Skip to comments.Court Says No to Religious Gifts in School: 4-year-old had no right...
Posted on 09/24/2003 4:08:51 PM PDT by Vindiciae Contra TyrannoSCOTUS
Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals finds that 4-year-old had no right to give classmates pencils that said "Jesus loves the little children."
A federal appeals court has forbidden children as young as 4 to give gifts bearing religious messages like "Jesus loves the little children" to their classmates during classroom activities.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Pennsylvania and New Jersey, found late last month that such gifts represent "student advocacy," according to its decision in a case brought by the parents of a 9-year-old boy against the Egg Harbor Township (N.J.) Board of Education.
Daniel Walz, then 4, touched off the controversy in spring 1998 when he brought pencils emblazoned with the message "Jesus loves the little children" a heart symbol actually stood in for "loves" to an Easter party in his pre-kindergarten class. His teacher confiscated the pencils and reported Daniel to the principal; Daniel's parents later sued, alleging violation of his right to free speech.
A Camden, N.J., U.S. District Court judge ruled against the Walzes in February 2002; the 3rd Circuit panel affirmed that ruling this past Aug. 27.
"This decision is probably one of the worst I've ever read," said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, which is representing the Walzes. "What they're saying to schools in the 3rd Circuit is that you have total control and kids have no freedom at all."
The decision, Whitehead added, is at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court's precedent-setting 1962 Tinker v. Des Moines Community School District ruling, which famously found that public school students "do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gates." In that case, the court ruled, in order to deny a student's free speech rights, a school "must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint."
"The only disruption here," Whitehead pointed out, "was the teacher who blocked (Daniel from handing out his pencils)."
The 3rd Circuit acknowledged the protections of the Tinker decision in its ruling, but found that they didn't apply to Daniel's gifts. In pointing out other examples where "a school's need to control student behavior will necessarily result in limitations on student speech," Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica noted that "a quiet reading period necessarily requires silence."
Whitehead, who plans an appeal to the full 3rd Circuit and to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, said that in addition to tyrannically stifling free speech, the 3rd Circuit has taught "a real bad lesson in political science to children."
"In the schools kids should learn about the Constitution and freedom and rights so that when they go out in life they believe that and practice that and support other people in that," he told CitizenLink. "If you're taught in schools that you have absolutely no rights, there's no telling the kind of negative impact that will have in the future."
And that's why parents must not allow their children to get that message from this decision, according to Eric Buehrer, president of Gateways to Better Education, a national organization that helps students and educators better understand and appreciate the contributions of Christianity to society and the world.
Until the courts reach a final resolution in the Walz case, Buehrer said, there is much parents can do to expose their children's classrooms to biblical truths.
"The courts have already ruled on the appropriateness to come in and read kids the Christmas story or the Easter story," he explained. "Good News (Bible) clubs can get started after school that's been settled by the Supreme Court, too.
"So this is not a hopeless situation. There are opportunities for Christian families to continue to make a difference."
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Gateways to Better Education has launched a project called "Tending the Garden of Your School" for parents seeking tips on how to bring a Christian influence to their child's school. To learn more, visit the organization's Web site.
(NOTE: Referral to Web sites not produced by Focus on the Family is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the sites' content.)
I think that fear and hatred of conservatives and Republican animates a lot of Democrats more than support for their own party. The Democrats don't articulate a positive agenda you can get behind and affirmatively support. They preach hatred, anger and intolerance. Yet people who vote Democrat would never live their lives that way. For example, I suggested that Chuck ask his Democrat parents if they walk around the neighborhood handing out chunks of each paycheck. No one does that, yet they vote for people who take money out of everyone's paychecks and hand it out saying, "Vote for me!"
Chuck brought up Clyde Ballard, former speaker of the Washington House, who was apparently told by an AP reporter that no Christian conservative will ever win the state's governorship. This is the effect of the war against Christianity that David's book chronicles. Liberals have done a very good slander job on the word "God," and have managed to associate people of the Christian faith with strict moral judgmentalism and rigid intolerance. My brother spent a couple years writing his book and citing tons of examples of just this sort of thing. For example, he's going to be on with Paula Zahn tonight, but he won't be interviewed alone like every other author. No, Paula told him he can only come on if he'll "debate" the premise. This is what Christians face out there, folks. Make no mistake about it. "Persecution" by David Limbaugh
The Fourteenth Amendment is certainly the major ''culprit'' if we are concerned about reining in the Court. By ''incorporation'' of the Bill of Rights, and by creating under the doctrine of ''substantive due process'' rights which are contained nowhere in the Constitution at all, the Court has used the Fourteenth Amendment to nationalize some of the most important policy questions that the Constitution properly leaves to the states. PREPARED STATEMENT OF MATTHEW J. FRANCK, CHAIRMAN AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, RADFORD UNIVERSITY Congress, the Court, and the Constitution
The bottom line is this: There is no full answer to the problem of judicial tyranny short of impeachment. Many other proposals have been put forth over the years, and many others have been revived during the current debate, but none of them will serve as a complete solution under our current Constitution.163 Impeaching Federal Judges: A Covenantal and Constitutional Response to Judicial Tyranny
Q. Sir, on May 6th, on the floor of the house you asked the question: "Are the American people determined they still wish to have a Constitutional Republic." How would you answer that question, Sir?
A. A growing number of Americans want it, but a minority, and that is why we are losing this fight in Washington at the moment. That isn't as discouraging as it sounds, because if you had asked me that in 1976 when I first came to Washington, I would have said there were a lot fewer who wanted it then. We have drifted along and, although we have still enjoyed a lot of prosperity in the last twenty-five years, we have further undermined the principles of the Constitution and private property market economy. Therefore, I think we have to continue to do what we are doing to get a larger number. But if we took a vote in this country and told them what it meant to live in a Constitutional Republic and what it would mean if you had a Congress dedicated to the Constitution they would probably reject it. It reminds me of a statement by Walter Williams when he said that if you had two candidates for office, one running on the programs of Stalin and the other running on the programs of Jefferson the American people would probably vote for the candidate who represented the programs of Stalin. If you didn't put the name on it and just looked at the programs, they would say, Oh yeah, we believe in national health care and we believe in free education for everybody and we believe we should have gun control. Therefore, the majority of the people would probably reject Thomas Jefferson. So that describes the difficulty, but then again, we have to look at some of the positive things which means that we just need more people dedicated to the rule of law. Otherwise, there will be nothing left here within a short time. Are the American people determined they still wish to have a Constitutional Republic
Neither do the People, or many Americans of so-called faith either.
Surest way to our complete subjugation and destruction.
A people who are lukewarm and do not care about their Rights, or would gladly trade them for safety, security and stuff.
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