Lindale 5th grade play to be modified after complaint by 'Freedom From Religion Foundation'
POSTED: Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 3:32pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 8:06pm
Lindale, TX (KETK) — Fifth graders at E.J. Moss Intermediate School of Lindale were scheduled to perform a musical theater program at the school on Thursday night titled, "In God We Trust."
Now, due to a complaint from an organization called "Freedom From Religion Foundation," the school will not host the play with religious undertones, but a modified version sensitive to all viewers.
Elizabeth Cavell, staff attorney for the "Freedom From Religion Foundation," submitted a letter to Lindale Superintendent, Stan Surratt, stating a concerned parent had contacted the organization and complained that God would be referenced throughout the program through scripts and music composed by Chris and Diane Machen.
Cavell states the Machens run a music an worship ministry whose goals are to "lead the church in worship and reach non-believers with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Cavell received copies of the scripts the children will read during the performance stating the students will be reciting the following:
"What you have heard today helps to explain why the founding fathers of our nation believed and trusted in God. The people who struggled and fought to establish this nation did so because of a dream. That dream was to have a place where they could freely proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Cavell goes on to say, "This is an egregious violation of the First Amendment and it is illegal to compel
students to participate in religious expression."
"This is clearly illegal and unconstitutional indoctrination of children into a particular religion," says Cavell.
Following the written statement and decision not to perform the play on campus, Pastor Tom Buck, of First Baptist Church Lindale responded, "Although it saddens me to see an objection against such a positive program in our community schools, I fully understand the decision made by the Lindale Schools and support them in making this difficult choice. I thank them for their hard work. It is not a coincidence that our schools consistently stand out as some of the best in Texas."
Pastor Buck then announced he will be renting the Performing Arts Center at the Lindale High School where the entire musical can be performed by those students who wish to participate.
The event is set to take place Wednesday May 29th, at 7:00 p.m.
Buck says, "The reality is that the contents of the musical program were not only educational, inspiring and uplifting, but they truly represented the values of the Lindale community while accurately presenting the Christian heritage of the United States of America."
"While I am a strong advocate against the establishment of a state religion, the actions of the FFRF actually work to do just the opposite by forcing their religious views upon us.," says Buck. "The practical result is that Atheism becomes the de facto national religion. I personally believe the framers of the constitution would have had no problem with allowing students to express the common held values of the community in which they live."
You can read the formal complaint filed by FFRF below.
|Lindale ISD-TX.pdf||2.95 MB|