Saturday, May 05, 2012

Christians of Faith Shouldn't be on School Boards: ACLU

The ACLU is asking a federal court in Virginia to declare the Ten Commandments unconstitutional in Narrows High School (Giles County) because a school board member admitted that he voted to allow display of the privately donated document because of his Christian faith. The ACLU is arguing that the school's position in the case is a "smoke screen" to hide the board's religious-based motivations.

UPDATE 7/9/12: Compromise puts America's Christian foundation on display (video):

UPDATE 6/1/12: School board quietly votes to remove Ten Commandments

UPDATE 5/16/12: Judge suggests compromise settlement of dropping first four Commandments (post only last six Commandments)

-- From "Judge to hear case of Commandments in Va. schools" by The Associated Press 5/4/12

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is suing on behalf of a student to remove the Ten Commandments from Narrows High School, saying the display violates the First Amendment's protection against government endorsement of religion. The Giles County School Board, represented by Liberty Counsel, has argued that the Ten Commandments are part of a larger presentation that includes other key historical documents.

Both sides will appear Monday before U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski in Roanoke, asking him to rule in the case without going to trial. Urbanski previously has said he was interested in resolving the issue before the upcoming school year.

The board is asking Urbanski to rule in its favor, arguing that a private citizen put up the display and the school district didn't use public money to pay for it. It also argued that because the commandments were integrated among other historical documents, it isn't an official endorsement of religion but are part of teaching history.

The school board is seeking to strike depositions of several board members and others, along with numerous other pieces of evidence that plaintiffs presented describing the community's support of the displays on religious grounds. The ACLU has argued that community reactions and board members' testimony is relevant to demonstrating its contention that the purpose behind displaying the commandments is religious

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Judge urged to make quick ruling on Giles County display of Ten Commandments" by Laurence Hammack, Roanoke Times 4/13/12

While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that placing the Ten Commandments in schools is an illegal form of government-sanctioned religion, attorneys for Liberty Counsel are arguing there are key differences between that case and the one at hand.

Most importantly, they say, both the Ten Commandments and the other documents are part of the school curriculum in Giles County.

The U.S. history textbook used by the county states that values found in the Bible, including the Ten Commandments, inspired American ideas about government and morality.

However, the ACLU argues that the school board responded to a public outcry about religion — not history — when it voted 3-2 last June to put the multi-document display up at Narrows High School.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ACLU Puts Ten Commandments on Trial" by Liberty Counsel 5/4/12

ACLU of Virginia sued the Giles County School Board after the Board adopted an open forum policy, which permits the display of historical documents by private individuals or groups. A privately-sponsored historical document display consisting of eleven documents, one of which is the Ten Commandments, in equally-sized frames was posted in Narrows High School.

The Virginia Standards of Learning requires students to know about the foundational principles of civilizations, including the Hebrews, and the foundations of law and government. Secular textbooks published by Prentice Hall and McGraw-Hill trace the roots of democracy and law and specifically refer to the Ten Commandments and many of the documents posted as part of the Foundations Display.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ACLU: Christianity has no place on school board" by Drew ZahnEmail, World Net Daily 5/4/12

. . . according to The Roanoke Times, one of the ACLU’s arguments against the display is a school board member’s admission that he voted to allow the donation based on his own Christian beliefs.

The case Doe v. School Board of Giles County began in 2010, when the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a complaint over a long-standing display of the Ten Commandments hung at Narrows High School, in Narrows, Va.

. . . despite federal court rulings finding such inclusive displays within constitutional bounds, the ACLU filed suit based in part, according to the [Roanoke Times], on the community’s outcry over the original removal of the 10 Commandments and School Board Member Joseph Gollehon’s admission – when asked if he voted for the display because he was a Christian – “It had right much to do with it.”

But according to Liberty Counsel, which is representing the school board in the case, the actions the board took are entirely constitutional, whether the members happen to be Christian or not.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.