Just for Jesus, an evangelical event for students planned for April 22nd, is being advertised as a “platform for students to perform their arts, music and display their talents driven by Christ through a field trip while in school.”
Oh yeah – and an easy excused absence.
In one of the wussiest moves by authority figures ever seen, the Ouachita Parish and Monroe City School Superintendents have both decided to bow out of making what could be seen as an unpopular decision, and make the school principals responsible for deciding whether or not to allow students to attend the event and receive an excused absence.
“The deal is, it’s a simple matter,” founder James Bertrand said Monday. “It’s voluntary. If you don’t want to be there, keep your mouth closed and go somewhere else.”
Where, Mr. Bertrand? School? I don’t think so. If some students are going to be excused, then all should be.
Can I organize a “Friends of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” rally or a “Buddies for Buddha” rally the same day? Will kids be excused for that, too?
According to your own literature:
“Students have the right to pray, evangelize, read
scripture, distribute literature, and invite fellow students
to participate so long as it is voluntary; it is not
disruptive or coercive and that it occurs during noninstructional time.”
I think that we can all concede that this is, in fact, during instructional time.
“Subject to applicable state laws, students may be able to
attend off-campus religious instruction provided that
schools do not encourage or discourage participation or
penalize those who do not attend.”
This section does not state that the school is allowed to provide excused absences for students who are attending such “off-campus religious instruction.”
“Subject to applicable state laws, students may be able
to obtain an excuse absence for the observance of
As far as I know, April 22nd is not a religious holiday.
Aside from the blatant 1st Amendment issues – realistically speaking – how will this thing be policed? How will school officials know which students are really attending?
In previous Just for Jesus rallies, students were bussed in using state funded school buses.
That’s right. You and I paid for high school kids in Baton Rouge to attend a Jesus rally during school hours.
If students are not bused in, then how will principals know whether your kid was worshiping or playing World of Warcraft? If you’re going to give the kids a day off, give them a day off. Don’t bother with the religious stuff. Take a lesson from principal Bob Sampson and give the kids a Sun Day, instead.
Lest you are concerned that I am spewing forth anti-Jesus hatred, let me assure you that I have no qualm with Jesus. Actually, I think he’s great. To quote Ghandi, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”
I am, though, here to explain to the other citizens of this fine area that by constitutional law, no one is required to be associated with any one religion. A lot of you seem to forget that.
And allowing these particular students an excused absence, would mean allowing other absences for any other religious event. Is that what you want? Do you really want students to get an excused absence for attending my Friends of the Flying Spaghetti Monster rally?
I get the distinct felling that many of your would be up in arms if our students were allowed an excused absence to attend a “Women for Wicca” rally. During school hours.
The point is this: Either all religions should be excused or none of them.
Not all Monroe natives are Christians. And whether you think they all should be is irrelevant. Not only that, it’s unconstitutional.
Let me break it down for you another way.
Here’s a handy flow chart.
In case you’re still confused, here’s the bottom line:
If you are going to excuse school for a rally about Jesus, you must excuse school for other religious groups.
Principals: Students should be allowed to attend this rally if they provide a permission slip. However, it should not be an excused absence.