I go to high school in a small Texas town, and we have something called "meet you at the poll". It's just a crappy christian gathering in front of the school around the flag poll. Now, they sometimes use the intercom to announce it (which I know is illegal because it is government property being used to communicate the event and next time this happens I will bring it to the principal and school board), and there has also been group prayers before some sports games led over loud speakers (which when it happens I will bring it up as well).
These things don't seem to be a big deal to ANYONE in my small town except myself. Yep, you guessed it, there is ONE church for all ~2,300 townspeople to worship so it doesn't bother them. Anyone else in small towns seem to see this same trend of the town being subconsciously ran by the church?
(and believe I'm the only atheist in my town, so if your around North Texas, pm or email me, cuz I would love to chat about the area!)
Look, it's not just about exclusion, exclusion just happens to be the most used example of why this behavior is unacceptable. A number of other issues are party to this discussion, such as interference with a public learning institutions stated mission, preferential treatment, pressure to conform... You contend that no one has been raped, I'm telling you that it has, and is still occurring, if there were no one complaining all that would mean is that they didn't know they were involved in a rape. It still doesn't excuse the crime.
One final thought before bed. How would you know whether someone was being excluded or not? Do you not think there is an element of intimidation, the threat of ostracization, for anyone who might believe differently in such a homogenous community? Can you concede the possibility that others, Catholics, Jews, Agnostics, Deists, Atheists, whatever, have gone through this system and not said a word because they were afraid of some sort of reprisal? As I stated earlier the law isn't just about actual damages, it is about the potential for harm, surely you must recognized that the punishment for crime is meant as a deterrent. The government recognizes the danger of this type of behavior, and has expressly and specifically forbade it.
Hey, I agree with you. You just have to throw reality at my hypothetical community don't you (there weren't any wandering deists in there). I admit my perfect little community is pretty far-fetched.
Graduation prayers and benedictions student led or otherwise are illegal. The word "God" is not. The courts have recognized the difference between an expression of personal opinion, ie "I am grateful to God for the opportunity, success..etc" and prayer. In one you are asking everyone to participate in your faith, in the other you are asking them to acknowledge it.
Small towns in Arkansas are horrible!!! Stuttgart, Arkansas is not the place for an Atheist.