A student-made poster containing the phrase “God is dead” has created quite a stir in Newton, Ga. This week, Liberty Institute weighed in on the subject, sending a letter to school officials to inform them of the legal issues involved in allowing the poster to be displayed.
Reportedly, a student at Alcovy High School created the artwork as part of an assignment after reading the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
Several parents expressed concern about the poster, with one parent starting a Facebook page, “God is Alive in Newton,” which has gained more than 1,700 “likes.”
The school district told media outlets that thousands of students read the book each year and that the project is meant as a reflection of the play, not as a religious statement. The district said teachers would meet with students to explain the context of the poster to avoid further issue.
Liberty’s letter informed the school that while it may permit the “God is dead” poster, it must treat various religious views on campus neutrally.
“Ultimately, then, the Newton County School System may either remove the 'God is Dead!' poster or permit it to remain while also allowing other students to display 'God is Alive!' or equivalent posters if they so desire," the letter said. "What the school district may not do, however, is treat differing religious viewpoints differently and permit the 'God is Dead!' poster while prohibiting students from displaying a 'God is Alive!' poster. Taking this course of action would demonstrate hostility towards religion and violate the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion granted by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”