Jesus just got kicked out of public schools in Henry County, Georgia.
The school district fired off a directive to school administrators ordering them to eradicate anything remotely religious from all public school buildings.
One of my readers sent me a copy of the directive from the Henry County School District that was relayed to the staff at East Lake Elementary School.
“You are hereby directed to remove all items which contain religious symbols, such as crosses, printed bibles, angels, bible verses, printed prayers, and biblical quotations from the common areas, hallways, classrooms, and office of East Lake Elementary School,” the edict read.
“Further…religious and biblical references should not be included in notes to parents, email signature lines, or any other correspondence sent on behalf of East Lake Elementary School,” the edict continued.
But the Henry County School District wasn’t quite finished with their orders to eradicate religion from the school house.
“Finally, please remember that all references to holiday parties should comply with the Henry County School District’s Policy, Procedure and Practices for Holidays,” the edict concluded.
Something tells me there won’t be any Nativity Scenes in Henry County public schools.
District spokesman J.D. Hardin confirmed the authenticity of the directive – sent to administrators on Monday.
“It was not intended as something that was supposed to be shared or put out with public consumption,” he told me. “It was more of a directive for our administrators to remind their employees of this particular law that is in pace as dictated by the federal government.”
Mr. Hardin seems to think the U.S. Constitution mandates that teachers must voluntarily relinquish their rights at the school house door.
“The Establishment Clause stipulates that the government may not promote or affiliate itself with any religious doctrine or organization,” he said. “Henry County Schools is a government entity.”
Mr. Hardin was stressed that the directive covers all religions – but it’s pretty clear only one was being targeted.
The edict made no mention of the Koran or prayer rugs. I’m just trying to keep it real, folks.
The school district will still allow teachers to wear religious jewelry – so long as it’s not “overt or way out there.”
“They can wear things that are small trinkets,” Mr. Hardin explained.
Bibles and Bible verses are a big no-no.
“They cannot have a Bible sitting on top of their desk or they cannot have some other type of religious doctrine sitting on their desk,” he said.
So what about the library? Would they also ban the Bible from the library?
“That’s a good question,” Mr. Hardin said. “I don’t know that we have any Bibles within our libraries.”
Now, if this is beginning to sound like some sort of Soviet-era religious cleansing, you aren’t alone.
“Edicts like this remind me of how my wife used to live under the persecution of Communism, how they used to stifle any religious expression whatsoever,” said Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell University.
Truett-McConnell is a Christian university based in north Georgia --- known for its education degree.
“It seems like the school system wishes to eradicate any form of religious expression except for their own atheist and secular views,” Caner told me.
He wondered if the district would forbid young Jewish men from wearing yarmulkes or young Muslim women from wearing hijabs.
“Or are they simply targeting Christians and discriminating against them,” he asked.
So how is Truett-McConnell preparing its education students to teach in public school classrooms that are hostile to Christianity?
“We are preparing educators with a biblical worldview to love your neighbor as yourself, to esteem others better than themselves,” he said. “But perhaps a secularist will outlaw that one day as well.”
And if they do?
“If they do, our students know to stand for Christ and not culture – regardless of the consequences,” he replied.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.