Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes often reports on stories about persecuted Christians in the US.
However, RightWingWatch.org notes that the stories Starnes pushes are often debunked.
The latest false story, pushed by Starnes, involved first-grader Brynn Williams, who, according to Starnes, was not allowed to mention a Bible verse in a Christmas assignment last year at her school in Temecula, Calif.
Starnes wrote on TownHall.com:
Before the child could utter another word, the teacher intervened, according to Robert Tyler, the general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom – the law firm representing the Williams family.
“Brynn’s teacher said, ‘Stop right there! Go take your seat,’” Tyler said. “Bryn was not allowed to finish her presentation by reciting the Bible verse, John 3:16.”
Tyler said the little girl was the only student in the class not allowed to finish her presentation.
“After Brynn took her seat, the teacher explained to Brynn in front of all the other students that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share its verses,” Tyler said.
While Starnes mentioned the school was investigating the supposed incident, he didn't include any statements from teacher Tammy Williams or school principal Ami Paradise.
Williams and Paradise released their statements on Jan. 21 about the incident, reports Patch.com.
“Over the past week, I have received countless phone calls and 126 mean-spirited emails from across the country as a result of the claims that the Advocates of Faith and Freedom have made against one of my teachers, the school district, and myself,” said Paradise. “These claims are simply not true.”
Paradise claims she met with the girl’s parents the day after the incident. The girl's (paranoid) parents thought their daughter was not allowed to finish her speech because of the Bible verse.
In her statement, Williams said, “At no time did I ever tell the student that she could not read the bottom section [of her statement] because it was a Bible verse nor did she ask if she could finish. I never told her to ‘Stop right there!’ or ‘Go take your seat!’ or reprimand her in front of the class for sharing from the Bible. It just did not happen.”
“What saddens me is that this story was twisted into lies and brought to the media,” added Williams. “I have never sat down and discussed this directly with the family or the student. I am instead being used to push an agenda for the Advocates for Faith and Freedom.”
Sources: RightWingWatch.org, Patch.com, TownHall.com