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Friday, April 10, 2009

Religious Censorship in Central New York

Religious censorship case against Baldwinsville schools heads back to appeal | Syracuse.com

A decade old incident from a Baldwinsville, NY school is still being tried and appealed in the legal system. In 1999, a kindergarten student was given an art assignment and his poster submission included a picture and reference to Jesus. The school rejected it, so he resubmitted a poster with no reference to Jesus but contained a picture of someone who they construed to be Jesus. They hung up that poster but folded over the part with the picture of Jesus.

The incident ends up being a legal case fighting for the student's First Ammendment rights. The case moves back and forth between appellate courts with various courts siding with each side in the case.

As near as I can figure it out, some courts think that the school system had the right to do this because -- the article says -- of "church and state concerns". That seems real vague. I'm a Christian (that's relatively obvious on this blog) and have that as a bias. But someone please help me understand how allowing a student to express his religion in an assignment might possibly violate the Establishment Clause.
"The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment refers to the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Together with the Free Exercise Clause, ("... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"), these two clauses make up what are commonly known as the "religion clauses" of the First Amendment." via Wikipedia.
The school isn't endorsing, promoting, establishing or giving special preference to religion by allowing a student to express their religious views in art. This censorship seems nonsensical.

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