Knee-jerk Anti-Christianity Harms a School District.

Now this is just silly.

A school district in California has decided it is a better idea to reject $45,000 in fundraised money than to allow a few bricks with inoffensive verses from the Bible to be included.

At this point I don’t really think it matters if it is true anti-Christianity, or just knee-jerk anti-Christianity, because it’s really just silly.

I’m quite certain that there were guidelines about what kinds of messages would be refused—offensive and/or explicit content, natch—but in those cases you just refund the money of the offending individuals with a polite explanation. The only reason I can think of to scrap the whole fundraiser would be because they knew they didn’t have a good reason to refuse these bricks, but they just couldn’t bring themselves to accept them. Whether it was out of blind secularism or true anti-Christianity, it’s still just silly.

The school district solicited funds by selling space for messages. These ladies purchased space and submitted their messages. The school district didn’t sponsor the messages, nor did they choose them. Heck, lay these bricks on the edges of the walkways and then put flower pots on top of them if it’s that much of a problem.

And take a look at the offending verses:

Brick Pavers

Fear the bricks. They may inspire responsibility.

Psalm 68:34, “Tell everyone about God’s power.”

Luke 17:13, “No one can serve two masters.”

Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

2 Corinthians 5:17, “…The old life is gone, a new one has begun.”

Ephesians 5:32, “…Be kind to each other…forgive one another.”

What on earth is objectively offensive about those? There’s no mention of Christ, Mary, the sacraments, or anything that is specifically Christian in nature nor that aggressively proselytizes, which still wouldn’t be *offensive* even if they were there, but at least then the silly persons could claim (albeit wrongly) that they were inappropriate for public school grounds.

Frankly, no one but a militant atheist or materialist, or the most knee-jerk secularist anti-Christian could be opposed to those passages.

And they’re the ones running our school districts. No wonder kids can’t read, write, or do sums, but daggonit they know how to spot un-nice-ness and how to put on a condom!



  • Katherine

    The whole idea of turning public school space over to be purchased for advertizing — be it “Drink Coca-Cola”, “Vote Democratic” or “Jesus Loves You” is insane. Fund the school through taxation, not people paying to put some message they like on a school building.

    • Tom Crowe

      Katherine— no one needs to buy space to get the message “vote Democratic” from our schools… that message comes through loud and clear in the classrooms with no private investment.

  • Davide

    This crap wouldn’t happen in my birth country. I love America don’t get me wrong but the over the top political correctness is just stupid. I am so blessed my parents cared enough about my education to raise me in Catholic schools.


    Dear Tom, Don’t we all oppose un-nice-ness? After all, we see here that we should “….be kind to each other..forgive one another.” ~ Pax ~ Greg

    • Tom Crowe

      Oh Greg… I do hope you understand what I mean by using that turn of phrase in that context. Think: un-PC (and I don’t mean they prefer Macintosh computers)

  • Pedr ap Gwilym

    What would be the reaction of the Catholic Church if I were to donate a few bricks with the anti-religious words of Gautama Buddha on them?

    • Tom Crowe

      We would do as I suggested in the one paragraph and refuse your donation with a polite explanation, natch. The other major difference, of course, is that the Catholic Church is a private organization of free association; the public school system is just that: public.

      • Buckle

        Another difference (in reference to the Buddhist brick analogy) lies with intent. The bricks with Christian scriptures were not aggressive nor antagonistic to anyone (other than perhaps to the most virulent of secularists – who would try to become offended at even the most innocuous message). It is difficult to interpret the Christian bricks as trying to pick a fight. A brick with an anti-religious statement to be placed at a Catholic church, however, would seem to be an act of intentional provocation.

        • Tom Crowe


    • Mark

      Pedr: Odds are really good that the Church wouldn’t even notice if you donated bricks “with the anti-religious words of Gautama Buddha on them” to the school. I’d encourage you knock yourself out and do so, but the school’s knee-jerk anti-Christianity has ruined the opportunity.

  • Tom

    Yes, I think it’s knee-jerk anti-Christian. I’m sure if the bible references weren’t included on the bricks, nobody would’ve minded.

    There’s a difference if a brick read:
    No one can serve two masters. Luke 17:13

    No one can serve two masters.

    • Karamazov

      Yea, the difference is the first one has a citation and the second would be counted as plagiarism in a scholarly work.

  • Joe

    The people who oppose Christian messages in public institutions are more often atheist than members of another faith. Whether or not the messages are specifically Christian, they are in fact specifically theist, which would be the objection (as you note).

    Also, you say there is nothing specifically Christian in nature, but some of the books from which the verses derive are exclusively used by the Christian faith group.

    From a governmental point of view, the position actually makes sense, as long as they are willing to hold the same standard for any secularist incriptions (or those of other faiths). It is more practical for the school (district) to address the issue now than to deal with the expensive lawsuit that will inevitably later filed by secularist groups.

    At least, that’s my take on it.

    • Tom Crowe

      Sorry, Joe, it still doesn’t make sense. The separation of Church and State does not mean a wholly and purely secular public presence in every way no matter what. And while this may be speculation, I would be extremely surprised if they had reacted in this manner had someone quoted from the Koran. And had someone done so, provided the verse, like these, was objectively inoffensive, I would have no problem with them being included. If the verses were inappropriate, refund the money of the individual persons and politely explain the problem. But to just chuck the whole thing smacks of panic over having no other recourse.

      • moose

        Tom wrote:
        “The separation of Church and State does not mean a wholly and purely secular public presence in every way no matter what. ”

        Yes. it DOES.

        It gives me the right to have my kids not be subjected to theism in public places. Did you hear that? PUBLIC places?

        This wasn’t anti-christian…it’s definitely the school board covering their behinds because they wouldn’t want these ladies to SUE them. Ohh wait…they ended up filing a “court complaint.”

        Keep theism out of the public schools. Keep it where it BELONGS. In churches, in mosques, synagogues, private schools…your HOMES.

        • Tom Crowe

          Sorry, moose, but American tradition simply isn’t on your side on this one. This nation was founded on objectively Christian principles, or at least principles developed by Christians from Christian heritage. We all bring our religion (atheism is a religion, even if each person has their own version. It’s like Protestantism in that way) into everything we do. Your religion dictates that the only acceptable thing to say about God in the public sphere is nothing, because you don’t believe in God and think God talk should be kept hidden, “where it BELONGS.” I believe differently. We both bring our religion to bear on our political decisions, as we can’t not. And that’s fine. Sponsor some bricks that say nothing at all, reflecting your thoughts on God. Sponsor some bricks that say “God doesn’t exist,” or words to that effect, but don’t force your atheism on me and other believers in public spaces.

        • Ryan Haber

          Moose, your statements amounting to arguing that “Church” has a right to appear in private spaces, its proper domain, but no right to appear in public spaces, which are the proper territory of “the State.” Am I correct? The implication is scary because it recognizes the State’s authority over everything that occurs in public places. Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that the State has authority to control whether I buy or sell a comic book while sitting on a street corner? That it has authority over what music I listen to on headphones while sitting on a bus? That it has authority over what I say in a shopping mall? A further implication of your argument is the identification of the public with the authority of the state. That is, if the thing is an corporate expression of the people as such (a public park or a public parade) that it is the sort of thing that the government must necessarily shape. A municipal swimming pool, then, would be not only subject to the municipality’s standards on hygiene (which is good), but also to the agendas of the municipality’s leadership. A swimming pool’s use would be regulated not only to make sure chlorine levels are appropriate, but to make sure it is only used by those whose interests coincide with the state’s, or worse, those whose agendas coincide with the state’s leaders. That would be a disaster of totalitarian proportions. I would argue that simply because the thing is public (as opposed to individual) does not mean that it is a legitimate tool of the state for accomplishing agendas; moreover and more fundamentally, just because a thing takes place in public (not hidden) does not mean it is subject to the authority of the state. The path you suppose is a path of total control. The path I propose is one of the greatest liberty.

        • Joe M

          moose. Can you please point out where your right to have your kids not be “subjected” to theism in public places is established? — The only separation of church and state concept that is supported by federal law is that the state can’t establish or give special advantage to a specific religion. Allowing equal access to all people to put whatever they want on some bricks (including religious messages) is not an example of violating separation of church and state. In fact, prohibiting Christian messages would have been a violation because it would advantage other beliefs over Christianity in addition to invoking civil rights violations (civil rights laws protect religion as well as race, age and gender. Some people seem to forget this.) This is probably why they chose to remove the fund-raiser entirely and why it does appear to be an anti-Christian effort. They would rather not have the money than have to “stomach” having Christian language on a brick.

        • Mark

          moose says, “Yes. it DOES. It gives me the right to have my kids not be subjected to theism in public places.”

          Really? Aside from the fact that there is no separation of church and state in the Constitution, your position is silly. The free exercise and free speech rights of religious people are not to be restricted to comply with your biases.

          • greg smith

            Mark ~ Briefly, the first amandment, which is tracked by most (all) state constitutions “Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religon.” We, as a nation, are still trying to work out if that means “no prefernce” or “wall of seperation. ~ Pax , Greg

    • Joe

      Another Joe! I suppose that I should have known the odds of there being other Joes on this site. :) To avoid confusion, I will go by “Joe M” in the future. — I think that Joe is probably correct in identifying the anti-brick peoples line of thinking. But, I think it’s a slippery slope argument. If you’re going to call language that doesn’t refer to religion religious, where do you draw the line? Is language written by someone who happens to also be religious off limits? Quotes from the Pope about world peace? What about language written by athiests? Isn’t that a set of beliefs that can’t be imposed on people via government? — I think this is a case of people not understanding that our country was founded on “freedom OF religion” rather than “freedom FROM religion”.



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