Complaint brings Bible quotes down from Searcy High choral room | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 12, 2018

Complaint brings Bible quotes down from Searcy High choral room

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 12:29 PM

REMOVED: Sign that once adorned Searcy choral room.
  • REMOVED: Sign that once adorned Searcy choral room.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation says Searcy High School has taken down Bible and religious quotes from a choral room in response to their complaint.

The Foundation, a nonprofit based in Wisconsin, acted in response to a complaint last fall from someone at the school, who supplied photos.

Last fall, it was brought to FFRF’s attention that Searcy High School’s choral director [Tina Niederbrach] had placed several Christian-themed posters on the walls of the high school chorus room. Most contained bible verses, including: Ephesians 5:19 (“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord”); Colossians 3:14 (“Love binds us together in perfect harmony”); and Psalms 42:1 (“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God”). Another poster displayed lyrics from the gospel song “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” (“Precious Lord take my hand, lead me on, let me stand”).
The Foundation wrote Searcy School Superintendent Diane Barrett in November to warn that "public schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion." The display, wrote Colin E. McNamara, a lawyer for the foundation, "violates this basic constitutional prohibition by creating the appearance that the district prefers religion over nonreligion, and Christianity over all other faiths.” The Foundation wrote a followup letter Jan. 25. Barrett response Feb. 2. Her letter said in full:

"In response to your letter dated January 25, 2018, the teacher removed the posters fro her room in November 2017, and staff were addressed as to religious displays."

The Foundation praised the response. From its release:

“A music room should not be a place of discord,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We’re pleased that the school has taken action to ensure that student chorus members of minority faiths and no religion feel equally welcome.”

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