Monday, June 01, 2009

Mount Vernon City Schools & the on-going Bible controversy

The June 2009 (American Family Association) AFA Journal carried a article about the Mount Vernon City School Bible on the Desk controversy. This is the same school district that is trying to terminate the contract of one of its prized teachers, John Freshwater, for refusing to follow his supervisor’s order to remove his bible from his desk.

The following is the article as found in the current issue of AFA Journal:

Bible ban lifted for Ohio public school district

The Mount Vernon City Schools are again the center of controversy over Bibles. During the last school year, John Freswater, a 24-year veteran teacher, was suspended on other issues after a conflict arose when school officials found a Bible on his desk. This school year, the public school staffers, in the small community of Mount Vernon, Ohio, were ordered by administrators to remove all religious materials and displays from their rooms, including their Bibles.

In April, one middle school teacher, Lori Miller, was confronted about personal devotional materials on her desk and was directed to remove them. When she asked for support from her local and state union (affiliated with the National Education Association –NEA), she was told that she had no legal grounds for her grievance and it was justified via a legal opinion from the state level. Locally, the union insisted she comply and tried to block her from filing a grievance due to what her own union termed her violation of “separation of church and state.

“I was outraged when I learned that Lori, one of our members was experiencing such obvious religious harassment from her employers and was being roadblocked by local and state unions professed to be advocates for educators,” said Finn Laursen, executive director of Christian Educators Association International (CEAI). “We encouraged Lori to move forward with a grievance and had First Amendment attorneys waiting in the wings should litigation be needed.

On April 14, Lori Miller received a first level grievance hearing in which her right to have a Bible on her desk was affirmed “for the present time.”

On April 16, many students brought their Bibles to school as an exercise of their religious freedom and as a show of support for their former teacher, John Freshwater, who is till fighting to get his job back.

“The lesson here is clear. It is imperative that Christian educators, students, and parents remain willing to step forward to insist on the rights our forefathers guaranteed for future generations in the Frist Amendment of our Constitution,” said Laursen., 4/20/09

There definitely appears to be a real effort to silence the Christian voice in our school systems. Where once Christ and Christianity were welcomed and an integral part of the classroom and curriculum, they are now banned in preference to a godless hedonistic secular humanistic religiosity.


  1. Anonymous9:02 PM

    It's a shame that firing someone as incompetent and dangerous as John Freshwater is so difficult, expensive and time consuming.

    He claims removing the bible from his desk would "infringe upon his deeply held personal religious beliefs granted by god." However, to keep it there is an affront to clear thinking, rational persons everywhere.

    Some reasons are:

    1. It is an endorsement of a religion by a governmental entity which is a violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.

    2. It is exclusionary and offensive to people of different faiths but especially people of no religious faith.

    3. The bible has no place in a public school except maybe as a topic in a literature, social studies or comparative religions class.

    4. By sitting on a teacher’s desk it is an inappropriate and tacit endorsement of a religion by not just a government agency but an authority figure.

    5. It promotes a supernatural, magical worldview. It is a book of not much more than mythic storytelling with stories of:

    a. Wizards and witches (Exodus 22:18 and Deuteronomy 18:11)
    b. Demons and devils (Matthew 5:13)
    c. Dragons (Deuteronomy 32:33, Jeremiah 51:37)
    d. Unicorns (Isaiah 34:7, Psalms 22:21 and Numbers 23:22)
    e. Half man, half goat "party animals" known as Satyrs (Isaiah 34:14)

    If you've read the bible, ask yourself how you honestly square the above in your mind. Please don't dodge the question like you may want to do...verify their veracity, consider it and respond if you have an honest answer.

    Imagine the outrage if Mr. Freshwater had a copy of any other "sacred" text on his desk and refused to remove it? Would more people support removing it if it were perhaps the q’ran, book of mormon, hindu rigveda or even dianetics? If the school board were to force him to include other “sacred texts” they would just be compounding the problem instead of fixing it. They should include other such meaningful texts as a collection of fairy tales from either the Brothers Grimm or Mother Goose.

    Any teacher who cannot or will not understand the points above should not be teaching the public. A religious based school would be a great place for him to teach, but not a government funded institution. Freedom loving, free thinking people everywhere are counting on the administration of our public schools to do the right thing.

  2. Anon. -

    You say, "to keep it (Freshwater's Bible) there is an affront to clear thinking, rational persons everywhere." This is absolutely wrong. What happened to freedom to exercise one's faith? It is a God-given, Constitution-protected right. What the left wants is a perverted version of the Constitution.

    Since when is it a right to "not be offended"? That is just ludicrous if taken to its logical conclusion.

    American schools originally were biblically based. The Bible was a major part of a well-rounded education. Since it and God have been removed the schools have literally and figuratively gone to hell.

    A biblical worldview, is not any more magical or supernatural than the evolution based secular humanism, based on the outrageous premise that man is good and is getting better, quite the opposite, my friend.

    I think it is you that need to read the Bible and a American History text that has not been revised to reflect the secular humanistic credo . . .

    I vote to do away with government schools. Let all schools be locally based, competitive and free from the poisonous influence of the elitist education bureaucracy and the anti-American, socialist teachers' unions.

  3. Anonymous1:48 PM

    I wish people would comment on someone being incompetent when they don't know what they are talking about. Freshwater was a good teacher, he just let his personal opinions get in the way of his better judgement.