October 27, 2005

Oh no! He mentioned something religious!!

The Philadelphia Eagles' Tra Thomas was invited to speak at Newark (DE) High School on Tuesday. During the 45 minute last period assembly, Thomas spoke of "being a leader, not a follower," and to not "worry about what everyone else is doing."

But then there was a problem. After the assembly, Thomas and others from his group, Athletes United Through Christ, spoke to some students. OH NO! He mentioned the "C" word -- "Christ."

Now, the article doesn't say that Thomas -- during the assembly -- mentioned the dreaded "C" word or invoked "C" in any way. But they had -- again, OH NO! -- their organization's logo hanging up when they were talking, and this included ... A CROSS!! Of course, the ACLU was right on top of the situation, claiming it was unconstitutional, and denouncing it:

"Organizations like this one across the country are gaining access to schools through the famous people and entertainment value and then using those opportunities to proselytize," Drewry Fennell said. "These organizations sometimes take advantage of the schools' desire to provide compelling experiences for their students."

If Thomas and his group were indeed "proselytizing," then that's clearly inappropriate and unlawful. But the article doesn't tell us that. Merely having a cross on a group's logo is not an "establishment" of religion. It's just part of the logo, for heaven's sake. It's just the usual sensitivity crowd run amok, yet again.

And where in the friggin' world was the ACLU one year ago, when another Christina school clearly violated constitutional principles by providing students with a room -- supervised by paid school staff -- to pray in during Ramadan?? Nowhere, apparently. Amazingly, Christina then was chastised for not being "sensitive" to the Muslim students' needs. Get it? "Sensitivity" works in one religious "direction" -- if a public school doesn't accommodate a non-Christian religion, that's "insensitive." If, however, an invited group's (or speaker's) logo has as part of its overall design a cross among other items, and after the official assembly the speaker talks with students about his group, which may include religious content (the "C" word), well then the reverse applies -- that group isn't being sensitive to the school (population).

Newark Principal Emmanuel Caulk has apologized to the community, but he really shouldn't have had to.

UPDATE (10/30 at 8:10am): An update by the WNJ.

Posted by Hube at October 27, 2005 04:33 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

With only two minutes left, I caught the tail-end of this discussion at the conclusion of Al's show on the radio today. He was speaking to a Newark High student who, I think, took offense. She said that the player was talking about Jesus quite a bit when asked a question by a student. I don't really care. It's not the school that was doing it so there's really no one to blame here. If they're offended, just don't invite the guy back.

Posted by: Mike M. at October 27, 2005 05:02 PM

Was it during the assembly? And if so, I'd be curious -- did the speaker preface it w/something like "My personal belief in _____"?

Posted by: Hube at October 27, 2005 05:16 PM

I wish I could understand the perversion of the First Amendment that believes that the mere mention of anything Christian in a public place is a violation of the establishment clause.

Nah, maybe I don't wish I could understand that. To understand insanity, you have to be insane.

Posted by: Darren at October 29, 2005 12:35 PM

I realize that this isn't quite the same thing, but when the late Reggie White celebrated the Packer's Super Bowl victory by thanking God, I was impressed. Here was a guy, at the height of his professional accomplishment and he had the humility to thank God.

Posted by: David Gerstman at October 30, 2005 07:46 PM

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