Here at Slabbed we’re the proverbial tip of the spear on the topic of other countries trying to force their speech mores on our constitutionally guaranteed rights here in the US. Just a few weeks ago the cartoon series South Park was banned in China because of a side-splitting funny episode involving Randy Marsh selling his Colorado weed there. Very recently the subject reared its head again with the NBA, Lebron and Enes Kanter, again with China and Chinese censors as the focal point. Lebron wants everyone to shut up and count the money while Kanter understands that Freedom is not free. When it comes to political expression (or covering a crooked local politician) I personally don’t give a damn what the Chinese think.
Last week there was a dust up at the Bay-Waveland School District involving a family that is not religious (whose name was mentioned in comments here) and the “establishment clause”, one of the 6 rights contained in the first amendment:
(1) the right to be free from governmental establishment of religion (the “Establishment Clause”)
(2) the right to be free from governmental interference with the practice of religion (the “Free Exercise Clause”)
(3) the right to free speech
(4) the right to freedom of the press
(5) the right to assemble peacefully (which includes the right to associate freely with whomever one chooses)
(6) the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Some of the complaints listed by Appignani Humanist Legal Center of the American Humanist Association have legal legs as teachers should refrain from sharing their religious views in the school house. Outside of the school house is a different story which would explain why Reverend Reed pushed back so hard against the notion that a voluntary prayer breakfast his church hosts for the football team crosses any lines because it doesn’t in my opinion.
All that aside, as a practical matter commenter BJ summed it up best because trying to take prayer out of a deep south public school is like an endless game of whack-a-mole:
I’ve seen this play out. They won’t get their way, this totally underrepresented legal group will come up with a bogus suit, the school will pay out nothing to the plaintiffs, the school will spend some money to defend the action that may lead to a policy change … but the policy change will never be enforced, because what I know, we are and will remain a praying community.
There is a tension between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Best case here is for the complaining parents and the school district to work things out among themselves. When a public interest group gets involved the chances of that do not seem likely. We’ll be keeping an eye peeled on this story.