Religion

Florida Parents and Students Protest in Response to Atheist Group's Letter

| by Kendal Mitchell
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Parents and students protested outside a Florida high school on Thursday after learning about an atheist group’s letter concerning a student saying, “God Bless America,” over the intercom.

The letter, sent by the Washington-based Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said two students complained to the group about the school’s inclusion of “God” during the morning announcements for Yulee High School.

"I understand they don't want to offend them, but in the same token I think the Christian student should be able to say what they want to say," said April Acosta, mother of a former Yulee High School student.

The group said the inclusion of “God” violate the students' First Amendment right of freedom of religion.

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“It is inappropriate and unlawful for a public school to start the school day with an official statement over the intercom stating 'God Bless America,' for such a statement affirms God-belief, validates a theistic worldview, and is invidious toward atheists and other nonbelievers,” said the letter written by Monica Miller, attorney at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Students at the school said they have never seen so many people in agreement about a single issue.

"I've never seen the whole student body so upset over a comment," said Bailey Wall, executive president of Yulee High School student government association.

According to reports, the student reading the Yulee High School announcements must receive approval by school administrators.

Representatives from the Appignani Humanist Legal Center said the two students who sent complaints about the school alleged the school allowed students to use the PA system to deliver religious messages for the past few weeks.

Some students said they think the protests exaggerate the implications of the inclusion of “God Bless America.”

"It's just one kid saying three little words," said Madison Blayney, a freshman at Yulee High. 

Sources: WJAX-TV / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons