Thursday, February 6, 2014

Brave as a mouse

Yes... Illegal in Theocracies. Know where it's not
illegal? The USA, as long as it's not on
government property.
It turns out that there is a student at Rusk High School in Cherokee County, Texas (shocking, right?) that just doesn't get it. A teacher there illegally displayed a pro-Christian poster in their classroom, but had to remove it when a letter was written to the school that rightly pointed out that it was a violation of the separation of church and state. 

But that didn't sit well with (at least) one student, so Cameron Franks (a senior) decided to sell pro-Christian t-shirts in protest. Okay, that's fine. Whatever makes him feel better about an illegal poster being removed... But this is where it starts to get weird.

wbtv.com reported on the story and are also promoting the sale of the shirts (so much for unbiased). But lets take a look at some of what the story has to say...
"We've walked our halls for 4 years and we've been persecuted and called hypocrites and everybody that's a Christian, I'm sure they've had that time in their life when they've been persecuted and I knew it was time to take a stand," said Franks. 
 I know I never did, when I was a Christian. In fact, I've never know a Christian that was persecuted for their Christianity. I'd love it if he would have given examples, because more often that not, what believers call 'persecution' is really nothing of the sort. And lets remember, this is the USA, I as a non-believer, are far more likely to be persecuted for my (lack of) belief than a Christian ever will be.
Rusk ISD superintendent Scott Davis said the poster was brought to his attention after he received a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Davis said his hands were tied in the matter because "a teacher acting in that manner is in violation of the establishment clause" in the first amendment but he says he appreciates the positive way Cameron is dealing with someone he disagreed with.
The designer in me weeps at that font choice.
 Excellent! Davis followed the law without a fight. All the other schools that waste toms of money on bound to lose legal battle could learn a thing or two from him.
"All the posters and symbols and scriptures were removed from every classroom and I sort of didn't really understand what was happening," said Franks.
 The law being followed. That's what happened. The principal (who seemed aware of what Franks
was doing) plainly said why they were removed. Cue the unsubstantiated drama...
"I didn't think this was such a good idea at first but then I was like you know what I don't care anymore," said Franks. "I'm tired of it. I'm tired of hiding in the corner and so I was like I'm going to do it and I'm going to see how the reactions are and if they're negative so-be it and if they're positive so-be it."
Hiding in the corner? For some reason Franks has been receiving accolades for taking a brave stand. Wait... what!? There is absolutely nothing brave with stating that you are openly Christian in Texas. That's about as brave as announcing that you're Catholic while in Vatican City. What's next? Go to CiCi's and 'bravely' announce that you love pizza?

And then his facebook page clarifies that he still doesn't know why the poster was removed, or didn't even try...
We are taking a stand as Christians. We are tired of our Christian rights always being violated because someone takes offense to something religious.
*facepalm* The poster was not removed because it offended anyone. It was removed because it was a violation of the Establishment Clause. It was illegal to have it posted in the school as it was, so it was removed. This is no attack on Christianity. If it was a poster promoting Islam, it would be removed. If it was a poster promoting only Hinduism, it would be removed. And yes, if it was a poster strictly endorsing atheism, it should be removed as well.

The issue here isn't that Christianity is being singled out. Nothing of the sort is happening. Rather Christians are finally being held to the same rules as everyone else. And the standard response to the loss of their special treatment has been to throw their toys from the pram.

I don't doubt that Franks is sincere in being upset about the poster being removed. But that's life, and the law is the law. What is clear though is that he (and others) don't seem to understand the real issue here (even though the principal spelled it out), and that Franks is not doing something spectacularly brave. Wear his Christian shirt in Iran, then get back to me about being brave...


-Brain Hulk

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