The Freedom From Religion Foundation commends the Chico Unified School District in Chico, Calif., for painting over an inappropriate religious text on a mural at a public school.
FFRF received a complaint last September about the mural, which said “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” from the parent of a student attending Pleasant Valley High School. Such a message on school grounds violated the Establishment Clause, which prevents government entities such as public schools from promoting religion.
FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to the school district: “We ask that this mural be removed in order to respect the rights of all Pleasant Valley High School students.” Line added: “This religious display needlessly alienates those students and teachers who are a part of the nearly thirty-seven percent of Americans who are non-Christians, and the nearly one in three Americans who now identify as religiously unaffiliated.”
The school responded by painting over the text without significant effort or damage to the art.
“Public schools exist to educate, not indoctrinate,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We appreciate Chico Unified School District’s resolution of this matter and its decision to respect freedom of conscience.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 39,000 members and several chapters across the country, including nearly 5,000 members and a chapter in California. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.