Pastor of First Baptist Church Lindale Responds to Challenge Made to Lindale Schools by the Freedom From Religion Foundation
Lindale (KYTX) – As pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, it has come to my attention that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has lodged a complaint against the Lindale Schools in order to stop a patriotic musical from being performed at EJ Moss Intermediate School this Thursday, May 24th. It appears the foundation's objection is due to some of the religious elements of the musical. I also understand the school has responded to the demand and will modify the program to eliminate all its religious parts.
While I do not ultimately desire to engage in the political battle of FFRF's challenge, I believe their actions demand a reasoned response. It is shameful for this to be brought at the eleventh hour. This annual performance has been a highlight of the 5th grade students who labor for months in preparation. Due to the lateness of the challenge, the only option was to gut the program and much of the students' hard work will be left back stage.
Although it saddens me to see an objection against such a positive program in our community schools, I fully understand the decision made by the Lindale Schools and support them in making this difficult choice. I thank them for their hard work. It is not a coincidence that our schools consistently stand out as some of the best in Texas.
The reality is that the contents of the musical program were not only educational, inspiring and uplifting, but they truly represented the values of the Lindale community while accurately presenting the Christian heritage of the United States of America. While I am a strong advocate against the establishment of a state religion, the actions of the FFRF actually work to do just the opposite by forcing their religious views upon us. The practical result is that Atheism becomes the de facto national religion. I personally believe the framers of the constitution would have had no problem with allowing students to express the common held values of the community in which they live. Our nation is unfortunately pandering to outside organizations that work to impose the religious values of the few and the religious values of those outside our community upon us. The public arena should be a place where ideas can be freely expressed. We do not avoid religion being imposed upon us by everyone simply keeping their beliefs to themselves.
Therefore, FBC Lindale will be renting the Performing Arts Center at the Lindale High School where the entire musical can be performed by those students who wish to participate. The date and time of the event will be Wednesday May 29th at 7:00 PM. This performance has historically received support primarily from the students' families and friends. I am asking the whole community of Lindale and lovers of religious liberty across East Texas to come out in support. This will serve as a statement to the FFRF and all those who would seek to force their narrow ideology on our community. More importantly, it would be a great encouragement to our students who have worked so hard and deserve an opportunity for their voices to be heard.
Pastor Tom Buck
First Baptist Church of Lindale
LINDALE (KYTX) - An elementary school in Lindale Independent School District was recently contacted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation with regards to the historical music program "In God We Trust."
According to the letter sent out to parents from E.J. Moss Intermediate School Principal Lori Anderson on Wednesday, the organization's attorney expressed concerns about the songs and speeches included in the program that is scheduled to be performed by 5th grade students today.
E.J. Moss Intermediate School administrators consulted with the district's attorney and investigated the organization's concerns and found that the program was not in compliance with state and federal curriculum guidelines.
Adjustments were made to the program in order for it to meet those guidelines.
"We realize this program is a treasured part of our community and a tradition at E.J. Moss Intermediate School, however the Lindale Independent School District wants to respect the values, opinions and religious freedoms of all families and therefore we must make modifications to the program. Our students will perform a portion of the song selections from what has originally been rehearsed, and will also perform a few additional patriotic songs," said Anderson.
The revised play will be performed on tonight at 7 in the E.J. Moss
Click here to read FFRF's formal complaint.