First Amendment under fire in CA

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The mother of a seventh-grader in California is suing her daughter’s school for their response to her wearing a pro-life t-shirt to school. The shirt had the word “ABORTION” in large block letters at the top. Below were two pictures of a developing fetus in utero, then a black square, with the caption, “Growing…growing…gone.”

Upon seeing the t-shirt, a school staffer forced the girl to throw away her partially-consumed breakfast and report to the principal’s office, where she was forced to remove the t-shirt and surrender it to school officials for the remainder of the day. The school claims their actions were justified because the girl’s t-shirt violated the district dress code, which forbids clothing with “suggestion of tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate subject matter.”

What?

How do pictures of a baby in utero fall into those categories?

Even the local Planned Parenthood chapter did not protest the t-shirt; their Vice President for Public Affairs had the good sense to admit that, “Even offensive speech is protected as long as it doesn’t impinge upon the rights of others.” (I’m still not sure how pictures of a baby are offensive, but at least they got the free speech part right).

Further details can be found here.

Sadly, I’m pretty sure that had this been a pro-choice, pro-gay, or pro-any other part of the left agenda t-shirt, it would have been allowed and even celebrated as an example of “tolerance,” “open-mindedness,” or another leftist buzzword. Here’s an idea, folks – unless you can be tolerant of everyone’s point of view, you’re not tolerant at all. You might even be violating their First Amendment rights.

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Religious freedom in Santa Rosa County, FL

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Kudos to the students and administrators of Pace High School in Pace, FL! At the Class of 2009’s graduation ceremonies on 4 June, the entire graduating class stood together and recited the Lord’s Prayer; some even taped crosses to the tops of their graduation caps. This was in defiance of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the ACLU, claiming that school teachers and administrators had “endorsed religion” by allowing students to pray in school.

An ACLU attorney was quoted saying, “Our feeling is that it’s regrettable that the students took over the ceremony to impose their religious views on the audience who may not have shared the same religious views. School officials have a responsibility to protect the silently held religious views of others.” In response, Principal Frank Lay refused to forbid the graduation prayer, even at the risk of his job with the school.

Since when is praying aloud imposing your religious views on someone else? Is the listener harmed simply by virtue of having heard a prayer? Were the non-participating audience members penalized for not praying or believing as the students did?

The ACLU seems to have forgotten that there are two equally important portions of the First Amendment’s establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” By suing the school (on whose behalf, by the way?) it appears that in their attempt to enforce the First Amendment, the ACLU is actually attempting to deny students’ and faculty members’ right to freely exercise their religious belief.

I hope it doesn’t offend anybody to know that I will be praying for Principal Lay and the staff of Pace High School, and thanking God for their moral courage in this situation.