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Thread: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

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    Senior Member G4JC's Avatar
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    Post School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Chase Windebank, a senior at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. (Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom)


    Christian students at a Colorado public high school were told they could no longer meet to pray, sing religious songs or discuss religious topics during free time – because such activity violated the U.S. Constitution, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleges.
    Chase Windebank is a senior at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. Three years ago he started meeting together informally with his classmates for prayer and religious fellowship. The young people would meet in an unoccupied choir room to sing songs like “Amazing Grace” and discuss the issues of the day from a religious perspective.


    But all that changed on Sept. 29th when Chase was summoned to the office of Assistant Principal James Lucas.

    Chase Windebank is a senior at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. Three years ago he started meeting together informally with his classmates for prayer and religious fellowship. The young people would meet in an unoccupied choir room to sing songs like “Amazing Grace” and discuss the issues of the day from a religious perspective.
    “He was told that he could no longer pray with his fellow students during free time because of the separation of church and state,” said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney representing the teenager.

    Tedesco is with Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that specializes in handling religious liberty cases.

    “He was told that he could pray before the school day begins or after the school day ends but he could not do it during the school day,” Tedesco told me.

    To make sure Chase got the message – he was hauled into Principal Kolette Back’s office the following day where it was “reaffirmed that his religious speech could not take place during the open time” known as a “Seminar” period.
    The lawsuit states: “Defendants Back and Lucas stated that because of the separation of church and state and because they regarded the Seminar period as instructional time, they were banning students’ discussion of issues of the day from a religious perspective during the open time of Seminar period.”

    Pine Creek is a part of Academy School District No. 20. A spokesperson for the district confirmed that the group was told to disband in accordance with state law.

    “Students were told that, according to state law and district policy, they could meet during non-instructional time,” the spokesperson told me in a written statement. “That is before or after school.”

    In other words – the only theology allowed between 7:45 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. is the government’s theology.

    The school district’s paltry explanation doesn’t make much sense. So I sent the spokesperson a list of follow up questions:
    - Why were the students allowed to hold religious gatherings for the past three years if it was against the rules?
    - Was there a change in district policy?
    - Or was it possible the district had simply ignored their own policy and allowed the kids to meet anyway?
    - Why the sudden crackdown on the religious gathering? Did someone complain?
    I’ll let you know when the district spokesperson gets back to me with the answers. So far, it’s been radio silence.

    “Public schools should encourage the free exchange of ideas,” Tedesco said. “Instead, this school implemented an ill-conceived ban that singles out religious speech for censorship during free time.”

    And that seems to be the case at Pine Creek High School – and here’s the proof – Chase and his Christian friends are still allowed to meet – provided they don’t talk about anything religious or pray.
    “Students have the right to pray during the school day and they certainly have the right to use free time to engage in religious expression – like prayer,” Tedesco told me.

    The school district’s attorney has also weighed in on the matter – defending the school’s decision to crack down on religious speech and denying they’ve violated Chase’s constitutional rights.
    Their argument hinges on a rule that non-curriculum related groups may only meet during non-instructional time. And since Jesus is not a part of the curriculum at Pine Creek High School – His followers must do their worshipping after hours.

    “No non-curricular clubs are permitted to meet during that time period at Pine Creek High School,” attorney Patricia Richardson wrote in a letter to Tedesco. “Therefore, Mr. Windebank may resume his prayer meetings at Pine Creek High School, but he must do so during non-instructional time, that is before 7:45 a.m. when classes begin, and after 2:45 p.m., when classes end for the day.”
    If that’s the rule, why are they allowing Chase and his friends to meet during free time – provided they don’t mention the name of Jesus?
    I’ll let you know when the district gets around to answering that question.
    Chase and his fellow Christians are still meeting but their numbers have dwindled in the wake of the ban – in part because they’ve agreed to abide by the school’s demands.

    So if you happen to be walking by the choir room at Pine Creek High School you will no longer hear young people praying for their classmates. You will no longer hear teenagers reading from the Bible. And you will most certainly not hear the sweet sounds of Christian young people singing about that Amazing Grace.

    Public school administrators and their lawyers have succeeded in suppressing and oppressing the Christian voice at Pine Creek High School.

    And they started a petition -
    This harassment was unprovoked and seemingly random, since the group had been peacefully using the room for three years without incident.

    But senior Chase Windebank -- the prayer group's leader -- is not backing down without a fight.

    This week, he announced a lawsuit against the school district...
    I'm committed to defeating the anti-religious forces that are trying to write discrimination against Christians into law.

    If you haven't signed your "Protect Religious Liberty" Directive yet, please click here to sign.

    The iron is hot to strike back against those who chip away at the foundation of Traditional Values and the First Amendment after the pro-Family wave in the midterm elections.

    Interesting times in which we live.
    If you have a Bible Read It! If you read the Bible Believe It! If you believe the Bible LIVE IT! - After all it's ILLEGAL in over 50 countries, consider yourself privileged. ๏̯͡๏﴿


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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    when i was in school we always met before or after and so did all the other area schools. Seems like a bunch of crying over a time change...im done.

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    Senior Member crossnote's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    I've heard of 'drug free' and 'gun free' schools...but 'prayer free'?
    This won't hold up in the higher courts. No way.
    biscuit and Brainfreeze like this.

    Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
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    Senior Member thimsrebma's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    It makes sense to me. That is academic education time. The students are supposed to use that time for mandated assignments. If they would like they can meet before or after school.
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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by crossnote View Post
    I've heard of 'drug free' and 'gun free' schools...but 'prayer free'?
    This won't hold up in the higher courts. No way.
    clearly people aren't paying much attention. They arent banning prayer or anything, what they are doing is saying use thed appointed hours of the school day for school stuff(oh i know thats a rough one to understand). But they are also saying hey your group isnt an issue, have it before or after school(and yes they will still let it take place on school grounds) just dont do it between the hours you are supposed to be in classes.

    everyone wants to act like everything is some major persecution, no this is just called following policy.
    Anonimous likes this.

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    Senior Member Billyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    When I went to high school, it was called study hall. We never had a prayer group in it, but maybe we should have. We spent most of the time in groups doing homework and discussing topics of interest to most teenagers (it wasn't the Bible). We also started every day (and some classes) with the Lord's Prayer.
    crossnote and Brainfreeze like this.
    2 Peter 1:5 Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; 6 to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; 7 to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love.

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    Senior Member crossnote's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    clearly people aren't paying much attention. They arent banning prayer or anything, what they are doing is saying use thed appointed hours of the school day for school stuff(oh i know thats a rough one to understand). But they are also saying hey your group isnt an issue, have it before or after school(and yes they will still let it take place on school grounds) just dont do it between the hours you are supposed to be in classes.

    everyone wants to act like everything is some major persecution, no this is just called following policy.
    How predictable from Nautilus, maybe you can answer the question posed ..."If that’s the rule, why are they allowing Chase and his friends to meet during free time – provided they don’t mention the name of Jesus?"

    Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
    (Psa 20:7)






    "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
    Jn 12:21


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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Hi, welcome to the country, please sit down and tell me how offensive we are to you. :x
    Anonimous likes this.

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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    When I was in high school. We had what was called a raiders rock (our team were the Raiders) before school on Wednesday morning we would have a short message from the leader and some songs and prayer ...idk if that are still doing it but it was pretty cool. Praying for Colorado spring school that they will let him have the group back to prayer
    Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
    clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
    In your majesty ride forth victoriously
    in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
    let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.

    Psalm 45:3-4


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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Interestingly, I live in Co Springs and haven't seen anything about this in the local news that I can remember. The fine legal line in this type of situation that has been held by the federal courts time and again is that if the school allows ANY student run meetings, then they must allow similar faith based meetings to be held under identical conditions.

    After having read a several different articles on this I am pretty sure that his case will win based on legal precedent. Apparently the school district's policy as to what students may and may not do during this time is so vague as to be unenforceable because the policy does not specifically dictate what types of activity are permitted.

    I believe this quote holds the basis of their case

    Lawsuit claims Colorado Springs school limits student's Constitutional rights

    The lawsuit says students use the time to "engage in a virtually unlimited variety of activities, including hanging out in the cafeteria and other open areas with friends, playing on their phones, meeting together for expressive activities (including both formally recognized clubs and unofficial groups) and going outside to hang out together."
    If the school is allowing SOME students (with given academic criteria) to randomly meet during this time for non-academic purposes, then by law they must allow ALL students (with said academic criteria) to randomly meet for non-academic purposes.
    NewEagle and crossnote like this.

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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by crossnote View Post
    How predictable from Nautilus, maybe you can answer the question posed ..."If that’s the rule, why are they allowing Chase and his friends to meet during free time – provided they don’t mention the name of Jesus?"
    Because they could still be studying, which is normally why free periods like this are commonly referred to as study hall.

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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by AbbeyJoy View Post
    When I was in high school. We had what was called a raiders rock (our team were the Raiders) before school on Wednesday morning we would have a short message from the leader and some songs and prayer ...idk if that are still doing it but it was pretty cool. Praying for Colorado spring school that they will let him have the group back to prayer
    You specify before school. Thats even what the people in this article said... The group could meet BEFORE SCHOOL. All that is happening is they are letting them do it during school.

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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Oncefallen View Post
    Interestingly, I live in Co Springs and haven't seen anything about this in the local news that I can remember. The fine legal line in this type of situation that has been held by the federal courts time and again is that if the school allows ANY student run meetings, then they must allow similar faith based meetings to be held under identical conditions.

    After having read a several different articles on this I am pretty sure that his case will win based on legal precedent. Apparently the school district's policy as to what students may and may not do during this time is so vague as to be unenforceable because the policy does not specifically dictate what types of activity are permitted.

    I believe this quote holds the basis of their case

    Lawsuit claims Colorado Springs school limits student's Constitutional rights



    If the school is allowing SOME students (with given academic criteria) to randomly meet during this time for non-academic purposes, then by law they must allow ALL students (with said academic criteria) to randomly meet for non-academic purposes.
    They arent stopping them from meeting. They are stopping them from using said time to hold religious group meetings which are normally an extra curricular thing. BY continuing to allow them to hold their religious meetings during school hours the school would then have to allow everyone too. And I know if some kids started a satanism group the same commenters would be arguing how it was wrong and should be banned, while some of us twidle our thumbs going told ya so.

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    Idiot in Chief Oncefallen's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    They arent stopping them from meeting. They are stopping them from using said time to hold religious group meetings which are normally an extra curricular thing. BY continuing to allow them to hold their religious meetings during school hours the school would then have to allow everyone too. And I know if some kids started a satanism group the same commenters would be arguing how it was wrong and should be banned, while some of us twidle our thumbs going told ya so.

    I just realized that the portion of article that I quoted from the linked article did not show up and now I cannot access the link since my local paper's website only allows four free article views prior to subscribing.


    The general gist of numerous articles that I read about this case is that district policy allows students with good academic records to use the seminar period as they choose students whose academic records do not meet that criteria are required to use it as a study hall time.

    Just because this student chooses to get together with some friends to discuss Christianity rather than the latest high school gossip does not change the fact that he is exercising his right to use the time as he and his friends choose. The school district is not in violation of the establishment clause because it is not a district sanctioned meeting, just a group of friends getting together. The Federal Courts have decided routinely that a student does not relinquish their freedom of speech at the school house door.

    We live in a country that constitutionally guarantees it's citizen's right to free speech which is a double edged sword. Just as much as it guarantees my right to religious free speech it also guarantee's a Satanist's, Muslim's, or Wiccan's right to free speech. A strict constitutionalist (which I am) does not have to agree with the content of someone else' free speech to defend their right to have it and as a result I can honestly say that although I would not be delighted if a Satanist group were to use the designated seminar time to discuss their ideologies, I would defend their right to do so.

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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    To be fair, you always have been one of the more fair commenters. I just don't see the issue when the school already provided them alternatives such as just meet before school starts. I mean they have to change times, oh no.

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    Senior Member crossnote's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
    Because they could still be studying, which is normally why free periods like this are commonly referred to as study hall.
    So let me get this straight, you can study the history of the events surrounding and concerning the life and death of Jesus Christ so long as you don't mention His name? A certain 'name' in history is taboo?

    Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
    (Psa 20:7)






    "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
    Jn 12:21


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    Senior Member Nautilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    I seriously don't care. This sin't even a big deal. All they basically said was hold the religious meeting before or after school. Whoopie! I mean if you want to ultra sensitive and wail. gnash your teeth, and beat your chest that they have to move their meeting three hours forward or backward then do so. But quit acting like this is the start of some sort of systematic persecution and oppression.

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    Senior Member thimsrebma's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by crossnote View Post
    So let me get this straight, you can study the history of the events surrounding and concerning the life and death of Jesus Christ so long as you don't mention His name? A certain 'name' in history is taboo?
    That is not at all true. When learning about Christianity in school as far as history goes, you can say "Jesus." However, it is not allowed to use school time to study pray or worship. Those things must be done before or after school during extra curricular activities. When learning about religion in school it is just a generic overview, it is not the time for you to be having an organized fellowship. If that was permissible, then the school would also have to allow every other religion to do the same during their generic overview or any other time they wanted.

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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by crossnote View Post
    How predictable from Nautilus, maybe you can answer the question posed ..."If that’s the rule, why are they allowing Chase and his friends to meet during free time – provided they don’t mention the name of Jesus?"
    Because by not devoting the time to the study of the bible, they can devote the time to CURRICULAR activities.

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    Senior Member crossnote's Avatar
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    Default Re: School tells kids: Stop praying to Jesus, singing Amazing Grace

    Quote Originally Posted by thimsrebma View Post
    That is not at all true. When learning about Christianity in school as far as history goes, you can say "Jesus." However, it is not allowed to use school time to study pray or worship. Those things must be done before or after school during extra curricular activities. When learning about religion in school it is just a generic overview, it is not the time for you to be having an organized fellowship. If that was permissible, then the school would also have to allow every other religion to do the same during their generic overview or any other time they wanted.
    of course it's not true. ..it was two questions. Funny how times have changed as there was a time when the bible was part of the school curriculum.

    Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
    (Psa 20:7)






    "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
    Jn 12:21


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