21 September 2005

Why Are The Holding Out?

An 8 year old girl selected a song to sing in her school's talent show. The restrictions on the acts in the talent show were that all the music and other content must be G-rated. Olivia Turton selected, Awesome God, a very popular modern Christian song to sing for her act. She was permitted to practice her song only to find out on the night of the talent show that she would not be permitted to sing it.
c-n.com reports:

On the day of the talent show, a federal judge declined an emergency request to compel the school to let Olivia sing "Awesome God." After hearing arguments in Trenton, U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler said he refused to decide "a complex constitutional issue at the 11th hour," said attorney Demetrios K. Stratis, who is representing the child.

But guess what happens next? You'll never believe what happens. I'll let c-n.com tell you the good news.
The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union announced Tuesday that it has asked to participate in the case of a second-grader prevented from singing a religious song at a public school talent show. The organization filed a motion Monday, backing the views of 8-year-old Olivia Turton, who was prevented by school administrators from singing "Awesome God" at a voluntary, after-school talent show. Jennifer Klear, the organization's cooperating attorney with the New York-based law firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath, said in a prepared statement, "There is a distinction between speech by a school and speech by individual students. The Constitution protects a student's individual right to express herself, including the right to express herself religiously." Russel Weiss Jr., the school board's attorney, said Tuesday that he was unaware of the organization's motion and plans to release a statement later this week. "The school's position is that it did not violate the student's First Amendment rights, and the school acted properly in rejecting the use of the song ... because of it's overtly religious nature." The lawsuit, also brought with the support of the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal advocacy group based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has argued that the constitutional separation of church and state does not restrict an individual's religious speech. Joyce Brennan, the school's superintendent, did not return a phone call for comment.
So this raises a question. Why is the school board holding out? For the love of Pete, they have the ADF AND the ACLU on them over this. It is not that often that these two organizations are in agreement over a question of public expression of religious beliefs. And much more rare that Stop The ACLU and the ACLU are on the same page on a subject. But still the school board is holding out. They must be fools.
Blogger's 1st Amendment Pledge If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules. Gribbit is a contributing writer at Stop The ACLU and the co-founder and administrator of Stop The ACLU BlogBurst.

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