Last time we heard from Giles County, Virginia, a Ten Commandments display was going up in Macy McClaugherty Elementary/Middle School and others in the district.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation told Superintendent Terry E. Arbogast this was illegal and he informed them he would take it down immediately. (Shocking, I know!)
But soon after that, the school board unanimously voted to reverse his decisions.
That was a month ago and there is now some happy news to report.
The pressure worked! First, a couple families decided to sign on to a lawsuit:
Two Giles County families with children in public school will force the issue into court as plaintiffs, according to Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. The foundation will work jointly with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia to represent the families.And that was all it took! Yesterday, the school board voted to take down the Commandments.
“Plaintiffs with children in the schools have come forward,” Annie Laurie Gaylor, Freedom From Religion’s co-president, said on the organization’s Feb. 12 radio program.
“They’re our heroes.”
In a specially called meeting this morning that required no advance notice, the Giles County School Board voted to remove the Ten Commandments from the walls of the county’s five schools and technology center.It’s as if they knew they would lose the lawsuit because what they were doing was illegal…
Officials in Giles County Public Schools, acting on a school board vote, removed controversial displays of the Ten Commandments this morning from various buildings, said Amanda Tickle, board clerk and executive secretary in the school system.
The board voted during a 7:30 a.m. special meeting, Tickle said.
FFRF is threatening to still continue with the lawsuit (just to keep the school board members on their toes), but my hunch is if the Commandments stay down (for real), they won’t go through with it:
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said today the organization was evaluating today’s development.In any case, the Commandments that shouldn’t have been up at all are no longer there. That’s what happens when atheists step up and are ready to fight.
“We’re still readying our lawsuit,” she said. “We were planning to file this week, but this may delay it a little bit, I don’t know.”
It’s a reminder that in just about all of these First Amendment lawsuits, we’re on the right side of the issues, and the religious side is wrong. If only atheist parents and teachers and leaders always had the courage to put their name onto a lawsuit, a lot of these problems would never happen in the first place. I know that’s easier said than done, but I have a lot of respect for anyone willing to stand up for the law in cases like this.