Lynn v. Sekulow

Lynn v. Sekulow

Tragedy Makes For Political Posturing in Kentucky

posted by Rev. Barry W. Lynn

Yes, Jay, even I was shocked by your report of “prayer police” in Kentucky.  However, having heard these tales in the past on so many occasions, I got myself under control and immediately realized that many facts are missing.

Students do have a right to pray in schools so long as it is not promoted or orchestrated by the school itself or teachers, administrators or other school officials.  It is important to note that even you and the ACLJ, however, have never said that the “right” is so broad that praying can interrupt school activities.  I mean, you wouldn’t support having a student say: “Look, I’ll be skipping the algebra test this period to have a quality conversation with God.”  At least, I hope you would not.

Here at the East Jessamine Middle School, students were trying to deal
with a real tragedy in the death of a parent.  These youngsters do have
the right to pray individually or together during a non-instructional
period (unless the school is helping them by setting up a special place
or rearranging schedules just to accommodate one group of religious
students).  From the limited media reports on this issue, the
administration tends to describe what went on differently that you
did.  School officials say they were simply trying to make sure
students got to class on time and that there were no calls to arrest
any student.  Obviously, some students see this differently.

is my experience with examining similar claims in the past that calls
of “anti-religious bias” are nearly uniformly proven to be erroneous. 
You may remember the phony controversies about a Tennessee student who,
according to your side, got a failing grade for writing a report about
Jesus. There was a lot more to the story, and she lost in court. Or you might recall the good folks in Dodgeville, Wisc., who were falsely accused a few years ago by Jerry Falwell’s attorneys of altering Christmas carols to make them secular.

new outrage of yours is likely to be a “he said/he said/she said/she
said” situation.  What really went on in Nicholasville? I wasn’t there
and neither were you. But if you believe you have a strong case that
students’ rights were violated, you can always file a lawsuit and seek
redress. We have both done plenty of those.  As for now, count me
skeptical leaning toward total disbelief.

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posted March 18, 2009 at 7:55 pm

No surprise here…it seems that Jay made a mountain out of a molehill.
Young: Prayer issues at EJMS resolved
By Bob Flynn
An incident surrounding a group of students praying at East Jessamine Middle School last Thursday has been cleared up.
The incident began when an assistant principal tried to disperse a group of students gathered to pray for the family of a friend who’s mother, 34-year-old Casey Bramblett, had been killed in an accident last Wednesday.
The students claimed the principal was telling them they couldn’t pray at school, and called the police when they wouldn’t leave the area.
School officials said the assistant principal was not trying to stop the students from praying, but was only trying to get the students to go to class when some of the students became belligerent and wouldn’t go to class, so the police were called.
East Middle Principal Donna Givens met with several parents of students involved, and called the others, on Friday and everything has been worked out, according to Superintendent Lu Young.
“At the end of lunch Thursday, a group of students gathered to pray, and an assistant principal didn’t realize that was what they were doing so she was shooing them on to class. The students became upset because they thought she was telling them they could not pray, which she wasn’t. The principal came in and tried to calm them down and get them to sit down at their tables, but a real small group of students became belligerent so the principal did make the decision to call the police because the SRO officer was not there,” Young said. “Two Nicholasville Police Officers did respond. They did not threaten any students that they were going to go to jail because they were praying. The issue was over disorderly conduct, not over praying, it just wasn’t communicated very well.”
“The principal called all the parents of the kids involved and told them, ‘Here’s what the situation was,’ and then the next day they did have a prayer time. So I think we have gotten it cleared up,” Young added.
Young said school psychologist spent some time discussing the issue with students later in the afternoon which helped them understand what had happened.
“They had some really good dialogue with the kids that afternoon. They said, ‘Here is how things broke down guys, it was not about whether or not you had the right to pray, it was about how you handled yourself, the assistant principal didn’t know what you were doing,’” Young said. “A silver lining, I think, was that the kids learned how to handle themselves if a situation like that ever arises again.”
Young said the school system has always supported voluntary student prayer.
“We absolutely protect the student’s right to voluntary prayer in Jessamine County schools and this incident was not over kids being in trouble for praying,” Young said. “It is important to know that the Kentucky statute is real clear, the students have the right to pray at school, silently or out loud on a voluntary basis, it just has to be appropriate.”
Young said Kentucky law specifically spells out steps that needed to be followed if a parent feels like their child’s rights have been violated.
“Kentucky law is real clear, if somebody feels like a student’s rights have been violated, the statute says that you contact the principal in writing about what your concern is and it is our responsibility to respond in writing, to insure that students’ rights are protected.” Young said.
I have to wonder if Jay’s reaction would have been the same had the kids been Muslim.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 2:42 am

I have to wonder if Jay’s reaction would have been the same had the kids been Muslim.
Boris says: You’re kidding of course. Had the kids been Muslim, Jay Sekulow would have been on the radio complaining vehemently that Islam was being forced on the public school system which had knuckled under because the liberals running the school system thought children needed to be exposed to Islam as a religion of peace and that the Muslim children had some connection to a terrorist organization. To the phones on line 1: “Hi Jay. I jus thank yer doin such a wonderful job fightin against the evil satanic school system up there in Tennessese or wherever it is. This just proves Jaysus will becoming to slay the wicked unbelievers any day now.” Thanks for your intelligent insights to this difficult problem Reba May… next on line…

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posted March 19, 2009 at 10:13 am

Come on guy. While I have no love for the RR, I don’t think you should be as condescending as you are being to Jay. While I disagree with his beliefs, religious or others wise, I still think all people should be treated with respect, whether or not you agree with them.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

No way man. Respect must be earned as far as I’m concerned. Why should I respect someone who we all know is a liar, not to mention the fact that he’s a miserable excuse for an attorney? Ever notice the ACLJ never tells anyone about all the cases they lose? Jay teaches at the lowest rated law school in the entire country, Regent, which is a tier 4 school. Did you know the Bush administration hired over 150 incompetent morons who graduated from Regent? How about the stupid woman who got pathological liar Alberto Gonzales fired? She’s a prime example of the stupidity and ignorance that Regent Brainwashing Institute cranks out every year. And Jay Sekulow is a perfect example of the incompetence of regent University’s academic staff.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Gwyddion9, got to agree 100% with Boris on this one. Jay would be right there objecting to a Muslim prayer in school under any circumstances.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Perhaps you’re both right but Jay’s firm has assisted a Hindu with some issue.
Rather than respect, perhaps I should have used the word common courtesy instead.

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posted March 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm

If the student who recently lost a parent needs all these prayers at school, doesnt that mean the student should be taking more time off from school? His/her friends could go to the house(even during school time), show support, and perform unscheduled, unlimited number
of prayers in the house, in the backyard, front yard, on the roof, or a nearby park.
These students were just showboating… sorry to say this, but life goes on even after the death of a loved one. If you need more time to grieve, then stay home and take as much time as you need to grieve, everyone will understand. You dont have to give a big pharisee-like
display to us heathens.

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posted March 20, 2009 at 9:55 am

I don’t know that the student himself was in school on that day, Gadje.
I still remember, though, that when my father died when I was sixteen, several of my classmates came to our house and some of them even did some chores to help my mother, so your idea is definitely a good one. Thanks for mentioning it.

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N. Lindzee Lindholm

posted November 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

You state that school officials were just trying to get students to class on time and that there were to be no arrests. Why were the police called at all then? It is not uncommon for me to have to go into two or three schools each day for my job. There are always students who do not want to go to class and who drag their feet getting there. Nevertheless, the teachers, police, and administrators at these schools do not seem to have a problem hustling students to class so they arrive on time. The truth is that there was no reason to call the police for this incidence, was there, other than to infringe on students’ free speech rights?

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