A Christian plaque at Mountain Peak Elementary School in Midlothian, Tx, has galvanized the small community against the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which wants the plaque removed because it sits on public property.
In August, MyFoxDFW.com reported that school officials covered the plaque with duct tape in an effort to avoid a lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (video below).
However, after someone pulled the duct tape down, the school said it had no plans to cover the plaque back up.
The plaque features two crosses and states, “Dedicated in the year of our Lord 1997 to the education of God's children and to their faithful teachers in the name of the Holy Christian Church - Soli Deo Gloria."
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The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the school district superintendent on June 26 that said, "The plaque at Mt. Peak Elementary offends the Constitution... since the plaque specifically promotes ‘the Holy Christian Church’ and contains a Latin phrase meaning ‘glory to God alone’ or ‘glory to the only God.’ The two Latin crosses on the plaque further solidify its impermissible purpose.”
A similar religious plaque is on display at the nearby Longbranch Elementary school, but was not covered.
Hiram Sasser, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, told MyFoxDFW.com, "This type of religious censorship just because it happens to have religious references is really hostility to religion, and that kind of hostility should not be tolerated. They probably are not going to bring a lawsuit, and until they do, there's no reason to do anything with the plaques."
Several Midlothian residents appeared at the Midlothian School Board meeting last night to keep the Christian plaque on public property.
“We’re just wanting to practice our faith here in the Bible Belt, and being able to express our faith is very important in this community,” Rev. Bennie Leonard told NBC Dallas Fort Worth.
Rev. Leonard's Liberty Baptist church is across the street from Mountain Peak Elementary School, but has not been subjected to any complaints by the Freedom From Religion Foundation because the church sits on private property.
“Our organization is about keeping religion out of the government,” Freedom From Religion Foundation Attorney Sam Grover told NBC Dallas Fort Worth. “Because these plaques are on the school building, they’re not individual speech. They’re government speech, and that is restricted.”