I just moved back to St.Louis with my wife and child. My wife is upset with how religious everyone is here and I try to reassure her that we can send our son to public school without fear of people shoving god down his throat. That is until I passed this trailer in front of a public middle school advertising that mass was held there on Sundays at 10 am.

I understand that they may be renting the space from the school and I understand that renting space out is one way that schools make some extra money, however I do not think they should be renting it out to schurches to hold mass. In my opinion this crosses the line of religion in public education. To the students of this school this could even seem like the school is backed by a certain religion or favors a certain religion.

What actions should be taken? Perhaps writing emails to the principal and school district? Informing ACLU? Thoughts?

Attached is the picture I took as evidence. The school is Woerther Elementary in Ballwin, MO.

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Wow, that elementary school website totally kicks the ass of my elementary school website.

As for the legality, it totally depends. It's not being done during school hours so that's one argument against you.

If you want to sue, you need to show that there was some kind of wrong done. There are a few things that would be cause for booting them:
Are they advertising their services in the school during school hours?
Are they leaving things from their mass that students could find?
Was their bid to rent out the space done fairly? (e.g. ask if you can rent out the same space after the Christians or next door to the Christians for an Atheist Discussion Group and see what kind of response you get.)

Provided they rented the space fairly, if they're just going there to perform their magic spells and then leave no trace for having been there I don't see where the problem is or what grounds there would be to remove them.
I get where you're coming from, and I agree there's no particularly good reason why it is at a school, but the school has space to rent and a church has money to rent it. Unless the school is allowing this while denying the same space to, let's say, a mosque at a comparable time they haven't done anything wrong.

I would totally see if a local atheist group wanted to rent the same space on a Saturday and see how the school reacts.
I think about this issue a lot having two young kids as well. I came to the conclusion that it would be more harmful to them if I tried to hide the fact that religion is all around them in the world. I really stress the point to them that a million people believing in a stupid idea does not make it any less of a stupid idea. Also to point if they are at a school, or in a group, or watching a movie that is promotoing religion that they do not have to get suckered into the Appeal to authority.

As far as the church that is renting out space at the school, it sounds to me that they have the legal right to since it is not during school hours. Untill you have evidence that they are doing anything else, such as, promoting during school school days, leaving things behind, etc, I don't think you can do anything about it.

Also if the chuch is following the rules and legally renting from the school, I don't see how it is your concern what other familes and childrens conclusions are.
Considering the state of the education budget everywhere in the US and how this is affecting the education that kids are getting, at least this school is doing something to get some extra money for activities, books, supplies, extra teachers, or whatever. Property values are going down, so property taxes are going down, and schools are kids are getting the raw end of the deal. That has to stop, but given the mood in the country right now, it likely won't for a while.

While a church would not be my first choice to rent space, you must admit that it is better than some of the other possibilities.
I agree with a lot of the others on here. As long as they are not doing anything during school hours or leaving any "recruiting" info behind in the school, I wouldn't be that concerned. Yes, you are right that children walking by it might see the Church being held there on Sundays but a lot of kids already go to church or even go to that one or at least live in families that claim to be Christian.

If you go on any kind of "crusade" against this, you're only going to make yourself look bad considering that the overwhelming opinion is that the church isn't hurting anyone or doing anything "bad." Now of course you and I have a different view than they do on what is "bad" as I'm sure we both think in the long run, religion causes more problems than it solves and can lead to some people doing bad things, but overall they're probably right. These are just people that rented out a space for their worship service and would still be doing that even if they had to move elsewhere, so what would be the point of trying to get them kicked out of the school? It would just make you look like the stereotypical atheist a lot of religious people believe is a true portrayal....a bitter, hate filled person that expects religious people to be tolerant of him/her, the atheist, but doesn't want to be tolerant of religious people him/herself.

I also think that another poster said something that's very true. Religion exists, there's no getting around it. Maybe someday, probably not in my lifetime, but someday, humanity as a whole will "outgrow" it and it will just be a part of history (if humans don't destroy each other first), but for today, it's something that has to be dealt with. You can teach your son to deal with it and the reality of its existence without being sucked into it. Also there ARE good people that are religious and I'm afraid if you show your son too much of an attitude that religious people are "bad" he's going to have some real problems socially as he grows up. I have friends that are religious and I'm glad that I didn't decide not to befriend them merely due to the fact that they have religious beliefs. My best friend as a child in middle school and my first year of high school was a very devout catholic (she died in a car wreck when she was 15) and though at that time I hadn't become a "full" atheist yet, I was not terribly religious and yes, some of her religious talk annoyed me at times, but I still considered her my very best friend in the whole world and we were very close.

I know that "tolerance" is a word that is overused and misused by a lot of people nowadays, but I truly think this is a case where you should just live and let live. They're not really hurting you or your son by using the school for a couple hours one day a week when school is not in session. There are much bigger fish to fry in this world when it comes to religions doing bad things that need to be addressed and brought to the attention of people.
I recently reported my son's school here in TN to the ACLU because they allowed the "Gideons" to come in and pass out their vile bibles! This is really disturbing. In high school, I almost didn't get to walk graduation line because I raised a stink about our chorus class was required to learn a christian cantata, and it wasn't even a classic like Saint Saen's Christmas oratorio, or Handel or Bach that would actually teach some musical skill. There were kids in that class that were jewish, hindu, muslim, and agnostic, and it flew all over me they were being forced to sing this crap! I reported it to the ACLU and the school got a nasty gram as well as the School Board. I was called to the office, and I could tell the principal had to hold his nose to do it, but told that I needed to back down, and that anyone who didn't want to participate because they found it objectionable, would receive a pass. This pissed me off too, because my GPA was close to a 4.0 and pass didn't cut it for me. Alas, I couldn't risk not walking graduation, as was threatened. My parents got our family lawyer to write a letter to the school board, and those of us who didn't participate were not penalized. Still no one wanted to take it a step further because of the community we live in. I have been pissed off ever since!! Now that I have a child in school, they aren't going to get away with this shit any more!!! Fortunately, I am not the only parent ill about this, and a letter was sent home to all students, apologizing for the bible incident, with assurances that this was a bad judgment call, and would never happen again. Hmmm....we'll see....
Quick question. Does the church leave its trailer parked in the school lot all week long? Rent or not (and if not, then I have a real problem with religionists using utilities paid for by taxpayers), if this thing sits there all week, it is advertising for their private business on taxpayers property - being the school parking lot.

Let's work on the assumption that they are paying a fair share of rent for the use of the building. I still have a major problem with this. It starts with the advertising by parking a trailer on school property. Those who pass by can be lead to draw an inference that this school is somehow affiliated with a church. Many will agree that that is a good thing , while not knowing the reality of the business arrangement. Then, there's the the members of the congregation who talk about having their services at the school. Again, giving the impression (right or wrong) to others that somehow god is now back in the local public school. Little by little, feeding the religious christian delusion that god is rightfully resuming his place in a tax payer supported institution; and an institution for children, at that. Do they then start leaving fliers for the children to take home?

I realize that there may well be financial benefits for the school district by renting out space. And, maybe I'm somewhat over reacting here. But, quite honestly, this reminds me of a cash strapped chicken farmer and egg producer renting out barn space to a snake emporium.
Advanced prayer. "When talking to yourself, please stand and put your arms over your head in a one person 'wave'. That way, we can lift your wallet and take what we need without troubling you while you chant magic incantations."
Advanced prayer - how to do even less with the same amount of pray-words




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