FFRF took a complaint that a teacher at a Mandarin immersion elementary school in the San Mateo Foster City School District, Calif., had told students that the “man in the sky can see everything you do, but you can’t see him because he is camouflaged.” Apparently the teacher used two fingers to point to her eyes and then the same fingers to point at the children to emphasize the fact that the “man in the sky” is watching them.
FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote a letter to the district on May 22, 2012, alerting it to the allegation against proselytization of a captive audience of young children. As complainant put it, these children are of “such a sensitive age,” and such action “robs children of growth and experience and [the right to make] up their own mind when capable of doing so.”
Seidel pointed out the legal problems with teaching young schoolchildren about religious themes, and also wrote: “Public school staff and administrators, particularly in a school with a diverse population of students, should ensure that all students are made to feel welcome in all programs. School sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents that they are outsiders.”
In its August 16 response letter, the school district informed FFRF that it “has reminded its employees of the District’s policy of not [teaching] religion in schools.”
Readers may want to look up Ricky Gervais’ “The Invention of Lying” movie for a funny take on ‘the man in the sky’?