Schools say no religion is allowed in shoe giveaway

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School officials in Aiken and Edgefield counties said Wednesday that no religious rituals are allowed as part of a church-sponsored shoe giveaway program criticized for being an unlawful blend of church and state.

The school superintendents of both Aiken and Edgefield counties say they are complying with legal requirements as they relate to the 6-year-old Laces 4 Love shoe giveaway for needy youth.

Laces 4 Love, a ministry of First Baptist Church of North Augusta, provides about 12,000 pairs of shoes to disadvantaged pupils. It came under criticism Tuesday from officials with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a national organization that said the giveaway violates the law.

One major issue, officials with Americans United said, is a ritual foot-washing ministry members had said would be part of the shoe donation. Shoes are being delivered this week to pupils in 25 schools in both counties.

"(Edgefield County schools) are not aware of any 'religious foot-washing ceremony' performed when the children receive their shoes," Superintendent Mary Rice-Crenshaw stated in a news release. Though "many of our children did wipe their feet before placing the clean socks and shoes on."

In an article published Nov. 28 in North Augusta Today , ministry founder Mark Owens said volunteers remove the children's old shoes and wash their feet, as Jesus did for his disciples at Passover.

Needy pupils identified with the help of the schools have letters sent by the organization to their parents asking permission to give shoes to them.

The Rev. Gary C. Redding, the senior pastor of North Augusta First Baptist, directed all comment Wednesday to Aiken County school officials.

Aiken County schools Superintendent Bill Gallman on Wednesday again denied that any proselytizing and foot-washing by ministry volunteers has occurred. Students are provided sanitary wipes to clean their feet.

Jeremy Leaming, a spokesman for Americans United, said Wednesday that the group received Aiken County's response and found it unsatisfactory.

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mastersmoney
0
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mastersmoney 12/13/07 - 02:08 am
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What a joke: Another

What a joke: Another organization formed just to bring strife and turmoil to life. Who cares if they mention Jesus. If you believe in Him, then listen, if you dont believe in Him, then dont. Is it against policy to pray in your own mind quietly and thank the Lord for the shoes? Or can a child be punished because he didnt wait until he got home to thank the Lord. What is this world coming to? Why cant everyone just be nice to each other? If you dont like something someone does, just dont participate. Why form a group to cause problems? Afterall, isnt that kind of hipocritical? I mean you dont like something someone is doing and you form a group to protest that very thing. Can I form a group to protest your protest of feet washing?

pablanco
0
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pablanco 12/13/07 - 02:17 am
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What would Jesus do?

What would Jesus do?

mutt
2
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mutt 12/13/07 - 05:17 am
0
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The Bible says that a day

The Bible says that a day will come when the world will call what is
good evil and what is evil good. Let's see now, fornication good,
abstaining until marriage bad, getting married and taking
responsibility for you illegitamate child.....bad, adultary, abortion,
divorce........all good. Marriage is a trap unless it's homosexual then
it's a beautiful thing. Young people in drug dealing murderous street
gangs are just miss understood, but the boyscouts who teach
responsibility, and morals and civic pride and duty are intollerant
destroyers of the minds of young people. Islamic religious terrorist
bent on the overthrow of all nations of the world, and the
implimentation of their intolerant laws is an acceptable thing, but
peaceful Christians giving away shoes is bad. Conversion to Islam by
the sword is nothing to fear, but the peaceful preaching of Christ's
love and sacrifice is bad. HMMMMMMMM maybe the Bible isn't BS after all.

sTiCkMaN
0
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sTiCkMaN 12/13/07 - 06:26 am
0
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what a shame. the school

what a shame. the school officials are a joke.

shivas
2
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shivas 12/13/07 - 06:37 am
0
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Mutt, you are making things

Mutt, you are making things up. I think the shoe giveaway is fine as long as there are no religious rituals. School officials acted accordingly.

peonynut
2
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peonynut 12/13/07 - 06:46 am
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If they are so worried about

If they are so worried about the church and state issue there are a lot more rituals that could be attacked. Oh, say, prayers in court or before every opening of the senate or the mayor's prayer breakfast or the gov.'s prayer for rain vigil. This is just stupid the one they picked to protest. What? No other way to get their 15 minutes of fame?

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 12/13/07 - 06:50 am
0
0
The school officials always

The school officials always bow to the church of atheism. I'm surprised that's the only religion they recognize. Shivas, it's nice to see your version of socialism has some strings tied to it. Free stuff only if you think it's free. What a hypocritical p.o.v..

kiddspur
2
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kiddspur 12/13/07 - 07:03 am
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If it was some of the United

If it was some of the United Bunch's kids receiving the shoes they would be singing a different story!!!!! There are still people today who try to help but sometimes you wonder why when grups like the United interfere.

createyourfuture
68
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createyourfuture 12/13/07 - 07:33 am
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Thoughts: mutt has forgotten

Thoughts:

mutt has forgotten commandments 1 and 2.
shivas has a point. The point is that giving to the poor should not have strings attached. Jesus never did. When giving to the poor and homeless, what they choose to do with the money is not under our control. The point is: you gave.
I see nothing wrong with cleaning off the feet as a part of the renewal of getting new shoes. Some of these feet are nasty.
Finally, why is it always the children who bear the brunt of these arguments? AGAIN, if we had school choice, this entire argument would disappear.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 12/13/07 - 07:59 am
0
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Cutting off your nose in

Cutting off your nose in spite of your face. 12,000 pairs of shoes for the needy and an issue has to be made of the intent. God forbid we want help anybody. "Well little Jimmy God wanted you to have a new pair of shoes but the mean ole atheists took em away." You have to watch these Christians because they are like Hamas offering aid only to take advantage-they want your soul. Of course if atheist give shoes away then they are trying to convert you to atheism. Jeez.

boys24
0
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boys24 12/13/07 - 08:02 am
0
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Reallybugged... are you

Reallybugged... are you satisfied now?

FedUp
0
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FedUp 12/13/07 - 08:12 am
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They send letters to the

They send letters to the parents asking for PERMISSION...they ASK the parents if their child can PARTICIPATE!!! So, what is the problem?! It would be different, in my opinion, if the parents were not asked first. Then, I could see it being an issue with that particular child's beliefs/disbeliefs. Thank GOD my child does not "qualify" for these offerings because I am BLESSED enough to afford to buy him new shoes when he needs them, BUT if it were my child I'd be BLESSED even more by someone giving my child a new pair of shoes in a time of need...especially around Christmas. Besides, they've been doing it for 6 years so why are those people just now complaining about it?! Surely, if it offended someone (a child or a parent of a child who has participated) there would have been complaints made before now?!

Phish
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Phish 12/13/07 - 08:20 am
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createyourfuture that was

createyourfuture that was pretty good "giving to the poor with no strings attached" get it, shoes, strings attached Ha Ha The point is there were no "strins attached until these God hating nothing better to do activist who "violate" commandment 1 & 2 opened there mouth If atheist don't beleive in God what are they worried about? Personally I don't beleive in atheist, everybody has a god!!! There is only one true living God, The God of the Bible. If you don't beleive that is true that's your problem. Just because you don't beleive doesn't make it any less true!!! I also defy you to find a LAW that says anything about the seperation of church and state

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 12/13/07 - 08:22 am
0
0
I'm getting tired of this PC

I'm getting tired of this PC crap. It's like these pieces of pondscum that are gang members, or some other kind of criminal. We have all put up with them even being around us, for way too long. As I have said before, it is time for we law-abiding citizens to take back our streets, our neighborhoods, and our very lives. Let Americans United, with their "reverend" protest, and have the guts to tell them to shut up and sit down. WE outnumber THEM... Way to go First Baptist of North Augusta, and anyone else who tries to make things better. As I said yesterday, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 12/13/07 - 08:24 am
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createyourfuture, shivas does

createyourfuture, shivas does have a string. The anti-Christian string. He plucks on it every day on this site.

mojo
0
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mojo 12/13/07 - 08:38 am
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well said pt - as for the

well said pt - as for the freak group with the 'Rev' at the forefront - last I checked they'd don't have a dog in this hunt - a national organization like this can't bring a lawsuit - they'll have to find a parent/child who's been 'wronged' and offer to pursue their case - then there's the pesky little issue that you have to prove economic damage to win a civil lawsuit - exactly what economic damage is caused by washing someone's feet and giving them a new pair of shoes? The real damage comes from the distraction to the school system and what will very likely be significant legal bills as they formulate responses to these freaks. Guess we should just listen to shivas and let the children go without.

ruach
0
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ruach 12/13/07 - 08:38 am
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createyourfuture: what does

createyourfuture: what does commandments 1 and 2 have to do with what mutt said?? I think he has a valid point i.e. what is good is considered evil, what is evil is proclaimed as good.

yesyes
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yesyes 12/13/07 - 08:42 am
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If Americans United doesn't

If Americans United doesn't like the how the Laces 4 Love is giving away free shoes why don't they donate shoes and give them away how they see fit? But no these are people who want to complain and not help out their fellow man.

Edward1968
624
Points
Edward1968 12/13/07 - 08:50 am
0
0
Beacuse a few don't believe,

Beacuse a few don't believe, we, the majority, must not show that we do believe. How rediculous this world is becoming.

sanders20
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sanders20 12/13/07 - 08:52 am
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Laces 4 love is a great idea.

Laces 4 love is a great idea. nothing is better than giving instead of recieving...but you have to remember that the constitution was written for all americans...not just christians. hence the seperation of church and state. if you want religion in school...send you child to a private school.

shivas
2
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shivas 12/13/07 - 08:53 am
0
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I'm not anti-christian, but

I'm not anti-christian, but rather a person who believes in what our founding fathers tried to create. I attend church every Sunday. My children participate in all the church programs and activities. In these posts, I put down people who use religion as a crutch and as a means to increase their own wealth. People who use christianity to support their political doctrine. I point out issues such as Oral Roberts University, the molestation scandal with the Catholic church, televangelists who make wild claims and ask for prayer donations. Some believe this is being anti-christian, but I tend to believe the opposite. As someone said yesterday, what would we say if the Nation of Islam was sponsering this shoe giveaway rather than First Baptist? I think I would say the same thing: As long as they keep religious doctrine out then it would be OK.

sanders20
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sanders20 12/13/07 - 08:58 am
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well put shivas

well put shivas

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/13/07 - 09:01 am
0
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What I find amazing is that

What I find amazing is that the school responded to the complaint and told the AU that no footwashing took place. The students were given wipes to clean their feet before putting on new socks and shoes. The AU found the response unsatisfactory. What do they want? Keep complaining until they get the answer they want to hear. If the whole problem was the foot washing ritual and the school superintendent said no foot washing took place then whats all the fuss about. Satan is really at work!

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 12/13/07 - 09:02 am
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Reminds me of the people who

Reminds me of the people who complain "on behalf of" the poor who get fed in mission kitchens, the ACLU-wannabees don't want them to be "obligated" to hear a prayer. Doesn't seem to bother the guys eating the soup. I don't have any facts I didn't get from the news, but it sounds to me like the "ritual washing" involves giving the kid a handi-wipe before he puts on his new socks and shoes. Let's imagine for a moment, though, that the Loony Libbies' allegations are 100% factual, that in fact a religious group does in fact want to do a ritual washing of the child's feet before giving him a new pair of shoes. Well, A) in our wonderful "separation of church and state" society, a number of public buildings are being required to build foot baths for Muslims, who will in fact use them in a religious, ritual bathing of their feet. B) If I'm a parent who cannot afford to buy shoes for my child, I'll accept the shoes, send a nice thank you note, then continue to take my child to church, or not, as I see fit. C) "separation of church and state" doesn't mean what the ACLU thinks it does, and it CERTAINLY doesn't mean that the donors can't say a prayer for the recipients, or wash their feet.

sarahsmom
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sarahsmom 12/13/07 - 09:11 am
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What these left wing nuts

What these left wing nuts don't get is is Freedom OF religon, not FROM religion. Show me in the constitution where is actually says that there is to be a "speration of Church and state", it doesn't! We were founded on religious FREEDOM, a freedom of choice. Thomas Jefferson wrote about seperaton of church and state in a letter its not in the constitution! These people need to get a life if they want a pet project then why not fight for the children with deadbeat parents, then maybe some wouldn't need the church to help. I think its a wonderful ministry, and if the parents are ask permission, then so what, its THEIR right as a parent to say what happens with their child. Go away, American's united for seperation of church and state, we don't want you here, try Californnia or the New England states, I understand they love you in those areas.

john
1193
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john 12/13/07 - 09:27 am
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Americans united reminds me

Americans united reminds me of other groups that only see what they want to see. The schools and charity say it is not ceremonial foot washing. They are the ones conducting the program! Americans united beleives it is something else. No context, no perspective. To the self declared offended goes the cowering in our society. Sound familiar? AU for SCS should focus on important things like why I cant buy a beer on Sunday.

SunDown
2
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SunDown 12/13/07 - 09:30 am
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I don't see the big deal

I don't see the big deal here. Before anyone attacks me... for the record it is more than obvious that this country (in fact the world) had become intolerant of Christians. We are asked to endure (and even embrace) all sorts of vile crap but simply mention Jesus while handing out shoes and the world apparently comes to an end. Intolerance is an understatement. That being said... Is it really surprise anyone that a "public" school would disallow a religious ritual. To me it doesn't even warrant the raising of an eyebrow. What does impress me however is this church. They care enough about their community and the kids in it that they take it upon themselves to hand out shoes to children that need them. To me actions have always spoken louder than words, and I would think this church would happily forgoe the rituals to simply provide the shoes.

SunDown
2
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SunDown 12/13/07 - 09:33 am
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sarahsmom... DITTO!!!!!!!

sarahsmom... DITTO!!!!!!!

Newsreader
11
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Newsreader 12/13/07 - 09:38 am
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I think the real point is

I think the real point is that a group is helping parents put a true present under the tree. I remember opening a present every year prior to getting dressed for midnight mass. This present always contained some type of clothing, shoes, or a belt. Not a toy, but something to wear to mass. Then while at mass, some civic group would bring toys to the house. For me there was a real Santa, and he belonged to the Jaycees and/or the Loins Club. For these children he belongs to First Baptist. If someone else buys the shoes, then Mom can afford to buy the toy. As for the washing of the feet, I am sure that Mark Owens was using artist license and the washing of the feet is not very ritualist. However, I hope that the children are given something to clean their feet and help doing it if necessary. New shoes on dirty feet will not seem new very long. And yes the Constitution does allow religious freedom, including choosing not to worship. It does prevent a government run church as the forefathers were running from in their old countries. The founders of this country would have never turned their backs on the poor, and would be proud to provide shoes to the needy, especially in the name of God

reallybugged
0
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reallybugged 12/13/07 - 09:41 am
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First, I would like to thank

First, I would like to thank those that invited me to their churches, and the blogger that said that they would not see me in heaven because I would not be there (not that you were being judgemental). Second, my family and I are happy members of a local Christian Church (Romney for President). I truly am not happy that the kids are not getting their shoes. I just really think there was a better way giving away the shoes. I want laces 4 love to be successful in placing new shoes on kids that need them. I was not so concerened about the message that was given to the children, I was more concerned about the way it was done, and the opportunity it gave to organizations that might have less than holy intentions. I know that there were permission slips given to the parents, however once an organization is on school property, can you really control what materials are given out to kids that did have the permission slip.
Please cloth the naked, feed the hungry, house the homeless, be charitable find the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you

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