From OneNewsNow, by Bob Kellogg, 8/10/2012 -
An atheist organization is demanding that a Massachusetts high school band stop playing “God Bless America” at school functions because it violates separation of church and state.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is telling Wayland High School officials that playing “God Bless America” is an unconstitutional act.
The band played the song on two occasions of American patriotism: Pearl Harbor Day and Memorial Day. An attorney with FFRF took issue with the phrase “As we raise our voices in solemn prayer.”
School officials, however, have stated they plan to ignore FFRF’s warning. Superintendent Dr. Paul Stein responded: “There has to be a sense about whether the schools are fostering the promotion or practice of religion, and I don’t believe the band playing ‘God Bless America’ does that.” Matt Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, is pleased that school officials agree with those who say this argument is out of bounds.
“The good news is that the administrators here at this school also think this is over the top, that this is just beyond the line of reasonableness,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow. “To say that you cannot sing ‘God Bless America’ is just preposterous.
” Staver says with this continuing onslaught against religion in schools, he hopes the public will begin to see the Foundation for what it is.
“I hope people ultimately come to that point where they realize what the agenda is — and it is an anti-freedom agenda and it is an anti-God agenda,” he remarks. “And I think this illustrates just how far they want to go. I think they have reached the tipping point in many respects, and I think they’re showing their true colors.”
The Foundation contends repeated use of the song sends a message to students that the school is “endorsing and compelling belief in a god.”