Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The ACLU of Florida has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Christian students who were told they couldn’t wear t-shirts to school with the name of their church and a Bible verse on the front and “Islam is of the devil” on the back.

The suit claims the Alachua County School District was inconsistent in handling the situations at each school, with some students being allowed to wear them with the back covered up while in other cases the shirts were banned altogether.

The legal issues are pretty interesting:

Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said while the ACLU does not support the message on the T-shirts, the organization wants to protect freedom of speech in this case.

“I understand that the school district is trying to balance their legal obligations to both sides, but I think they did so incorrectly in this case,” Simon said.

Attorneys for the ACLU said at issue is whether school officials may lawfully permit what they consider to be “positive” messages about religion, faith or other matters while prohibiting what they consider to be “negative” messages about those same matters.

The messages printed on the front of the shirts – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No on goes to the Father except through me,'” and “I stand in truth with Dove World Outreach Center” – was allowed by the school district.

If you think the ACLU is wrong on this, ask yourself how you would feel if the t-shirts instead said “Atheism is great. I stand in reason with the American Humanist Association” on the front and “Religion is stupid” or “Christianity is nonsense” on the back.