School district strips ‘God’ from first-grader’s Veterans Day poem

As we enter that wonderful time of year when atheists and city councils clash over manger scenes and “holiday trees” in the public square, a smaller-scale clash over God and government from November is beginning to make waves, and it involves a first-grader and a poem she wrote to honor her grandfathers.

Todd Starnes has brought attention to the story, which was reported by the Hickory Record in North Carolina last week. A six-year-old girl at West Marion Elementary School was asked at the request of a parent to remove the mention of God from a poem she was set to read at the school’s Veterans Day program. Her poem, written for her grandfathers, both Vietnam veterans, included the line, “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.” The girl did as she was told, but parents raised their concerns over the incident at a school board meeting.

“After consulting with the superintendent … we jointly decided that we must err on the side of caution to prevent from crossing the line on the Establishment Clause of the Constitution,” school principal Desarae Kirkpatrick explained.

Quite a few agree that the school did indeed cross the line, but in the opposite direction.

  • stuckinIL4now

    It’s time to remove the morons that run the school.

    • BeyondPolls

      It’s time to remove ourselves from the school system.

      • Sisserydoo

        We can’t remove ourselves from the schools!!! We need to get as many conservative Christians in the schools as possible! I’m 42 years old, set to graduate in December 2013. I’m a Christian and I’m going to teach middle school science. We need to take back the schools ASAP!

        • BeyondPolls

          I’m sorry, but you’ll find yourself fighting the government the whole way. I find your idea very noble, but you can’t fight the machine from within. You fight the machine from the outside by emptying it of its power.
          I believe there are a lot of great teachers like yourself who need to fill the private and charter schools in order to show everyone that these types of schools are superior to government-run ones.
          I believe that as Christians and conservatives, we can shut down the public education system with a single court case that shows how unconstitutional the system is.

  • Elaine

    For several years now the schools here teach The Driedel song, Kwanza dances, Muslim celebrations, but anything Christian is banned, including Christmas in Christmas tree? I don’t get it. Who exactly is offended by Christmas? They get the time off to celebrate it and it’s the largest Christian holiday. You can’t “ignore” it.

    • aegean1

      I’m agnostic and I don’t understand how anyone can be offended by Christmas. Celebrating the birth of a child? Goodwill to man? Peace on Earth? Gifts to and time with loved ones? What part of any of that is offensive? The Jewish holiday is nice too, except I can’t spell it. Kwanzaa is a racist holiday, so that one DOES offend me.

      • sleeper48

        There is a vast gulf between atheists and agnostics. Atheists hate the idea of God, or anyone believing in God. I have found agnostics to be comfortable in situations that would drive an atheist around the bend. Saying, “I don’t know”, is vastly different than saying, “No Way, and don’t have that around me, because the very sight of it is offensive.”

  • deepereyes

    Actually principal Desarae Kirkpatrick, forcing a person to remove the word God is crossing the establishment clause.

    • TexSizzle

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… .” How is a mention of God in a poem a law establishing religion? It is definitely a prohibition of the free exercise thereof. The principal has violated the girl’s first-amendment rights.

      • TwitWit

        and how is a little 6 year old girl Congress?

        • Infinite_Indeterminism

          She has more sense than all Congress, combined ? …

        • TexSizzle

          A 6-year-old is not Congress, nor is her saying anything about God at school making a law establishing a religion. How did you get what you wrote from what I wrote?

          • TwitWit

            whoa! take it easy, Tex.. i was agreeing with your point. none of us are Congress. so, what we say, is establishing nothing more than our opinion, which is protected by the 1st.

          • TexSizzle

            Sorry. I’m so used to the “progressive” attacks, I jumped to the wrong conclusion.

          • TwitWit

            it was my fault ! i was reading your post and responding as if we were both talking directly to a progressive nut. it is my disqus commenting fail that i have yet to conquer!

  • Josephine (D)

    Is the only time it’s okay to mention God is when it’s coming from a Jew or a Muslim any more?

  • Bigeddie173

    I wish I could say I was shocked that this happened, but it happens all the time. Jefferson mentioned ,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State”,at Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut, but he meant in the sense that the government wont infringe on the church’s right to practice the religion freely. It was written for the protection of religious rights and not to prohibit a 6 year old from mentioning god at school. What about her individual right to practice her religion freely? What about the, “prohibiting the free exercise
    thereof” clause?

    • Teresa Davis McCormick

      And the Government has crossed the line too with this HHS business.

    • Hiraghm

      “building a wall of separation between church and state” the way Jefferson meant it, is like talking about the Benghazi consulate and “building a wall of separation between the consulate and terrorists”.
      It was always meant to protect the former from the latter.

  • TwitWit

    so.. this school doesn’t say the Pledge every morning?

    • Dan Thorpe

      are you kidding me? Schools for the most part have not really said the pledge of allegiance for years

      • Teresa Davis McCormick

        They do in Catholic schools.

      • TwitWit

        no. I’m not kidding you. i don’t know where you’re getting your information but all schools say the Pledge, every morning. If you have information on a school prohibiting the Pledge, please share.

        • tredglx

          I don’t know where you went to school, but we stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance in 5th grade. My kids never said it, my grandkids don’t say it. I have inquired of my cousins in the South, and they didn’t say it, nor did their children or their grandchildren. These are bed-wetting yankee liberal schools.
          In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t ever recall hearing the National Anthem at any of the football games I played in during school, nor any of them that I attended as an adult, save one – and that was at a Henry County High School game in TN.

          • sleeper48

            My children didn’t say it. I was shocked.

          • TwitWit

            wow. i have never attended a school that hasn’t said the Pledge every morning, neither have my children. I’ve gone to schools in several parts of the country, but my children have only attended NC schools.

      • Sisserydoo

        Kids here in central Illinois say it…but this isn’t Chicago, so I guess it’s okay that they say it here. We don’t have any kind of influence in this state anyway, they don’t care what we do out in the middle of nowhere!

    • Lisa Dean

      I haven’t said the pledge of allegiance since I was in the 2nd/3rd grade and I’m 44. I’ve also gone to schools in different parts of the country because my Dad was in the Army. My husband is from Connecticut and he didn’t say the pledge of allegiance either (he went to school in Illinois as well). My sister’s went to school in MO and IL and they didn’t say the pledge of allegiance. We live in N. AL and my son doesn’t say the pledge of allegiance in his class. However, they will say it before school programs.

      • TwitWit

        wow. kind of disturbing.

  • orringtonmom (D)

    so incredibly stupid. it wasn’t like she was preaching, just saying that her grandfathers prayed.

    pity these morons. they are afraid of words.

    • NotaLemming

      She should have written that he prayed to Obama to bring Peace to earth and redistribute it. That would have been totally fine.

  • Cameron Brown

    I had a debate at work today about the very subject of my 9 year old son’s right to pray in public school. We live in the developing world of Orson Wells’ 1984 and proper “Newspeak” is being developed at an increasingly rapid pace.

    • TocksNedlog

      That’s one cool spellcheck program you’ve got there!

      • PennyRobinsonFanClub

        That changes Orwell to Orson Wells?

  • tredglx

    I’m really starting to hate some of my fellow Americans…

    • sleeper48

      It’s so sad to feel that way. I wish we had our country back.


    it is time for a lawsuit. there is no effing clause anywhere in the constitution that prevents anyone from saying God in a public school. student driven is free speech!!!! it is time to sue this school….the school was afraid of a lawsuit on the other side, then give them one anyway and in the settlement REQUIRE them to teach the Bill of Rights and the Constitiution…..I’m so over these idiot libturds who we have LET infiltrate our schools from babies to college….its time we start inventing new schools through school choice and take this all back.

  • Riza Adaza

    Natalie Gouge principal…phone number – (828) 738-3353

  • Angie (D)

    It is actually scary how people on the school board can know absolutely nothing about the laws they are operating under. First, this is not a separation of church & state issue — the school wasn’t putting the word “God” into the poem — it was something the little girl wrote. Second, people misuse the word “censorship” but this actually is censorship — the government (via the school board) has interfered with the little girl’s creative process forcing her to remove the word “God” from her poem.

    With morons like this running school boards it’s no wonder 51% of this country thinks cheap money & no jobs is a good & want 4 more years of Obama.

  • HARP2

    Maybe the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.

  • Seewetoldu

    You know Mitt Romney wouldn’t approve of this story at all. But Im sure Obama would be and is more than happy to .

  • disappearing moderate

    Okay, I just don’t get it. I’m an agnostic. I’d say atheist, but I personally haven’t seen any definite proof either way. At any rate, I’m not a believer, don’t attend church, etc. What I don’t get is why non believers care so much about what others do believe. How does prayer, mention of God, Christmas trees, nativity scenes affect atheists, agnostics, etc. to any degree? How does praying hurt anybody? Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong, and it will help. I just don’t see how it hurts. I wanted my child exposed to religion because it’s part of our culture and our history. I encouraged her when she wanted to attend church with friends and encouraged her to seek out her own personal truth. What happens when children get a little older? A tremendous amount of art and literature deals with spiritual or religious themes. How do you leave religion out of history or law? It’s just insane 1984 crap. How is it that everybody except Christians are due tolerance?

    • Sisserydoo

      I agree. I know a lady at work that believes in Big Foot (seriously). I don’t care what she does/doesn’t believe. She could write poems about Big Foot, put up Big Foot nativities, and say prayers to him and I still wouldn’t care.

      I used to live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Everyone should look up the cross that USED to be on the city seal. A man was offended that he had to drive through Edmond on his way to work and see the seal on the cop cars. The cross isn’t there anymore. The jerk DIDN’T EVEN LIVE IN THE CITY. “What a whiney cry baby” was all I could think about him…

      • Sisserydoo

        The city was also the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case in which a Christian cross was depicted on the city seal, raising issues concerning the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In May 1996, the Supreme Court let stand a Federal Appeals Court ruling ordering the city to remove the cross from the seal.[10] A replacement icon has yet to be agreed upon, resulting in the curiously vacant spot on the city’s seal.[citation needed]

        This is from Wikipedia. The “curiously vacant spot” is on purpose so that people will ask about it.

        • disappearing moderate

          I heard about that suit on Fox news just the other day. That case and the people trying to get the WWI memorial cross permanently removed (that was finally reversed, thank goodness) are just ridiculous. Of course the cross is most identified with Christianity, but the use of the cross as a symbol dates back to neolithic times. People are free to view it as a symbol of Christianity, a representation of the cardinal points, fire, earth, air and water, an abstract geometric figure, a historical fragment that they not longer consider valid or even easier, simply ignore it if it lacks meaning for them. What’s next? The removal of all religious art from publicly funded museums? Will people be charged with a hate crime if they say, “God bless you” when somebody sneezes?

        • TomJB

          They should not just have taken the cross out of the seal, but *completely* removed it, leaving a cross-shaped hole in the seal. Would love to see the Freedom From Religion folks’ heads explode after that one :)

  • TwitWit

    In NC it is LAW for public schools to allot time during the school day to say the Pledge of Allegiance. So, if it is lawful to say, One Nation Under GOD, it is lawful for this little girl to use GOD in her story. There will probably be a lawsuit if the school doesn’t reverse their terrible decision.

  • BeeKaaay

    This is what happens when Atheism is the official religion of the government.

    • TwitWit

      if they were real atheists then they would be terrorizing all religious theologies , not just Christianity. These “atheists” only hate the Christians God.

      • BeeKaaay

        Amen. Now pass the ammunition :)

  • Justin Case

    I despise censorship.

  • medicinewomantwo

    Any an adult to bully a child over her personal family poem she wrote to honor her grand daddies who served, should be sued then fired.

    • wermet

      Fired out of a cannon!

  • Jason

    If you have a spare moment, here’s an article that demonstrates how Atheism contradicts itself:

  • TocksNedlog

    Apparently, it is now against the law for schoolchildren to learn that some of their fellow Americans pray to God.

  • walterc

    Since our money has the word GOD printed on it (at least for now), that idiot should be paid with a thank you and a bag of clean air. Don’t want any liberals to be offended by dirty Christian money do we?

  • Chip

    If you are six, you have no First Amendment rights……

  • GaryTheBrave

    If she had wrote, “He prayed to Gaia for peace, he prayed to Allah for strength” it would’ve been allowed.

  • PennyRobinsonFanClub

    UNbelievable. “He prayed to God.” Yup, that’s just like the Spanish Inquisition.

    • PennyRobinsonFanClub

      I bet you didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

      • PennyRobinsonFanClub

        PS — Come on leftards, don’t disappoint us. Explain why a little girl mentioning that her Grandfather prayed to God IS just like the Spanish Inquisition.

  • Hello Jerry (D)

    The union-run public school system at work.

  • Stephanie Warren

    Utterly shameful.