Loudon County school board chairman reacts to anti-prayer letter

Loudon County school board chairman reacts to latest anti-prayer letter

Posted:
"It's kind of bothersome to get a letter from someone that doesn't live in your community," said Johnson. "It's kind of bothersome to get a letter from someone that doesn't live in your community," said Johnson.
"I think they ought to quit writing the letters and come down here in person so us rednecks can escort them back to their hometowns," said Troy Purkey. "I think they ought to quit writing the letters and come down here in person so us rednecks can escort them back to their hometowns," said Troy Purkey.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) - The Lenoir City and Loudon County school boards received a letter Wednesday from a group wanting to ban prayer at school functions.

"Americans United for Separation of Church and State" is behind the latest effort.

This letter is different from those we've seen from groups in the past, including those from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and others from the Americans United group.

It's more than just a letter.

The Loudon County letter and the Lenoir City letter were emailed with video clips of prayer occurring.

In the video from the Sept. 13 Loudon County school board meeting, you can see Director of Schools Jason Vance saying a prayer and then the Pledge of Allegiance.

Board Chairman Bobby Johnson, Jr. said the clip is misleading.

"They want people to believe that we're kind of up there preaching and pushing Jesus Christ and though I'd love to share Jesus Christ with them, all we're doing is having prayer before," Johnson explained. "It's not meant to offend anyone. It's short, quick, and we always do the pledge with it."

Johnson said they will take the letter into consideration, but added that he's tired of seeing letters from groups outside the state.

"It's kind of bothersome to get a letter from someone that doesn't live in your community. The community members here saw what Lenoir City went though and it's frustrating that someone that doesn't even live in your community wants you to follow what they want you to do," Johnson said.

Some community members are also fed up with the letters.

"I think they ought to quit writing the letters and come down here in person so us rednecks can escort them back to their hometowns," said Troy Purkey.

"When they made some of these laws, it was to keep freedom of religion in our government, that it was not meant to keep it out, and that they have been twisted into denying people their rights," said teacher Sheila Strunk.

Some people in Loudon County said they would even support a moment of silence in place of spoken prayer.

"Silent prayer's alright as long as they pray. I think they ought to pray. We've always done it here and I don't think the people from up there, if they want to not pray in their town, that's their business. But don't come to our town, telling us what to do," Purkey explained.

6 News reached out to all the school board members and officials from both districts. Only Johnson was able to speak on camera Thursday.

Lenoir City Director of Schools Wayne Miller told 6 News over the phone Thursday that he hasn't seen the letter or the video yet from their meeting, but the only times they've seen prayer at school board meetings, it has not been led by the board.

Instead it was a member of the Club of 100, and that they didn't necessarily grant permission, but that the gentleman had the floor.

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.