US Supreme Court May Decide Christian Soccer Suit

legal battle over first amendment

What's the harm in Christian soccer camps? That's what Liberty Counsel wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.

Liberty Counsel on Tuesday filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Victory Through Jesus Ministry Foundation in its lawsuit against Lee's Summit School District. Victory offers Victory Soccer Camp, a Christian summer sports camp program, throughout the Midwest. The district refused to include the soccer camp's flyers along with the other information given to students about secular community activities for youth.

The petition asks the High Court to review the decision of the federal court of appeals, which incorrectly held that a school district's granting access to a "backpack flyers" literature distribution forum to dozens of special interest groups did not open up a forum for similar groups to distribute information to students. The court also incorrectly concluded that a policy, under which school administrators could decide that literature could be distributed based upon a "symbiotic" relationship with the district, an official's affiliation with the organization, or "to be fair," was a reasonable and objective policy that did not vest unbridled discretion in school officials.

The district discriminated against Victory by allowing other nonprofit organizations, including another local soccer program, to be promoted through take-home flyers placed in the students' backpacks. The district refused to allow the Victory flyers to be distributed, because the organization is not on the district's list of approved nonreligious organizations. The district's censorship of the flyers is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

"Christian organizations must receive equal treatment under the law," says Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "Religious speech is not an orphan to the First Amendment. These are simple and settled concepts. What possible reason, other than pure censorship, could there be for banning flyers announcing a Christian camp while allowing flyers announcing secular camps?"

The Supreme Court returns to session the first week of October. Later this fall the High Court will decide whether to review the case during this term.

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