The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is launching inaccurate missives against religious freedom on school campuses again.
The ACLU introduced a new campaign, dubbed "Religious Freedom Goes to School," that insists public schools should pattern their religious freedom school policies after a single settlement it reached in a lawsuit against the Chesterfield County School District in South Carolina.
The settlement may have put an end to various religious activities within the district. But it doesn’t give the ACLU any right to set blanket mandates about limits on the religious freedom of students and teachers.
“The Constitution should be the only permission slip students need to exercise their freedom of religion,” said ADF 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.”
The ADF 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,” adds 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.”
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