You hear all the time that the ACLU is just a group of liberal atheists, but members of the organization (I’m one of them) and those who simply pay attention to what they do know otherwise.
Case in point: Christian athletes at Floyd County High School in Virginia put copies of the Ten Commandments up on their lockers, but the administrators put a stop to that:
This time, members of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Floyd County High School say administrators tore down taped copies of the Ten Commandments from more than 50 lockers on Wednesday.
“We really wanted to set it up as an example,” said FCA member Andrew Harris.
“Birthday wishes, things like that seem to go up without an approval stamp,” said Harris.
School officials would not confirm to WSLS what happened, but did reveal their policy on posting to lockers. Principal Barry Hollandsworth said while approval is needed for flyers and announcements, he said notes such as happy birthday and well wishes for sports games do not need approval.
Obviously, the school can’t hang up Christian signs out of nowhere, but why are they stopping individuals from doing the same (when other personal signs are allowed)?
“Schools have the authority to ban all displays on school property,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “But if a school allows students to post some kinds of personal messages on their lockers, it must also allow other kinds of messages, including those that have religious content.”
“The removal of the Ten Commandments from student lockers at Floyd County High School appears to violate the First Amendment rights of students by discriminating against religious expression,” added Willis.
In her letter to Principal Barry Hollandsworth, ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca K. Glenberg draws a distinction between school-imposed religious expression, such as that which occurred in nearby Giles County, and the personal religions expression of students.
“The Supreme Court recognizes the difference between school officials’ imposing religious messages on students, which violates the establishment clause, and school officials allowing students to express their own views on religion in situations that are not school-organized or sponsored,” said Glenberg.
It’s the right decision, and it’s just another example of the ACLU standing up for civil rights, regardless of the situation. You don’t have to agree with what the Christian athletes are promoting, but they have a right to express themselves that way.
Remember this case when anyone accuses the ACLU of being sympathetic only to godless liberals.