The ACLU bails out Jeremiah

jeremiahAt least once a year, it seems, the ACLU supports a case that defies the expectations of its tougher critics. A few months ago, for instance, the group defended Rush Limbaugh’s right to keep his medical records private.

Now the ACLU has prevailed in a case that will challenge its holiday image as the Grinch. Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki, education writer for the Detroit Free Press, led her report with the man-bites-dog angle of the ACLU’s defending a valedictorian whose biblical citation disappeared from a school yearbook.

Abby Moler, the 2001 valedictorian of Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights, had tried to quote from Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Walsh-Sarnecki reports on the ACLU’s flat-footed explanation:

“The Supreme Court has said there can be school oversight in official publications, but the schools still have to honor the constitutional rights of their students,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan.

. . . “There are reasonable limits the schools can place, and potential for disruption is one reason a school might be able to limit certain speech,” Moss said.

“But that wasn’t what happened here. This was a student’s personal views, which happened to involve religious expressions.”

The story would have been livelier with responses from the ACLU’s upstart nemesis, the ACLJ, The Rutherford Institute, American Atheists or the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

But Walsh-Sarnecki broke the story, and has single-handedly gladdened many hearts.

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  • Rong

    Just when you thought you knew who the enemy was.

  • MrAcheson

    Yeah I hear Satan called and he wants a word with them about turning off his heat.

  • tmatt

    Still, isn’t it amazing that the reporter didn’t get the legal cases stated by the voices on the RIGHT as well as the left?

    And here is my other question: Would it have made any difference if the passage was from the New Testament? What if this student had wanted to salute John 14:6? “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”

    That would have given us a real test on the issue of offensive speech.

  • Greg

    I Went to a Highschool in Southern Cali where the ACLU was involved in a Lawsuit for Christian Rights.. Too Bad they Lost. But its good to see Some Christian Free Speach Rights being Defended even if its by the ACLU…Heres What Happened at my High School.

  • emc

    Call me jaded, but if I were running a diabolical organization, determined to destroy a powerful but well-behaved institution, every once in a while I would season my relentless assault with a small gesture of evenhandedness. This would serve two purposes: 1)make those who knew that my goal was the destruction of the institution look like they were cranks, and 2)lull the masses into thinking my diabolical organization “really wasn’t so bad…”

    Then I’d go on my way, and file another few hundred lawsuits directed at expunging any reference to Christianity from the public square, and pretty soon the elites on the Supreme Court will have declared that no yearbook can have such a reference anyway…