5/16/13

Brave Mississippi Student Stands Up for Separation of Church and State

As you know, the American Humanist Association is suing Northwest Rankin High School (Flowood, MS) for allegedly forcing students to attend an assembly where members of Pinelake Baptist Church subjected them to proselytizing and sectarian prayer. While most of the mainstream media coverage of the suit has assumed that the plaintiff must be an atheist student, it appears that this is not the case. One of the plaintiffs, Gracie Bedi, has courageously revealed herself in an effort to clear up the misinformation surrounding the motives for the suit.
I abandon anonymity not to call attention to myself, but rather to call attention to the case and better validate its purpose. As a student at the high school, I have been privy to the thoughts and analysis of my peers, and what I’ve heard has been incredibly disheartening. Rather than reviewing the case as one of constitutional rights, I have been written off as an angry atheist, a scorned student, and even as a greedy child looking only for profit. Allow me to defend myself against such harsh conclusions.
In addition to explaining that she is not an atheist but a Christian, Gracie describes the purpose of the lawsuit as being "about out constitutional right to be free from the government promoting these religious beliefs." So what we appear to have in Gracie is a Christian who understands why separation of church and state is important. Outstanding!
I take issue with the fact that my peers and I were forced to attend a preferential religious sermon by a public school administration. The government, and Northwest is indeed a government for all intents and purposes, has no place in dictating the religion of the governed.
Gracie goes on to note that she is not doing this to get back at the school, a school with which she has been quite happy. She also points out that this is not about trying to earn money from the suit, explaining that a legal victory would only require the school to pay for the legal fees incurred. I encourage you to take the time to read Gracie's excellent letter for yourself. I applaud her courage and hope her suit succeeds.

H/T to Godless in Dixie

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