ACLU distorts religious freedom in new public school intimidation campaign
Alliance Defending Freedom sends letters to SC public schools to debunk misleading advice
Monday, September 10, 2012
Attorney sound bite: Matt Sharp
“The Constitution should be the only permission slip students need to exercise their freedom of religion,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The ACLU’s ‘Religious Freedom Goes to School’ campaign paints a restrictive picture of the freedoms for students, teachers, and school administrators that the First Amendment protects. School districts in South Carolina should be wary of taking advice about religious freedom from an organization that frequently seeks to give that freedom a backseat to their own social and political agenda.”
According to the ACLU’s campaign, public schools should pattern their religious freedom school policies after a single settlement that the ACLU reached in a lawsuit against the Chesterfield County School District. The settlement put an end to various religious activities within the district.
But as the Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains, the settlement in that isolated lawsuit “does not accurately represent the current law on First Amendment rights” and “school districts have nothing to fear in permitting the free exercise of these rights.”
The letter also notes that the ACLU “has a long history of being on the wrong side of religious liberty.” Despite the ACLU’s claims, the letter explains the freedom religious student groups have to access school facilities and distribute literature on an equal basis with other groups and the freedom of students to lead prayer at school events. The letter also addresses the truth about the religious expression of teachers, coaches, and administrators and the objective use of the Bible and other religious texts at school.
“We hope our letter clarifies the true extent of the First Amendment freedoms of students and schools,” added Sharp. “Public schools are supposed to serve as institutions of learning where free speech is protected. They should not be places of indoctrination that are hostile to religion.”
Summerville, S.C., attorney P. Brandt Shelbourne, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, is assisting as local counsel.
- Sample of Alliance Defending Freedom letter sent to South Carolina school districts
- Sample of ACLU letter sent to South Carolina school districts
- South Carolina Education Head Opposes ACLU’s Religious Freedom Campaign (patheos.com)
- ACLU Tells Public Schools It’s Monitoring School Prayer Complaints (blogs.wsj.com)
- A Back-to-School Fight Over the Right to Classroom Prayer (ideas.time.com)
- Too bad, ACLU! The Bible’s back in school (wnd.com)
Posted on September 11, 2012, in Church & State and tagged ACLU, Alliance Defending Freedom, American Civil Liberties Union, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Freedom of religion. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.