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School Singled Out For Alleged Attack On Religious Freedom

January 4, 2010 by  

School singled out for alleged attack on religious freedomEastfield College, a public college in the Dallas area, came under criticism last month after it tried to prevent one of its students from making crosses during ceramics classes and imposed a full ban on the practice this fall.

The school’s art department has a "no symbols" policy that includes bans on crosses, menorahs and other religious items. Despite this regulation, Joe Mitchell, 69, made some ceramic religious figures for his fellow parishioners at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, and said he felt humiliated and that his "spirituality was being demeaned" when he was confronted about it.

After the incident, Mitchell teamed up with Liberty Legal Institute to send a demand letter to the school, threatening to pursue a lawsuit if the policy is not changed to protect his religious freedom.

"Unfortunately, not everyone has the Christmas spirit or even a basic understanding of religious freedom," said Kelly Shackelford, the institute’s chief counsel.

She added that "the government cannot ban crosses and religious symbols."

The college responded, saying the rules are intended to compel students to make original works and avoid duplicate projects, not to circumvent artistic freedom, and it confirmed its legal counsel will review the policy and amend the language to make its intention clearer, according to

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  • Ray

    This school should be boycotted by every student whoever plans on attending. THe present students should hold rallys against this policy and the President and board should be replaced. Their reply is a stock liberal reply that is pure nonsense. This country was founded on religious freedom and we are quickly moving away from this principle which is not a good thing. Political Correctness should be outlawed.

    I am truly shocked that a Texas School would do this???

    • Mary

      Ray, I agree 100% with your statement. This is suppose to be a country where you have freedom of religion and it is slowly being taken away from us. I just wish we could get back to the values of our founding fathers. Mary

      • Marshall Henderson

        Mary, with all due respect, wishing will not get it done. Christians must become bold again as was the case with our founding fathers. We must quit sitting on our thumbs and get busy. When Christians get on fire and quit playing church, things will change.

    • Richard Pawley


    • Fed Up Gal in NM

      I’m with you, Ray…..but, it doesn’t surprise me even when happening in Texas. With such wonderful(NOT)… Texas role models as the Dixie Chicks, I’m just not surprised at all.

      Fed Up Gal

    • Jimmie

      I hate this. Our rights as U.S. citizens are slowly being whittled away by liberals and people that have come here for freedom – then demand that we give our freedoms up so they can push their religion and atheism on us. The land of the home, the free and the brave. If they don’t like it here, like Australia says go back to where you came from. As for the atheist – if you don’t like our religious beliefs – don’t practice them – but don’t be offended by them as we aren’t offended by your beliefs.

  • bargal

    I believe the board as a whole should be held responsible and if the policy is not removed immediately then the entire board should be. It is a public school and I for one am tired of the people in charge (certainly a minority of those involved) should not rule the lives of the majority

  • Victor L Barney


    • Richard Pawley

      The schools were basically decent for the first hundred years (before they were unionized). In our upstate NY county of 300,000 there are 14 superintendents of education. About half of them make more money than the governors of a dozen states. One of them makes more money than the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Now the progressives in Washington want to unionize all fire departments (even volunteer)and all police departments, and you think taxes are high now! Daniel Webster who founded the public schools in this country once said that “Education without the Bible is useless!” We will soon see how true his words were. He didn’t say that education without the church, or education without religion, he said “Education without the Bible”. Think about it.

      • Joe H.

        Quite a few of the police and fire depts are already unionized. I worry when they come up for a new contract as it’s only by their sense of duty that they show up. If they don’t and a house goes up or a person gets murdered and it could have been avoided they should be able to be sued, I’m sorry they chose the job, not the other way around!!!

    • Marshall Henderson

      Victor, nothing can happen unless we allow it to happen. 51 million people voted for Obama. If they had invested a little time and energy before the election, they would have known that he was not qualified. Instead they heard him say change and did not question it. As in the days of old, a king had food tasters to see if the food was good. Many did not taste the food that King Obama was serving and now we are being slowly poisoned by it.

  • Danny Kirkpatrick

    ” FREEDOM OF RELIGION,”. ONE of the rights granted to us by the Bill of Rights. It is under attack by the far left, who just happens to be in Washington D.C. in a position to destroy God in our Great Nation. Now that said. Our Founding Fathers were very religious men, and i will put credit where credit is due, the great women behind them. They wanted to be sure America would not be TAKEN over by the church, like all the european nations of the time. BUT, they did not want us to remove God from this Great Nation. The left moved while the rest of us we asleep. Praying ANYWHERE is NOT mixing church and state in the since that our founding fathers meant, as anyone with even a tiny bit of COMMON SINCE should know. People PRAYED in the nation’s capital, people PRAYED in schools in there time. THEY the FOUNDING FATHER’S, put, ” IN GOD WE TRUST,’ on our currency. This Great Nation of The United States of America was founded as a CHRISTIAN nation, that would welcome all religion’s to be practiced in our CHRISTIAN nation freely. We MUST bring America back to what our Founding Fathers meant this great nation to be, a God fearing, and loving, nation, ” Of the People, By the People, and For the People, UNDER GOD.

    • Richard Pawley

      Well said, but we don’t have a lot of time. Those who oppose God call it opposing religion but God is not a religion. God is a person! He is the Father of all that is. The Bible even says, “The fool says in his heart ‘there is no God’” but it also says that a person can look at the night sky (if one lives under an unpolluted sky)and discern that this all didn’t just happen! I never understood the references in both the old and new testaments that time is short but I’m beginning to see that now. Americans need to wake up or this will be our last decade as the United States we have known and loved. Pray daily and vote intelligently. Even if things will not get better for the world or for our country they can get better for us. God loves you. If you don’t know this, seek until you discover it. God bless all who read this.

    • Joe H.

      I agree with your sentiment but it wasn’t the founding fathers that put IN GOD WE TRUST on our money, it was put there in 1864. It was suggested by a baptist minister!

  • louis zakar

    when we do not let the the word of God have it’s own level of freedom in this Nation, that is when we will lose our every own freedoms from that word of God. We tend to let others to tend to teaching our every own childern, not really knowing what type of background they may have of their own.What was taught about 20 to 40 years ago to the future leaders in education is now being taught into our childern of today.

  • Brjll

    The first amendments states that “CONGRESS shall make no law…” The LAWMAKERS are forbidden by this amendment from controlling religion! But that is what they have been doing ever since the early sixties when the Supreme Court stated in effect, “If Congress can’t do it, then we will make sure that NO ONE can!” It is time that the Supreme court do its job, namely to ensure thaqt there are no laws passed that do not uphold the constitution!

  • John J. Callahan

    When a Government no longer protects the Rights of its people,
    it is up to “We The People” to remove that government. This is
    clearly spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.
    This Marxist government is expanding its rights, against
    the Constitution, and the will of the people. They took an
    oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of
    America, SO HELP ME GOD. Were they joking?
    The first amendment states; Congress shall make NO LAW
    respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE
    I for one will not recognize any law or regulation that
    this government or any other entity establishes that is clearly
    and blatently Unconstitutional.
    John C. US Navy Retired

    • c lee

      I agree John. If we dont get on the ball it will be too late I fear this time around is our last chance to do this peacefully which Iam sure is what the majority of us want, that being said they may not let us be peacefull.

      • http://none wayne d

        I, being a former democrat, that is till I saw what my chosen party supported as presidential material knew immediately what was coming, it is now very much here!!! just to start solving our problems requires elimination of the present powers that be, that is, eliminate them from their positions of power,INVOKE, ON AN HOURLY BASIS, THE HELP ,AID, ASSISTANCE, FORGIVENESS, BLESSINGS , GRACES OF THE ONLY GOD JESUS CHRIST, OUT SAVIOR ANYTHnIG LESS IS NOT WORTH CONSIDERATION!!!

  • chuck b


    revolution is out of the question, you couldn’t gather enough support, we have too many people on the govt. teat. welfare, govt. workers, unions, state & county workers. these people are all on government welfare or control. the unions by political connections. so that leaves a minority of us to stand against this tyrannical entity. just look back at the soviet union, obama and ayers did. they learned on russia’s mistakes. obama is only a talking head its the people behind him that you should fear, he isn’t half as smart as they make him out. they can control the black and mexican vote by obama and thats huge. i have no doubt obama is a muslim so we have to fear for the christian belief, the jews have a powerful hold on our legislative body and with the aclu, southern poverty law center they are diminishing the influence of the christian religion throughout our country. once christianity is removed then they have have succeeded. remember it took russia around seventy years to fail, with this bunch god help us.

    • c lee

      So whats the anwer, do we just give up, or do we do as our forefathers did fight to the last breath, Iam for the latter.

  • Barry

    The only way to stop this and all the “Separation of Church and State BS is with Constitutional Amendments to clarify every part of the 1st amendment. The ACLU nothing but a terrorist organization that uses lawyers instead of guns and bombs; The ACLU uses their army of lawyers that file or to file a law suit if their target does not comply with their demands; their targets they pick don’t have the money to fight a law suit; I am not a lawyer, but this sounds like EXTORTION. The Judicial Branch has Interpreted parts of the Constitution in ways that don’t make any since to most of us; defenders of this type of Interpretation is necessary because the actual wording is intentionally vague to allow the Court to apply advances in technology and I agree with that; however I don’t think our founders intended the courts to interpret it for changes in values and morals, life style or religion. Our founders did realize there would need updated, modernized or any interpretations that change the intent; to accommodate this type of change, but protect the majority from unwanted changes they added Section V which describes the method to make those changes; it is called an Amendment. The problem with amendments is most people do not know the process and the members of the House and Senate doesn’t want to be bypassed in the Law Making Process; we need to educate voters on the process and make it easier for voters to demand a Constitutional Convention. I address this below.

    Obama is continuing violating the 10th amendment and totally ignored the Constitution “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; the will continue until the Supreme Court stops them. The law suit filed to get information from the DOL is great, but won’t stop Obama taking over the country as long as congress backs him; the Congress is giving the Executive the power Obama needs to take power and we can’t trust the people to vote the Democrats out of office.

    The only way to stop Obama is with Constitutional Amendments that limit the power of the Federal Government, clarify the Constitution and current Amendments and an Amendments that requires a every state legislature every 2 or 4 years Constitutional Convention or require every state to add it to their ballot every national election for the national election..

    We all must start asking the Governors of all 50 states to have a conference to discuss the need for a Constitutional Convention as stated in Article V of the Constitution:

    The Text of the Constitution, Article V

    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

    We the people can demonstrate that in a Free Democracy that the people have control of our country, not a Chicago Thug with delusions of Dictatorship that has broken hid Oath of Office when he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

    • Alex

      I am truly disgusted that there are people who discuss these things in such a skewed way. First of all, many of the Founding Fathers were not Christians at all- Washington never took communion during the reasonably short stint that he attended service; Franklin rejected Christ as well as the common perception of the afterlife; Jefferson is the one who gave the famous quote, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God.”; and there is no indication that Madison was a spiritual man, though he did advocate for religious liberty.
      Separation of Church and State… does anyone on this forum actually know what that means, or its history? “Separation of Church and State” was not integrated into our constitution due to demands from what you call “politically correct sinners,” but actually from Baptists and other religious folks who were afraid of any one denomination taking over. You see, the overzealous religious people saw no moral objection to ruling the nation with Christianity; they simply were afraid of one “subgenre” of the majority religion getting too influential.
      And by the way, this school’s response makes perfect sense- in a class where originality is an integral part of performance, it’s not fair to allow a student to pull out a common symbol and expect to get an A. Maybe instead of banning the project, the teacher should have just given the student an F. I have a good friend who attended Eastfield college for art studies, and he was constantly frustrated by students who got the same grades as him by trumping up generic works of art; the beauty of religious liberty is that christianity is not “singled out,” despite what some news sources might say- to me, anyone who tries to express his or her creativity and artistic skill through generic, common symbols deserves an F, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or any other faith.

      Anyone reading this thread who has not yet forced a hard-wired and stubborn religious view onto their politics, I urge you- look up the facts, go to the ACLU web site, learn the history of your religion and what it has done to this country over the years, ponder the fact that what Christians see as “proper”, non-Christians might see as “persecution”. Consider Bush’s lame duck legislation that gave doctors the option to disregard the oath they took. I am a moral, open-minded religious man; but I do not often discuss my religious views, nor do I try to force it on anyone’s shoulders or into schools or groups. To me, it is a personal gift that I developed on my own, and I would never infringe on another person’s right to explore that world themselves. Just don’t use it to get an easy “A” in college.

      And by the way, the ACLU fights for the rights of everyone, not just the “politically correct.”

      • Richard Pawley

        I’m sorry Alex, but the ACLU is the most anti-God organization in this United States. I believe they are a greater danger to freedom in this country than the terrorist organizations who have killed so many. Don’t you realize they were founded generations ago by those who wanted to remake the USA into a Marxist country like the old Soviet Union? I would no more go to an ACLU web-site to look up ANYTHING then I would go to a NAZI web-site to look up the concept of political freedom or to a Taliban web-site to look up the equality of women. The ACLU has an agenda and it is most assuredly anti-God. I could care less that Franklin was a deist or Washington didn’t go to communion. None of the founding fathers that I have ever read about opposed the teachings of the Bible like the ACLU opposes them. The ACLU opposes the whole idea of God and that any God could tell them what to do. Like Satan who in Paradise Lost said, “better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven” the tiny good that the ACLU might do seems almost accidental in their clearly outrageous anti-freedom stance they always take while claiming to be all for freedom. William Penn for whom Pennsylvania was named said that if men would not be ruled by God they would be ruled by tyrants. It will be interesting to see who rules the USA after Congress has destroyed the dollar and the country is in chaos. I have no doubt the ACLU secretly abhor even the ten commandments. If a person is truly interested in civil rights and freedom then I would suggest they support the ACLJ (The American Center for Law and Justice). I have long supported them and they have won many cases against the ACLU. In fact I don’t know of a case against the ACLU that they have ever lost and they are a tiny David against the Goliath of money and power represented by the ACLU. The harshness of your view is evident in that you would give some an “F” if they didn’t meet your criteria for creativity. My father was one of the leading art educators in his state and he taught tens of thousands on all levels from preschool to graduate school during his 30 plus year career. On rare occasions I subbed for him so I know a little about creativity. I could see giving a “C” to someone who did such a thing but an “F”? However, I would expect an ACLU lawyer to give an “F”. They are the elite who know what is best for the common man. It is a tribute to our once great nation that we even tolerate the Hollywood elite and radical organizations like the ACLU. My 96 year old father more than once said that nature abhors a vacuum and if the ACLU drives true biblically based religion out of the marketplace completely as they would to do, what will replace it will be some thing that no one will like. As Jesus once said, there are none so blind as those who will not see. Sad, really sad!

        • John Bucko

          Well stated Richard…free speech at its best. Alex will give you an F for unoriginal rigid thinking and discard your response.

        • c lee

          Well said Richard, stay with us brother we need your help.

      • John Bucko

        “I am truly disgusted…”. Yes we are all disgusted…
        “First of all, many of the Founding Fathers were not Christians at all…”. You have been sold lies by liberal Progressives. They all were and to varying degrees, yet they were sinners too, as we all are, and are tempted. Jefferson is the one who gave the famous quote, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God.”…looked everywhere for this famous quote and couldn’t find it. Lately people are writing quotes for many prominent founding fathers…your source for this not so famous quote? Truth is, all Christians do question with boldness the existence of God; yet we have arrived at the same conclusion,God is… “Separation of Church and State… does anyone on this forum actually know what that means, or it’s history?”
        “Separation of Church and State” was integrated to prevent the government from favoring the traditions and denominational specifics practiced by one Christian denomination over another, but had no problem with the shared doctrine of all Jews and Christians, that the God of the old and New Testament(Bible)is the endower of our freedom. Check out the building in DC. Religious people saw no moral objection to ruling the nation with Christian principles. What we fear is an abandonment of God by our government leading to anarchy or a despot.
        “And by the way, this school’s response makes perfect sense(to you), in a class where originality is an integral part of performance, it’s not fair to allow a student to pull out a common symbol and expect to get an A. Maybe instead of banning the project, the teacher should have just given the student an F”. I agree, a low grade for originality, but grade execution of the project separately. “Anyone who tries to express his or her creativity and artistic skill through generic, common symbols deserves an F, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or any other faith”. Glad to hear you are not so open minded as you have persuaded yourself.

        ” I urge you-look up the facts, learn the history of your religion,” Done that… it saved us from atheist types like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and others and maintained our freedom. “What what Christians see as “proper”(free speech?), non-Christians might see as “persecution”. Free speech of Christians does kinda get under the skin of men behaving badly, but that is not persecution any more then Police arresting law breakers.
        President Bush legislation gave them the right to uphold the oath, not disregard it.
        “I am a moral, open-minded religious man; but I do not often discuss my religious views, nor do I try to force it on anyone’s shoulders or into schools or groups. (Jesus commanded us/you to share it, the government should not prohibit it, that is true separation of Church and State). “To me, it is a personal gift that I developed on my own, (made your own religion, how liberal of you)and I would never infringe on another person’s right to explore that world themselves”(the school did). Well now that your done patting yourself on the back and believe that you are a gift to mankind…

        “And by the way, the ACLU fights for the rights of everyone, not just the “politically correct.”
        Really, you cannot be serious.

        • Fed Up Gal in NM

          John Buco,

          Absolutely perfectly said! I don’t see how your message could be any clearer or more honestly stated.

          Fed Up Gal

      • Fed Up Gal in NM


        The ACLU fights for “the rights of everyone”….that’s the biggest load of bull—-….enough to fertlize the entire planet! Although I don’t agree with most of your comments….you are entitled to your opinion….now welcome to mine.

        Fed Up Gal

  • Joe H.

    To “clarify the words of the constitution will require what body? The S C!!! We already know they are bleeding heart libs in their thoughts and will support the destruction of the most important document this country has!!!!

  • Mark K

    What’s next… REMOVE the “plus sign” + from all keyboards and books?

  • Jana

    The piece says that:

    “The school’s art department has a “no symbols” policy that includes bans on crosses, menorahs and other religious items.”

    This is a public college, the guy making the crosses was 69 and he was admonished. Excuse me, not only were they rude but they were so afraid of being called religious that they are usurping people’s rights to freedom of expression of religion. Art can be improving on the beauty of a religious symbol. Good grief these people are so uptight. They are afraid of being caught being politically incorrect.

    It’s high time we became a little politically incorrect!!!

    • jim

      Hi Jana, I recall so pieces of so called art being displayed, that were sponsered by the National Endowment of the Arts. A Crucifix submerged in a tank of urine and a picture of the Virgin Mary made of dung. It was called fredom of expression, even though it’s offensive to many of us. Isn’t making a respectful religius symbol that same freedom of expression?

  • Bob S

    Someone has been reading too much ACLU propaganda. “ACLU fights for the rights of everyone” except conservatives, & Christians.

    ACLU = Anti-Chriatian Liberal Union

    • jim

      Bob, I thought it was anti-Christians for Lucifer union.

      • Bob S

        Good point. However I think you will agree that Liberal=Lucifer. Lucifer mis-leads the weak of mind & morals with liberalism. Therefore, the two words are Interchangeable.

  • Joe H.

    You know some of the most beautiful pieces of art I ever saw were different ornate crosses, made throughout the centuries and displayed in ART museums all over the world. You should see the alter in the church of the golden alter in Panama City Panama!! You could set there in the church for hours and study the ornate golden statues and crosses. I know, I did!!! When Cortez came through stealing all treasure from the locals there they were worried that he would steal their alter they had made to honor God. They burned wood in front of it for days till it had a thick coat of soot on it. When Cortez DID come through he thought it was an old wooden alter and left it!! See, God DOES help those who help THEMSELVES!!!!

  • James

    A minor point, but Kelly Shackelford is a male. The article says “she”. It isn’t perfectly clear, but seems Kelly is the one to whom the pronoun is intended to refer.

  • L.M.Howell

    I think it is a shame that they are taqking religion out of the schools and that you can’t even draw a picture related to it. If someone doesn’t do something about al of this our country is gone. Obama and his tribe has gone mad and should be put completely out of the white house. The longer he is in the worse things will get. I pray for our country and it seems that God is the only one who can put a stop to all of this.


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