The ACLU is taking a high school to court over a fairly blatant endorsement of Christianity, in the form of a large prayer banner, prominently displayed.
CRANSTON — The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge to stop the city from displaying a Christian prayer banner painted on a wall of Cranston High School West.
The 8-foot-high mural, which is addressed to “Our Heavenly Father,” has deprived student Jessica Ahlquist of her rights under the First and 14th Amendments, argue attorneys Lynette Labinger and Thomas Bender in a brief filed Friday in preparation for an Oct. 13 court hearing.
The high school’s defense? “Hey, we’ve defied the First Amendment for a long time, and therefore we have a right to continue to do so.”
After giving the issue much thought, school officials “decided not to erase history for the sake of political correctness,” say attorneys Joseph V. Cavanagh Jr., Joseph V. Cavanagh III, Eric C. Rassbach, Lori H. Windham, Anthony A. Cipriano and Christopher M. Rawson in a brief filed Friday in U.S. District Court.
The decision by School Committee members to leave the mural alone is “based not upon some desire to inject religion into the public schools, but on their belief that school history and tradition should be maintained,” they say.
The “injecting religion” bit is just a perk, or something.