Religion in Alabama

June 10, 1998

In April, a federal judge ordered Alabama teachers to attend a seminar designed to instruct them on the dangers of mixing church and state. The controversy began last October over an injunction by U.S. District Judge Ira DeMent forbidding religious practices on the grounds of public schools. Hundreds of students walked out of classes to protest his judicial ban on student-led prayer at football games and graduation ceremonies.

In his 20-page injunction, Judge DeMent ordered 500 teachers and staff in Northeast Alabama to attend a presentation on "the role of religion in the public schools." Now what would happen if a teacher chose not to attend the seminar? Well, one official said any "person who chooses not to abide by the court's order could hear the knock of federal marshals on his or her front door with a free ride to a very unpleasant place."

Excuse me if I wonder if this is happening in the United States of America. It sounds like the stories we've heard from persecuted Christians in communist countries. Yet this is exactly what happened in of all places, Alabama.

Actually I guess we shouldn't be so surprised it happened in Alabama. This is the same state that has given us Circuit Judge Roy Moore who refuses to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and Governor Fob James who has offered to defy Judge DeMent's injunction and lead prayers in any school that would invite him to do so.

Students, teachers, and parents in Alabama value religion and are not content to leave their religious convictions at the school house gate. Judge DeMent wants to eliminate their free exercise of religion in public schools, and will use Soviet-style tactics to enforce his judicial views.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International