Good Ending to a Free Exercise Case

Here's a case where the Christian legal groups are absolutely right. A kids dance group was prevented from taking part in a holiday festival in Chula Vista, California, because their shirts bore a religious message. The American Family Association Center for Law and Policy filed suit on their behalf and the city just settled the case. The really good part of the settlement is that the city has agreed to put police officers and city officials through first amendment training to prevent it from happening again. I think that's a great idea and ought to be done in every school and city in the nation.

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Here is one for you. Sounds like she may have a case...

By afarensis (not verified) on 02 Nov 2006 #permalink

Stuff like this drives me nuts. Every year I have students come to me asking,

"Can [insert teacher's name] force me/someone to stand for/say the pledge?"

To which I reply, "no, they can't force you to do either."

Yet the very next year? Same question, same problems.

By dogmeatIB (not verified) on 02 Nov 2006 #permalink

Yes, if the allegations in that article are true, that student has a very strong case.

OK, Ed, then how about this question: do the other students in the class who were told to send the letters and who did have a case as well? Isn't it irrelevent, really, whether they support gay adoption rights or not, because the professor had no right to order them as part of a manditory class assignment, to send a letter in support of any assigned position to a legislator? Not an atty, so perhaps not, but if not, I wonder why not?

This Yellow Dog Democrat knows that if any professor had required me to write a letter to the legislators endorsing a Democratic-sponsored bill with which I agreed, I'd still have flat refused. [If the assignment was to write a letter regarding a current legislative issue --- topic unspecified --- that would be another matter.] But I don't think he could legitimately require a student to publically endorse even a position the student supported.

By flatlander100 (not verified) on 02 Nov 2006 #permalink

Yes, there is no way a professor should be able to force anyone to write a letter like that. But there are more allegations from her that make it even worse. She says that when she refused to sign the letter she was called before the school ethics committee. That makes it much worse.

Ed: Indeed it does....

By flatlander100 (not verified) on 02 Nov 2006 #permalink

The really good part of the settlement is that the city has agreed to put police officers and city officials through first amendment training to prevent it from happening again.

I have rather sincere problems believing that the police officers aren't already trained in legal matters. These may include 1st amendment issues, but it is unclear the extent to which they would get involved in 1st amendment issues regarding religion. "Peaceful assembly" would be more likely issues for the police.

City officials are another matter. They should be trained to call on city legal counsel for legal issues. Frankly, I am surprised that they don't have a handbook describing what they should do.

afarensis | November 2, 2006 08:52 PM

The case you linked to seems somewhat odd. The student sued after she had graduated. I suspect that there is something more going on there that was not reported.

Sounds great. Now can they go through training in the rest of the Bill of Rights, as well? Like, for example, the 4th Amendment?