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View Diary: "Owasso Kids For Christ" Sues Owasso Public Schools (46 comments)

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  •  The "Other" activities (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, jayden, JeffW, blueoasis

    are not proscribed by the Constitution.

    The activities of the other groups are not principally religious.

    The School should win.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:51:54 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Every bit of case law I've seen on this.... (5+ / 0-)

      ...suggests that religious student clubs are legally supposed to get the same access, privileges, etc. as any other student club in public schools.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:57:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then the policy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        will have to change to ban them all from distributing flyers.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:06:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster

          Why is it so offensive to you that a religious group distributes their flyers as an equal group with all the other student groups at the school?

          Why is your response to shut down all instances of this form of speech, rather than responding with other voices?

          Why not put together a "freethinkers" group or a "religious dialogue" group in order to discuss religious issues in an open setting, rather than shutting down all speech for the sole purpose of denying religious student groups their right to equal speech?

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:11:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are many schools (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sow hat, blueoasis

            ...where "freethinkers" groups are harassed and banned from even forming, yet religious ones are allowed.

            America, we can do better than this...

            by Randomfactor on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:25:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And if that's the case... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnny wurster

              ...then those schools that ban such groups are engaging in an illegal act, and opening themselves up to lawsuits.

              I don't see banning all speech as the proper response to the existence of one form of speech that offends someone.

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:45:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Like when schools ban clubs so they don't have (0+ / 0-)

          to host gay-straight alliances.

          Is that the side you want to be on?

      •  And I'd love to see (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        ...an Pagan group successfully distribute their flyers as well.  

        That's happened before, and it shows whether the school is being open-minded, or endorsing Christian religions at the expense of others.

        America, we can do better than this...

        by Randomfactor on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:25:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Non-religious speech is OK, religious speech (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      campionrules, Jaxpagan, BYw

      isn't OK" is exactly the sort of position that the government can't take.  And if that's the school's position, then it'll lose easily.

      FWIW, a pretty similar set of facts was decided against the school in this 3rd circuit opinion.

      •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        A "club" does not get a free pass to breach the establishment clause just because other clubs do things that do not breach the law.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:11:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not a breach of the Establishment Clause. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          campionrules, johnny wurster

          The courts, who are empowered to determine what qualifies as a breach of the Establishment Clause, have held that religious student groups that enjoy no privileges above and beyond any other student group at school are not in violation of the Clause—and, in fact, that denying student religious groups an equal place among other student groups is a violation of the students' right to freely exercise their religion.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:13:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They are allowed the same facilities (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            None of the other clubs has attempted to break the law.

            See how the circular argument works?

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:16:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I don't... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              campionrules, johnny wurster, JDsg

              ...because this group hasn't attempted to break the law either.

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:17:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  What law are you talking about? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnny wurster

              I fail to see how the religious club has broken any 'law'

              The school either needs to ban all club material or not.

              •  Well I thought that the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JeffW, blueoasis

                District lawyer put it rather well.

                This group is a purely religious group, it conducts no other activities. Using the school facilities, during the school day is a purely religious activity that is being sponsored and allowed by the school.

                If that isn't a breach of the establishment clause, then why do we even bother with one? Yet it is there, so it must mean something.

                The District could ban all such material. Shame for the other groups. I would simply refuse access to all the religious groups as inappropriate for a Public School setting.

                The District could easily argue that they, as a Public School District, needed to stay completely out of the religious arena.

                I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:24:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're missing that it's a STUDENT group (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  campionrules, johnny wurster, JDsg

                  The school is not behind the group. The school set the content-neutral guidelines (requirement of a faculty sponsor, etc) by which students may form a student group, be it a Christian prayer group, a Freethinker's discussion group, a Twilight fangeek club, or whatever.

                  There is no violation of anything in all groups being treated the same, regardless of content. That you don't like a group or its message is not grounds to give them some kind restricted rights as a STUDENT group. That kind of garbage thinking has screwed over Pagan, Atheist, GLBT and all other manner of student groups in the past.

                  The First Amendment does not give you a magic "Religion-Keepaway" force field. It ensures that all speech, assembly and writing - religious and non-religious, is treated by the government on a content-neutral basis.

                  "Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits." - Mark Twain

                  by Jaxpagan on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 01:13:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Is it a Student Group? (0+ / 0-)

                    It is sponsored and lead by the 1st Baptist Church.

                    Last time I looked students didn't manage that Church.

                    The difference is that the only purpose of this group is religion, and the flyers they are banned from handing out are Recruitment tools.

                    I haven't said the group shouldn't use the school, although I would prefer they didn't. I have said that they should advertise it in Church.

                    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                    by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 01:51:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Why are religious groups not deemed to be (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            twigg, JeffW, blueoasis

            distinctly different from other groups because of their religiosity? Religion is not at all the same as secular extracurricular actiities.

            Religious groups should have no problem finding religioius institutions who would host such activities. Why does the free excersise of religion require that it be allowed to be practiced in secular venues?

            Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

            by JTinDC on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:24:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Right. No privileges above and beyond (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis

            And my understanding of the superintendent's statement is that the Bible study group is demanding privileges above and beyond what other groups are allowed per the written district policy (linked in the diary).

            Non-school groups may use facilities when they are not needed for school activities and will not impact the orderly conduct of classes or official school functions. There is no violation of content neutrality I can find in the statement or in the policy manual.

            Unless someone  can show that a non-school secular group was allowed to recruit or advertise on school time,  there is no inequitable treatment. Facilities use is not being denied, nor are special restrictions being tacked on for religious groups only.

            Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

            by susanala on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:50:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe someone should start (0+ / 0-)

          a Humanist Club in the school -- I'm sure there's some way to do it -- then see what sort of reaction they get. If they're treated exactly the same as the Christian Bible club, then I see no problem; both would be just like any other student group (though I have a bit of an ooky factor when it comes to Bible study groups for kids under the age of, say, 13; there's way too much "respect the grownups" in elementary school kids that doesn't start to get rooted out till puberty).

          Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

          by Cali Scribe on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:52:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But that's not the point though (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, rick, irishwitch

      content neutral is content neutral.

      Would you write this diary if it was a muslim group or wiccan group that the school had banned?

      christian majority isn't the point here - trust me, they're not being persecuted.

      This is the question: Does the school allow other groups to distribute pamphlets and advertising? If so, isn't the banning of the church group a violation of the student's free speech? i.e. the School is picking and choosing you can demonstrate their rights.

      I dunno, I don't know any other facts than those presented here in the diary.

      I guess we'll have to wait and see - though I don't really see this going very far in the courts - my guess would be one side backs down.

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