Yulee, FL – A student at Yulee High School ended the school’s morning announcement with “God Bless America.” This caused the American Humanist Association to contact the school and the Nassau County School District to warn school officials that saying “God Bless America” over the school’s public address system was “inappropriate and unlawful.”
March 16 – April 3
Cranston, RI – School teachers were successful in a lawsuit that they filed against the Cranston School District after being told classes would be held on Good Friday. After a court decision ruled that the teachers could absent themselves from school to observe Good Friday, the school committee decided schools will be closed on Good Friday for the following school year.
Jewish teachers in Cranston were allowed to take off on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but originally, Catholics were required to teach on Good Friday. This didn’t sit too well with Catholics, so on March 16 they sued. The edict, which was issued by school superintendent Judith Lundsten, was overturned by court order.
According to the court decision, as long as teachers submitted their request by April 1, they could observe Good Friday, with impunity. This issue should never have made its way to the courts. Cranston officials looked enfeebled when they demanded proof that Good Friday services are held at area churches. If they were practicing Christians, they wouldn’t have had to ask such a dumb question.
In the end over 200 teachers—and many students—were absent on Good Friday. This led to the school committee’s decision that they would not schedule classes on the Christian holy day the following year.
Turlock, CA – The California State University Stanislaus chapter of Chi Alpha, a Christian student organization, was deactivated because the group insisted that its leaders be Christians. The university said it would no longer recognize the group due to a non-discrimination executive order that prohibited student organizations from excluding anyone, including in leadership roles. “What they cannot be is faith-based where someone has to have a profession of faith to be that leader” said university vice president Tim Lynch.
Students argued that everyone was welcome to attend their meetings, regardless of their religious belief, but that group leaders were expected to lead prayers and perform other faith-based duties that it would be impossible for someone of a different faith to complete.
Lakeland, FL – A student at Polk State College was assigned four zeros when she objected to assignments posed by Professor Lance Russum. Russum, who was openly hostile to Christianity on social media, assigned essay questions such as “Why did Christianity and its male gods [sic] want to silence women?” and “From the article on the nuns what makes their defiance of male dominance so important?” Russum in the past had labeled Christianity “false, violent, or oppressive to women.”
New Haven, CT – At their 2015 Commencement ceremony, Yale University awarded an honorary degree to Larry Kramer, whom they cited as an “author and dramatist, advocate and activist,” and praised for founding ACT UP. Mr. Kramer was named a Doctor of Humane Letters. ACT UP is the organization that perpetrated the “Stop the Church” protest in December, 1989, when thousands of protestors crashed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, disrupting Sunday Mass, blowing whistles, screaming slogans and spitting the Eucharist on the floor.
Las Vegas, NV – A sixth grader won an apology from her school after her lawyers got involved to defend her right to use a biblical verse in a school assignment.
MacKenzie Fraiser, 12, was given an assignment intended to include details of her life and an “inspirational saying.” She planned to use John 3:16 to illustrate the importance of her Christian faith, but her teacher reportedly said that “Bible verses or quotations from the Book of Mormon” weren’t permitted.
After her attorneys got involved, however, the school issued the following statement:
“After reviewing the facts of this particular situation, Somerset Academy recognizes that the teacher and assistant principal incorrectly implemented [Department of Education] guidelines….Somerset Academy of Las Vegas and its Administrators apologize for this advertent error. The student will be allowed to resubmit her original presentation, inclusive of her religious beliefs.”
After being derecognized as a student group by the California State University system because they required leaders to be Christian, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship reported that it had been reinstated as a campus ministry.
As explained in our 2014 Annual Report, CSU began enforcing a 2011 executive order that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a number of factors, including religion, within student organizations. In order to be recognized as a student group, the organization must allow anyone to join it, and the ban on discrimination extends to leadership positions. As a result, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and other student groups lost official recognition because they required their leaders to be Christian. However, according to a press release from the group, the nation’s largest public school system reversed its decision and will officially recognize InterVarsity again.
Madison, WI – Rachel Langeberg, a Wisconsin college student claimed that a professor threatened to give her a failing grade unless she agreed to remove references to religion and the Bible from a PowerPoint presentation that was part of an assigned group project.
New Brunswick, NJ – Rutgers University’s student-run newspaper “The Medium” published an article after the pope’s visit to the U.S. titled “I KINDA WANT TO F*** THE POPE.” In the article, the author said “Call me crazy, but after this weekend I kinda want to f*** the Pope.” The author went on to say “Really, I want to feel the Pope inside my soaked p****.” Moreover, “I want to feel his papal fingers pulling my hair as he shoved his d*** down my throat.” “I know it may be frowned upon, since he has taken the oath of celibacy” it later read.
Wichita, KS – As a result of Wichita State University’s campus being labeled a “pre-dominantly Judeo-Christian environment” that is not inclusive enough for Muslims, the school ripped up an altar and pews to make room for Muslim prayer rugs. One alumnus asked “Why did they have to take out all of the pews” while another individual added “I would like to know where the cross has gone. This smacks of political correctness.”