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Equal Access For All: Atheist Student Clubs Shouldn’t Be Subject To A Heckler’s Veto

If you have any contact with a public high school, you probably know that students can form an array of clubs that meet during non-instructional time.

My son, who is in 10th grade, reports a dizzying list of student-run clubs at his school, covering every possible interest. Along with some friends, my son joined the anime club and was for a time involved in a “duct tape club.” (Don’t ask.)

There are also many religious clubs at the school. Jewish students have a club, as do Muslim students. There are several Christian clubs.

How can this be? It’s a public school. Read more

Equal Access Except For Atheists?: Schools Must Not Discriminate Against Non-Religious Students

Back in 1984, Religious Right groups lobbied Congress in full force to pass a bill ensuring that Christian student clubs and organizations would be free to meet on public school campuses.

They succeeded in making the Equal Access Act the law of the land. The act states that under most circumstances, public schools must allow a wide range of student-run clubs to meet during “non-instructional” time. This opened the door for public schools to allow student religious clubs, including Bible study groups, to meet freely. Read more

‘Equal Access’ In Utah: Gay-Straight Alliances At Public Schools Have The Religious Right To Thank

Back in the 1980s, a number of Religious Right groups got a bright idea: Since public schools can’t legally sponsor prayer and other religious activities, perhaps it would be better to foster the creation of student-run clubs in high schools that would meet during non-instructional time to pray, read the Bible and talk about religion. A draft bill was proposed in Congress. Read more

Proper Prayer Practices: S.C. School Ends In-School Proselytism

Americans United has pointed out many times that public schools need not be “religion-free” zones. There are ways students can meet for prayer or to read religious texts – but it has to be their choice.

In Georgetown, S.C., a local resident, Violet Infinger, had been coming onto school grounds for 10 years to pray with students and pass out religious literature. Read more

Equal Access: How The Religious Right Helped Launch Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs In Public High Schools

Last night during dinner, my daughter Claire mentioned that some of her friends who attend another high school are preparing for a gang of protesters to descend on their school. Members of Westboro Baptist Church are coming to town!

You've probably heard of this crew. Westboro Baptist and its pastor, Fred Phelps, are best known for picketing at the funerals of fallen military personnel. Their theology is somewhat incoherent, but the Westboro-ites seem to believe that the war in Iraq is God's punishment on the nation for tolerating gay people. Read more