Public schools in Alabama urged to resist demands to remove God from programmes

The Holtville High School Marching Band performs at halftime during a football game at Holtville High School in Alabama. U.S.A.(YouTube)

A pro-U.S. Constitution group has urged public schools in Alabama to fight any demand to remove the mention of God in programmes and events.

The Foundation for Moral Law sent a letter to all Alabama school superitendents to tell them that while the First Amendment bars "an establishment of religion," it does not call for an absolute separation of church and state.

In addition, the letter included a 112-page booklet titled "One Nation Under God," a compilation of legal documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, President Washington's Farewell Address, and excerpts from Blackstone's Commentaries, according to Christian News Wire

The foundation's move stemmed from the removal of the "Amazing Grace" band performance by the Elmore County Public Schools in Alabama from the half-time programme at Holtville High School football game.

The school district received a complaint about the high school band playing the song, saying it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Superintendent Andre Harrison decided to remove it from the programme, drawing protests from students and parents.

However, he reinstated it and "asked counsel to do further research on this issue and present me with options that would keep the district in legal compliance, but permit performance of one of the most iconic songs in the history of our nation."

He later declared that "based on that additional research, I have decided today that the band will be allowed to perform 'Amazing Grace' this fall." 

In the letter, foundation president Kayla Moore told superintendents, "There are well-funded organisations that are quick to tell you that any public mention of God is a constitutional violation, basing their opinion on what they wish the Constitution said rather than on what it actually says. As in medicine and many other fields, sometimes it is wise to get a second opinion."

This was seconded by the foundation's senior counsel John Eidsmoe, saying "School officials need to respect the rights of those who object, but the Constitution actually allows much more religious expression than some people think. The Foundation stands ready to assist and advise school officials whenever constitutional questions arise, and we do not charge for our services."