Georgia high school religious monument to be modified/removed after FFRF complaint

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, has scored another victory for secularism in a public high school. The Madison, Wis.-based group has 21,500 members nationally, including over 400 members in Ga.

Madison County School District in Danielsville, Ga., will either modify or remove an overtly religious monument at the Madison High School Football Stadium. FFRF became aware of the monument after a complaint was reported by a local resident who is affiliated with the athletic program.

The monument was unveiled on Aug. 22, and currently sits at the team entrance to the field. The monument features the school’s logo alongside two prominent New Testament bible verses carved on the stone: Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” and Romans 8:31 “If God be for us who can be against us?”

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent a letter on Aug. 28 informing the district of the divisive and illegal nature of the monument:

“Courts have continually held that school districts may not display religious messages or iconography in public schools.”

Seidel also noted religious monuments divide teams: “This divisiveness is heightened by the particular passages displayed, ‘If God be for us, who could be against us,’ literally turns the student body into 'us' and them'—into Christians and everyone else. The import is clear, if you are not Christian, you are not a Red Raider.” 

On Sept. 24, an attorney representing the district informed FFRF that, “The Board is currently investigating options available to it regarding the monument, including, but not limited to, removal of the monument or modifying the monument in some manner.”

FFRF Co-President Dan Barker called this one of the more egregious violations FFRF has encountered in a public school. 

The American Humanist Association also sent a letter on Sept. 25, protesting the monument.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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