Conservatives Target ACLU's “Religious Freedom” Campaign in S.C.

By:  Dave Bohon
09/18/2012
       
Conservatives Target ACLU's “Religious Freedom” Campaign in S.C.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched an initiative it claims is aimed at strengthening religious freedoms in South Carolina schools. But conservative legal advocacy groups that have battled the ACLU for years over First Amendment issues argue that the strategy is focused more on barring religious expression.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched an initiative it claims is aimed at strengthening religious freedoms in South Carolina schools. But conservative legal advocacy groups that have battled the ACLU for years over First Amendment issues argue that the strategy is focused more on barring religious expression. In a press release the ACLU of South Carolina said that its “Religious Freedom Goes to School” campaign is designed “to protect both the right of free exercise for individuals of every faith and the right to remain free from governmental coercion and promotion of religion.” It explained that the initiative is a response to the “growing reports of unconstitutional violations of these fundamental rights in public schools across the state.”

The ACLU said that over the past two years its South Carolina office has fielded a number of reports of what it claims are violations of the First Amendment's clause supposedly enforcing the separation of church and state. Among the “violations” the groups has found are:

• Teachers praying in classrooms

• The distribution of Bibles to students

• Prayer and Scripture reading at such school functions as graduation ceremonies and athletic events

• “School involvement in the planning and promotion of religious baccalaureate services”

• “Religious content” at school assemblies

• “Coach-organized and coach-led prayer at football practices”

• School board meetings opened with prayer

• Teacher involvement in “student religious clubs”

The ACLU said it hopes its campaign will succeed in uncovering and correcting such egregious violations while “educating schools about their obligation to protect students’ rights to religious expression and exercise, as well as the rights of non-believers not to follow any faith.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Photo: From the Alliance Defending Freedom website

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