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.

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