Breaking Through Religious Discrimination Barriers: One Case at a Time

Oct 6, 2004

ORLANDO, FL -- Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to preserving religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family, has recently won several important victories involving the First Amendment rights of elementary school children, religious organizations and public officials.

Arizona - Distribution of Literature
A six-year-old boy at a charter public school in Arizona wanted to invite his school friends to a kids crusade at his church. When he attempted to pass out flyers to inform his classmates about the event, the school director confiscated the flyers and discarded them in the trash, claiming they could not be distributed at school. After Liberty Counsel wrote a letter to the principal informing him that the director's actions violated the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, the boy was allowed to share the literature with other students.

Wisconsin - Access to School Facilities

Child Evangelism Fellowship ("CEF") contacted Liberty Counsel for help in obtaining access to several school systems in Wisconsin to distribute flyers promoting CEF's Good News Clubs. Good News Clubs are after-school clubs that teach moral and character development from a Christian perspective. One school district would not allow the distribution of the flyers on school grounds due to religious content. Liberty Counsel wrote a letter to the school district advising them of CEF's constitutional right to promote its meetings at the schools. The school district responded by agreeing to allow the flyers to be distributed.

Pennsylvania -- Prayer at Public Assemblies
Someone objected to the use of the word "Lord" in a prayer offered by a city council member at a council meeting. A council member called Liberty Counsel for assistance to see whether using the word "Lord" was permitted. Liberty Counsel sent a letter and memo on legislative prayer. The person who objected to the use of the word "Lord" withdrew opposition and the council members are again free from censorship.

Mat Staver, President and of General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, commented on these victories. "School officials need to be reminded that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. Denial of a group's request to distribute literature because of the group's religious viewpoint is blatantly unconstitutional. City council members should not face censorship, especially since Congress begins each session with similar prayers." Staver concluded, "We will continue to vigorously defend the free speech rights of students, religious groups and public officials."