Two plaques that feature the words “God” and “Holy Christian Church” were covered at two elementary schools in Midlothian, Texas. The plaques will eventually be replaced because their religious content has angered some folks who believe they violate people’s Constitutional rights, reports Fox News.
The plaques, which have stood in front of Mt. Peak Elementary School and Longbranch Elementary School for seven years, both read: “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.”
Jerome Stewart, the superintendent of the Midlothian Independent School District, says the words on the plaques have been covered because of their “questionable constitutional nature.” The district’s decision to conceal their religious messages comes after a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist organization.
“FFRF believes that the district is in violation of the U.S. Constitution in its display of this plaque,” Stewart said. “Although MISD has not been threatened with a lawsuit, the school district’s attorney advised that it would not prevail in court if it refused FFRF’s request and a lawsuit followed.”
Local parents have began protesting the removal of the plaques and have even created a Facebook page called “Bring Back the Plaques” that has more than 5,000 followers, reports Waxahachietx.com Daily Light. More than 150 concerned citizens attended an evening prayer meeting held on Tuesday night.
“What we are doing and believing is that we can peacefully join together and let the district know there are two sides to this,” said Justin Coffman, a children’s minister at Harvest Hill Church whose children attend Mt. Peak. “We stand behind the school district in hopes that they will fight the lawsuit.”
A representative from FFRF says the group received a complaint about the plaques and that they are only trying to preserve citizens’ Constitutional right to the separation of church and state.
“The plaque sends a message to any non-Christian student that they are an outsider in the community,” said Sam Grover, an attorney for FFRF. “Our goal is to make this public school a little more accommodating.”