Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Federal judge rules school violated constitutional rights of Christian student (OneNewsNow.com)

Posted at One News Now.
A federal court has struck down the policy of a public school in New York state that didn't allow a fourth-grader to distribute religious flyers during non-instructional time.

Three years ago, Michaela Bloodgood was a fourth-grader at Nate Perry Elementary School in Liverpool, New York. She asked permission to distribute, during non-instructional time, a flyer that she had written to her friends and classmates. The flyer shared how Christ had saved her and had also healed her parents' marriage.

But school officials said Michaela could not hand out the flyers because people might think the school was endorsing a religious message. The school also cited as reasons the potential for divisiveness and litter, and banned all literature distribution by students. Liberty Counsel sued, claiming the school's policy was unconstitutional -- and on Friday, a federal judge agreed with that claim.

The lawsuit contended that the school cannot totally ban literature distribution by students during non-instructional time any more than it can ban verbal communication without violating the First Amendment. Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver says school officials had no right to silence Michaela's personal Christian testimony because "[she] was simply attempting to express to her friends how Jesus changed her life."

Staver says the school's actions could have had a negative impact on the girl. "It would have been a negative scar that she would have carried with her for the rest of her life," the attorney explains. But now, "the doors for the gospel have been blown wide open," Staver states.

She and her parents "stood in the gap at the right time" and "stood up for what's right," he adds. "And now even a fourth-grader, she's learned, can make a difference for Christ."

The Constitution is designed to limit the powers of Government, and to protect religious freedoms, not to restrict religious freedoms under the perceived power of the Government.

This is a good call on the part of the Federal Judge. My hat's off.

No comments: