The ACLU of Virginia says a sectarian prayer at a high school football game is unconstitutional, but a religious protest by students against the ACLU for objecting to the prayer is perfectly acceptable.
ACLU Executive Director Kent Willis explains why that’s so in a letter to Gate City High School Principal Greg Irvin.
The ACLU objected to the prayer at the behest of the parent of a student, and the principal responded that the prayer, delivered by a student over a loudspeaker, had not been planned and was not a regular occurrence.
That explanation was acceptable to Willis but apparently not to many of the students.
They have arranged for the distribution of more than 1,000 T-shirts with the school’s initials, a cross and the “I still pray …” on the front and “in Jesus’ name” on the back.
Plans are for the students to wear the shirts to tomorrow night’s game.
The prayer was unconstitutional because it carried the imprimatur of government as was coercive, Willis wrote.
But the principal need have no concern about religious overtones to the protest on school property.
“A student-organized, student-led protest at an extra-curricular activity that does not make use of the podium or public address system and that is neither promoted nor endorsed by the school is protected expression, whether or not religious activity is involved,” Willis said.
By Alan Cooper