- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2001

The liberal agenda, while masquerading as the torchbearer of free speech and civil rights, grinds to an embarrassing halt when it reaches religion. Thankfully, the recent Supreme Court decision of Good News Club vs. Milford Central School made significant progress in stemming the tide of the liberal assault on religion. At its core, the decision overturned a previous ruling by an appeals court and affirmed the right of the evangelical group to meet in the Milford school after hours, citing ample precedent to demonstrate that the decision in no way reflects a violation of the church-state separation.
The opinion of the court, penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, advanced the argument that by allowing the group to meet after school hours it could not be misconstrued that Milford endorsed, advocated, or even condoned the activities or message of the group. How simple and imperceptive are we assuming our children to be if they cant be trusted to distinguish between activities during and after the school day? Most children, if memory serves, are vigilantly aware of the hour when school ends. Justice Thomas also cited a community use policy Milford adopted in 1992, which states that the school is open to district residents for "instruction in any branch of education, learning or the arts." The policy further extends Milfords availability to "uses pertaining to the welfare of the community, provided that such uses shall be nonexclusive and shall be open to the public."
Justice David Souter, the most outspoken dissenter, objected to the clearly religious stance of the group, crying that the agenda of the Good News group would be hopelessly entangled with that of the public school. Justice Souter errs in imagining that the activities of public schools, during or after school hours, operate within strictly objective guidelines. It is illusory and hapless to imagine that teachers in public schools dont infuse opinion into their lessons. Its inevitable and natural. But the liberal lens that allows atheism and sexually explicit art to filter through uncompromisingly seeks to block religion. Undeniably, there are harmful influences from which children should be protected. Indeed, were a music appreciation curriculum for first graders expanded to include Eminem and Dr. Dre, it would be time to intervene. But when dealing with the Good News Group were not facing anything violent or hateful (despite the obviously sinister connotation of the name).
It is important to take a moment and remind ourselves of what the decision does not advocate. Religion is no closer to the Milford curriculum than it is in the more than 500 other schools where Good News Groups, already meet around the country. Prayer is no more a part of public education than it was before the Supreme Court ruling. And, perhaps most importantly, religion is still not endorsed by any public body.
Religious persecution is supposed to be a dead letter, and it is nothing but hypocrisy to holler about free speech while trying to silence a group that should be accorded the same rights as any other.

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