itself. Im prepared for the next "crusade". Are you?

- Anonymous Viewer
Portsmouth, VA

The schools talk about same sex marriage,as if were nothing this is the problem what happened to america,her values,were is our pride,kids pack guns,and make violent pictures in there classtroom nothing is done till there is a shooting?innocence destroyed the more we teach bad is good,it will only get worse,id much rather have my child seeking wisdom in religon than guns and violence.

- Julie McGinnis
Spokane, WA

I hope that the EVSD is prepared to ante up. I am tired of not being able to acknowledge God or talk about religion in the public place. I do not ridicule those who choose not to believe and I am tired of the rights of those of us who choose to believe not being able to do so without being "banned" or not "allowed" to meet it public places.  I only hope those that have forced this issue will have a good answer for the wonderful Man upstairs when they finally meet him because if the answer is not good enough they might not like their final stop!!

- Linda Caul
Spokane, WA

What is the difference between Girl/Boy Scout meetings, religious meetings or fund raising meetings?  None...it is by personal choice that people or kids attend them or participate in them.  Our schools should be a safe haven for learning, exploring, discussing or working together be it Scouts, religious oriented or school related.

- Kathy Howe
Spokane, WA

What a shame that we are not allowed to have prayer in the schools anymore.  our nation was bult on "IN GOD WE TRUST".  now we are not allowing it in schools? That is what is wrong with our teens now, Our children are without any consequenses regarding their actions.  When I was going to school, we started every morning with the pledge of Allegiance and a prayer.  We knew that if we messed up we had to answer to God as well as our parents.  The schools are allowed to talk about same sex marriages as well as " MY TWO MOMS, OR MY TWO DADS", but not about our Father who is with us every minute of the day and night, who watches our every move, who loves us and forgives us.  And most of all, whom we will get to spend eternity with....

- Gary Aiken
Sagle, ID

Our school officials have a horrible misunderstanding of what seperation of church and state means.  The intent of the law is that there will be no government sanctioned religon so as a result, no tax payer money or resources will be used for the purpose of promoting a religon. 

Students meeting on their own time in a public building while using their own resources is perfectly legal and so the school district is in violation of their right to meet.  Like a previous poster has mentioned, this has been upheld in the courts  many times yet we remain horribly ignorant on this topic.

- Michael Wilson
Spangle, WA

I think that religions should stay out of schools. If kids feel that strongly about gathering together, churches should provide after school activities or prayer groups as an outlet. I dont think that the school should be sued because of it but it definetly needs to be separate. Public education and religion should not be taught in the same place. Thats why there are catholic schools n so forth. I'm not against religion in any way but what would everyone be saying if it was an islamic prayer meeting and not a christian meeting?

- Pam Earlscourt
Spokane, WA

When students meet for bible study they are not hutrting anyone. If another student does not wish to participate, they do not have to be in the same area. Live and let live.

- Roger Barnes
Spokane, WA

Yes, there is a separation of church and state.  However, if schools wish to ban religious meetings that are held by students during non-class time, then they need to ban all groups that meet at the public schools that have a religious affiliation such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire.  All these groups are Christian organizations.  The separation of church and state became non-existent the first time the Pledge of Allegiance was spoken in Congress after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and every time money is printed with In God We Trust on it.  There has been more disregard for the separation of church and state than for any other aspirations our founding fathers had for this country.

- Trinity Coxon
Spokane, WA

I wish we had school vouchers so I can put my tax money into my local parochial school and stop flushing money down the sewers we call public schools.

- Stephen Baker
Spokane, WA

I think it horrifying that people are allowed to stand and say violent, negative, racist remarks at school with no consquences attached, but when students of like minded faith and belief wish to discuss with each other their shared beliefs, they are treated with belligerence, prejudice, hatred, and forbidden to to do so.  Why is it okay to spout anti-Semitic or anti-Christian rhetoric but the minute Christians or Jews get together to talk to each other about their shared convictions, we treat them like criminals?  I think its horrifying that a school district is more tolerant of the overt gang activity in its schools, which promote hatred and violence, than it is of students with positive beliefs who have the courage to stand up and live their faith with conviction!! Shame on the school district for violating their constiutional right to the free exercise of religion, especially when they provide special accomodations for students of other faiths!!

- Anonymous
Spokane, WA

I plan on moving to the Spokane area very soon - that is a long-time dream of mine.  I am responding to this survey even though I don't live there yet because I live in a state where so many activities and thoughts are banned that I hope and pray it does not keep happening in Spokane.  I've seen Christian rights taken away, while the rights of other religions and the "religion of secularists" are protected.  I feel that allowing everyone to think, congregate, speak and worship as they please is the only equitable solution.  This way, no single belief or lifestyle will be discriminated against.  Thank you.

- Dani Wolters
Shingle Springs, CA

It amazes me that so many people who believe in the free speach that is mentioned in the first ammendment are so quick to censor anyone expressing a religious veiwpoint that they find offensive.  I find many things offensive, but that doesn't mean that I have the right to shut them up.  I see no harm or constitutional problem if students voluntarily attend a religious meeting at a "public" (belonging to the people) building.  Next thing you know, religious bumper stickers will be banned on public roadways!

- Ray Lawr
Spokane, WA

I believe in the Lord God Almighty and that everyone else who does has the right to meet anywhere they so choose.  the law has made this to be so. I may not agree with satanists, pagans, or other groups but they have their right to choose what they want to believe.  The law has been upheld time after time for students to meet on school grounds.  Their religious rights do not have to be shed at the school doors! Christians are being forced every day to accept things that are ungodly and agaisnt all our beliefs.  Jesus died for all of us, we only have to believe in Him to be saved.  That is the basis of our belief.  If any one else so desires to follow after other gods that is on them.  Why cant our children have their rights protected?  They are the future of our great country.  you know, the land of the free?

- A. Johnson
Spokane, WA

The East Valley School District will lose if they don't voluntarily back down on this issue. The Alliance Defense Fund and American Center for Law and Justice have won lawsuits of this type for religious students nationwide.  The school district may have to pay for the religious students' legal fees.

- Richard Lee
Spokane, WA

This is quite typical of our world today- and it is all in Revelation- just read it!  God will judge each and EVERY one of us (yes, ALL of us- even those of you who deny Him now). There will continue to be more and more violence as God is a gentleman and when He is asked to leave - He leaves. He does not force Himself on anyone- but He will be there for you no matter how you treat Him when you realize you need Him.  I just hope and pray that you acept Him as your personal Saviour before you leave this world/and or before He comes to claim his own and you are left behind.  Because it will happen.  He has promised that.

- Donna Baden
Medical Lake, WA

This is the only place that some of these kids will ever learn about God.  It is very evident that they were not taught about love one another, we are all God's children and Jesus loves the little children or they would not be so afraid that their child would learn  to love one another and respect each other and the teachers teaching them.  Don't be so afraid to stand up and say I believe- Jesus ask us all to go out and be disciples.  The Bible was here long before school books.  If others don't want to join in - go break into someone's car or locker, go do crack, get someone pregnant - start a bomb threat or knife some one.  Why are all of you so afraid to believe??????????? I personally pray for all of you everyday.   Get a clue

- Joy Buchholtz
Rosalia, WA

I wonder how Amber from Newman Lake and all of the others who support these meetings would feel if say a group of kids who practice witchcraft and go to a wiccan group meeting at the school? If you allow one group to meet you open the door for others.  And yes Wicca is a recognized religion in the U.S.,I wonder how Amber from Newman Lake and all of the others who support these meetings would feel if say a group of kids who practice witchcraft and go to a wiccan group meeting at the school? If you allow one group to meet you open the door for others.  And yes Wicca is a recognized religion in the U.S.

- Jimmy Thompson
Harrison, ID

No, they should not meet.  I do not aggree with their rights. Nor should ASB students assemble or meet. I do not believe in democracy and I don't want my tax payer dollars going towards the open views of anyone regarding government.  Also, there should not be an alternative lifestyle meeting.  In addition, I am also against my tax dollars going to Spanish Club, French Club, or German Club meetings.  I don't believe we should learn about their cultures or language.  I also don't believe in U.S. or American history classes being taught because it shows too much of our past culture.  I also don't want my tax dollars going to a teacher's room where they eat their lunch and assemble themselves to talk about anything they want. My tax dollars should not be used in any way that allows talking out loud.  No personal views should ever be expressed in public!

- Mel Clary
Post Falls, ID

we are all going to die in december of 2012 SO WHAT THE HELL.......

- Cathy Murfin
Spokane, WA

Well, what about the seperation of Church and State. By dictating what the students can and cannot do in this situation you are violating the first amendment. You know all the first amendment says is that the government cannot tell you how to worship. It doesn't say that a church group can't use a government facility. As long as that facility is available to other church groups there is no violation. Now if say First Christian Church asked to use a room and they were granted that request then later First Muslim Church asked to use the room and were denied (solely for religious reasons ie. the government institution doesn't like Muslims) then THAT is a violation of the first amendment. Many people believe (incorrectly) that the first amendment means the government is required to be totally athiestic (many people believe by-the-way that Atheism is a religion). When the government starts saying a person cannot practice their religion the way they want to without hurting others then they are violating the first amandment. And another thing: How is anyone feeling pressure to be religious simply by knowing that a religious group is using a room after school? Are you for real? Do you think other students will feel pressured to join the computer club because they meet after school? Stop trying to deny others their first amandment rights by waving your distorted rewritten constitution.

- Tom
Dalton Gardens

I read over and over again how schools are not for "religious" use because they are supported by tax dollars.  Since when do the thousands of dollars a year my family pays in taxes provide for only the "non-religious" minority. I hope that someday I can pick and choose where my tax dollars are spent;  It would sure be nice to be able to pick and choose; wouldn't it!

- Lorrie Christian
Chewelah, WA


- Tom Bennett
Spokane, WA

Why is it that when a group wants to have a meeting and play dungeons and dragons it is ok, but if a person wants to have a religious meeting it is not? Freedom of speech and the ability to meet together should not be subject to whether or not another person feel it is ok. If we allow one group, any group that is not a school club to meet on school property, then any club (that is legal of course) should be allowed to meet. Just because religion makes some people uncomfortable is not a reason to not allow it. If you are uncomfortable do not go. The idea that people had magic game meetings in our school made me uncomfortable but I steered clear. It was there right to have that meeting. We want to be free and have freedom, yet we don't want those who choose to believe in God to have that same right...

- A
Medical Lake, WA

It's just one more step in the direction of control of everything we do in America. Better open our eyes and see what we are doing people against our freedom.

- Roger Lamb
Cheney, WA

FREEDOM OF RELIGION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Vika d
Spokane, WA

It seems to me that since "Religion" has been barred from the school grounds things haven't gone so well.  Freedom of Religion is to all.  If kids want to meet and pray or discuss religion they should be allowed.
Just cooks my goose that they won't allow religious gatherings or GOD mentioned yet they are thinking of allowing guns on college campus!

- Kathy Nyborg

I attend college for the second and am a single parent of 4 kids. I would not want someone walking around campus with a gun just because they can.  What purpose does that serve.  This just invites trouble, esp if that person e,, ,, , , n, ds up in an argument during a class discussion, in the cafeteria or elsewhere.  There is no justifiable reason for guns to be allowed on campus except for security personnel and police officers.  Unlike what others have stated, I don't believe that someone having a gun on the campuses recently affected by gun incidences wouldn't have helped.  I think it only would have made things worse.  Aim and rational thinking goes out the door, the gunmen would just get angrier and things would only get worse not better, unless the shot made actually hit the target the first time....

- Sherri
Spokane Valley, WA

It is the land of the free.  School should be willing to accomodate religion if the individuals are serious about it and not just trying to skip class. It wasn't too long ago when schools had a regular morning prayer.  Schools are travelling too far into politics and steering away from their fundamental goal: education.

- Jeremy Block
Ephrata, WA

religion is great, it should be practice. however not in school, it belongs in church and at home. if you want to hold a religionous meeting else where,pay for the right and don't push it on others,and don't make others feel less worthy then you. and don't tell people there not going to heaven, only from the mouth of god, right here and right now can it be said.  he or she, is the only who can say,that some is  not going to heaven, not you.

- Curtis Rogers
Medical Lake, WA

I've seen this a couple times on this forum:

"Public tax payer dollars fund the school and therefore religious meetings have no place on school grounds."

Actually, this is exactly the reason why the school MUST NOT PROHIBIT these meetings. If you were awake in Civics class, you might remember this little item from the Bill of Rights (that's part of the Constitution...) "Congress shall make no law respecting an  establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF..." (emphasis added)

And why do you think that's the very first right spelled out in the Bill of Rights (look for it under "Amendment 1")? Could it be that the founders understood that restricting religious exercise is what tyrants do? Don't you remember that:
Communist regimes prohibit free religious exercise?
The Taliban prohibits free religious exercise?
Fanatical Muslim extremist regimes (eg Iran) prohibit free religious exercise?

Prudent people want less restrictions on religious behavior, not more.

I don't like everything the public schools teach my kids, so my job as a parent is to correct at home those things that are wrong. If you don't like religion, go ahead and teach your kids your lack of beliefs, but don't try to violate my kid's constitutional right to their free exercise of religion.


- Mike
Spokane Valley, WA

This is to Debra Lentz, This country was founded on ONE NATION UNDER GOD. What I have to tell you and all the rest that wants to take God out of this and that. Remember one thing that when you go before him on Judgement day he will remember that you and all the rest didn't know him on earth , he will not know you when you go before him. I think the goverment has went to far by taking God out of just about everything here.If you don't like this One Nation under God GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS Great United States. I have a holiday for those of you that don't believe in GOD. It is April 1 of every year. Take care and GOD bless

- Bobby Robertson
Spokane, WA

It is illegal to ban students meeting together. They have a right to assemble.

- Scot
Mead, WA

I use to live in Russia.It was sooooo hard to atend school,because we are christians.We have 4 kids and we came in USA 10 years ago to get FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS!!!!!!!!!!for our kids.But there is no freedom of religious in schools,students can 't bring Bible at schools (like in Rassia 15 years ago) can't pray at schools (because other students will bit them up). Is there any  differents  between  Communistic Russia and Christian USA??????????

- Galina Stepanova
Spokane, WA

although religion is an important issue i dont belive it should be practiced at schools there are to many differnet beliefs or religions and no one should feel pressured to study one over another, or feel uncomfotable because someone else is.leave religon at home or in church, let schools teach mathmatics, history, english ect.

- Jeff Magruder
Spokane, WA