ICC Note: As previously reported, an elementary school in Virginia recently removed a prayer plaque from its cafeteria following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The FFRF asserted that the plaque was unconstitutional because it served as a government endorsement of Christianity due to its location in a public school. However, many residents have since expressed their concerns over the decision and there will be a board meeting this week to gather feedback from concerned community members.
By Heather Clark
09/16/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – Residents of a small Virginia town are expressing concern after officials recently removed a plaque from an elementary school cafeteria that thanks God for the food in light of a complaint from one of the nation’s most active Church-State separation groups.
“We have allowed the Freedom From Religion Foundation supposedly acting on behalf of some unnamed individual to shake down the citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia, specifically the residents of Wythe County. This decision should be made by us, no ideological bullies from five states away,” J. Andrew Davis, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, said during a meeting of the Wythe County School Board on Thursday.
“If we cave so easily to their demands in this issue, what’s to stop them from attacking other religious expression we hold dear?” he asked. “I realize there are financial considerations in this affair, but at some point we need to put our foot down and stop the increasing erosion of our constitutional rights.”
As previously reported, the plaque at issue had been displayed in the cafeteria of Spiller Elementary School and read, “Our Father, we thank Thee for this food. Bless it to the nourishment of our bodies and our lives to Thy service. Amen.”
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to the superintendent of Wythe County Public Schools earlier this year after being contacted by a local complainant, whose identity it kept anonymous. FFRF asserted that the plaque was problematic because the prayer could conflict with the beliefs of some students and their families.
“Elementary students should not have to view materials promoting a Christian message,” it wrote. “There is no educational or academic component or motive for such postings; their presence is proselytizing to a captive audience.”