ACLU is clear on Bibles in schools
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”Law scholars debate the interpretation of this sentence in practice, but the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) gives clear direction in its Legal Bulletin dated 03/11/02: “it is one of the fundamental principals of the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence that the Constitution forbids not only state practices that ‘aid one religion … or prefer one religion over another,’ but also those practices that ‘aid all religions’ and thus endorse or prefer religion over nonreligion.'” Litigants have aggressively contested the distribution of Bibles in public schools during the past 60 years. Judgments falling on both sides of the issue are abundant. No doubt a great deal of money has been, and will continue to be spent litigating this issue. Sitting at the iceberg’s tip of relevant information on Court precedent is the ACLU’s web page: http://www.aclu.org/religion/gen/6037. I urge you to read it.Summit School District’s ultimate goal, I believe, is to remain equitable, and unexposed, from a legal standpoint. Allowing the Gideons to distribute religious materials to students seems implicit endorsement. And though Federal Courts have specifically mandated that the Establishment Clause prohibits school officials from allowing Gideons to distribute Bibles to elementary school children only, my gut tells me that all our children have the right to be protected by this “wall of separation.” With all due respect, the School District’s attorney, Dick Lyons, might do well to consult with the ACLU and research precedent.As th ACLU points out, “it is well established that freedom of speech for individuals and religious groups to engage in religious expression must be subordinated to Establishment Clause concerns where those individuals or groups seek to observe their religion in a matter that unduly involves the government.”I encourage you to research this topic. I implore you to ask tough questions. I suggest you listen to your gut. Respectfully , I submit my concern to all parents, School Board members, and the Summit School District regarding the School District’s current decision on Bible distribution in our public schools.
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