Guest Post by Mara Zebest
A local TN pastor, Alan Stewart, was asked to speak last month at a local school to offer a 9/11 Tribute. It seems the First Amendment right to speak of G-d is a constant source of irritation to the Freedom FROM Religion Foundation (FFRF).
To read the thin-skinned complaints of the FFRF—you would think the mere mention of the word of G-d is akin to kryptonite. A few weeks after the speech had been delivered; a Department of Education attorney received a letter from FFRF demanding an apology for being offended by a speech that dares to mention G-d.
Pastor Alan Stewart provides a response letter that is well worth the time to read. The Pastor’s response letter not only corrects many factually incorrect FFRF statements made in their original letter, but also requests an apology from FFRF for attempting to trample on the First Amendment rights of Americans and students throughout America.
Click on this WRCBtv.com link to view a video report:
Pastor Alan Stewart’s closing letter paragraphs state the following:
[…] I am of the strong opinion that the actions of the FFRF organization are unconstitutional based upon Justice Tom Clark’s declaration in the Supreme Court decision in the 1963 case, School District of Abington Township vs. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963). “Secularism is unconstitutional…preferring those who do not believe over those who do believe… lt is the duty of government to deter no-belief religions…The State may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.”
Based upon this declaration and the fact the FFRF has repeatedly used misinterpreted rulings by the Supreme Court as the basis for their intimidating demands, it is both right and proper that every school district, superintendent, principal, teacher, staff, and student affected by these actions receive an apology. My desire is to ensure our educational leaders are able to use their professional training, life skills, and experience to enrich and equip their students for life without the fear of retaliation and suppressing the dictates of their own conscience.
Read the full letter here.
Rebeca Seitz’s blog reports the following:
A dear friend of mine, Alan Stewart, is a longtime pastor in the Mayberry-esque East Tennessee town of Soddy-Daisy. His church has become known in recent years for its crazy-effective Vacation Bible School programs, which Alan wrote and based on the public domain characters from those incredible children’s tales written by Christians – Beauty and the Beast, Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan – after realizing several years of other VBS programs had been entertaining, but not effective.
Alan and the church are a go-to resource when the town needs, well, anything. Food, shelter, counsel, money, a listening ear, an answer to a troubling situation. They are what the church is supposed to be, at least in so much as I’ve known them the past few years.
Alan was asked by Sale Creek Middle and High School, a local school, to speak at their 9/11 Tribute last month. He diligently prepared a speech and delivered it on September 11. You can read it by clicking Address for Sale Creek Middle and High School.
A couple of weeks later, one of the Department of Education’s attorneys received a letter from the National Freedom From Religion Foundation. I could describe it, but it’s so much better to let them speak for themselves – see the letter by clicking FFRF Letter.
Alan – and I’ve gotta say this is one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy working with him – read the letter carefully and spent some time praying and thinking about it before memorializing a reaction. He then crafted a response. Again, it’s WAY better to let a letter speak for itself. Click Rechoboth Response to read it.(You really should read it…if only to smile. Widely.) […]
The two letters have become the talk of the school, and the town. (Small towns are both comforting and frustrating that way.) The students are asking questions, wondering if Alan did, indeed, trample all over some constitutional right and if they should be offended or if the NFFR folks are trampling on Alan’s rights…and they should be offended.
The principal – and I am serious that we have to send this principal about forty-thousand “atta-boys” for even thinking of this, much less doing it – assigned the students the task of researching the issue and writing a paper espousing who is right and who is wrong (constitutionally speaking).
This PUBLIC SCHOOL PRINCIPAL basically said to the students, “You’re going to research, learn, think about what you’ve learned, and form an educated opinion. I will not tell you what to think.” […]
Read more here.
Kudos to Principal Tobin Davidson. It’s rare that a school principal resists secularism and stands with the people and the constitution.