FFRF-ETC in Action
Parents complained that Linden Elementary School, Oak Ridge, promoted Christianity by broadcasting the "Hallelujah Chorus" over the P.A. system during morning announcements. The school's principal and the city's attorney have responded to complaints by FFRF-ETC by claiming that this devotional music is a small part of a balanced curriculum. FFRF-ETC has filed an open records request to examine the school's music curriculum. Coverage by the Oak Ridge is here.
In response to complaints from FFRF-ETC, the Knoxville Police Department has removed a Bible verse which was on display at a KPD office. Knoxville News Sentinel story here.
Emerald Youth Center: the City of Knoxville has proposed a partnership with the Christian Emerald Youth Foundation to build a multipurpose facility and sports complex in the Lonsdale neighborhood of Knoxville, including a worship center. FFRF national has sent the City a letter protesting this government subsidy of religious activity.
Home Federal Bank: "Jesus" signs at employee desks have been reported by a patron at the Gibbs Branch. The president and vice-president of the branch responded to FFRF-ETC complaints by stating that employees can post whatever signs they like. FFRF-ETC has complained to the national office of Home Federal and is awaiting a response.
Loudon High school: A parent complained to FFRF_ETC that a Loudon High School Spanish class gave students a quiz on Christian doctrine. Following FFRF-ETC complaints, the teacher was forced to apologize and grades for the quiz were removed from student records. The Director of Schools and the principal apologized to FFRF-ETC, saying that this won’t happen again.
Bearden High School: a teacher reports that a classroom at Bearden High School (Knoxville) looks like a Christian shrine, complete with a large Christian cross, a quote from CS Lewis about how miracles do not contradict the laws of nature, quotes from Psalms and Corinthians, and a bible. FFRF will ask the Knox County Superintendent of Schools to clean this up.
Coffee County Middle School: a parent has complained and sent pictures of students and teachers praying together at a softball gave at Coffee County Middle School (Manchester, TN). FFRF-ETC will write letter to the Coffee County Superintendent of Schools.
Little Library: the Lenoir City High School Secular Student Alliance is working to erect a Little Library on the Lenoir City greenway. An initially positive response by Lenoir City Director of Parks followed by a denial of the request, after the Director learned who the sponsor was. The Director cited the threat of vandalism. This is likely a pretext rather than a bona fide reason, especially since a “Jesus Calling” book was photographed on the Director’s desk. A complaint from FFRF-ETC to the Director has been forwarded to the Lenoir City Attorney. A petition or an e-mail campaign might influence the Lenoir City government.
Lanier Elementary, Alcoa, Blount County: violations here are egregious. Teachers have been sending religious flyers home with kids. The principal has been promoting their “sponsor church” and telling parents how to vote. Christmas songs have been performed at the school, and students (and perhaps staff) participate in flagpole prayers. Complaints to FFRF national have not led to action. Since this is a high priority, with motivated parents, FFRF-ETC will take up the ball. FFRF-ETC has written to Blount County Director of Schools. In response, the Blount County Attorney denies wrongdoing, asserting that prayers are student-led and that the Christmas songs are not religious. FFRF-ETC has responded, pointing out how the church-school entanglement violates the first amendment.
The annual Gun & Knife show, co-sponsored by Cumberland County, advertised free admission upon presentation of a church bulletin. Following notice from FFRF national that this was illegal discrimination, Cumberland County will ensure that this discrimination is discontinued.
Emmanuel Assembly Church has posted a sign in front of Holston Middle School (Knox County) promoting their meetings in that school. FFRF-ETC found a parent willing to take the matter to court, if necessary, and contacted the Knox County Schools, who directed that the sign be taken down.
Bearden High School displays a logo in their foyer which includes a Roman cross. FFRF-ETC has contacted FFRF national regarding the Bearden High School logo and awaits a response.
A bill has been sent to Governor Haslam making “In God we Trust” an optional, no-cost addition to Tennessee License plates. Contact Governor Haslam with your opinions.
Governor Haslam has signed a bill defining “mother”, “father”, “husband”, and “wife” as having their “natural and ordinary meaning”.
The Gideons have been distributing Bibles at Chuckey Elementary (Greene County) FFRF-ETC is working with FFRF attorneys to stop this illegal promotion of religion. FFRF-ETC is considering the distribution of freethought literature as an "equal time" measure.
Following complaints from FFRF-ETC, the Postmaster of the South Knoxville Post Office has removed religious artwork which was publicly displayed.
At Belle Morris Elementary (Knox County) a banner was on display advertising a church event while teacher-led prayers were being conducted in a kindergarten class. Both illegal practices have been discontinued following complaints from FFRF-ETC.
Cumberland County has sponsored a gun and knife show offering a discount to those presenting church bulletins. Following protests by FFRF-ETC, the county will discontinue this illegal promotion of religion.
Following protests from FFRF-ETC, Meadowview Middle School (Hamblen County) will discontinue prayers illegally led by coaches at football practices and games.
Teachers at Lee Elementary School (Tullahoma City) have been wearing t-shirts with biblical references, with the support of the Tullahoma City School System. FFRF-ETC is working to stop this illegal promotion of religion.
Ball Camp Elementary School has signs promoting local churches displayed on its baseball field. FFRF-ETC, along with other local secular groups, as asked the school to put up our sign as will. A banner has been designed and awaits deployment.
Emmanuel Assembly Church has posted a sign in front of Holston Middle School (Knox County) promoting their meetings in that school. FFRF-ETC is working with the City of Knoxville and the Knox County School district to have this illegal sign taken down.
FFRF Actions in Tennessee:
FFRF has persuaded Shelby County to suspend land give-aways to churches.
The post office in Morristown removed the Christian "Sign of the Times" magazine rack from its property following FFRF complaints.