Bible verse removed from California school following FFRF complaint

A large bible verse painting has been removed from Muroc Joint Unified School District property after the Freedom From Religion Foundation intervened.

A concerned parent reported that Desert Junior/Senior High School had a bible verse painted on a retaining wall near the main office. The verse cited was Hebrews 13:20-21 which in its entirety says, “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

FFRF urged the district to remove the display immediately, since it constituted an impermissible government endorsement of religion. It is well-settled law, FFRF reminded the district, that districts may not display religious messages or iconography in public schools.

“This religious display is particularly inappropriate, given that about 38 percent of Americans born after 1987 are not religious,” FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line wrote in his letter to Superintendent Kevin D. Cordes. “The display alienates those nonreligious students, families, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school.”

The district recently informed FFRF that it has removed the bible verse painting.

FFRF is pleased the district has appropriately remedied this violation.

“The illustration of a bible verse on school property undeniably paints the picture that the school endorses that religious message,” noted FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It sends the signal to minority religious and nonreligious students that they are outsiders in their own community.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 31,000 members and several chapters across the country, including over 4,000 members and a chapter in California. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

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.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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