Is there Religious Discrimination in Oregon?

By Jeannie St. John Taylor
Oregon Author of Culture-Proof Kids

An Oregon author I know has spoken at conferences from New Mexico to Florida and presented programs in public schools in Michigan and Illinois. But the Portland Public schools she has approached rejected her out of hand – even though she offered to speak at no charge and schools customarily pay big bucks to get author-speakers.

Schools refused to invite her to speak as soon as they saw the Christian titles of her books. One school secretary actually slid the author’s brochure across the counter with two fingers as though it was contaminated with anthrax. “We don’t allow religion,” she said.

“Then why did a school near here take my children to the mosque?” the author asked.

“Well, we do celebrate multiculturalism,” the secretary said, then turned her back and strode away.

Those schools didn’t turn the author down because she lacks qualifications.

• She has a degree in elementary education from a school in the Midwest and a Masters degree from an Oregon university.

• She taught public school for eight years.

• She managed to give effective presentations in the above mentioned Midwest public schools without mentioning God.

So to take away every excuse schools might use to ban her, my friend deliberately wrote a secular book about Santa Claus and a penguin and published it with a secular company. Unfortunately, the unsuspecting Canadian publisher added the words “Christmas Tree” to the title. And those two words still keep the author out of Portland schools.

The principal at the elementary school where she volunteered when her children were young told her, “We don’t want to  . . . “ The principal squirmed in his chair, looking very uncomfortable. “Um . . . seem to promote . . .” He nodded toward the offensive “C” word, unable or unwilling to say it aloud.

Okay, I’ll admit my friend’s goals may be considered unacceptable by some in the schools. She is willing to speak for free because she hopes children will like her enough to look up her books on Amazon, and maybe even buy them and learn about Jesus.

The strange thing is, there are likely Christian school teachers in those schools. They’d love to have that author at school, but they’re scared; they’re afraid to do something illegal. But how exactly would it be illegal to have a Christian author speak if she doesn’t mention God or even show her books? My friend would do it, you know.

It wouldn’t be illegal.

Discriminating against Christians is illegal, though. Isn’t it?

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